Tag Archives: Cañon City Colorado

Heading West

10 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Story by Ivan Bowers, DiVoran’s Dad

Source unknown

I was born in Hidalgo, Illinois on June 9, 1915. My grandfather, Noah Dulgar, had been hearing about how easy it was to grow cherries, apricots, grapes, peaches, plums, pears, and apples in Paonia, Colorado. Being a long time farmer he decided to move there and start a new life.  

The Dulgar Family                               DiVoran’s Vintage Pictures

I had just turned five when Pa Dulgar loaded thirteen of us into a one-ton, model T, flatbed, truck, and we started the 1,500 mile trip from Hidalgo, Illinois to Paonia, Colorado. Pa Dulgar a carpenter built side rails in the back of the truck to hold all the family and goods we had to take with us. The front windshield could be swiveled up to let in air and closed down for rain. Pa’s truck-bed had a canvas over the top that could be rolled back in the daytime. Most of us rode perched on boxes, cans, bedding, and whatever else we needed for the trip. We followed the Ocean to Ocean Pikes Peak trail (OOPP) by watching for markers on telegraph poles.

We must have looked like the family in the movie, “The Grapes of Wrath.” In those days, unless you were rich enough for trains, hotels, or restaurants, travel was rough. Some people rented out rooms in their homes, but there were too many of us for that. We slept in the truck bed, a few small ones in the cab, and some under the vehicle. 

Ivan as a child                       DiVoran’s Vintage Pictures

All along the way, we had to keep fixing the truck. Pa let me watch and help the best I could. Whenever it rained the mud dried into ruts with sharp edges that cut the tires. Pa and my dad, Ira, jacked up the truck and removed the wheel, then patched it and we were on our way. A lot of times we all, except for the two-year-olds, got out and pushed the truck through sand or up the hills. Later, when Ira told the story he’d say, “Yep, by golly, we pushed ‘er all the way from Illinois to Colorado. We had to keep fillin’ up that leaky ole radiator but sometimes we weren’t close enough to a river or a creek to get water so we always took a big jugful along.

For food, we shot rabbits and squirrels and we fished when we could. The women of the family had brought some of their canning and we’d buy milk, eggs, and sometimes vegetables from farmers along the way. One thing is sure we didn’t have any money to waste, so we ate a lot of oatmeal cooked over a campfire. 

Amy, Pa’s wife, and my grandmother sometimes sat on the bench seat in front with Pa with the two-year-olds on their laps. Other times, Ira took the driving and Marie sat in the front seat with him. Pa’s wife, Amy wasn’t strong, so we all tried to protect her the best we could.

The men wore overalls and the women wore homemade wash-dresses. Most of our clothes got pretty raggedy, but Amy and Marie and the older girls tried to keep them sewed up as much as they could. 

Of Pa and Amy’s kids, my mother Marie was the oldest, then there was Ruth, Glen, Mable, Pauline, Earl, Helen, andPaul. Helen was the same age as me and that was so funny. How could an aunt be the same age as her nephew? Helen had pretty red hair like my mother’s, and she liked me, so we stayed friends all our lives. The two-year-olds were my little brother Lowell, and my uncle Paul who was an even younger uncle than Helen was an aunt. 

Plough Horses  Pixabay

Sad to say, Pa’s plans didn’t turn out like he hoped they would. His wife Amy died, his workhorses drowned when they fell off a bridge and his children scattered. Finally, he made up his mind to go back to Illinois where he had friends and more family to help with the children. Marie, Ira, Ivan, and Lowell moved to Canon City where Marie and Ira lived for the rest of their lives. Some of the family ended up in other states, but they visited when they could. I met Dora in Canon City when we were both just kids.

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 Parents in a Nutshell

14 Oct

My Take

DiVoran Lites

When they were six years old Ivan and Dora became playmates in their Canon City, Colorado neighborhood. When they were fourteen and their Author, Poet and Artistparents took them to the Fireman’s Ball a spark was struck that would warm them for the rest of their lives.

Three years after graduating from high school they were married in April of 1937 and set up housekeeping in Lovelock, Nevada. Ivan was a meat-cutter at Safeway and Dora worked in the commercial laundry downtown. DiVoran was born in October, 1938.

In April 1939 Dora’s dad died and they moved back to Canon City. There Ivan worked at the gas plant. David was born in June of 1941.

The next move was to Crowley, Colorado. Ivan kept the machinery running at the tomato factory while Dora fed the crew their noon meal for five dollars a week each. They raised chickens and goats to help with milk and eggs.

In 1944 World War II became personal. Ivan joined the infantry that slogged, in mud up to their knees, all over Europe while Dora and the children lived upstairs over Ivan’s parents in their apartment house in Canon City. Dora picked apples and did odd jobs as they came up.

When the war was over and Ivan came home, they bought Min’s Café and moved to Westcliffe, Colorado. After a few years, they purchased the old train station and renovated it. The family moved there and they rented out rooms downstairs. Ivan learned to fly and bought a Piper Cub which crashed on Pike’s Peak one cold winter day. Ivan and friend, Sweak Jeske walked away from the crash, even though Ivan’s heel was broken.

Toward the end of 1951 Ivan and Dora sold the café. For a while Ivan was a molybdenum  miner in Leadville and Dora clerked at Tomsick’s Hardware in Westcliffe.

A break came when Ivan got hired on as a security guard for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in Los Alamos, New Mexico. At first, Dora worked in a jewelry store, but she soon got on as a bomb sample counter with the AEC.

By 1955 Ivan was promoted to courier, which required a move to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dora’s job with Sandia Corporation had her shredding secret documents by hand.

By 1960 Ivan’s job took them to Livermore, California. There, Dora got a job with Lawrence Laboratories sorting microfilm.

Both retired from government jobs in 1975. Ivan bought a commercial salmon trawler and they moved to Fort Bragg. Dora kept house, gardened, and raised chickens. She had time to do a bit of beach combing while Ivan was fishing.

When fishing was no longer good, they bought a vacuum cleaner store in Vista, California. But Ivan wanted to try commercial fishing one more time, sold the store and became a lobsterman. When they finally retired they fished every summer at a remote location. For years it was in Washington state, then it was Salton Sea in Colorado, and their last place was Sapinero at Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado. They lived long full lives, died peacefully in Vista, and went to Heaven to be with our Lord, where we will most certainly see them again someday.

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