Tag Archives: Childhood Memories

My Hair and Mrs. Hibbs

31 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Bowers Lites

 

 

Our fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Hibbs, stands up front talking. I’m not listening. I’ve had a sudden urge to comb my hair so I lift the desk lid and scramble for a comb. Mrs. Hibbs hesitates, but when she sees me begin to try to get the tangles out of my long brown hair she proceeds with the lesson. I’ll never know why she let me do that. I guess she saw as well as anyone that it had to be done.

Mother had tried for years to get me to hold still long enough for her to comb my hair. We didn’t use brushes, though she had a fancy one on her dresser. The trouble was that Mother was almost always in a hurry now that she and dad owned a bar and restaurant. She put on her pristine white waitress uniform and got there at 6:00 A. M. to serve breakfast, mostly to the other shop-keepers of the town, and a stray fisherman getting a late start. Mrs. McGregor was in the kitchen filling the air with smells of frying bacon and making her famous pancakes. Dad stayed home and slept off his night shift of serving the drinks and chatting with the regulars who valued his counsel.

Whenever mother combed my hair she tried to pull the tangles out with the comb and it hurt. Her mother, my white-haired grandmother was softer and easier and she never hurt me, but she died when I was only seven. I still had another grandmother, though, and she was a professional beauty operator with her own shop. Whenever we went to her town she took care of my hair. I didn’t like that either, especially the machine permanent waves.

So here I was in the schoolroom with the sun shining in my eyes from the window and Mrs. Hibbs soft voice coming into my ears. Separating strands of hair took a long time. Mrs. Hibbs held steady. She was allowing me to do something that she saw needed doing. Overall, I think I was something of a poor learner, but it was obvious from her steady patience and kindness that even though she never had children of her own she loved us and understood us all, even enough to bend the rules when they needed to be bent. Due to her indulgence, I was able to run a comb my hair. I never let it get tangled again.

 

 

 

Memories of New Mexico~Part 10

30 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 More random memories….

 

I remember going to what is called “Old Town” in downtown Albuquerque. It will always hold a special place in my heart. It has become quite a tourist attraction.

 

Credit Google Search

The official website states:

Centered around the plaza, Albuquerque’s Old Town encompasses about ten blocks of historic adobe buildings.

 

Just to be technical, this is what the back of this postcard I’ve scanned says:

Founded in 1706 by Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes, he honored his patron saint, Francisco Xavier and the Duke of Alburquerque, Viceroy of New Spain, by called the villa San Francisco de Albqurquerque. The first “r” was later dropped, and the town became Albuquerque. The official website states: Square at the point where Spanish Governor Cuervo y Valdes officially founded Albuquerque in 1706.

 

 

There is a “plaza” in the center of Old Town with a gazebo – that is occasionally used as a bandstand. According to the official website: Plazas were a common feature of Spanish colonial towns.

 

 

The back of this scanned postcard informs us:

This view of Old Town Plaza shows the bandstand and the famous San Felipe de Neri Church, founded in 1706. The original adobe church was destroyed by fire. This church was built in 1793 and still serves the spiritual needs of Albuquerque.

 

 

 This scanned postcard tells:

Built in the early 1700’s, shortly after the villa of Albuquerque was founded, San Felipe still serves the spiritual needs of Old Albuquerque.

While the gazebo is at the center of a small “park,” the park is ringed with shops and eateries (and the church) that were former houses made into shops.

 

Karen and Janet in a shop in Old Town

 

There were two Mexican restaurants there, side by side, that were my favorites. It seemed like there was always a running competition between them. And at point in time, one would have the best food, and then later, the other one would have the best food. And we would never be able to tell which one was running high at the time we wanted to dine there.

Each of them had wonderful Indian/Mexican artwork on it’s walls. I seem to remember that both of them had living trees growing in several of the rooms. And I remember that, in the corner of the main entrance to La Placita (the Palace – actually it was the Governor’s Palace for a while), there was a small fireplace. They usually burned pine wood there, and the fragrance was wonderful! Perhaps they added something to make the smell so good, but that is a fragrance that I looked forward to inhaling.

The other restaurant was La Hacienda. I remember the Native Americans sitting under the canopy of the restaurants, along the street, with their beads and silver jewelry on display for sale to any and all who walked by. Perhaps this is not unique to the Indian/Mexican culture in Albuquerque (I think this tradition is also in Santa Fe). This scanned postcard tells us: Indians display their good for sale outside the famous La Placita Dining Room in Old Albuquerque.

