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catsmeow

grand junction part two

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The views in Grand Junction are beautiful, but there is a perpetual feeling of being trapped in the valley. Not only is it completely surrounded on all sides by bluffs and mountains, but most of the people seem to be natives who never made an effort to move away or better themselves. There is a severe lack of community feeling and absolutely no sense of artistic encouragement. Throughout our visit, we found very few independent local businesses. The ones we did find either offered poor quality products or seemed about 5 years behind anything you would find in our beloved San Diego. In fact, that seemed to describe Grand Junction as a whole. Take the worst areas of San Diego, replace the Hispanic population with low income white people, rewind 5 years and you have Grand Junction, Colorado.

Robby’s family is a web of gossip and ill feelings. At least that’s the way it seemed. From what I gather, the Prater girls, Donna, Barbara, Rhonda and Sharon, lived their lives in relentless competition of one another for the attention of their parents. That sense of competition spilled over into every relationship, with their husbands, children, nieces and nephews. They constantly competed with everyone for everyone else’s attention and affection. They each had a role in the family, Rhonda was the snob, Barbara played the victim, and Donna told everyone to fuck off. I can’t say how Sharon fit into the family, except to say that she didn’t visit or call anyone while we were in town. Not one Prater girl has had a successful marriage, and all have had bouts with drug addiction, abusive relationships and/or severe financial problems.

Donna has not been herself for several years. She had her first stroke when she was pregnant with Sierra, 16 years ago. She’s had more since, causing permanent brain damage. She has severe memory problems, and usually doesn’t understand what is happening around her. This has made her defensive and violent. In the weeks leading up to our trip, Robby had been on the phone constantly with Donna, her doctors and her neighbor who was left in charge of affairs. She often confused him with his older brother who years ago swore off the entire family. She was the queen of bad decisions and desperate for any man who would take her. She threw Robby out of her house when he was only 13 because he fought with Sierra’s father too much. Any other sane woman would have chosen her son over her boyfriend, but that goes to show how sane Donna was.

Years ago, after expressing sadness over her relationship with Billy she told Robby “I just don’t want to be alone.” This explains why she got sucked in so deeply by him. Donna supported Billy and Sierra on pittance from Social Security. Billy slowly consumed Donna’s life to the point where she would defend him to the police after he would beat her up, fill her full of Zanax so she could barely function, or withhold her heart medication. To afford his drug habit, he would steal anything valuable from the house, including Donna’s prescriptions and Sierra’s computer. We would later find out that he had other “girlfriends” who helped him steal cars and sell the parts. We also discovered that during her stay, Billy and their neighbor Joanne had smuggled Donna out of the hospital to cash a check in order for Billy to buy a car for himself. It was because of that jaunt she would catch pneumonia and end up on the ventilator in the first place. In a nutshell, Billy was a disgusting, strung-out, toothless, meth-addicted predator who is ultimately to blame for Donna’s death.

The generation following the infamous Prater sisters has had a lot to make up for, and they seem to be succeeding. That night we went to visit Jodie, Sharon’s daughter, who still lives in Grand Junction. Jodie was our beam of sunshine throughout the visit, and her house became a loving retreat. She is a modern day flower child, about 5 feet tall and all smiles. Her son Logan completely eclipses her, and his only fault is slight social awkwardness due to his obsession with video games. We met them along with Jodie’s friend Sam at her house for some beer and conversation. The company was refreshing and encouraging. She and Robby chatted about family issues, past times and what their lives were like now. She suggests going out for a drink at Tenacious Brothers. We accept somewhat reluctantly; that crowd didn’t seem to like us the night before but maybe things would be different if we showed up with a local.

Things were different. Jodie seems to know half the patrons and all the employees. Everyone was welcoming and we forgot about the long list of tasks that awaited us the next day.

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Updated 23 Jun 2010 at 11:36 AM by Nick

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Comments

  1. Finch's Avatar
    I once knew an owl who lived in the Junction. She caught a breeze and flew away to the windy city. She said she'd be back one day, maybe with another owl in tow, but the wind has yet to blow back west.
  2. Rated E's Avatar
    There is a reason I don't live in Junktion anymore, but the "being surrounded by mountains" thing is pretty common in a state that the Rockies run through, you'll get that almost anywhere you go. San Deigo is a great City and it's kind of unfair to even try to compare it to a simple place like Grand Junction.
  3. Nick's Avatar
    I'm not clear on how you expect to raise money for anyone with that. I assume that most of the money would come from people who know the family, but your repeated putdowns of the town and the people in it won't do anything but hurt your case. And you spend way, way too much time being self-absorbed and closed-minded. Honestly, who gives a damn what kind of beer you and your friends drank or how fortunate you are to have had sushi in San Diego and other glitzy hotspots?

    Trim down the glut of extraneous words, tone down the narcissism and ethnocentrism, and make it a little more personal and sympathetic if you're serious.
  4. Some Stupid Japanese Name's Avatar
    Women forsaking their kids for the asshole who is currently dicking them down seems to be quite common these days. Or at least it is around these parts.
  5. Finch's Avatar
    Nick said it. The impression i get from this is "I'm from San Diego, it's way better than backwater cow town Grand Junction. We have all kinds of creative outlets and i look down upon Hispanics and low-income whites." The rest is okay, but i have a hard time getting past the part where it's not San Diego so it's a human garbage dump.
  6. catsmeow's Avatar
    ill elaborate- we're planning a benefit concert/silent art auction here in SD for sierra. so its for the san diego audience. plus theres much much more to the story, this is just to get people to realize why we need the money to get her out of the town. thank you for letting me know though, i didnt realize it was quite so condescending

    so basically this is for people to read before attending the event... i think condensing it is the most important thing here, i just dont want to lose any of the story.
    Updated 24 Jun 2010 at 04:08 AM by catsmeow

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