Archive by Author

Writing

22 Apr

My Take
DiVoran Lites

As I was growing up, I didn’t realize that my mother, Dora, was a journal keeper. Now that I am older I appreciate her stories and cherish her handwriting more than ever. She wrote about her ordinary life if there is such a thing. Lately, I’ve been posting some of Mother’s stories on Old Things R New. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share something so close to my heart.


Dora didn’t write much growing up, but she paid attention to everything. When I was born she filled a baby-book hand-made by an inmate at the penitentiary where my grandfather worked. Though the book is primitive, you can see that the convict who made it took time to do a good job. I have wondered if perhaps he had a little girl, too.

Dora wrote more after she retired. She also assembled a family history for my brother and me and sent along a few ancestor stories to go with the names and dates. I’m not really into genealogy, but I have enjoyed referring to the wheel now and then over the years. I see now that it needs refurbishing.

When we were small Mother told us stories. She could ask us to give her three words and then make up a tale from them. Some of them were probably about our beloved dog, Brownie.

Mother was a good role model. When I was twelve, she started a Girl Scout troupe. She also bought me a Girl Scout diary and I filled it with youthful chatter. When I was in high-school I got a red one and wrote about my boyfriends and girlfriends.. After I married Bill, I received a white one and filled it with a young wife and mother’s observances.
When Bill and I moved to Titusville with our children, we began to understand the Bible better and to form a deeper relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Both our pastor, Peter Lord and his wife Johnny Lord taught us ways to know God for ourselves and brought in wonderful guest speakers to enhance their teaching.

One of the things Peter Lord suggested was that we write letters to God. I could handle that. After all, Mother and I had been writing to each other since I left home eight years earlier. For over forty years, letters flew between California and Florida with real visits in between. That’s about 4,000 letters crossing in the mail. I enjoyed that, and because I did, I started writing to God too.

To be Continued

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.”

 

Lovelock Wedding

15 Apr

My Take

DiVoran Lites

As told by DiVoran’s mother, Dora Bowers

Dora Bedell became Mrs. Ivan Bowers on April 27, 1937. I put on the rose flowered dress because the long white one didn’t seem right for a small group wedding. Ivan’s dad had arranged for me to have a rose corsage, and the fragrance of those roses has reminded me of that day ever since.

We were married in the basement of the Baptist Church between Sunday School and church by Reverend Swabackland. Lucille and Glen stood up for us.  Two of their friends and a child were there. After the wedding, we all went to Glen and Lucille’s for chicken and noodles Sunday dinner.

The ladies of the First Baptist Church of Canon City sent us a shower by mail. We got handmade lunch cloths, pillowcases, and tea towels. Most of the shower gifts were hand hemmed, embroidered, and crocheted. Mother and Dad got us an electric iron. Ivan’s mother and dad got us silver-plate flatware.

We spent our first night in Lovelock at the better hotel on the right side of the tracks. There were slot machines all over the lobby. Ivan put a nickel in one and a jackpot of nickels poured out. But a nickel jackpot didn’t go far and we were running out of money, so after the first night, we moved to the Big Meadows Hotel across the tracks. Accommodations took the last $20 of the original $80.00 we started out with. 

Ivan was making $27.50 per week. After the Big Meadows, we rented a large, empty house, empty except for a bed and a table. Lovelock, the county seat, had a population of 2300 and drew Black Foot Indians off the reservation, and miners and ranchers came from a hundred miles away in all directions. Between Safeway and home, 13 bars and gambling parlors and 3 houses of ill repute nearly filled the main street.

We still lived on the wrong side of the tracks and Ivan had to walk past about half those places with his weekly paycheck to get home. One Saturday night, he lost the week’s wages gambling. After that, I met him and walked home with him. I imagine that was when he first felt truly married. 

I remember though, that I always felt safe with him. He kept a butcher knife by the bed to protect us from the many railroad bums who jumped off the boxcars of the Reno-Salt Lake City train and roamed Lovelock looking for handouts before they got back into the boxcars.

The Wedding

8 Apr

My Take

DiVoran Lites


Our wedding story by Dora Bowers


Downtown Canon City Canon City CO Photo Album

After graduation from High School, Ivan went to Nevada to work, and I stayed in Canon City and clerked at a jewelry store downtown.

