Recollections of my parents from a relative:
Yes, the falling out in the 80s. I remember when your dad and mom came up. I was fairly young. Oh, I thought they were the most glamorous and romantic people! Of course I knew Clay a little growing up (more on that later) but your mom. Wow. I thought she was the most gorgeous person! She had the most beautiful black/dark brown hair, and one time she got it highlighted with blue! I found that fabulous and shocking. And her accent – with a slight lisp, if I remember right. Even then I felt sorry for them, though, because Clay had never fit at the ranch and here he was with his new bride. They lived in a small rundown trailer. Did it hold chickens before or after they stayed in it? Anyway. The ranch is a hostile place – there’s no two ways about it. I think that’s why I’m a writer, trying to get over all that. I think maybe what precipitated it all was that Clay grew some pot (you have to know, marijuana on the ranch was close to a mortal sin). Maybe that was earlier. Anyway, it really was inevitable, but nothing that your parents did. The Tilletts always need an enemy, and I think Clay stood up for himself because he had a wife now and Lloyd’s part of the family (who have always modeled themselves on John Wayne) focused in on them. The final showdown – cousin Latahna came into their trailer and tried to beat them with a frying pan. She accused Clay of hiding behind Tracy and it was ugly all over. I don’t blame them in the least for leaving and never coming back!
Please say hi to your mom! I probably was quite a sight back then, and I’m sure I was quite needy. Please also thank her for her patience with me! —Tamara Linse