Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Closing Curtians On 2010

Once again father time had closed another chapter of life with old memories as we will venture off into another time of speculation.
I am still in awe at how my generation ever survived without all the gadgets of today. We didn't seem to need our fingers to do the talking for us and our eyes were usually looking forward so we didn't trip or get run over. Music was easily heard though an AM Radio, or the juke box in the drug store, and no one needed an interpreter to decipher the lyrics. Tattoos were something we paid an admission price at the carnival to see, especially on a woman. Love letters were written on fancy stationary and penned in ink with sincere sentiments attached. Boys learned at an early age what a belt was for and would never think of showing their underwear. Girls kept things like their dignity covered and never needed artificial boosters.
As this year comes to a close, I can look for the coming years to go just a fast with little or no improvements in the youth of today. Respect is something that got lost in 1950 and never returned. I just witnessed one of most heart breaking Revelations of my 70+years when I learned that my Grandson used the most disgusting language and name calling to his Mother. No human being should ever have to be that humiliated especially by their own flesh and blood.
There was a time long ago when broken teeth would have replaced the venom spewed out of a child's mouth even if the child is now an adult.
My hope for the coming year is that more people will learn the value of kindness to one another, get involved with electing officials who will keep America's core values intact. Reach out those who are elderly, poor or just in need of a friendly voice.
May God Bless America and all who took time to read my thoughts.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Seasons Greetings

WWII Rations

Ho Ho Ho, This should be the season of joy and celebration for those who still believe that X should never replace the name of Jesus.

This old codger is searching his soul to try and find a reason to celebrate other than a quiet moment in prayer to be thankful for what has been provided me.

Having seen some dark days in these past 70+ years and somehow surviving I can't help but wonder if this great country is headed back down the road of despair. We have borrowed our way into poverty and sold our soul to our enemies of the past. I can't say that one political party is totally to blame, we didn't get this way in a short eighteen months. History will have to be told to future generations and the blame game will go on forever.

When folks ask me what do you want for Christmas I have a list that begins with "Peace Be With You", lets all meet as Americans and do away with the "D" or the "R" thing and find a way to get back the simple things like pay as you go, love your neighbor, speak with tongue instead of fingers, believe in the rule handed down on a tablet of stone called "Ten Commandments".

No one knows for certain what tomorrow will bring but the darkest days seem to be ahead of us. The country is full of wealthy people who have no compassion for the less fortunate. Some old folks like myself live in what is known as Mobile Homes but referred to as trailer trash. Its not that we wouldn't like to live in a two story big house but we just might have worked all our life and done the best we could and proud that we don't have a mortgage. Life once was peaceful in a little place to call our own even though we had to rent the dirt it sits on. Wealthy corporation came and bought the land and now want to raise rents 100% with no regard for the elderly of those who already do without food or meds to pay the rent for a piece of dirt.

There may not be fancy presents under my tree but I still want to wish a joyous and happy holiday season to all and please remember the reason for the season!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Its that time of year again when we as Americans set aside a day for being thankful for all our blessings. Some are thankful for the Turkey on the table with all the trimmings to go along with it, while others are thankful just for the thought of seeing another day of life ahead of them.
As for me; my blessings are too numerous to count, but the greatest of all is the love my heavenly father has bestowed upon me with Friends and family who shower me with love each and every day.
With so many trials and tribulations facing this country in the coming years, perhaps we can set aside our political hats and find some common ground to move in a more positive direction. Not only are we facing economical hardships, health care crisis, two wars, terrorist threats but now the the two Korea's are once again on the verge of opening up another war front.
To all who take the time to read this, I thank you for taking time, may the coming holidays bring you all joy and happiness may we all live in peace in 2011.