Early that spring he came home for a visit, and my boss at the store let me take a break every day at three at the Wildwood Malt Shop on Main Street. In the evenings, we sashayed out to dances, laughed at movies like, “Our Gang,” and climbed WMCA peak west of Skyline Drive. 


Skyline Theater Canon City Photo Album

 Ivan had proposed and I had accepted, but first, he had to go back to Lovelock to make sure he still had his job. I was to join him in a few weeks. He rode back with his uncle Glen and his wife, Lucille. They lived in Reno but had been visiting his family in Canon City. He was only gone a week when I got a telegram saying, “Do nothing definitely STOP have lost my job STOP”. I cried and cried because I thought it meant he had changed his mind and didn’t want to marry me after all. 

I moped for a week or so and then, wonder of wonders another telegram came saying he had found a new job at Safeway (one of the first super market chains in existence.) He had $80.00 in reserve and sent me $20.00 for a wedding ring which I bought at the jewelry store where I worked. It was rose-gold and had three tiny hearts in a row each containing a diamond chip at my request. 

In a flurry of getting ready Mother and I rushed to Pueblo to shop. My wedding dress was a long, white voile with delicate pastel flowers. Mother paid $5.00 for a trunk and I got an ashes-of-roses, flowered rayon dress to wear for best. Because it was such good quality, it cost $3.98. 

The last of my savings from the $8.00 I made each week allowed me to outfit myself for the trip on the first Trailways bus ever to leave Canon City. The bus ticket cost another $20.00 of Ivan’s savings. On the trip, I wore a gray suit, yellow blouse, gray high heeled shoes, and a matching clutch purse. A new Bulova watch circled my wrist. The trip took twelve hours and 53 minutes. I kept the beautiful Rocky Mountain range in sight as long as I could and after that,the scenery gradually turned into a desert. I thought I would never arrive, but eventually,we pulled into the mining town where Ivan worked. As I stepped offthe busand crossed the intersection I saw Ivan and whistled two notes to gain his attention. That particular whistle became our family signal and has been passed down to our children, grandchildren, andgreat-grandchildren. 


Lovelock, NV County Courthouse, Lovelock Photo Album

Since it was Ivan’s lunch hour, we went to, “The Chinaman’s.” I had Pork Noodles with fresh green onions on top. That evening, another $20 went for a round trip ticket to Reno where we stayed with Glen and Lucille in separate bedrooms overnight. 

                  To be continued


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.”

How Ivan and Dora Met

1 Apr

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

Dora’s: Dad, her Aunt, Dora herself, her mother and her grandmother circa 1920.

 

Written by Dora

Ivan was born in Hidalgo Illinois in June1915. I was born in Pueblo, Colorado in January 1916. We met as children in Canon City, Colorado when our families were neighbors. Also, we played together at Redmond’s, a childhood friend who was English.

Many years later, on April 25, 1930, when we were fourteen,  Ivan’s parents, Ira and Marie Bowers and my parents, Roger and Mabel Bedell took us to the Fireman’s Ball in the Annex over Woolworth’s.

I made the floor-length pale-green dress in home economics class. It had a sash that tied into a big  bow in back. When I put it on I felt shiny and beautiful, and to me, Ivan’s curly dark hair and mischievous blue eyes looked like a prince.  Even though years would pass and we’d both date other people, I fell in love with him that night.

In my high school years,I lived on a farm with an apple orchard with Mother, Dad, and my sister Judy, who had been born when I was eleven. She was born because I prayed for a little sister. Sometimes our brother, Smithy and his wife Lena and their son Roger, would come to visit. From time to time, relatives came to stay because the Great Depression had left them jobless and homeless. Because we raised much of our own food, and my dad had a job as the manager of the Canon City Gas Company, so no one ever went hungry. We housed the relatives in the little house out back. and they helped with the work.

For bathing,we brought in buckets of water from the cistern outside. We filled the reservoir on the stove and heated the water. Then we ladled and poured the water into a galvanized washtub in the middle of the kitchen floor and were ready for the first bather. Each of us bathed in turn according to seniority. By the time the youngest bathed, the water was cold and a sort of scum had risen to the top. Although getting the bath water ready may have taken a long time, the actual bathing was quick.

Ivan’s family had an indoor bathroom in their house on Main Street. In fact, their plumbing included a shampoo sink for Marie’s beauty shop. Later Ira worked at the Colorado State Penitentiary as a guard. He went to the pen at five or six AM every workday morning. Wearing a spiffy guard’s uniform that we all admired. He saw a lot of criminals come and go and retired after twenty-six years,

Marie remembered going out to eat and receiving extra courteous treatment from the criminal bosses who might happen to also be dining out that night. They treated the guards and their families well and expected themselves and their families in prison to be treated well in return.

