Tag Archives: Family History

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.”

A Sweet Memory

27 Jan

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

I have mentioned, in previous postings, that my Father came from a large family – he was number five in a group of 13 children. He was born in 1892, and was 20 years older than my Mother.

 

10 of the 13 children – 1936-1938  Daddy is fourth from left. Uncle Ed is on the left.

 

I think his closest sibling was a brother, Edwin, who we called Uncle Ed, or E.O.  He had left the family farm, went to college, and had a typewriter shop in Shreveport, Louisiana.  He had married, but had no children.  He became a widower in about 1961.

While Fred and I lived in Fort Worth, Texas, he married a lovely lady, Joecilla, who had been widowed very young, after about four years of marriage, and never married again – until she met Uncle Ed. He moved to her house outside of Shreveport.

 

Uncle Ed and Aunt Joecilla visiting Albuquerque, New Mexico – 1960’s

 

When our little family was moving from San Antonio, Texas to Florida in 1974, we stopped to visit and stay with Uncle Ed and Aunt Joecilla for a few days.  She had a dress shop in her little town, and women from Shreveport would drive the 30 miles from Shreveport to shop in her store.  She had quite good taste in clothing.

Uncle Ed was two years older than my Father, and at his age at that time – 84 – was in rather ill health.  As a footnote – my father had already passed away by this time.

To tell this story, I must brag a bit here – both of our daughters were reading before they ever went to school.  That includes kindergarten at age five.  I have always said that being able to read is probably one of the most important things in life.  If you can’t read, you can’t do math, since many math problems are word problems.

I have a sweet memory stored away in my mind of Karen, sitting on that big blue couch in the picture below, with a book on her lap, as if she were reading it.  She was about three years old, and the book was upside down!  But she wanted to read so badly, she was trying to make the words work for her.

In any case, at this point of time, our Karen was seven-years-old (7) and Janet was four-years-old (4).

 

 

Karen had been through kindergarten and first grade before we moved to Florida.  However, she and I had been reading together since she was quite small, and by the time she was in kindergarten, she was one of only a few in her class that finished the reading program the school offered.

All of that is important to this story.  You see, while we were visiting Uncle Ed and Aunt Joecilla in 1974, there was one day that I went looking for Karen for some reason.  I couldn’t seem to find her anywhere.  However, when I looked in the den, there was Uncle Ed, stretched out on the sofa with an afghan draped over him.  And there was Karen, sitting on a stool at his side, reading a story to him!  He was enraptured with her and her story!  I have no remembrance of the story she was reading, but she was having a great time reading to him, and he was having a great time listening to her!  They just enjoyed each others’ company.  I waited until she had finished the story before approaching her with whatever I needed her to do.  I most certainly didn’t want to interrupt that sweet time between the two of them.

As I said – it is a sweet memory for me.

And just incidentally – she is a librarian now!

 

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

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

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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