 

 

 

 

They had some really beautiful things there, too. Here is a photo that I took, just before we headed to Germany for our second tour. It was June 1979, and our girls were quite young. In any case, this shows how the items for sale were arranged.

 

Janet looking at some Indian wares

 

Another event that took place in Old Town happened on my 18th birthday. It was on a Sunday that year, and we had gone to church, as usual. Following the service, there was a world-renown violinist that was to give a concert in our church that evening, and he was practicing in the sanctuary. Mom and Dad wanted to stay and listen for a while, since they would not be able to hear the concert. We stayed for 15 minutes or so, and then headed out. They asked me to drive from the church to Old Town, and we had planned to eat at La Placita. I let them out to get a table while I parked the car. When I entered the restaurant, the host led me through several rooms until we found our way into one of the larger rooms. As I turned the corner – about 12 of my best girlfriends began singing “Happy Birthday” to me! I was in shock! What a surprise my parents had planned for me! But a happy surprise, for sure.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of New Mexico~Part 8

16 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

 

More random memories….

 

Our house in Albuquerque wasn’t really all that big. I’ve just looked it up on Google, and am informed that it was built in 1940 (we moved into it in 1945) and has 1,056 square feet of living space. I didn’t realize it was that large. But it had three bedrooms and one bath, separated living room from the dining room, and a kitchen.

 

 

It is near an elementary school and a middle school (a Junior High School in my day), and not too far from the University of New Mexico (UNM), from which my husband, Fred graduated. Unfortunately, I flunked out of UNM….but that’s another story (too much Fred, not enough study).It was always a nice neighborhood to live in, and grow up in. There were a lot of children within that entire area, and we all went to the same schools.

I’ve mentioned before that my parents really worked that house and yard, until it was a thing of beauty. Perhaps not the largest house, but my parents made it a home, and we were quite comfortable there.

I remember that the sprinkler valves were right by the front door, off to the side. We had a long metal pole that we used to turn on or turn off the sprinklers. We didn’t have to use our hands, and we didn’t get wet while doing so. I also remember my father purchasing sheep manure to spread on the front lawn every Spring. I’m sure the neighbors hated that time of year – because our yard smelled so bad! But boy! did we have the best-looking yard around!

Sorry about the double-exposure! But this shows the lush front yard we had, and the forsythia bush under the window

I know it’s not my house anymore, but I’m almost distressed to see, by the pictures on Google Zillow, that the current owners have completely done away with the front lawn grass, and put in rocks (xeriscape). I know that saves on water consumption, but…. There are a few flower pots in the yard, but no lush grass. The tree my father planted in the front yard is still there, and is a beautiful shade tree. The pampas grass is completely gone as well.

There were large evergreen trees on each side of the front of the house, and they are gone. Mother had a lovely forsythia bush under her bedroom window – but it’s gone, too. And remember when I described the screened-in front porch where we would spend so much time in the summers? It is now glassed-in. I’m sure it makes for more useable space, but I really liked that screened-in area.

I do see that the city has done away with that house-to-street concrete sidewalk requirement, and now the new owners have a lovely stone walk. I liked the original one we had – it was made from slate stone and curvy, however.

 

Note the curvy sidewalk

 

While the front yard wasn’t terribly large, the back yard made up for it. It was quite large. From this picture, you will see that, when we first arrived, there was the stereotypical white picket fence in the back yard.

 

Bill, Daddy and me by the back door…notice the picket fence

 

At some point, my parents put in a concrete-block fence. They also made a little “cut out” in the fence for the garbage cans. The alley way was behind the house, between our house and the house behind us. I kind of liked that.

 

My brother, Bill, with his young daughter in our back yard she loved to “swim” in Grandmother’s galvanized tub clothes line to the left; garbage can cutout to the right peach tree behind Bill that Daddy pampered.

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

My First Motorcycle

2 Nov

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

 

When I was 12, I started delivering newspapers, on my bicycle, on an evening route near my home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was saving my money to buy a motorcycle. At the time my allowance of .50 cents a week hardly even covered the cost of my model airplane supplies. And, that paper route really didn’t bring in much of an income either.

 

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So I started thinking of other ways to make money. That was the summer I started mowing lawns in our neighborhood with the family push-mower. That helped a lot in the money department, but was really hard work.

 

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As my name got around, by work of mouth, that I was cutting lawns my business grew and I talked my parents into loaning me the money to buy a new power mower (Ref. Bill’s blogs “I Was A 12 Year Old Business Man“– Jan. 23 & 30, 2013). It took me a while to pay off that loan, but once that was done, the bank account began to grow rapidly.

