Archive by Author

Dora Jane’s First Years

19 Aug

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Dora Jane Bedell  1936

Granddaughter of Dora Bell

Mother of DiVoran Lites

Smithy and Dora with Photographer’s Goat

When Dora Jane Bedell’s family first moved to Canon City they discovered that the only available housing was a big tent on a wide space just outside of town. The whole family moved in until they could find small houses of their own.

 Julia May, Roger, and Dora Bedell

Dora says: 

“When we moved to 523 Harrison Street the cave we dug in the back yard, the chase, race, and hide and seek games we played and plays we presented to the neighborhood were a lot of fun. When I was eleven my prayers for a baby sister were answered. Her name was Julia May. She and I and the friends we made kept in touch for a lifetime.  I eventually married one of the boys we all played with. His name was Ivan 

I made it to second grade at the two-story stone Washington schoolhouse before I got scarlet fever. Mabel had already had one child who had died from a similar illness. His name was Ralph and he had a rheumatic fever which advanced to St. Vitus Dance. He was still only a baby when he died. *I imagine that made my mother even more worried about me.  Quarantine held me in my bedroom for six weeks with a high fever. Once a neighbor brought me a lovely tray of food. It had bits of cheese, some crackers, lunchmeat, and candies. I have always remembered her kindness in making it so pretty for me. I had to take second grade again at the big, two-story Washington school. It took me 13 years instead of 12 to get all the way through that and high school. DiVoran went to Washington School too. She also had the same Sunday school teacher Elvira Brown, a single lady. Auntie Elvira loved her children dearly and when she met her husband in later years, she loved him too. 

DiVoran:

I’ll never forget fours and fives Sunday School with Miss Brown. That was where I learned to sing, “Jesus Loves Me” and found out it was the truth through Miss Brown’s stories and tenderness toward us. I met her again when I was an adult and thanked her profusely for showing me the way. 

* Sydenham’s chorea, also known as chorea minor and historically referred to as St Vitus‘ dance, is a disorder characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements primarily affecting the face, hands and feet.

Sydenham chorea (SC) is a neurological disorder of childhood resulting from infection via Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus (GABHS), the bacterium thatcauses rheumatic fever. SC is characterized by rapid, irregular, and aimless involuntary movements of the arms and legs, trunk, and facial muscles.

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.”

Breckenridge 4

13 Aug

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Mabel Morgan 16 years old

From last week’s post:

“Even though Dora Bell wrote to the O’Shea address every week, she never got an answer. She was as worried about Mabel as she could possibly be, but she and Mr. Hunter had no idea where to begin looking for her. They started saving small amounts of cash so they could leave the mountain in case they ever found out where she was. 

It was two years before a letter came to the Breckenridge post office and the postmistress walked it over to the hotel where Dora Bell was cleaning a room. The letter written in a shaky hand had a Chicago postmark. Here’s what it said:

“I am in Shekakgo. I work at a bar on skid row, but I can’t make enough muny to come home.” Luv, May Bell.” There was no return address. 

As quickly as she could Dora Bell sold the cabin she had lived in for a quarter of a century to a newly arrived prospector. With Dora Bell leaving town, her long-time friend, Mr. Hunter had no reason to stay. Dora Bell grateful for the help and protection of Mr. Hunter packed up, and they caught the train to Chicago.

When they got there they went into every bar on skid row to inquire about Mabel, they met a gypsy-dressed woman who claimed to be a fortune-teller. She demanded money then told them where they could find Mabel. Later, they wondered whether she might have seen Mabel around and had taken advantage of them.

They went where she told them to go and ran into Mabel sitting in an alley under a stair-well with a baby in a box beside her. Mr. O’Shea had not turned out to be a gentleman Dora Bell had thought he was after all.  

Somehow they all got jobs and managed to care for the baby until they had enough money to return to Colorado. They lived for a while in Pueblo across from the gasworks. Young Mabel met one of the young men who worked there and after a time of courtship, Mabel and Roger married.

When Roger got a promotion to manage the gasworks in Canon City, they all moved there. A family conference decided that Dora Bell and Daddy Hunter would take Don, the baby boy born in Chicago and rear him as their own child.

Roger and Mabel started their family with Smithy, then they had a girl and named her Dora Jane. Later Mabel had another child and she was named Julia May Bedell.  