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Hero's

Every year when Veteran's Day rolls around it reminds me of the time I served with my two older brothers in the US Navy. I was lucky enough to serve most of my time on the same ship with my oldest brother Ron aboard the USS Reaper and a member of west pac; we made two cruises to the far east. Any time the Uss Caliente and the Reaper were in the same port, word quickly spread that the Willett brothers were in port! I am so proud of the oldest brother who still serves as a member of the American Legion.
How proud I am today to fly old glory on Nov 11 and remember all who served and many who gave it all so that we may have the freedoms we so readily take for granted. No other country can endure the negative and hateful statements towards its leaders so freely expressed in every form of communication. No matter which political party is in the majority there never seems to be any common ground of doing what is best for a democratic society.
There is a new year on the horizon and my prayer for the coming year is for solutions to the economy, peace at home and abroad, medical breakthroughs for such things as diabetes, cancer, MS, etc.
Regardless of political affiliation, please remember that there will always be those who are less fortunate and need a helping hand.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Faded Memories

To those who cherish memories, I suggest you try to preserve and hold on to such things as yearbooks, awards, photos, etc. I have tried to save my precious memories of my youth in Pagosa Springs through photos and scrapbooks handed down by my parents and grandparents.
With the progression of time and technology, the beauty of this heavenly place is being portrayed with astonishingly brilliant photos that capture the sights as though one is standing there in person.
Its funny how 50+ years can change scenery, ones social status, and gadgets of all sorts. Growing up in Pagosa we didn't know what television was until we heard that Ferris Breedlove who owned the local hardware store had one put in at his home. I was lucky enough to be invited there one Saturday night to see the Ed Sullivan show. We had a telephone, even though we had to tell the operator to ring the person we wanted to talk to and at times share conversations with other parties on the line. No one ever dreamed that one day we would all have a phone in our pocket or be typing messages to one another. Even language has changed over the years: Pot was something mom cooked out of, Gay was an expression of happiness, Queer was something odd, weed was a pesty garden plant, etc.
Oh, how the fashion has changed no longer do we need to guess boxers of briefs, boys pants are now made to hang around the knees. Remember when body piercing were only seen in National Geographic Magazine, Tattooed ladies were only seen in carnival side shows.
I was amazed watching videos of the parade in Pagosa on the fourth of July and seeing the fire fighting equipment they have. I remember when the only fire fighters were volunteers and the first time Pagosa acquired a used fire truck.
One thing that never seems to change is the old timers all move away and new folks loaded with money are willing to come in and start building. I guess they don't realize that if they love the way mother nature does her work maybe they shouldn't try to change it so much. With humans encroaching on wild animal habitat its no wonder that deer and bears are becoming city slickers.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Repeating History

Here we are in the twilight of the 21st century and we still haven't learned from decades of past mistakes. Seems like we are on a never ending journey on a highway that keeps taking us back to the point of origin. Recessions, depressions, ups, downs, wealth, poverty, all revolve like a carousel out of control.
After completing watching a PPC documentary about the evolution of New York City, so much of what this city endured through the past 200 years has been repeated time and again throughout these United States.
Trying to understand the root of so much hatred running rampant against this elected government and our President. I thought I would try looking back at previous events to find some common ground.
A recent gathering on the Lincoln Memorial by certain groups chanting to restore America's core values under some sort of religious movement, reminded me of speeches made by a dictator in Germany in 1923. Those speeches of long ago incited hatred against any race, creed, or color not accepted by the speaker..This appears to me as the same type of message being instilled in minds of Innocent Americans seeking an answer to turmoils facing every citizen. I can only pray that the past does not repeat itself.
I wonder too, if all these modern gadgets won't eventually be our ruin. I see people of all ages addicted to cell phones, either talking or texting and being oblivious to their surroundings. Every new invention of communication is an invitation for some crook to find a way to invade, steal, or slander. Give me back my pen and paper and an old fashioned telephone, I'd much rather hear a pleasant voice than read an abbreviated message I don't understand.
Bring back some good music that have lyrics that one can understand, love songs and sweethearts can do wonders to a world in need of love. No matter what our religion, color, political party, social status, if we all learn to respect one another this world will be here long after we are gone.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The business portion of town of Pagosa Springs Co. was all on the north side of the San Juan river. The business’s that I remember the most are the Morehart Chevrolet , Citizens Bank, Roy’s Liquor, Pagosa Bar, La Cantina Bar, Hershs’s Mercantile, Ace Hardware, Jackish Drugs, Metropolitan Hotel, Mesa Theater (Liberty), Liquor Store, Goodman’s Dept. At side walk level of the hotel was a set of iron steps which lead to a pool hall in the basement level.
The pool hall was a favorite hang out for all the high school boys and retired old men. Curly Nelson ran the place and always had card games such as rummy going ‘till late hours in the evening. Young boys could enter and play pool only with the permission of parents who had to give that consent in writing. Knowing how my Mother felt about men hanging out in a smoky pool hall or the “Devils Den” as she referred to it, I knew she would never approve of me being there. I came up with the bright idea of forging my Mother’s name on a permission slip and worked for a long time cleaning and racking balls until one day I had to explain where I was getting spending money.
The local theater was sold to Albert Petry along with the hotel and liquor store. Dad continued working as the projectionist and everyone in the Willett family worked there at one time or another. The art of running the projectors was
passed on to the oldest son Ronnie, Inez worked the ticket booth, Jerry, and Butch took tickets and did janitorial duties.