In May 1934, the farmer’s daughter, Dora, and the prison guard’s son, Ivan went to the Canon City High School Senior banquet. We didn’t go with the people we were dating because they weren’t finishing high school and weren’t allowed, but after the banquet, I went to the dance with Harold and Ivan took a girl named Helen. Ivan and were just good friends at the time, or so we thought.

 

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.”

Memoir of Dora Bedell Bowers 1935

25 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

.

Dora Bedell Bowers, my mother.

 

 

1935, San Diego, California

My brother Don, a career Navy man invited me to come to California when I graduated from High School in Canon City, Colorado. I graduated at eighteen, but I needed money for the trip. I went from one end of town to the other asking for work in every business. Sometimes people were rude and wouldn’t talk much except to say, “Why would we hire you when the fathers of families are out of work?”

I finally reached the Hotel Canon and they needed a chamber maid. That was lowly work, not suited to a pure, young thing, but I took it. I’m sure my father was embarrassed, but I made a dollar a day. Some days another maid and I would clean twenty-one rooms. I got a dime tip once.

When I had saved $30.00, I bought a ticket to San Diego which cost about $20.00. I was on my way. It was good to go to my brother, Don. We had always cared a great deal for one another.

Rose, Don’s wife, was O. K. too, but not what I was used to. She was slightly built, about my height and she had dark hair, but she shaved her eyebrows off and lined them in every day when she put on her make-up. It always took her three hours to iron an outfit to go anyplace. She was a late nighter and a late sleeper in the morning.

I took a job at Kresses, (a dime store). I was supposed to be at work at eleven am, but the best I could ever do was to be one minute late on the time clock because of the bus schedule.

Well, Don took me for a one hour tour of a submarine. He told me so much about it that I could assimilate no more. He warned me before we went that I was not to wear high heels because the sailors would think I was a chippie.

I needed a church, not only to worship in, but to give Don and Rose some privacy. I went to the Christian Science Church just blocks away. My Baptist background kept me from praying to their beloved Mary Baker Eddie-(equivalent to Brigham Young for the Mormons.)

I can’t recall how I happened to go see Aimee Semple McPherson, but I remember being there in the third balcony with 6,000 people. That was a lot of people all in one place for a small town girl like me.

As we looked down we could see a huge chess board that took up most of the vast stage. On the right was the devil. He was red with a forked tail and horns. On the left was an angel or maybe it was God. They played out their game of wits arguing for the souls of men. Aimee was a young, blonde directing the play. The people loved it. I found out later that she had become a nationally famous evangelist.

I dated an ordinary, safe, dull guy that Don approved of. We went to movies and sometime for a wicked, “Singapore Sling.” Another sailor I went with was a bit harder to handle.

Once I left a dance with my date just for a few minutes. We went to check the mail, but when we returned Don was in a panic. It’s pretty hard riding herd on a young lady surrounded by sailors. Rose had a very wild party once when Don was out to sea and I sneaked off to bed to keep from being compromised.

It rained a lot in San Diego that year. I didn’t like rain much, so after five months of it, I decided to go home. I bought beautiful gifts for the family. For Dad I bought a comb and brush, and for Mother a silver sailing ship on a mirror. I don’t remember what I bought for my older brother, Smithy, or for my little sister, Judy.

 

 

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.”

On the Road Again

18 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

 

DiVoran’s Vintage Photos

 

David and DiVoran

After we left Lovelock, we went back to Canon City for a few years until Ivan got the gas plant properly staffed. Jobs were scarce, but he applied for one at the tomato factory in Crowley, Colorado and got it. We drove to Crowley, where Dad was to repair and keep the machinery running. By this time I was five years old and my brother David was two and a half.

The house we lived in was called a shotgun house. It had four rooms. The name came from the idea that a person with a shotgun could shoot a bullet into the opened front end and it would come straight out the back end. Each room was twelve feet square with high ceilings for the sake of ventilation, and we had windows that opened and closed all the way down the sides of the house.

