To understand Richard Chase’s pursuit of Dean Trivette, one must return to their origins. Chase called his Rominger homestead and non-profit center "King's X," which symbolized a place for rest. Originally from Alabama, Chase immersed himself in the Southern Highland landscape, culture, and lifestyle that he had obsessively studied and idealized for decades. At King's X, Chase built his home by hand, canned vegetables, planted wildflowers, swam in the spring, and sang songs and told tales with his neighbors. Dean Trivette spent time here with Chase, and both considered King's X a special place to the development of their relationship.
The same year that Trivette moved away, and just seven years after Chase bought those four acres, King's X mysteriously burned down. The loss of both Trivette and his home, in addition to his move to the dramatically different Los Angeles area, led Chase to frequently reminisce on his time in Watauga County. Place, relationship, time, and a ‘simpler’ way of life were inextricably linked in his memory. Sensing a connection through these memories, Chase continued to initiate a persistent correspondance with Trivette despite frequent silences, increased distance, and failing health.
Because Chase’s letters are overrepresented in the Collections, it may seem like we really only have one side of the story, and this side seems to paint a picture of unrequited love. While we may never know the full extent of Trivette’s feelings toward Chase, we do have a good idea that Chase did mean something to him, too. You are reading Chase’s words in one of the many letters that Trivette kept safely for decades until his passing a year after Chase’s death.