 

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By the time I was fourteen, I had learned to drive, had my driver’s license, and I was scouring the newspaper “For Sale” ads for used motorcycles. I finally found a fairly nice Harley-Davidson 125cc that I could afford. Boy, did that motorcycle take a lot of the work out of my paper route! I could pick up my papers, deliver all the papers on my route and get home in half the time, and I wasn’t pooped out either.

 

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I gave up the paper route and most of my lawn business when a friend’s father helped me get a part-time job at the local Furr’s Super Market. By that time I had really lost most of what little interest I had in school (my main interest now was motorcycles), and was looking for something to occupy my time (and making money of course). The super market job was just what I was looking for. The work was hard, but the pay was great as I advanced from bag boy to checker, and my bank account kept growing.

 

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As it turned out, once the initial thrill of my “New-Used” motorcycle worn off, I discovered the machine really was a little long in the tooth, and I was anxious to see how I could get more performance out of it. Since I had learned how to rebuild my internal-combustion lawnmower engine, I started tearing down that motorcycle engine.

 

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I cleaned and polished the combustion chamber, re-surfaced the valves & seats, replaced the piston rings and spark plug, tightened the chain and polished all the aluminum cases. By the time I was finished, I had expended a lot of my hard-earned dollars for new parts and many hours of labor on that engine. And guess what? Of course it ran better, but it was still a behind the times 125cc size motorcycle and just didn’t give me the excitement I was looking for.

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By this time I had turned into a teenage motorcycle “Jock” and couldn’t look the part (Marlon Brando & James Dean) on that un-interesting looking Harley 125cc motorcycle. So, my next teenage adventure was to purchase a “New” bright RED 1954 Harley Davidson 165cc “Golden Edition” motorcycle with raised handlebars. That motorcycle fit right in with my new image, which included a traditional black leather motorcycle jacket (lots of pockets and zippers), motorcycle boots and a “Ducktail” hairdo.

 

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I enjoyed calling that 1954 Harley 165cc motorcycle my first, but the older ugly black 125cc machine was really my first motorcycle, and helped send me on my way to the big-time 1955 Harley Davidson (888 cc) flat-head KH Sportster that I really loved and drove for the next ten years.

—–The End—–

It is Good to Give Thanks

18 Aug

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

During my growing up years, we lived in Orlando, Florida. My parents loved to fish, so most Fridays as soon as my parent’s made it home from work, we loaded the car with fishing gear and headed to the east coast. We would fish all night and most of Saturday.  We usually fished from a pier and late at night when most folks had gone home to sleep, we would often  begin to sing hymns in the evening stillness. Just my family, the moon and the stars. Wonderful memories.

What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks,
    to sing an anthem to you, the High God!
To announce your love each daybreak,
    sing your faithful presence all through the night,
Accompanied by dulcimer and harp,
    the full-bodied music of strings.

Psalms 92: 1-3

The Message

Nothin’ to Do

25 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Joanie and DiVoran

My friend Patricia and I grew up together from the time she was in first grade, and I moved to her town when I was in second. Patricia was the only child in first grade that year. We had a five grade schoolroom and we sat in rows according to grade. The teacher knew Patricia could handle skipping, so she transferred her to the second-grade row. My friend was so small that on the way home from school two of us would hold her down to keep her from blowing away in a strong wind.

When Patricia and I got a bit older we walked down the dirt road to the Grape creek bridge on the outskirts of town talking and playing word games. Our favorite was to top each other with bigger words that all meant the same thing. Big, huge, gigantic, etc. We loved to stand on the bridge and eat salted peanuts in the shell and say a word each time we threw a shell into the creek. They floated away like tiny boats bearing messages. On our walks, any time we said the same word at the same time we linked pinky fingers and said, “Jinx, you owe me a coke.” Then we’d go to the hotel and get chocolate cokes and sit at the soda bar and drink them and talk to the hotel owner.

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In the one solid block of businesses we called Main Street we went in to say hello to Mr. Cope at his pharmacy. He’d hire one of us and then the other to look after the little girls when he took his wife to my parent’s restaurant for a meal out. He also gave us comic books with the covers torn off. The company he got them from refunded his money on the unsold ones. I remember getting a whole stack and thinking I was the richest kid in town.