Changing Employment:
The west side grocery was sold to Jim and Gay Whitfield. Jim was the founder of the Baptist Church and held services in the grocery isles on apple crates. He eventually was able to purchase property to build a church on highway 160 near the town park. I am proud to say that the corner stone of that building was done by the author of
this text. The Whitefield’s changed the store into a Gambles Dept. store.
Frank Brown purchashed a house just west of the old building and across McCabe creek where he once again opened a small grocery. That property was sold to Harry Cole and Frank then opened a new business next to the court house. A fire destroyed that business and when it was rebuilt a five and dime store was opened in its place. Ira Rupp was the proprietor and Inez (Mother worked for them).
Mother and Dad tried making plaster of paris figurines in our kitchen. They seemed to sell quite well in the local gift shops. Frank Brown built a store building on his property for Dad to open a novelty store and the rear of the building housed the local newspaper “The Sun”. As the building was going up, passers by would stop and ask,“What’s it gonna be?” The curiosity gave Dad the idea to name the store “The What’s It Shop.” It wasn’t very profitable so Dad went back to painting signs and buildings. He painted just about every house and road side advertisement.

Winter Time:

Winters in Colorado were long and cold. If all the chores had been done properly and the wood and coal put away, then playing in snow could be a lot of fun. there were Igloos to build to play in, sledding, skiing, or ice skating. Many a skinned knee was had from tying a rope to the back of a car and being pulled along the icy road until the sled flipped over. Ice skating parties were always fun, smelling tires burning to keep warm as we skated the San Juan or the pond at a place called Catchpoles Mistake. Old tires were gathered and burned along the river bank for warmth.
Earaches were a common occurrence for me; it was nothing for Dr. Thompson to bundle up and come to our house in the middle of the night to give shot or a dose of some awful tasting medicine.
Somehow the old school was always having frozen pipes from someone leaving the water on. That always resulted in the school having to close for a day.
Like any youngsters in America, a favorite season is fall when Halloween was celebrated with a much mischievous vigor and imagination as one could muster. Like the time we managed to put an old “out-house” in the middle of main street. The next morning a sign was found hanging on the door saying “Dr. Anderson’s Office.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

From My Window Seat

The Internet can be a wonderful tool for research but then such things as social web sites can be a breeding ground political, religious and family feuds.

I recently tried going down the memory trail to find information on places where my family once resided. Starting with the towns that my parents and brothers were born and then looking for places my father would have been employed. I found a site referencing a town where my family lived in 1951. This site gave a very interesting detail of the demographics of the area, and photos of the Theater where my father was employed. The description of all the types of prejudices that were rampant sent shock waves down my spine. It made me so glad that we did not stay in Texas very long. Recently I've seen first hand that such mentality still is the root to the teachings in that state to, the term "Redneck" is really too polite to label those with no tolerance with anyone who disagrees.

