Tag Archive: Wyoming

(Submitted by reader Michael Doyle)

In the summer of 1960 I was visiting my older sister in Rivertons, Wyoming, when a census-taker knocked on her door.  Upon opening the door, the census-taker took one look at my sister and turned pale.  It was obvious he was in shock.

He asked my sister, whose name was “Doris,” if her name was “Velma.”  My sister told him no, but that we had an aunt Velma. He said looking at my sister was as if he had gone back 40 years and that he was looking at the face of Velma.

After discussing the coincidence, the census-taker told us that he was at one time engaged to Velma who turned our to be our aunt.  But, he knew her in Vancouver, Washington, not in Wyoming.  Kin always told Doris she looked like Velma.  I guess this stranger proved it to be so.

[EDITOR: This reminds me of a favorite short story of mine, written by Mike Resnick, available on Escape Pod, titled Distant Replay. I won’t spoil the story more than what our story above might suggest about it. I strongly encourage you to give it a listen. Outside of that I can’t say much more about this one. It’s a startling moment in this strange world we inhabit. I can’t imagine just how shaking it must have been for the census-taker. – Jarrett]

Double Down on Old Friends

(Submitted by reader Deborah Warcken)

My Volkswagen squareback died in Evanston, Wyoming on its third trip to Colorado in February of 1972. From there G’Anna and I had to take the bus to Greeley where we stayed in my dorm from the previous school year. I had decided that Colorado winters were not for me and had retreated back to California to old friends and my horse. G’Anna was a new friend and had agreed to accompany me on a visit back during February break. I had several friends I wanted to see as well as a sister who had moved to Greeley the previous year. G’Anna had two friends in the Gunnison-Crested Butte area.

It was wonderful to see my friends from freshman year and visit with my sister and her family. I was disappointed because one of my best friends was no longer in school there. It was rumored that she had either returned to Ohio or was going to school elsewhere.

After our stay in Greeley we were able to rent a car and continue south and west to our next destination. This already had the makings of something of an adventure as G’Anna did not have an address or phone number for her two friends, Bill and Dirk. She said we would just have to hit all the local night spots and ask around at the ski area.

We arrived in Gunnison an hour or so before dark and started checking around. No one seemed to know her friends. It was suggested that we try up in Crested Butte so we drove up there and continued to check in the local hang-outs. Crested Butte is (or was) a small ski town and it was crawling with young people.

It was getting late and we’d just asked at the last bar in the village. All these places were fairly dark and this one was no exception. As we were heading for the door we passed some people coming in. It was too dark to see them clearly but something about one of them was familiar. After we got outside I had to turn and go back in to see if my sense was correct. It was! One of the people turned out to be my friend Laura who was supposed to be in Ohio.

I’m not sure which of us was more surprised, me, Laura or G’Anna. As we still had not found or even looked for a place to stay that night Laura let us stay with her. We decided to continue searching for Bill and Dirk the next day.

The following morning we went up to the ski area to continue our quest. Laura had to go to work at a little cafe but we said we’d stop back later and have some pie and say “goodbye”. G’Anna’s friends did not seem to be at the ski area so we made one last trip into Gunnison to look around in the daytime. No luck.

About mid-morning we stopped in and had some heavenly raspberry cream pie at the café and said goodbye and thank you to Laura. We started on our way out of town and were at the last stop sign before the beginning of the highway back to Gunnison. As we waited at the stop sign a car pulled forward from the other side and stopped to let out two hitchhikers in the middle of the intersection. You may have figured out already that these were none other than Bill and Dirk.