Roger Bedell, Vera Morgan, Dora Jane Bedell (4) Mabel Bedell, and Dora Bell Hunter

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.”

Breckenridge Part 3

5 Aug

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Story by Dora Bowers and DiVoran Bowers Lites

Mabel never went back to school after she came out of her typhoid fever quarantine. She had lost all her hair because of the disease, but when it came back it was dark and luxurious for a while. Later on, it turned prematurely white.

When Mabel was sixteen Dora Bell made the acquaintance of an older man who was from Chicago and who stayed at the hotel where they worked. He stood at 5’9”, and had reached perhaps fifty years old. He weighed 175 pounds. He was well fixed and well-dressed in a worsted-suit and a snappy Bowler-derby hat. He wore a clean shirt every day, washed by the laundress at the hotel. Big words flowed from his mouth and Dora Bell admired how well educated he was. 

One day Mr. O’Shea introduced the idea that Mabel should go back to Chicago with him so she could get educated and make something of herself. Although hesitant, Dora Bell had to agree that there was nothing for her 16 year old daughter in the small mining town except ignorance and drudgery. Dora Bell decided to trust Mr. O’Shea. 

Picture by Amazon

Picture by Pixar

Mabel was thrilled and excited at the prospect of going. She had a lovely new dress and a pretty bonnet to protect her sensitive skin from freckles and tanning. Mr. O’Shea provided her with a coat to keep her warm during the long train journey. 

Picture by Pixar

Dora Bell was alone on the mountainside now. But she did have a long-time friend to talk things over with. She had met Mr. Hunter when she nursed his wife who eventually died from typhoid fever. Mr. Hunter did everything he could to repay Dora Bell for her compassion and nursing skills. They were able to talk about their sorrows with each other, and he wanted to do what he could to help Dora Bell find Mabel. 

Even though Dora Bell wrote to the O’Shea address every week, she never got an answer. She was as worried about Mabel as she could possibly be, but she and Mr. Hunter had no idea where to begin looking for her. They started saving small amounts of cash so they could leave the mountain in case they ever found out where she was. 

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.”

Parable of the Lost Book

29 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Last week I asked my church’s librarian, Linda, if she could lend me a book for my neighbor, Sally, * who has to stay home most of the time as the primary caregiver for her husband. Ted* Sally and I both love to read, especially novels, especially good Christian Novels. We pretty well know each other’s tastes because we have been exchanging book ideas since Sally retired from being a nurse twenty years ago. We sometimes like the same novels, sometimes not. I knew she would be faithful to return the book, but vowed if anything untoward were to happen I would pay for it myself.

Picture by Linda Stuck Indian River City United Method Church library

The next time we met out in front of Sally’s house she had a couple of books to return to me, but not the one from the church library. I asked about it and she said she had returned it. How could that be? She had never been to my church library. 

I questioned her gently and she suddenly put her hand to her mouth. “Oh no, it came from your church library?”

“Yes, I said, but I can surely get it back. 

“Oh no,” she said again, this is awful!” But I was ready to pay and only sorry that I had caused this dismay. My dear neighbor and I take books seriously. 

The next day I went to the church library to get the name of the book. A career long research librarian is one of the helpers and she assured me that the public library would take very good care of the book and see that it came back to us. “Lost books have great priority among librarians.”

Titusville Public Library

I was glad they took it so seriously. Not everyone understands the value of novels. 

“So what is the name of it?” I asked Linda. She turned to her desk to check the computer, but she had to move a stack of books off the desk to get to it. 

She picked up the first one and gave it a quizzical look. “It’s this one she said. “It has been returned.”

“How did it get here?” her assistant asked. 

It was in the box outside when I came in,” said Linda. 

The lost book was found. It had taken only one book to cause a hullabaloo among those who really care. Kind of reminds you of the parable of the lost lamb, doesn’t it? We rejoiced, as did Sally when I told her the news.

This morning I went by the public library to tell one of our favorite desk people, (Linda also) what had happened and to thank her for getting it back to us. 

“We get books from church libraries and school libraries. For most of the misplaced ones we have a patron who will return them to her school or church. It’s a huge help. By the way, do you go to that church?” 

“Yes,”

“How would you feel about returning any books we happen to get from there?” 

I danced a jig inside and smiled at her happy to be asked. And that’s how I became a courier. I love the job already and I have yet to take a single book back. It’s the thought that counts. 

