Archive by Author

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.”

The Home of the Free and the Brave

4 Mar

My Take

DiVoran LitesThis morning Bill took me over to James field to start my walk. I love to stand and look at the body of water close to the field, it’s so peaceful. Today, however, SUVs and giant pick-up trucks were parking nearby, so I thought I’d take a look around and see what was going on. I had supposed it was probably a baseball game.

That took me straight back to the first time I ever played baseball. I’d gone to a men’s-team game in our little town once or twice, but I never played before and as far as I was concerned, I never would.

I was a strong-willed child, but friendly with the other seventeen kids in the eighth grade. Most of the girls wanted to play whatever I wanted to play, so this day when all the boys and girls got up and started shuffling around to go outside and play softball, I decided I’d just stay in and the girls would change their minds and play what I wanted to.

To my dismay, they all got up and went outside. I ended up in a room filled with nothing but desks. I can’t recall whether I stayed or waited until the next day to go out, but somehow I ended up on that field with them. My best friend’s dad played baseball with the men’s team and she had brothers who played, so she knew all about the game. I guess everybody did except me. They tried me out as a catcher and one of the boys handed me his life long most precious possession-his catcher’s mitt. Those things take a lot of oiling and shaping and are not easily loaned. I didn’t use it for long, anyhow.

I was pretty okay with batting, but I couldn’t pitch for anything. In our bunch pitching was the most highly regarded job so they didn’t give me much of a chance at that. Finally,they put me on first base. It was a little scary to have someone racing at me full tilt so I gracefully stepped aside and let the runner go on to second base. I’m not sure what we used for bases, probably rocks.

They didn’t throw me off the team, just put me in at shortstop without a glove.By this time I felt more humble and decided to try harder. When the ball came my way I stopped it one way or another. One day the only way I could stop it was to fall on it. That earned me the name, “Sit on the ball Bowers,” and set me in higher esteem as a softball player.

This morning I saw several teams and their coaches walking into the field enclosure for a group pep-talk.Their uniforms were colorful and new. Some wore turquoise tee shirts, others yellow, red, or blue. The little children were so small you wanted to pick them up and hug them.

 

 

Now when I think back I recall how bossy I was as a child and how much better I liked being with friends and having their approval. Also,I saw once again how blessed we are to still be a free country “under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all. In spite of the bad things we see going on,” God is still in charge and He always will be. We thank Him.

America, America God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.” 

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 Name Is: DiVoran

18 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

For most of my life, I’ve been explaining how I got my name. This is how it happened: My mother, Dora, and my father, Ivan, lived in Lovelock, Nevada where Daddy worked as a meat cutter for Safeway, and Mother worked at a laundry mostly patronized by miners.

 

 

 

One morning toward the end of her pregnancy she got up with so much energy, she thought she’d clean the coal-burning cook stove in the kitchen before she went to work.

While she cleaned she was thinking about her friend Walkama, who worked there too. Walkama had had a baby earlier. Her labor started while she was at work. I don’t know how her husband knew to come and get her, but he took her home, then she had the baby. Maybe some of the tribe’s women were with her, and in the same day, her husband brought her back. Dora had never heard of anything like that, and she knew she was going to have a very different experience with her child’s birth.

About the time Dora was ready to put the stove back together, her labor started. Ivan came home for lunch and walked Dora to the hospital a short distance away. Her labor commenced in earnest and by 4:00 P. M. I had arrived. She always said, “Just in time for tea.”

In those days white women were held at the hospital for two weeks to recuperate from the ordeal of having a baby. Given Dora’s enjoyment of work of all kinds, she had a long and probably boring time there. One startling thing happened though: on Halloween night three days after I was born, the radio program, “The War of the Worlds,” scared people half to death all over America.

The radio program was presented as a newscast about something that was happening right then. People all over America were scared out of their wits, including Dora. It was one of my birth stories.

