Teenage Years

Diane, age 15, smoking a cigarette

After her release from Sauk Centre at age 15, Diane continued her trajectory of the excluded, rejected girl, seeking the company of those whom the system rejected and stigmatized, written off as hoodlums and punks. Her family kept moving between Minnesota and California, always unable to succeed and thinking somehow their fate would be different when they started over one more time. Diane stayed with them, with nowhere else to go, most times sleeping on the living room couch wherever they lived.

On a date with a sailor she met in Long Beach, California, Diane drove him to Port Hueneme in his car because he was too drunk to drive. She had no driver’s license or experience driving, and rolled the car along the way.

By age 17 Diane missed her boyfriend Bob in Minnesota, where he was imprisoned in the juvenile facility at Red Wing. With her last cash she bought a one-way bus ticket to Minneapolis in midwinter. Without telling her parents where she was going she boarded the bus. It stalled in a blizzard in Iowa, forcing the passengers off, who had to walk more that a mile to shelter in the closest town. When Diane reached Minneapolis she stayed with her grandmother.

Convincing a friend to borrow her boyfriend’s car, Diane drove with her friend to Red Wing, but was unable to see Bob. On the return trip she lost control of the car and it rolled to the side of the road, injuring her. She ended up in the hospital in Minneapolis with pneumonia and a fractured skull.

Tom and Diane, date unknown

Back in California at age 18, Diane met Tom, once more altering the course of her life.

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