Down Home Down Town

4 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites

jungle divoran

After World War II, when I was seven years old and my brother was almost four our parents bought a restaurant in a small town in Colorado that had only three hundred residents. I don’t know whether that included the ranchers and their families who came to town on Saturday night or not.

In this small town, called, Westcliffe, If I wasn’t at school, or outside playing, I was almost always doing dishes or waiting tables at the restaurant or going around to the neighbors—except our neighbors happened to be the other merchants on our two block stretch of Main Street.

The Luthi family and the Quicks owned restaurants, too. The Luthi’s also owned the one hotel in town. There was no competition that I ever knew of, just pleasant cooperation. I baby sat for the Quicks from when I was about ten years old and played, and went to Sunday school with the Luthi girls.

When I was out and about, I visited Mr. Cope at the drugstore, Miss Lily, at the post office or my friend’s mother Marie Erp at Canda’s grocery. She always played ragtime piano at the community dances. I liked to pop into the tiny library across the street from our restaurant. The librarian agreed that fairy tales were the best reading you could get.

Yesterday I got a taste of that kind of wandering downtown in my present hometown, which has more people in it, but about the same amount of old downtown. Once it was in danger of dying completely, but as Onisha and I walked from shop to shop to ask if we could leave posters about Rebekah Lyn’s and my book signing we realized that the downtown is coming back to life, and you know who’s responsible? Mainly it’s the food emporiums, the artists, the historians, and the boutiques.

I’ve lived here forty-six years and Onisha is native Floridian. The really wonderful and fun thing was that in almost every business someone recognized either her or me. At the historical museum a friend I hadn’t seen for a year met us at the door and in a little while when I looked around for Onisha she was in another room talking with her husband’s aunt. What warmth, what excitement, what love! It was a quiet, middle of the week, day, so no one was too busy to talk, in fact most of them seemed to relish the company.

It was so much fun in fact, it kind of showed me that in my heart I was a down town girl. Too bad it has taken me so long to figure that out, but now I’ve signed up to go down there for book signings and to paint in the garden of the Pritchard house which has been beautifully restored. Maybe Onisha and I will wander the streets together again some day just like my best friend and I did in childhood. Whether we do or not it was a lovely day and we’re very glad to see our town coming back in such a wonderful way.

Psalm 13:6


Westcliffe, Colorado


Titusville, Fl





3 Responses to “Down Home Down Town”

  1. DiVoran Lites March 4, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Here’s a lovely memory about being a down town girl.


  2. Joan Zugelder March 4, 2013 at 9:15 am #



  3. ludyja March 4, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Such a sweet story and memory! I enjoyed your thoughts.


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