the opening section of the short remembrance “Virginia City"
I looked out the window of the airplane at Reno way down below, and the barren landscape surrounding it. I thought I was going to be sick.
In the hold of the plane were my suitcase, and a trunk with books and personal items. In my pocket was my one-way ticket.
Way down there Evelyne was waiting. She was a piano bar entertainer living in Virginia City, whom I’d known when she lived in Florida. She worked various lounges in and around Orlando, and I’d written some song lyrics, which she put to music. We’d even done a benefit concert for a local high school near Orlando. It was in Sanford, at a community center, and I played guitar on a few of the songs. Several of them were songs we’d written.
In 1975, I graduated from college, and sometime after that she and her family moved, and ended up in Virginia City. I’d known her for about two years.
In 1976, I was working some meaningless job in Orlando, and received a letter from her, asking if I’d like to come out and visit. She said she had to go to Ohio for a minor medical procedure for about a week, and said I could watch their place while she and her family were gone. I said, why not just come out permanently.
So, I packed up my stuff, boarded the plane, and was now looking at the desolate landscape below, and I thought I was going to be sick. It was a geographical change I wasn’t even prepared for. It was forsaken looking.
Evelyne met me inside the terminal with two of her three sons. These two were pre-teen, and full of energy. We loaded my stuff in her Land Rover type car, and headed off. We traveled through the outskirts of Reno, past the various housing developments, which sat back off from the highway, and then we started up into the hills.
The two-lane road wound up the mountains, through the trees, and now and then, a deep ravine off to the right. We drove on for what was probably an hour, and we finally came out onto an area that started to level off. It was rocky and barren, and we drove on for a little bit longer, and then we were approaching Virginia City.
We drove through the little town, and out the other side, and shortly there were three or so little places on the left. Evelyne’s was the next to last one.
It was brown, and looked like a “shotgun shack.” She lived there with her husband, and her oldest and two younger sons. Behind the house was a rocky hill.
We got my things inside, and Evelyne took us farther down the road, to Silver City. We went into a little roadside hangout. Evelyne knew some of the people there, and one girl told the story of a man who’d accepted a job, sold everything, and packed up and flew to the area. He was so shocked by the terrain and climate that he never left the airport. He just bought a ticket and went back east where he came from.
MORE STUFF contains “Virginia City,” a reminiscence of the author’s three-month stay in Virginia City, Nevada, in 1976; eight poems; and “That Was New York,” an essay based on a trip to New York City in 1983.
About the Author
Bob Brackin lives in Orlando, Florida. He’s a 1975 graduate of the University of Central Florida, with a B.A. degree in English.