The War of the Worlds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs0K4ApWl4g

The story about my name went like this: toward the end of the two weeks, the nurse came into our room and told Mother and Daddy that they had to name me or they couldn’t have a birth certificate nor could Mother and baby go home. Now,this is what I think had happened. Daddy really wanted that boy and they must have had boy names picked out, but no names for girls. When the nurse saw that they were flummoxed, she suggested they put their two names together. They worked on it on a scrap of paper and finally came up with DiVoran, with two capitals, one from each of their names.

 

 

We left the hospital the day the birth certificate was issued. When we got home, Daddy had the stove all put together clean and shiny. The next day, Mother took me to work in a light-weight baby cot and Walkama, perhaps, carried her baby in a cradle-board on her back as they worked.

I was surprised and pleased to learn in later years that I was born on the Lovelock Paiute Indian Reservation where the town was located.

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.”

What Did You Say?

11 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

Bill and I kept up with a lot of changes in American English for most of our lives, but now we feel we may be slipping behind. Sometimes younger people look at us as if they have no clue what we’re talking about.

When we were in Colorado a few years ago with our grown children our daughter asked why everyone was saying Back East when referring to the whole East Coast of the U. S. I gave that some thought and remembered hearing Out West once we had moved to Florida. Bill and I have lived on both coasts so we have a mixture of ways to say things. We try to stick with the jargon of the place where we live. It would be hard to go Out West again and be understood because we’ve been Back East for 52 years.

I told my daughter that BackEast was where almost everyone came from in the olden days. Ranchers and sheepherders, gold prospectors, and movie stars migrated west and so Back East was looked upon as a sort of original home.

My mother would say a few words and then warn me not to use them because they’d betray my common background. At night when we went to sleep she said, “Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed-bugs bite.”  I thought that was a funny poem but when I said it once she told me it wasn’t really a nice thing to say. Another word she didn’t want me to use was: do’less. To me, that is a perfect word. It means you don’t feel like doing any work or patching of clothes which was thought of as rest.

 

 

Speaking of work, over the years I read a lot of British fiction and watched Masterpiece Theater offerings. I’ve been putting two and two together about my ancestors and got to thinking my ancestors were indeed just common down to earth folks. I know they were farmers and store-keepers, janitors, and embroiderers. My own closest grandmother was a hair-dresser with a bedroom that had a separate entrance. That was her beauty shop. She and Granddaddy bought a Victorian house and made it into an apartment house with the family living downstairs. Granddad was a guard at the Colorado State Penitentiary, a very dear man. When I went to visit I got to know all the boarders, one of which was an older deaf woman. She would give me sign-language lessons when I went up to see her.

 

 

 

 

I was a bit of a pill, but Grandmother really did love me. The hand on my arm, however,isn’t affection it is restraint.

 

 

During World War II, Mother, my brother and I lived in the biggest of the three apartments while dad was in the infantry in Europe. Thank the Lord he did come back and nothing was hurt except his night-dreams which would wake him up screaming.

 

 

My other grandmother was widowed by then. She and her sister worked at the Brown Hotel in Denver as chambermaids and lived on the top floor in a small room. She died when I was seven and my mother cried for a week.

 

 

This is my mother’s dad, her Aunt Vera, my mother at 4, her mother and Grandma Hunter, the matriarch of the family. I love this picture.

 

Our mother and father at Grandmother’s house.

Over the years watching all those British dramas I came to imagine that some of my grandmothers, were maids in the big houses. Perhaps the men were stable men and gardeners.

 

 

Notice the shovel my great-grandfather had. He must have been a funny man. Our grandfather is the fifth from the left. To me,he resembles Prince Charles.

In imagination, when I see a young woman on screen walking across the hills to become a scullery maid and to have her bed in the turrets of the house while working up to parlor maid I am glad I don’t have to do any of that. Back East or out West or over the seas, I am who I am and I enjoy my background make-believe immensely.

 

 

 

We enjoy talking with folks our own age because they understand our meaning. The younger people in the family are lots of fun too. They understand our hearts. Whatever people say, one of the very best things in the world is having a family. Thank you, Lord for family then and now.

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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