When Laurie Became Linda

I was born Laurie Linda Logan in San Diego, California  1947.  My childhood is not filled with pictures of me playing in the backyard, at the beach, the zoo, or any of the other places San Diego is associated with.  I don’t have the hard copy or the memories.  My mom died when I was two and a half and my first solid memories are at four when my dad remarried.  My new mother came with her daughter Marsha to join my family of father, brother Pete, and myself. Pete is five years older and with each year was moving more out of my life.  Marsha, on the other hand, was one year older and moving in.

Marsha and I shared a room for lots of years and played together, but we never formed a close bond.  I spent a great deal of time in my dream worlds singing myself and my playmates across exotic lands and through great adventures.  My favorite vessel was my neighbors jungle-gym next door.

We had horses and many a weekend was spent at the stables.  I was a timid rider where Marsha and Pete knew no fear.  We owned Smokey, a western style horse, and Beau Crest Eldorado Genius (Elmer for short), an english horse.  My love was the rental horse, Dolly, a large Shetland pony.  Dolly loved to stop on a dime, put her head down, and send me sailing off her back.  This never bothered me, but I was stiff and afraid of falling off of any other horse.

When Marsha was in tenth grade she molted into a swan from a prepubescent teen.  I was cute.   In short order I knew I wasn’t competing in this beauty pageant.  Cute was not beautiful like Marsha.  In retrospect, she saved me some share of heartache as I decided to pursue “the meaning of life” more than popularity contests.  I listened to Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and other folk singers of the time.  I learned to play the guitar, a supportive aid to the lonely and confused.  I dated in high school but spent more time home on a Friday/Saturday night.  My vow was to make it different when I went to college.

San Francisco 1965.  When I hit “the city” to go to San Francisco State it took me about six months to figure out why I had been so miserable in San Diego – the small town atmosphere was not my domain.  I didn’t become a rock star but the life of the hip movement was kindred to my soul.  Lot’s of stories in these years perhaps to be told another time.  I met Bill, my future husband just before I went to Spain and North Africa for five months.  In a letter he told me I had to be home before his birthday or he was moving on.  I got back in time and a year later we were married.   We moved to Sonoma County and went to Sonoma State.  I majored in Psychology and directed a student volunteer program.  We bought a cabin in the redwoods, built a major addition on it and divorced.

In the early 70’s the “women’s movement” was getting started.  I deeply related to Sylvia Plath, Doris Lessing, and Germaine Greer.  The Psych department was humanistic and progressive.  I made a proposal to teach  a women’s class for women only and it was accepted.  I taught it for two terms.  I think I might have been the first in the country to do this.

After graduation I was hired as a counselor in a locked psychiatric ward.  I worked evenings and weekends so any counseling was quite informal.  I met Greg, a patient, who in time became my second husband.  We had a son, Kris.  We lived in a converted school bus.  I wanted a house with windows all around and the bus is what showed up.  We eventually moved into a rented house and one day in a heat wave I announced we were moving to the San Juan Islands.   A few weeks later we left to scout out our intended new home.  We never got that far.  A friend had spoken of some great people in Umpqua, OR who had a goat farm.  We stopped for a visit and decided to stay.  The farm was twenty five miles out of Roseburg, OR, not a booming metropolis in 1976, on 250 acres.

Being a mother was hard for me as I was unaccustomed to not having a good amount of alone time.  Without many outlets for my frustration my relationship with Greg suffered.  We had never really figured out how not to be counselor and patient.  At this point I met a woman with psychic abilities.  To this day, who knows if she was, but her advice resonated and I took it:  “Leave your husband, change your name, and move south.”  I did all three.  Greg and I parted, I went back to San Diego, and  changed my name to Linda.

Along the way I had gotten a massage license.  I worked in a health spa until I met Francoise Gilot.  Francoise and her husband, Jonas Salk, helped me through referrals build a massage practice which supported Kris and I for many years.  Eventually I needed a ‘straight job’ as I called it.  I went to a business college and got a degree in computer programming.  My first job took me to Los Angeles.  Like so many in those early years I moved quickly on the rising tide that the information age brought.  I eventually worked as a systems analyst.

I met Neil, my current husband, in a meditation group.  In 1989 my daughter, Jenni, was born. When she was six months old I told Neil I wanted to move to Portland, OR.  It was fourteen years since I had left Oregon and I had always planned to return.  Three months later we arrived and have been in the same house on a half acre ever since.   I did some consulting work and then worked as a sales person for a software company out of Provo, Utah.  It took two trips to the home office before I realized I was doing sales and not just technical support.  Eventually I joined a law firm as an analyst.

I bought a greenhouse and learned to be a gardener.  I found a yoga teacher, Sanjay Bestic, and through her joined a Tibetan Buddhist community, Kagyu Changchub Chuling.  When Jenni was three I quit the day job to be just a mom.  I guess that isn’t my nature as it seemed in no time I had 17 part time jobs (an exaggeration).

Sanjay became sick and while visiting her she asked if I would teach her class.  I was a somewhat flexible yoga student who really didn’t know much about yoga.  It was obvious that she needed someone and I was her friend and standing there.  I did it.  From this I began teaching for other teachers and within six months had my own class.  Sixteen years later and lots of training – I teach yoga for my livelihood, my joy, and my personal well-being.

What I know about when Laurie became Linda.  Laurie found despair a favorite emotion, confusion a frequent friend, and lonliness a place to live.  Linda didn’t come with that baggage and so was free to make a new life.  When I changed my name everyone changed with me and called me Linda.  I kept the ‘L’ as a souvenir and, in case, I ever needed it.  Sometimes someone will ask what’s the ‘L’ for.  I tell them my first name is Laurie.  It’s always the same response, “you don’t seem like a Laurie.”  They’re right, I’m not.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Thank you for sharing this Linda. It is very interesting and enlightening.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Melinda on December 19, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    This was very interesting, Linda. I really enjoyed it.

    Reply

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