I used to live in Utah. The town of St. George to be exact.
For six months starting in September of 1991, the town located in the southwest corner of the Beehive State was the place I called home. This location was also the town where I would be working in my first paid position as an on-air radio personality.
Can you imagine being paid real money to play music and talk to people? It’s a dream job.
So excited was I about the prospect of having my radio career being launched fifteen months after graduating college that right before I crossed over from Arizona to Utah, I stopped my trusty steed – a blue Chevy Sprint – and took the following picture to visually capture (for all posterity) the moment before I entered my new promised land
Wasn’t it nice of the folks who put up this sign to let you know you needed to change your clocks since you were now moving into Mountain Daylight Time? I always imagined that it was up to the newest member of the state highway team to have to go to each sign twice a year and change the sign from Daylight to Standard time (and vice versa).
However, as mentioned at the top of this post, my stay in Utah lasted half a year.
It was twenty-five years ago this weekend that I departed St. George.
This is the story of my last night.
The house that I had been living in for six months was connected to a business that was a combination locksmith/baseball card trader/gunsmith. My living space had been converted from a garage/storage space that the store once had into a four-room domicile (kitchen/dining area/TV room, bedroom, bathroom, storage) that was my address.
But, my time at this location has come to an end. I am snug in my bed drifting off to sleep confident in the knowledge that I have tied up any and all loose ends.
The movers have been called and are scheduled to show up tomorrow.
I have cancelled my month-to-month lease with my landlord.
I have closed out all my accounts with the utility companies.
I have left a forwarding address with my former employer so that they can send me my last paycheck and my W-2 forms.
At one in the morning, I am probably dreaming about the trip back to California when I am suddenly startled out of my slumber.
There was a quick stab of a noise above my head. In my bedroom, I had situated my bed so that my headboard was against the only wall that had a window. My eyes open and as I look up at the ceiling, the orange glow that comes in through the window from the streetlamps is interrupted by something blocking it.
Then I hear the sharp noise again as someone outside has placed their hands against the window above my head and is trying to slide the pane of glass open.
I raise myself up on my knees on my bed and look out the window. I have a spare bedsheet draped across the window so a person on the outside cannot see in. As for me on the inside, I am three feet away from a shadowy face whose hands have now managed to slide my glass border open a few inches.
Still a tad groggy from waking up, I am not really thinking all that clearly. I realize that someone is attempting to break in, but all I do at this moment is to take a sharp breath in and yell.
There are many ways that this story could have ended.
Thankfully, it unfolded in the way that it did.
After my inelegant scream of “Hey!”, the intruder flees. I have no idea if this person was intent on robbing me in particular or if this person thought they would be stealing from the locksmith/card shop/gunsmith and I did not care. I called the police (my phone was to be shut off the next day) and they sent a cruiser over to patrol the area.
I never went back to sleep. I turned on the lights in all my rooms and moved into the kitchen/dining area/TV room where I waited for the sun to come up.
The sun rose. The movers arrived. The pair of gentlemen packed all my belongings into their truck. I had a farewell breakfast at Denny’s. I hopped in my Sprint and crossed the border from Utah into Arizona.
There is no picture to commemorate that crossing.
That’s my story.
P.S. Why only six months in Utah? That is a story for another day…preferably over chips, salsa, and a good beer.