Social websites such as Facebook can be a wonderful tool for interacting with friends and relatives, to visit and keep in touch with those whom we selom see face to face. However lately I am finding it more a place where the english language is becoming something of the dark ages and replaced with four letter profanity or coded abreviations that only those under the age thirty can understand. Political and religious views even between family members can errupt into verbal wars and threats of physical harm. These thoughts and ideas would never be mentioned face to face but the ability to write them on a site shared by so many give the writer a sense of bravado.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Trails To You

Once again this old memory is loosing one its favorite times when as a young boy I would strap on my pearl handle six shooters and ride the hills of Pagosa Springs. No I didn't have a palamino like Trigger or dog like Bullet but with enough imagination I didn't need them, just my trusty old cocker spanial.
There were times I would tire of being Roy and decide to be Red Ryder with one of the Martinez boys being Little Beaver.
While veiwing the morning news on NBC, my eyes glued to the screen and grew misty with tears as the story unfolded of the Action in NYC at Chrities selling of all the memorbella from the Roy Rogers Museum.
As the years passed and I became a grown man, the memories of the Saturday Matinees watching Roy, Dale, Gabby Hayes and Son's of the Pioneers chasing the bad guy across the screen never faded my mind. I was lucky enough to live in Califorinia after my military service and be close enough to visit the Roy Rogers Museum in Apple Valley. My Children were able to also share some of my childhood memories by visiting the museum. The year the Museum was leaving the Apple Valley site I took my wife to the museum and to our amazement Roy was there in person and even allowed us to take his photo. All the years of seeing him on in the movies I picuted him as being a tall man but he really was just an average height but the warmest smile and personality.
I wish our youngsters could have such an example of character to look up to instead of the horror and sexual depictions put out as entertainment.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

time out

I am taking time out from blogging for awhile, seems the only people looking at this is someone using oriental language that get a kick out of posting porn photos.
Understanding that this wonderful country of ours prides itself with all our freedoms, there are times when a little restrain would be appropriate.
The supreme court just struck down the hand gun ban in Chicago and today advocates of gun rights are parading around like Rambo in Hermosa Beach CA. I'm all for the right to bear arms, I too enjoyed hunting animals, not human beings. Having been the victim of armed robbery twice and having a ten year old nephew blown away with a shotgun given to his 12 year old brother I don't care if I ever see another gun. I would like to see statistics of how many armed civilians have actually stopped a crime in progress or shot a person in self defense. The second amendment to the Constitution with the understanding of the English language should not be interpreted with so much confusion, it seems so easy to eliminate the phrase "well regulated militia" leaving a wild west mentality to gun toting fools.
As I sign off this posting my thoughts and prayers will be for all those in the gulf states suffering from this disaster and pray that our leaders will find a solution quickly.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fathers Day

This old tear jerking song by Jim Reeves always brings loving thoughts, remembering my Father and the love he gave to his family. With only a grade school education and living through the great depression he managed to provide for a wife and three boys. We never acheived any wealth only a home filled with love for one another. My father always said a man don't deserve any thing he ain't willing to work for, always do you best and be thankful for whatever your reward might be. As I grew in age my Dad was always looking out for my well being even though at times I didn't realize it. When I ventured out and got into trouble he could talk to me and make me wish he had beaten me instead. When he felt my wrong doings were only a growing pains of a young man he would cover up so my mother would not know just what I'd gotten myself into.
My father first worked as a motion picture projectionest, a trade he learned as a young man and moved from town town in Texas and then to Colorado. While in Colorado he began a painting business where he painted signs and houses. When his health began to keep him from climbing ladders he purchased some printing equipment and self taught himself and opened his printing business in the home. His last years on this earth was a lonely time for him missing my mother who had passed before him and caring for his pet cats.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Thanks for the world of internet I am able to keep up to date on the happenings in and around my favorite place in Colorado. By visiting the latest events with beautiful photos of the place where I grew up come to life.
One of the upcoming events mentioned is a class reunion for any all who attended school in Pagosa Springs, this will take place on July 3rd. I'm sure this will be a memorable event for all who can attend. I recall attending a similiar event in 2000 and cherish the memory of meeting up with some old fiends. I just couldn't understand how my class mates all got so old! Oh how is wish I could be there to join in the festivites and compare wrinkles and gray hair but I don't beleive any '57 class memebers are around any more.
When I departed that part of the country in the 50s there was not much to keep youngsters attracted to the area. Congratulations to the new generations for bringing the beauty and potential for continued growth to such a great little town.
As this older population of which I am a proud member of begins to perish my prayer would be for the conservation of the natual beauty of the San Juan mountians and the home of my favorite comic charactor "Red Ryder" the town of Pagosa Springs.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Good Music