As we wandered, we sometimes came to the Catholic Church into which Patricia was born and raised. One time she showed me how to “do” the Stations of the Cross. You kneeled at each Biblical picture to pray. I liked that a lot. I attended the Community Church across the street and started teaching Sunday School there at the age of 12.

We’d go to Patricia’s cousin, Louise’s house to play Her backyard had an old barn where we put on our own dramas. Louise had plenty of siblings to act in all the scenes. It’s amazing how much fun we had when there was nothin’ to do.

 

Dad: Worst Enemy, Best Friend~Part 3

20 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Over the years, Dad bought roller-skates, bicycles, a horse, a dog, and he even acquired a cat for us. There were always plenty of cats available, so he didn’t have to buy Tiger. He had us pay for the puppy, though, because Brownie came from a ranch and dad thought it only fair that the rancher got something for one of his animals. It was also a good lesson for us. We gave everything we had for that dog — thirty-five cents between us.

DiVoran and Yankee

DiVoran and Yankee (a part Shetland pony)

DiVoran and Brownie

DiVoran and Brownie (part collie) the love of my life for a long time.

He bought each of us a baby calf. David’s was a Hereford and he called him, Red. Mine was black and white, and I called him, Clover. Alas, I found him dead one morning in the woodshed where he lived. He had died of some common ailment to young calves.

Dad cleaned out the shed and that year bought a big white goose from a rancher. That goose was to be Thanksgiving dinner. Dad would cook it himself. David and I had the job of feeding the goose every day. When we learned his destiny, I decided he needed to be free so we left the shed door open and the goose escaped.

Goose

 

When Dad discovered  the goose was gone, he sent us out on the prairie behind our house to look for it. We went down to Grape Creek and thinking the goose might like water, we walked along making our way through the thick willow bushes. We never found the goose, but we did come upon a willow-hut that we presumed belonged to one of the two town drunks. The citizens called this man, Prairie Jack. When we peeked inside the hut, we saw that it was empty except for a pallet on the ground and a photograph of a lovely young woman. Her clothes and hair- style came from another time. I recognized that from Grandmother’s teaching the women in the family to stay in step with style. Then too, being the children of a bar owner, we knew why Prairie Jack had turned to drink. He had plainly lost the woman he loved and couldn’t stand to live sober without her.

We left everything in the hut alone, even though we had already meddled in Prairie Jack’s business. Once, when we found a full bottle of whisky hidden under a sage bush, we poured the whole quart-full on the ground and left the empty bottle laying there. I hated whiskey and do to this day, probably because it was my medicine for when I got car-sick on the winding roads to Grandmother’s house.

Dad taught us to work in the restaurant. My brother took out the empty coke bottles in their wooden cases. The two of us cleared tables and washed dishes. Our pay was twenty-five cents an hour. For killing flies in the summer, with a fly swatter, we got a penny a fly. For ironing a large basket of clothes at home for Mother, I got a whole dollar each week. My brother had his chores as well. We saved some of our money and spent the rest. I wish I could tell you what we spent it on, but I just don’t know.

Dad took flying lessons from the town jeweler, a fellow member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization. He then bought a Piper Cub and called it, “Dinty Moore.” We flew over the mountains to visit Grandmother and Granddad in Canon City.

One afternoon, when dad and his friend, Sweak Jeske, flew to Denver to look at cars, the phone on the restaurant wall rang. When Mother answered it an insurance salesman sold her some airplane insurance. The next call that evening was from Dad saying he had got caught in a downdraft and crashed the plane in the snow on the side of Pike’s Peak. We kids didn’t know anything about it until dad came home the next day with a broken ankle. He and Sweak had made their way down the mountain to a ranch house and were saved from freezing to death. Sweak had no injuries at all. I reckon someone bigger than you and I had His hand under that plane and set it down gentle as could be. Once they towed the wreckage back to the small airport in Silver Cliff, I saw that Dinty Moore was now a pile of junk. Mom and Dad both worked hard and he was able to get an Air Coup some years later. He wanted us to have flying lessons, so I got up very early one morning and he took me to the airport where I got into a Steerman with an instructor and had a lesson on flying and was told to study cloud formations. The next Saturday, I decided I didn’t want to to get up so early so I never did learn to fly and sorry folks, but I didn’t care and still don’t. My brother, on the other hand, became a mechanic on jets and later a commercial pilot. To each his own.

 

 

 

Thanks for the Memories: Jesus Loves Me

30 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

DiVoran, Mom and brother

David, Dora, and DiVoran Bowers

It was a time of childhood and Mother took us to the church she’d been reared in. It was, and still is, a beautiful church built from some kind of red stone. But I see on the Internet that it is closed now. How sad. Mother, David and I could walk there from our grandparents’ apartment house where we lived while Daddy was away fighting in WW2.

