“… And how about that guy who lived in a car?”
When I first read Chuck’s comment in response to an earlier post, I thought, “there was no guy who lived in a car.” He was making fun of me. Had my interest in low-brow gone too far?
Then I heard about Wesley Young–a Laporte resident, sometimes called The Hermit of 287.
Only Wesley didn’t live in a car. He lived in two cars: a 1947 Plymouth and a 1957 Ford, both parked in a field owned by family along old Highway 287.
In a bigger city, Wes would have been a nameless homeless guy, an addled WWII vet with an inconsistent story. But this is Fort Collins, so the papers wrote his story and people worried about him.
He told the Triangle Review that he started living in vehicles (a sheepherder’s wagon in Bellvue) after his father died. But some say his father had the gas station just down the street in Laporte and outlived Wesley.
In some articles Wesley says that homelessness was not his choice. In others he says he’s an ecologist following a “higher part of life,” refusing charity and welfare. People said he was the original hippie.
You could see him walking along Highway 54 between the American Legion and downtown Laporte throughout the 1960s and early 1970s–always against the traffic. He lived on candy bars and milk.
“A man needs inspiration to recover from the beatings [life] gives you,” he said. “And I just haven’t found it yet.”
I hear he died in the late 1990s. He would have been near 80 years old.