Seeing this music posted on You Tube of the Music filling the mountain air of Pagosa makes me wish I was young and roaming those hills and streams. There was never any such entertainment for folks to enjoy as I was growing up there in the early 50s. The only place to catch any live music was to go to Pine Grove Inn or one of dances at the old Bales one room school house. My favorite place to catch up on the latest tunes of the day was over the AM radio stations late at night. Many nights my father would open my bedroom door and yell turn that thing down! There was great country music stations that came in loud and clear late at night from Del Rio Texas, thats where I memorized the lyrics of many tear jerkers with a country twang. Oh, it wasn't only the country station that keep my ears glued next to the speaker, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Sinatra, Doris Day, Ella, Bennett etc, etc. Even today those tunes can make feet want to get up and swing or hold a sweet smelling girl in my arms and sway to some love song that could bring tears to any eye.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spring Time

Welcome to spring! Once the snow and mud disappear its a wonderful time to get out the camera and go flower hunting. The picture here was taken one spring when I vacationed in Pagosa Springs and took a day trip over Wolf Creek Pass to visit the old mining town of Creede.
As a youngster I never really took the time to smell the flowers or even notice the beauty God placed before me. This time of year to a young boy in the 50s only meant that soon school would be over for the summer. It would be time for finding work for spending money and looking at all of the out of state license plates to figure out who traveled the furtherest.
Thinking back to one of those memorable times when I needed to earn some spending money. Standing on main street, leaning against the rails above the pool hall steps with hands in pocket and hoping some good looking girl would notice me. Suddenly a pick up pulled up and a rough voice called out my name and asked if I wanted to work. Not really knowing what I was agreeing to I was eager to go along with Floyd Bramwell. Floyd needed help on his ranch branding calf's. The only ranch work I had ever done was bailing hay and had no idea what I was in for. I was told that I would be the flanker on a team and had to hold the hind legs while the animal was branded and castrated. The first smell of searing hair and flesh began to turn my stomach and when the other part was done I lost everything I'd eaten for a week. I will always owe a debt of gratitude to all those ranchers who taught me the value of an honest days labor.
I recently read an article in the Durango Herald of the huge land sale of a ranch in Pagosa for
millions of dollars. I was surprised to learn that the same ranch was one I remember being owned by Lucy Turner. After researching the history and seeing how it was transformed from a working ranch to a Paradise for the wealthy I have to agree that "Bootjack Ranch" is a very prestigious beautiful place to visit. Its funny to me that for as long as I can remember tourist have come to San Juan mountains proclaiming its beauty to the world, packing up their belonging and coming to change the very beauty that brought them there in the first place. The wildlife have been driven from there breeding grounds only to learn to forge for food within the city trash bins.
I guess thats why never returned and chose to stay in a concrete forest, my heart breaks every time I visit and see that forest and grazing fields have been taken over by developers. Even fishing and hunting is no longer a sport with all the electronic gadgets to find the poor creatures.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mother's Day

What a beautiful word to give title to the one who suffers a life time for her children. I have been blessed by enjoying the love given by my Mother and the Mother of my children. God, called my loved ones home much too early and as years pass, the empty feeling in my heart never goes away. On this upcoming day of remembrance I hope everyone takes the time to wrap arms around their living Mothers and praise them for all the years of giving.
One day in 1963 I was reminded just how special my Mother was when she was chosen as "Queen for a Day" on a television show. She was chosen for the story she told of the love of my older brother who had lost a leg in a hit and run auto accident while in the Navy. This accident ended his quest for a naval career. She lost a battle with liver disease at age of 65.
The Mother of my children passed away at age 37, no one could really fill those shoes . My children and I still wonder how we made it though so many years without her.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Just Wondering

Thinking back to the time I served in the US Navy, it was the so called cold war era. I was just a fresh kid from high school not even yet a grad and only seventeen. Two older brothers were already serving and knowing I would be draft age soon I chose to leave school and see the world with my Uncle Sam.

For years after I was honorably discharged, I kept getting all these inviting brochures in the mail inviting me to join other Vets and become a member of the American Legion. That really seemed to be an honor I would be happy to accept; however I was rejected for the time frame I served was not warranted. I don't know if any other Cold War Vets feel as I do but it appears to me that my service was not appreciated just because I never came under fire. In order to be recognized for service rendered to the country you must serve in a combat zone. Oh sure I got a medal for "China Service," playing war games with the nationalist Chinese and we found and destroyed old mines around Korea which could have killed us, but my service upon discharge was forgotten.