I must have been in first grade the year Auntie Elvira was my Sunday School teacher. She had taught my mother, then my mother’s younger sister and later she taught my cousins and even their children. Elvira, a maiden-lady lived alone, but she was well-beloved by the entire Canon City, Colorado community.

Our Sunday School room was clean, well-lit, and cheerful with carefully crafted wooden book cases holding children’s books we could read if there was time. Auntie Elvira always told an exciting Bible Story and let us know how much Jesus loved us. The one thing she never forgot was to lead us in, “Jesus Loves Me,” a song I have remembered all my life.

“Jesus Loves Me,” has helped me out of many low places. One day when Bill was working at the Kennedy Space Center I was pushing the iron around on one his white shirts when I began to feel so discouraged about myself I could hardly stand up. I recalled our minister of counseling telling us that he had a congregant say she had tried to feel as if she measured up to God’s expectation, but she never could. One day she fell to her knees and prayed fervently but that didn’t help, so she stretched out flat with her nose pushed into the floor thinking God might smile on her then.

I decided to get down on my face, too, and see how it worked for me. I put the iron in its holder, but that moment I remembered a tale told by our pastor, Peter Lord. He said he knew a professor in seminary who was the best educated, and the Godliest man he’d ever known. When a student asked him what his favorite song was, the professor answered, “Jesus Love Me.”

Still standing at the ironing board I decided that if it was good enough for a fine man like that, I’d give it a try. As I sang, Auntie Elvira’s love for the children came back and then I felt a warmth in my heart. That warmth assured me that God did love me, after all. I went back to ironing, but by then I had the song where it needed to be and I repeated it over and over. I have now depended on it for many years. God did, however continue to solidify my conviction that I was all right with him, as well. During that period I had two memorable dreams.

Charlene and Billie png

Charlene and Billy Lites

The first dream was about a dog. When Charlene and Billy were children, we gave them an adopted puppy for Christmas. They were thrilled. Right away Renie dressed the pup in doll clothes and put her in the doll buggy. We named her Dingo because she looked like an Australian Dingo dog. When she became full-sized, she couldn’t do enough to show how much she loved us and wanted to be with us. Then, one night, I dreamed that Dingo came to the side of my bed and she was blind. I didn’t feel pity, instead I knew it was a message from the Holy Spirit, God telling me that He didn’t see my sins any more than that blind dog could see me. That was confirmed by Corrie ten Boom at a meeting in Melbourne when she said: “God has threw our sins into the deepest sea and put up a, NO FISHING sign.

Trust in the Lord

Those dreams and the reassurance that God loved me happened over fifty years ago, and yet I remember one other dream as vividly: In this one, I run through the sky as light as a butterfly, totally free of all shame and blame. Though I’ve had doubts about my own “perfection,” I never doubted the Father’s love again.

“Jesus love me, this I know,

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong,

They are weak, but He is strong.”

The Shadow Knows

23 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

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When we’re young we think adults know everything. While we’re in that stage, we’ll follow almost anyone who is nice to us. It takes many years to begin to realize that people don’t know as much as we think they do.

Take for instance our relationship with God. You see and hear all kinds of things about how we should think and behave, and what we should believe. The more mature we grow, however, the less apt we are to believe just anything. We come to a place where we want to know God for ourselves. We want Him to teach us and answer our questions. Oh, I’m not talking about Christ being God’s Son and dying for our sins. That’s basic. No, it’s more like traditions and rites, and conjecture about what He actually wants from us and what he is like.

Who really does know everything? The Shadow Knows of course, but who is the shadow?

DiVoran and David Bowers

David and DiVoran Bowers

First of all, he was the alter-ego of a man named Lamont Cranston, and the hero in the radio program, “The Shadow.” In the 40s my little brother and I loved to listen to that program. To keep us out of their hair at the restaurant on Sunday afternoons our parents bought a radio and installed it in the living room of our duplex at the end of the street. We didn’t have a working kitchen because the kitchen held our bunk beds. So dad bought us a new- fangled pop-up toaster. Every week our parents gave us a loaf of Rainbow bread and sent us home to listen to the Sunday afternoon programs.

When we had polished off the toast, we found our toys and laid them out in preparation for moving them around. David took each tiny horse, each cow, and each section of rail fencing and placed it exactly where he wanted it.

