Everybody Has A Story: Moab

APRIL 28, 1999)

CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman is embarking on a unique journey through the United States and he's using a sophisticated tool to help him: a dart. Yes, a sharp, little projectile that he's thrown at a map, and that dart landed on Moab, Utah. So, with a CBS News camera crew in tow, Steve has gone in search of a story, a story that anyone could have.

"Hello? Hello. This is Steve Hartman from CBS News, who is this?"

"Tracye," came the reply.

"How are you doing, Tracye?"

I found Tracye the same way I plan to find all my interviews: in the phone book. It's really just a matter of whoever answers the phone first.

Tracye Davis has been married to Jim for 13 years and has a daughter named Ashley. By night, she's just your basic American homemaker, and by day just your basic Mexican restaurant waitress.

But I quickly learned that Tracye's story isn't so much about the life she has here in Moab, as it is about the life she wishes she had.

A couple years ago she saw a painting of the ocean and just had to buy it.

"There's a girl and the girl is standing backwards," Trayce explained while showing off the painting, "it could be anyone, it could be anybody. It could be me."

Tracye, it seems, is obsessed with the ocean, which is not a very practical obsession considering that Moab is right smack dab in the middle of the Utah desert.

"She can't explain it, she just says that's where her soul belongs," says Dorothy Mizner, Trayce's mother.

Tracy had a difficult childhood. She says there was abuse in her family and alot of men were tough on her. For example, in high school, Tracye used to like motorcycles.

"I'd say 'that's a really nice bike, can I have a ride,'" Tracye recalls, "And they'd say 'what are you gonna give me in return?'"

One day the guy wasn't joking and wasn't taking no for an answer either. He took Tracye into the desert, tied her to a truck, and raped her. No one in town ever even knew it happened, until one year later when the guy died in car accident.

"I went to the viewing before the funeral. I remember looking in the coffin and he looked really white, you know how they have that make-up all over you. I planned on going in to say 'you got what you deserved.' Once I got there and looked down it was like hate. I didn't even think, I just did it. [I] Spit on him. That was it, it was done. I didn't feel bad about myself."

I guess there comes a time when every victim faces a crossroads: to forever live in the past or to take a hold of the wheel. Tracy has clearly decided to take hold, and not just becaus she bought her own motorcycle, but because she's building her own ocean, too.

Knowing that family ties will probably always keep her in Moab, Tracye spent half a year's worth of tips to hire an artist who is painting a mural of an ocean in a corner of her home.

The whole story was just waiting for me there in the phone book. With Trayce throwing the dart for me, I'm kind of excited to see what fate has planned for me next.

"Looks like you are going to Benton County, Arkansas," Trayce announced.

Until then. . .