Gary Rinsem

Jane Brem

Written 5-15-2021 I've wanted to write this for nearly 50 years, but never did because of an unspoken sacred secret which created my first close friendship with an adult. I was 14 years old.

Jane was not only my first adult friend, she was my first intellectual friend. Very intelligent, I learned from her... how to communicate complex thought. This is the short story of a special person who is still important to me. We last saw each other about 30 years ago. About 20 years ago I heard she died many years prior. I just discovered that her husband, Joe Brem, died about six months ago. There's no more reason to keep Jane's secret. I believe I understood her, she was an open minded and very progressive lady. Her story should be told. She wouldn't be ashamed of herself. I don't know if we'd ever spoken, but I knew her name and paid attention when I saw Jane around the stable. She was outgoing, always happy and friendly. Many times I met her husband Joe. They were two of a kind, at least in personality. Joe married my mother in 2001. While riding through the barns I saw Jane rush into the stable worker's bunk room, with one of the men who fed and cleaned up after the horses. The room was nasty. Dark and dirty and smelly, littered with empty beer cans and booze bottles. Dirty clothes were piled high. There were too many men jammed into bunk beds in that room, with one light bulb and no heat or air conditioning. I was grooming my horse at the hitching rail when Jane came out. Her hair was a mess and she was still fixing her clothes. One look at the look on my face and Jane knew that I understood. She stopped and cautiously spoke to me a moment, searching for my thinking without actually asking. I'm sure she only saw me as a child prior to this. I knew what she wanted from me and gave it to her in sub-text. Jane walked away with no worry of me talking. It was instant friendship. Jane and I often rode together in the desert after that day. I think she was deliberately mentoring me as we rode. There was endless valuable advice from Jane as we shared many stories about ourselves. She remembered each bit of the life I shared and applied the understanding of me in her mentoring. I was thrilled to have a friend who truly knew me. The close friendship lasted about a year. In that time I came to know Jane's sex life at the stable. There were numerous men. She'd appear exiting one of their tack rooms, or be seen going into one of the motorhomes parked out back. Her hair was always a mess after. Many times Jane spotted me spotting her, and smiled knowing I'd never mention it. I heard rumors about it, but society at that time kept things like this... very quiet. Afterward there was no "walk of shame" from Jane. She wore a smile and happy bounce walking... For all these years I've been proud of my friend for resisting social pressure and enjoying her life. I learned more from Jane than her words taught.