22 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Dora Bell Dice Morgan

By Dora Jane Bedell Bowers and DiVoran Lites 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park 

Pictures courtesy of Patricia Franklin

The Morgans were still in Breckenridge in May,1892, but their lives had not improved. In fact, things were falling apart for Dora Bell. One night when the two children were sound asleep in their corner of the cabin, Frank came home late and told her he’d been cavorting with the       chambermaid at the hotel. He was fed up with his job and would take the next train with the chamber maid.

That was bad enough, but Dora Bell was also pregnant and due in a couple of months. More practical than sentimental Dora Bell, knowing she would not be able to take care of three children on her own, begged Frank to take the other two with him. The chambermaid was probably as mixed up and confused as everyone else, but two half-grown children might not have been her cup of tea. She had no choice.

The town granny who had been midwife and herbalist the whole time Dora Bell lived there had been teaching Dora Bell about the healing herbs on the mountain. She learned names for the wildflowers and knew where the best herbs were to be found and how to use them and what to use     them for. Even wild blackberry leaves and raspberry leaves had important uses for common diseases such as typhoid fever.

Pictures courtesy of Patricia Franklin

Mz Jones as the granny was called delivered Dora Bell’s last baby-May Bell. Eventually, the spelling was changed to Mabel. 

Dora Bell had a difficult delivery, one which would leave her in pain for the rest of her life. Nowadays we call it prolapse. But she had to support herself and Mabel the best she could. She cooked, cleaned, ciphered and read. She crocheted and embroidered. She worked in restaurants, hotels, and saloons to earn money to keep herself and her daughter alive. The women of the mining camp helped each other the best they could sharing their meager supplies. Winter, however, was freezing cold and snowy. It must have been hard to have enough winter clothes and galoshes to keep their feet warm and dry. There was a matter of fuel for the wood-burning stove and wind coming into the cracks of the house. Mud was a big factor and living on a hillside made a slippery problem. Dora Bell maintained the house the best she could.

Mabel turned out to be a sweet little girl, but she was never hearty. When she was eight years old, she got typhoid fever and had to quit school. Third grade was all the formal education she ever had, but at least she could read and write well enough to get along. 

Pictures courtesy of Patricia Franklin

Dora Bell taught Mabel everything she learned about herbs and they often climbed the mountain to find wild-flowers that could be used for remedies. That helped their finances because if other mining families could manage to, they paid in homegrown and homemade commodities. 

There was nowhere for Dora Bell and Mabel to go and no one who cared about them except the friends they had made on the mountain. In a few years, however, things would change.

Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

One Response to “Breckenridge-2”

  1. Onisha Ellis July 22, 2019 at 3:06 pm #

    I sure am enjoying Dora’s story as well as learning of Colorado’s history.


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