Like the lost lamb in Luke 15:4-7, Jesus is always looking after us to see that we get back where we belong. 

*Names changed

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.”

Breckenridge-2

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.”

My Grandmother, Dora Bell Dice Morgan Hunter

15 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Story Dora Jane Bowers

“We only have two pictures of Dora Bell. This one was taken late in life yet it gives you a hint of what she looked like. The man in the picture is Daddy Hunter, the only grandfather I ever knew. He was good and kind and I loved him. ”

Dora Jane

Dora Bell Dice had a calamitous life. Her parents lived on a farm outside Warsaw Missouri where she was born June 4. She had nine brothers and sisters.  She died in 1942 at the age of 73. In between, she had sorrows and pain aplenty. Her first two calamities were when her father died after a fall from his horse. The second other was when her mother died from a burst artery in her leg. She was working in the garden when it happened.

Grandmother Dice didn’t tell me when the calamities occurred. When she was 14, however, she married the son of a Welsh miner named Frank Samuel Morgan and moved on with him to the goldfields of Colorado. At some time they had two children. A boy, Charles, and a girl, Vera. 

Modern Day Breckenridge  Photo by Lucas Ludwig on Unsplash

They ended up in Breckenridge sometime around 1875. In that day, the town was called, “Colorado’s Kingdom” or Swan River Valley. The name Breckenridge didn’t become official until 1961. Now it is a resort as famous for skiing as Aspen is.

The Morgans lived in a log cabin among the pines. It had belonged to someone who had moved on to another mining town. It had the luxury of a few glass windows and a porch. In the summertime, the temperature was mild and breezy, but wintertime brought freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. 

The town was as wild as any mining town has ever been. It had too many bars and an active house of ill repute. Miners with wives and families were scarce, but the wives stuck together and helped each other survive. Most of them made quilts, not just for a past-time, but to keep their families warm. They would have quilting bees from time to time in the home of the woman who had the best quilting frame, and unless they went to church that was the only social life they had. 

Trees, birds and flowers along with other needlework such as quilting and embroidery helped to fill the lonely hours for the women while the men were endangering their lives both in the tunnel mines and on the gold dredges, which would remind you of a steam shovel, except that the buckets on the dredges were much heavier so they could break up the rocks at the bottom of rivers and pull up the dredges to see if there was any gold in it. Many men died doing this kind of work, and any who fell off the dredge and into the freezing water died of pneumonia if he didn’t drown. 

Dora Bell remembered giving biscuits fresh from the oven to hungry Ute Indians who came to the cabin. 

The food for the family was biscuits, gravy, pork, beef, deer, grouse, quail, rabbits, and pheasants. They raised lettuce and rhubarb (which was called pie plant). Other vegetables grew quickly in the short summer and were harvested and canned. Wild raspberries grew at high altitude but needed to be harvested just when they were ripe to beat the bears. Sugar, coffee, and flour were necessary ingredients for many meals cooked on the wood stove or baked in its oven.

Another calamity was set to happen around the time that Frank and Dora Bell’s third child was about to be born. 

To be continued.

If you want to know more about the mines, the miners and the old timey families of Breckenridge get hold of a copy of Prayers for Sale, a wonderful novel by Sandra Dallas

Location of Breckenridge 

A gold dredge 

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.”

Desert Highways

8 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Pixabay 

     When I look at this picture, I am reminded of an inexperienced twenty-year-old couple leaving California for Albuquerque New Mexico where our parents lived. Now I wonder…what if we had run out of gas? What if the car had broken down?  What if we got lost and were never found again?

     On New Year’s Eve, 1958, Bill took me and all our effects home from San Diego where we had married and where he was stationed in the Navy. As soon as he returned to the base he’d get on a Navy repair ship going to Japan. By the time we got out of the San Diego area starlight and our headlights were the only illumination we had. We saw no other cars on the desert road, filling stations were almost nonexistent, and the ones we did see were closed. 

     Sometimes I wonder why we weren’t afraid. Bill likes to say that young people think they are indestructible. And I guess that’s it. It helps that we both had mothers and fathers who taught us well and so, we could handle anything. 

     It’s amazing now to think about how we traveled across the desert at night. When the outside air temperature dropped toward zero, there was no thermostat in the 1950 Mercury, and the heater only put out cold air. Then one of our water pumps sprung a small leak and we had to stop at every station we saw to get water from the spigots out front. 

