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Wayne

Wayne Johnson and Karen Subach

I met Wayne in the summer of '88, on my birthday, as a matter of fact, in John and Linda Rees's house in Iowa City. Wayne and John were both students in the Writers' Workshop then, and Wayne and John used to go running together. (This was before I had met my friend in Indiana, the married woman who during the fall got me into running too.) Wayne was telling us about the time he was chased by a grizzly bear in Montana -- or maybe not chased, but he ran like hell down the hill from it, anyway. He had grown up in Minneapolis but went out to Montana for college.

I met him again a few months later, in december, when we were both helping the Reeses get their things together to move down to Lafayette, Louisiana. It was the first time I'd ever really talked to Wayne -- while I was sweeping the Reeses' floor. Or maybe he was doing the sweeping. All fall I'd been going up and down the rollercoaster with my sweetheart in Indiana, chased by the grizzly of love, and I'd gotten into the habit of running every day with John and pouring out the latest instalment of my woes as we ran. I'd never talked so much before in all my life; the running did wonders. Anyway, after John and Linda moved away I started running with Wayne instead. While we ran I poured all my woes into his ear, now that John was gone.

Wayne and Karen

The woman in Indiana went back to her husband, and I had discovered Maria, so for most of that year I was pretty happy. Wayne and Karen were certainly happy, and Wayne was getting a lot more accomplished than I seemed to be. The photo above shows Wayne and Karen in their back yard in august, 1990, not long before they went out to Stanford and not long before Maria took off for New York. (You can see a photo of Maria and me on the other side of the table by clicking on the Maria thumbnail in the list at the bottom of the page.)

Wayne at Yosemite

That fall Maria and I visited Wayne and Karen at their place across from the Menalto Market in Menlo Park, and a year later I moved out to California again myself. Something I might have been hesitant to do if Wayne and Karen hadn't still been out there. I stayed with them for three and a half weeks, sleeping in their attic, while I looked for housing in Berkeley and San Francisco. At last I found a room in Santa Cruz, on Sacramento street only half a block from West Cliff drive.

A week or two later Wayne and I went over to Yosemite. The sky in Silicon Valley -- that valley that once was a lovely, lazy patchwork of blossoming fruit trees -- was brown, and Wayne was wondering why he seemed to have a sore throat. When we got to Yosemite the air was pure and lovely, and as always happens when one goes to Yosemite, we wondered why we didn't come there more often.

We got there late and had to drive all the way down to Wawona to find a place to camp. The next day we hiked up into Little Yosemite, and the photo above shows Wayne on the day after that, at the top of Nevada Falls when we were heading out again.

When we came back to Palo Alto the sky was grey to the north of us and I thought it was storm clouds coming to end the drought, but it wasn't. It was just the Oakland hills burning down.


Wayne and Karen in Kansas

After a couple of years in Palo Alto, Wayne and Karen went back to Iowa City, and when I came home in the summer I was able to go running with him again. Spewing out to him, as usual, all the agonies of my latest love affair -- this one with a Santa Cruz woman named Lois McLaughlin. Who -- wouldn't you know it? -- was also married.

Since then, Wayne and Karen have moved to Lawrence, Kansas -- a town that always had a mythic resonance for me after reading Frank Harris's book, My life and loves. Abolitionist territory, too. A tiny liberal bastion in the reactionary heartland. They went there to teach at Bob Dole's alma mater, Washburn University in Topeka, and to the left you can see part of the Topeka Capital-Journal's feature on them.

Now they have given up the delights of teaching, at least temporarily, to spend more time on their writing.

Wayne and Karen got married in February, 1997.


[Nota bene: This page, like all the others in this site, is in progress. The text is mostly irrelevant and hastily written stuff designed just to fill the gaps between the photos -- and the photos themselves are not the best, but simply what I happen to have on hand. Please let me know if you find anything false, misleading, or offensive, or if there's anything that's intrusive to your privacy. It's hard to maintain privacy on the internet! Let me know too if there's a photo or something in the text that should be removed or something that should be added. I have not set up this site primarily for my own sake but for my family and friends -- and I welcome all corrections, additions, and suggestions about how to improve it!]


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      David McCullough
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      Wayne Johnson & Karen Subach
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      Alice Todd
      Lois McLaughlin
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Copyright 1999 T. N. R. Rogers. All rights reserved. Last revised 7 mar 99.