Mother was still cooking on a coal stove, but in Crowley,she had a job cooking a hearty noon meal for the factory workers – mostly men. Now that I know the dimensions of the house, I’m not sure where she actually put them all. Perhaps someone came with a farm truck to pick up the food and take it back to the factory, maybe it was Ivan. Maybe he paused for a good-bye kiss from the lips of his beloved wife as he went out the door.

 

Pixabay

When she wasn’t cooking, cleaning or hanging out clothes to dry, Dora liked to gather her gang and walk over a narrow berm to the factory. Her little group consisted of David, who got a piggy-back ride, little daughter who walked behind her on the high berm, the dog, the Nanny goat, and after her, Billy, her kid. The rooster, Chanticleer brought up the rear. Along the way,Mother watched in surprise as Billy Goat click-clacked across window panes covering the young plants without breaking a single pane.

When I was a baby I fainted and she took me to the doctor. The Doctor said I wasn’t getting enough nourishment from breast feedings o Mother put me on goat’s milk. In Crowley even when I was five she gave me a dented tin-cup full of warm milk and sat me on the wooden step out front. Later when I met a milkshake it reminded me of the goat’s milk. I still like it better than cow’s milk and I believe it is better for me too. I’m fascinated with the fact that it is naturally homogenized.

Each day of the season, Mother gave me a salt shaker and a red tomato right off the vine. The juice ran down my chin as I thoroughly enjoyed the salted tomato of the day. I’ve never tasted one as good since. After I finished she washed my face and put me in clean pajamas.

 

 

Every year, Dora made new pajamas for both children on the Singer electric sewing machine she inherited from her grandmother. Later, I made clothing for my children on it. It’s there in my living now and I never knew before how heavy it is to lift out of itscradle.

Mother was a great storyteller and once she had us cleaned up and in our new jammies she sat on the bed and told us made-up stories until we went to sleep. I’m so grateful that she was a story-teller and that she kept a record of her life on scraps of paper which I inherited from her.

I went to kindergarten at Crowley School. There, for the first time, I met a girl with skin darker than mine. She may have been Native American or Mexican, and she might be considered my first best friend, yet she never came to my house and I never went to hers.

Our sojourn in Crowley ended during World War II when Ivan was called up and assigned to the infantry. In his letters home, he tells about his rise to sharp-shooter and how happy that made him. I guess he got lots more practice in the Battle of the Bulge.

Our last supper in the shotgun house was chicken and noodles. That was usually my favorite supper, but when I found out we were eating Chanticleer the rooster, I gave up on chicken for a longtime. I don’t know what happened to the dog and the goats, but Daddy probably had to sell them or give them away. Grandmother’s apartment house and corner lot had room for family, but not for the family’s menagerie.

 

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.”

 

Canon City

11 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

Canon City

Pronounced Canyon City

 

We left Lovelock when I was six months old. It was 1939 and Dora’s father, Roger, had died. Because he ran the gas plant, the town needed someone to take over his job. As my father, Ivan, had worked there before and was good with all kinds of machinery we went back to save the day.

 

DiVoran about three years old.

The gas was called water-gas and it ran all the electricity in town. I looked it up, but I still don’t know anything about it, except two things that Mother told me. She said that when she was a childif the gas lamp over the table started to flicker at supper time, her father had to get up and hurry down to the plant to solve the problem. The other thing Mother told me was that sometimes when Roger came home from work he was groggy and the children had to walk him around the back yard until he began to wake up. I believe there may have been some carbon monoxide from the plant involved. Is this possible? He was 54 when he passed away. His wife, our grandmother, Mabel, died at the same age in 1946.

So from the time I was six months old until I was seven years old, we lived in Canon City. I was three and a half when a baby brother was born to the Bowers household. When they told me where he had been born, I made up my first poem,” Baby David was born at Saint Thomas Moore on the basement floor.” For some reason, Mother didn’t think it was a bit funny, but I just meant that it was the part of the hospital where he was born.” I don’t know if it really was or not.

When America entered World War Two,Ivan didn’t have to go. He was doing vital work and they had a deferment for married men with children. But it was predicted that by 1943 they would run out of single men and the married ones would have to be called up. That’s what happened to Ivan. He was twenty-eight years old and had flat feet, but he had to go.

 

 

 

Dora, David, and I moved to an upstairs apartment in Grandmother and Granddad’s Victorian house on Greenwood Ave. Grandmother Marie had her beauty shop there and Granddad Ira worked as a guard at the Colorado State Penitentiary which had once been the Territorial Prison. Now parts of it are a museum.

 

 

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.”

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