     Now, sixty-two years later, we are no longer naïve and foolish. We know that anybody can die or be trapped in a bad situation. And when either of us or our loved ones are in pain or in trouble, we may become anxious. And then we hear a still small voice saying, “I am here, trust me.” And we do. And though we may still have to battle anxiety, depending upon the severity of the problem, still we trust our Lord. When we come to that point we begin to sing in our hearts and we know that no matter how hard things get, our Lord God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will never leave us or forsake us. Neither Scorching desert nor freezing cold can destroy us or change the way the Father God loves us. We can settle down in peace and even sleep because we know we are not alone. We now know that however hard things may get, this too shall pass. 

Be content with what you have. God has said: ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.  We, therefore, can confidently say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not  fear. What can man do to me?’        

Hebrews 13:5-6

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

        

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.”

The Race Horse

1 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Story Ivan Bowers

Scribe DiVoran Bowers Lites

                  Pixabay

Ira Bowers   DiVoran’s Vintage Photos

Colorado State Penitentiary  Vintage Pictures Canon City

Ira bought Smokey 
When he and Marie 
Moved to Canon City with
Their boys, Ivan and Lowell.
Ira became a guardat 
Colorado State Penitentiary.
The Warden, big tough Warden Royst* 
Ordered Ira to race Smokey
Against his convicts and horses.

 

Convict 1919   Vintage Canon City

Jockey Ivan  DiVoran’s Vintage Photos

Ira’s Ivan, spare thin- -teen
Jockeyed in the races
Everybody in town knew 
Ivan and Smokey could beat 
Royst’s best easy
But he felt he HAD to win
With his horses and his cons.
Ivan asked Royst,
“Let Smoky run like he can 
Just one time.”
“Nosiree. YOU HOLD HIM BACK.
OR YOU’LL BE SORRY!”
Said Warden Royst*
Smokey never ran
As fast as he could
Ivan held him back
And Smokey never won.
 

*Name Changed

New Neighbors

24 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Story by Dora Bowers

Not long after the Pueblo flood of 1921, Dad rented a small house in Canon City. Some of the neighbors were close to my age. I remember Jessica Redmond who came to America from England with her parents. Jessica had bright red hair. Her mother gave me Jessica’s pink silk dress because of that hair. The dress had tucks and embroidery and was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen. That is how I learned that no self-respecting red-head would ever wear a pink dress because at that time people believed that pink and red would clash. My light brown hair, though, was just right for it. 

Pink Silk Dress       DiVoran’s Vintage Pictures

The other neighbor’s child was a curly-headed boy with sparkling blue eyes who teased me and made me laugh. His name was Ivan Bowers. Ivan and his parents and brother had ended up in Canon City after a long trip from Illinois and a sojourn in Paonia, Colorado where his grandmother had died and been buried before they left.  

It wasn’t long until the Bowers and the Bedell families left the block of houses where they lived in order to start their own businesses. Marie and Ira Bowers bought a barber/beauty shop on Main Street that included living quarters. Ivan and his younger brother, Lowell helped out with the chores of keeping up the beauty shop, but Ivan would run next door to the machine garage any chance he got and from there he developed many of the skills he would use such as welding and car repair throughout his life. 

Welded Ship by Ivan Bowers  Photo, DiVoran’s Vintage Pictures

Marie, Ivan, Lowell, and Ira at the side of the machine shop DiVoran’s Vintage Pictures

DiVoran’s Vintage Pictures

Around the same time, my mother and dad, Mabel and Roger Bedell bought an apple orchard on the outskirts of town.  During the Great Depression neither family lacked food or a place to live. People would always need haircuts and as for my parents who took in relatives such as my mother’s sister and company, we always had eggs from the chickens, milk from the cows, and vegetables from the garden.

As I grew I was given more jobs on the farm. At first, I gathered eggs, but then I started bringing the cows in for milking. That reminds me of something that happened at school one day when I was twelve years old: I got up from my desk and walked to the pencil sharpener at the back of the room. As I passed one of the boys whistled softly then whispered, “Would you look at the swing in that gate!” I knew he meant the way my hips swayed when I walked, and I was mortified!. That evening as I followed the cows from the meadow to the barn I put my hands in the back pockets of my overhauls and started re-training my walk so that nobody would make fun of me ever again.

