Crowley, Colorado

23 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites


Dora, Ivan, DiVoran, David at Grandparents Apartment House in Canon City, Colorado


When I was five years old my parents took my brother and I and moved to Crowley, Colorado. It was 1943 and WW2 was raging in Europe. At that time they weren’t calling up married men with children, but that would soon change. Dad went to Crowley to keep the canning factory machinery running and mother’s job was to cook a noon meal everyday for the bosses.

We lived in a shotgun house which meant all the rooms were in a row. I recall mother handing me a tomato warm from the sun and a shaker of salt and telling me to go sit on the front step out of the way and eat it. I haven’t had a real tomato since, but that may not be a fair comparison.

Another thing I remember in the food department was the goat milk. We had a Nanny goat and a kid. The kid got all the milk he needed, and our family got the rest. I called my daily portion a milkshake because mother gave it to me warm, fresh, and foaming from the goat. I sat on the front step to drink that, too.

Sometimes, mother wanted to walk down to the factory to say hello to dad. When that happened, she had her own entourage. We all went in a line. Mother and brother, David, then DiVoran, Nanny Goat, and Billy the kid. The baby goat walked on the panes of glass covering the tomato plants to keep them warm and never broke one. The proud and beautiful rooster, Chanticleer took his place at the end of the line.

At night, Daddy came home tired. He recline on the couch and I sat on its arm next to his head and ran my hands through his crisp and curly dark hair.

One day we got the news that Daddy had to go fight Hitler in the war. Mother and the children would go back to Canon City and live with the grandparents. The day we left Crowley, we were all packed up, but we took time for our noontime dinner before we left. It was chicken and noodles, which was one of my favorite meals. Suddenly I got suspicious … where did the chicken come from. Did it happen to have anything to do with Chanticleer? It did. I lost my appetite and thus begun the battle of the meat between my father and I. It got much worse after I saw the movie, “Bambi,” and dad started hunting after the war.

During the last nine months of the war while Daddy was gone, Mother, David and I lived upstairs in our own apartment at Grandmother and Grandad’s house. Granddad worked as a guard at the Colorado State Penitentiary and Grandmother had her own beauty salon there in the downstairs of the house with a separate entrance. Mother and Grandmother had many altercations over everything that comprised our daily lives. I was a diligent messenger between them never realizing how I was stirring things up.

For one thing, Grandmother was determined to keep Mother busy so she wouldn’t get sad missing her husband. Because fabric was vitually unavailable and David and I were growing children, our female guardians took all the clothes stored in the attic and made them into dresses, coats, pants, and shirts for us kids.

One time I got so tired of standing for fittings that I grabbed the unfinished neck of a dress and ripped it right down the middle. Apparently, that particular material was a bit older than they had realized. But my rebellion didn’t do me any good. The next day, we were back to making clothes again. I was probably the best dressed and best coifed child in first grade that year.


Even though Daddy was far away he was still a big part of all our lives as the war lumbered on toward its conclusion. I have his letters from that time that tell how much he missed us. What a wonderful legacy that is.

 Mark 13:7


One Response to “Crowley, Colorado”

  1. Old Things R New March 23, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    You come from a long line of interesting women!


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