I pulled out Mother’s little dolls and the clothes she and her Grandmother had made for them in the late twenties.

We listened happily and when, “The Shadow,” came on we paused to listen to his voice. One phrase I never forgot from “The Shadow” was: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”

The Shadow

“A figure never seen, only heard, the Shadow was an invincible crime fighter. He possessed many gifts which enabled him to overcome any enemy. Besides his tremendous strength, he could defy gravity, speak any language, unravel any code, and become invisible with his famous ability to “cloud men’s minds.” (Thanks to the website, Old Time Radio World.)

So now we knew someone who really did know everything, and somehow, we had a profile of God. We could trust the Shadow because he always did the right thing and he protected people and their children. In the end, though, we were open to being friends with someone who possessed all the Shadow’s abilities and much more. We chose to worship Jesus.

Now that we’re grown-ups, we think we might know a thing or two, but we still come against questions we can’t answer. That’s when we have to say, “The Shadow knows.” We mean God, or course. He is sufficient for any need we have.

My Hair: A Family Affair

2 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

DiVoran Bedell family1920s The Bedell/Hunter family: Granddad, Roger Bedell, Great-Aunt-Vera Hunter, Dora Bedell (my mother at 4), Grandma Mabel, and her mother Great-Grandma-Hunter

Mabel Bedell, my maternal grandmother, was a gentle person who was born in 1892 in Breckenridge, Colorado, the daughter of a miner. She completed the third grade. She had four children and owned, with Granddad Roger, an apple orchard on the outskirts of Canon City, Colorado. During The Great Depression, most of the family came to live with them because they had a house and food.

For some reason my first memory of hair comes from remembering Grandma Mabel when I was about four years old. I don’t know where we were that day, but I’m sure I was busy. Grandma Hunter asked if she could comb my hair. Perhaps Mother had told her what a wild-child I could be and how hard it was to get me to slow me down for any kind of grooming. I approached Grandma warily because I didn’t believe she could comb my tangled hair without hurting me. Grandma Mabel, however, took her time working through the tangles in my naturally curly hair while I managed to sit still until she finished. I can recall the love I felt as Grandma Mabel gave me a hug and allowed me to get up and go play. It is the only memory I have of her. She died when I was seven.

My other Grandmother, Marie Bowers, born in 1893 in Point Pleasant, Illinois was the first of thirteen children whom she helped rear. After graduation from the country school’s eighth grade, Marie became the teacher for all eight grades. When she and Grandad Ira moved to Canon City Colorado they started up a “Beauty Shop,” in their house on Main Street. Later they moved to a bigger house that had room for apartments and a beauty shop. While constructing the space for the shop Granddad went to work at the Colorado State Penitentiary as a guard.

Bowers Beauty salon

Grandmother Marie liked to help my mother take care of my hair. When I was small she would wrap and smooth strands around her finger to form what she called long curls. I enjoyed the curls bouncing around my face and neck and asked for them often.

When I was six years old, Dad returned from the trenches of World War 2. He bought a restaurant in a small valley town with the help of the G. I. Bill, and the Bowers family was off to a new life.

My parents, Dora and Ivan were so busy with the restaurant that there was little time for family life. Dab and I ran wild, but our favorite place was at the restaurant where Mother and Dad were. We had jobs for which we received twenty-five cents an hour. We washed piles of dishes when the tourists filled the place. David took cases of empty soda-pop bottles into the garage next door to be picked up by the soda-pop delivery truck. If the café was busy enough I got to try my hand at frying hamburgers and cleaning the grill. There’s a certain way to clean a grill and I learned it.

Most of the time, since no child in town or out of it, ever took more than one bath a week, my clothes and hair smelled like restaurant kitchen. I didn’t notice and I don’t think anyone else did either.

One day, however, after school, I told my mother this was the night for the yearly operetta and she was caught unaware. Oh, she had cut down a beautiful blue chiffon dress with sequins for me to wear in my role of the lisping girl, but we hadn’t done a thing with my hair. She scrubbed it in the kitchen sink, cleaned out the sink, and towel dried my hair. Ther was no time to do anything else so she combed it and let me go. I liked it the best I had since the long curls. I was off to the high school auditorium to sing: “I love to hear a melody, I love to hear a symphony, but best of all I love to hear, my doggy say bow-wow.” They probably gave me the role because I wasn’t shy and because everyone knew my dog Brownie. In fact he was probably waiting outside the school to walk me home.

DiVoran and Brownie

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