Dora in her overhauls at twelve and the baby sister she prayed for plus a young neighbor.  DiVoran’s Vintage Pictures

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.”

Floods Sweep over Eastern Colorado 1921

17 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

The New York Times June 3, 1921

Pueblo, Colorado Inundated, Hundreds Reported Dead 

Story by Dora Bedell Bowers

My cousin, Lloyd had his birthday on June 3, 1921. We were then both six years old. I have a picture of the two of us from around that time. We were the same height and we wore identical blue rompers. Our hair was cut in Dutch Bobs with every strand in place. My mother, my brother, and I had come to Pueblo to stay with Grandmother and Daddy Hunter while my father was working as the manager of the gas plant in Canon City. We would join him when he found a place for the family to live. 

We were in Lloyd’s mother’s upstairs apartment gazing at the birthday cake sitting on the table in front of an open window. We could hardly wait to get our forks into that cake. Suddenly we heard a hullabaloo of sirens, church bells, factory whistles, and shouting from the street below. Daddy Hunter ran down to see what was going on and discovered that a telephone call had from upriver at Canon City with a warning that Pueblo was about to be flooded by the Arkansas River and a tributary that had joined it.  Daddy Hunter hustled us downstairs and into the wagon where his horse Big Bill waited patiently. I’d never seen Daddy Hunter hit anything before, but he used the whip to get Big Bill galloping up the street to higher ground. That night we and hundreds of other people slept or tried to sleep on the floors of the schoolhouse that sat on a hill. We learned later, that although there were many miracles and generous-hearted people who saved others, the death toll eventually rose to 1,500.

The next day we heard that men from Canon City were coming to help clean up after the flood. My daddy was one of them. Six years before, around the time I was born, Mother and Dad had lived in a small house across the railroad tracks from the Pueblo gas plant and Daddy had worked there. There was talk of him being a good man in a pinch and I was so proud of him. He brought four men from Canon City in a Model T Ford to help clean up and reorganize the Pueblo gas plant. When they got there they discovered that the holder where the manufactured gas was stored had sunk into the muck and had to be lifted and resettled. 

Better times, Roger, Dora’s Daddy, Vera her aunt, Dora, Mabel, her mother and Dora Bell, her grandmother.  DiVoran’s Vintage Pictures

That first day at the school I looked up and saw my daddy walking toward us through the crowd. I ran to meet him. There he stood, tall and straight. He was about 5 foot eleven and always weighed one hundred forty- four pounds. He was dressed as he always dressed in well-shined black Bulldog boots that had a rounded toe and laced to the ankle. He wore striped work pants, a blue shirt, and a one-inch long black string tie. He parted his thick chestnut hair on the side. He had blue eyes and big ears. When he saw me, he got a silly grin on his face and picked me up and swung me around. After he set me down, I put my small hand into his big one and kept it there while he talked to the other adults. My only thought was, daddy’s here, and I’m safe. 

The next morning we ventured out to see what we could see. The river was still in full spate roiling up under the nearby bridge until I was afraid people standing on it would be swept off and drowned. I learned later that it had happened just as I had feared. The muddy yellow water contained all kinds of debris, including dead horses and cows. We saw bedraggled bouquets that had been set out in the cemetery for Decoration Day. The water had swept them off the graves and into the raging flood. We half expected to see dead bodies come rolling down the river. It was scary but I knew my daddy could look after all of us.

When we were sure the danger was past, we went to Grandmother and Daddy Hunter’s rooms to bathe and put on clean clothes. We were surprised that even though the two-story building sat by itself on the low ground everything was just as it had been when we left to go to the party. There was the old rocking chair with its homemade cushion, and the coal-oil lamps ready to light as soon as it began to get dark. After our baths, Lloyd and I walked the block to Dammeron’s where we bought red and black licorice sticks, one for a penny.

When the family got together for our belated supper at Lloyd’s house, Auntie told us what she found when she got home. The first thing was the high-water mark at the second story level.. When she actually got into her apartment she was amazed to see that the cake had floated off the table and out the window. My mother said that we could have been swept out just as easy if we hadn’t got away. We were so grateful for the warning and for our escape. The watermark remained on that building for decades and it could still be there as far as I know.

More about the Great Flood of 1921

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 New Living Translation

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.”

%d bloggers like this: