So kids – it’s 1992 and we’re living in the trailer park. Pregnant with Austin. Working together building hot rods, racing them on the weekends, and camping a lot.
We were making $300/wk together. Your pops still wanted to be a roadie pretty bad and put that electronics degree to use. I got another loan and grant to start going to Wayland Baptist University at night, part time in San Antonio. It deferred my student loans and I hoped to get my hands on that bachelors degree.
I was taking ‘Marriage and Family’ and ‘Old Testament’ courses from a baptist University because they took a lot of my college credits. They were teaching biblical principles of no sex before marriage, including making out. Living together was definitely a sin. Wife obeying her husband – all kinds of shit we were doing wrong. You know your mom, she is definitely not obedient and your dad, not much of a dictator.
Looking back, we’re glad we were practicing doing each other and learning how to live together. It strengthened us, and also got us pregnant. We decided we weren’t prepared to get married right away. It was pretty terrible for your granny (dad’s mom). She abandoned us based on her christian values that she lives by. Same with other family. We had no idea how to deal with this and found ourselves hurt, lonely, and confused. So, we learned to stay away though we wanted to be with them and needed them the most at that time. Jenn’s Grandma Rose, her mom, were there for us so we surrounded ourselves where we fit in.
We used to go to Trevino parties at Grandma Rose’s house and all the Mexicans were there. Mariachis in full charro outfits would be next to the bbq pits. The Mexican women loved Jenn’s white boy and all the men wanted to kill me. It was exactly like the movie ‘Fools Rush In’. That’s why you know that movie by heart.
Being pregnant really made us think about our future, every moment of every day. We wanted the best for each other. We never even talked about options. We knew you were our baby and we were solid in wanting to be together.
But how? The shop was becoming kind of a shit-hole going nowhere. We didn’t want to stay in San Antonio, our first conversation included both of us wanting to get out BIG – to Austin, an hour north was our perception of getting out back then. There was a little talk of opening the same type of hot rod shop in Austin. We really wanted to work in Austin at High End Systems, a production lighting company (big band, touring stuff). A friend of ours, Robert, was on the road with Dire Straits (big like Britney) working for High End. He was trying to help us get in. First, he needed to get his truck and all his shit moved from Los Angeles back to Austin.
So he kinda hired us to do this. Gave us one-way plane tickets to L.A. and $400 to drive his Toyota back. This was really a big deal for us. Our first big trip together and a chance to talk a lot about where we are and going.
This guy- one of your dad’s best friends growing up.
We rented bikes on Venice Beach. Stayed in a cool hotel where Judd Nelson’s (Breakfast Club) bike was parked. It had a push button fireplace.
He also bought crack on the street where the L.A. riots started about two weeks later. We didn’t do crack, but it’s part of why we’re not in touch with this guy anymore.
That’s your mama four months pregnant with Austin on Santa Monica pier-
And in Malibu-
This guy was heading out on tour to Europe with Dire Straits. After dropping him off our road trip started.
On the road trip towards Vegas, we drove the same road that Sam Kinison died on weeks later. This road, in the middle of the night…
We drove to Vegas and stayed up all night. Your dad proposed to me at the Sahara as the sun rose. I said yes and that’s one of the most defining moments in our relationship. We committed to each other from that point on and though we thought it would be hilarious to get married in a tacky little wedding chapel for shits and gigs, we decided on gas money instead (it was a $50 decision).
After not getting married in Vegas, we did the dam tour (Hoover Dam)
That night we camped on Lake Mead when we met this freaky couple. They literally showed up out of nowhere, there was absolutely no one around the campsite – yet they still really wanted to take us somewhere else to smoke a joint?!?
At first they seemed like some hippy couple just chilling, but they just got weirder. When we tried to act like we were going somewhere, they quickly jumped up and followed us. So, we’d stop and sit with them thinking they would eventually give us our space. But they didn’t. Their actions started to freak us out and that’s when we realized how alone we were with them. There was no help anywhere around. Shit. Your dad and I kept making signals at each other that we were not going with them anywhere, while keeping them engaged in their conversation. They were high and getting more intense by the minute. Finally agreeing to go off with them, we got them to give us some space when we said we needed to get some stuff out of our truck. They were so excited that we were going with them, they lost sight of us for a few minutes and that’s when we jumped in the truck and hauled ass out of there right in front of them. They were on foot, so they couldn’t really catch up with us. We hoped. After getting home, we heard about a story of a couple that murdered some campers at Lake Mead around the same time we were there. We always wonder.
After leaving Lake Mead, on our way to the Grand Canyon, we stopped at a little roadside Indian stand (known as Native Americans now). We bought a couple of rings for $6 total. Then drove out somewhere in the desert and said our own vows to each other sitting in the front seat of the truck. We vowed to each other and God that we were now married – April 10, 1992. It was good enough for us.
We camped at the Grand Canyon. This is the first time we had been there. Sorry we’ve taken you back sooooo many times. But it’s cool.
The campgrounds were full. We ended up at Hermit’s Rest and hid in the trees. Illegal.
Your mom loves living on the edge. I hate it. That smirk – she’s laughing at me because I’m freaking out wanting her to get away from the edge. She always demands I take her picture, or she’s not getting off the edge. She stays on the edge.
And she hates this picture. I influenced her to act like she was reading for this picture at Wupatki.
From the Grand Canyon area, we headed to Ruidoso, NM and found snow. A rare sight for Texas folk.
Got this room in Ruidoso because I was sick. This is why we ran out of money before making it home.
That’s White Sands, NM on the horizon…
We also toured Carlsbad Caverns, another reason we probably ran out of money.
The intercom guy kept calling for a guy with a dog in his car ‘that is not doing well‘. Later we were talking with a guy and casually mentioned the car and the dog. He freaked out and ran off to save his dog. The dog was OK. But, remember kids, hot cars kill dogs.
We literally ran out of money on our way to Big Bend. We should’ve just gone home, but that would’ve been the wise thing to do. We had to borrow some from Grandma Rose just to get the gas home.
Our tent was also falling apart. The end of this trip became a little uncomfortable. Remember – Make more than you spend.
And we made it back home to the trailer park okay.
We also quickly learned about a legal marriage vs. church marriage vs. what was true to us. It became a pain in the ass to not have the government marriage contract. I couldn’t be involved in any medical information or decisions with Austin, who was about to be born, without the government license. The religious didn’t qualify us because there was no church. There’s so much more. It was very frustrating. I believe it’s where we found our values in marriage equality. We never chose to be attracted to each other. To want to live our lives together. It is a gift everyone is entitled to. Always question authority and especially those trying to govern yours and others rights.
We ended up getting legally married by a Justice of the Peace in a feed store in Cibolo, Tx on June 13, 1992. In t-shirts and shorts. We drove our Camaro to the Oasis on Lake Travis and had free chips and salsa with water since we were young and broke. The server was happy to let us enjoy our honeymoon for the $5 tip we had.
Soon after, the owner of the shop we were working stopped showing up. The paychecks bounced. It became obvious we weren’t going to be able to open a similar shop in Austin. We were lost, jobless, pregnant and broke living in a trailer park. More in love than anyone should be. It was one of the best turning points of our lives. So, we did what we do best. We created our own world.