Even the old wooden hull minesweepers that was home to many MSO sailors are only a memory now. I still love this great country, its military forces and all the citizens who is protected by men and women in uniform who may never see a battle but are ready when called.

Perhaps someday an organization such as the American Legion will honor those who serve regardless of whether time is during a conflict or not.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pagosa Adventure Guide | Margaret Archuleta | Pagosa Springs, Four Corners, Southwest Colorado, Indian and Settlers History in Archuleta County

Pagosa Adventure Guide | Margaret Archuleta | Pagosa Springs, Four Corners, Southwest Colorado, Indian and Settlers History in Archuleta County

Lumber Barons and Timber Pirates

Lumber Barons and Timber Pirates
While researching to try and find photos of Pagosa Springs during my childhood of the 40s and 50s I found some interesting sites and stories posted on web sites. One of the historical stories was of the way the narrow gauge found its way to Pagosa. I remember as a young boy playing in the area of the old narrow gauge train station, using a coal shoot shed as a hideout playing cowboys. The coal shed has long disappeared like so many other memories, it was located on highway 160 at Putt Hill.
One my favorite old time friends Margaret Archuleta did a marvelous job of telling her memories of Pagosa. The Archuleta family were life long friends of my family and Pagosa lost a great patriarch of the comnmunity with her passing.
One of my favorite memories of Margaret was during the big 4th of July celebration in 1965. I had proudly taken my in-laws to Pagosa to see the parade and rodeo. My father-in-law who loved to drink his beer ; sat down in Margaret's bar enjoying a cool one, when one of my old friends thought it would be funny to send a couple of Indian ladies to flirt with him. Little did my father-in-law know that they were quite serious and began bartering to see who would take him home. Margaret,seeing what was happening came to the rescue made them leave him alone. Later in the day my father-in-law left the bar with a cold bottle of beer only to be told by a deputy to get back inside. He always told the story of being thrown into a bar in Pagosa!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Changing Corner

Remembering how the corner of 4th and Lewis was when I was a youngster running across the street for a day of schooling. Lewis street where our house sat was still a gravel road,the land that now houses a gym for the school was a small hotel and grocery store with frozen meat lockers to rent. The owners of the little store would hire high school boys to help dress out deer and elk taken during hunting season. I recall one day when I was helping to prepare some of the game when a pick up pulled up and the carcass in side had shoes on the hoof, some poor farmer lost a mule to a hunter who mistook it for a deer.
Long before my family ever arrived in Colorado there was building on Lewis street across from the gym that once served as the local jail. This was one of my favorite places to play cowboys and Indians. This building was still standing
when I made a trip there in 2000 for a high school reunion. The vacant lot across the street from our house soon became home to the Post Office, which made it real nice for us to get our mail.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Pattys Day

Just looked over a blog titled "All things Pagosa" and was surprised to see that the little town has grown large enough to have a St. Patty's day celebration. The restorations of the buildings downtown leaves very little resemblance to my memory bank. The parade route seems to travel the same way the "Red Ryder Roundup Parade" has for many years. It was refreshing to see so many folks get into the spirit of the day and everyone decked out in green.
Soon the snow will give way to new spring flowers, high school's will be looking for the day of graduation. I hope many of the new grads find a way to continue their education, its their generation that we must put our trust in to make this world a better place for everyone, long after us old timers have gone to greener pastures.
I sure don't ever want to see this country go back to having to rely on such things and tokens and stamps to get by.

These are samples of the way things were when all Americans had to give up simple things like sugar and gas, my Mother made sure such things were kept as a reminder of the price of freedom.

I see also from posting of Pagosa that music is still alive in the mountains with bluegrass bands performing along with other types of festivals. We never had such things to entertain us, we did manage to have a shin dig now and then. There was an old one room school house long abandoned that served as a dance hall and when there weren't local musicians a stack of vinyl records did the trick. The only advertisement that a dance would be going on at Bales School was by word of mouth, but it always got filled up. The grown ups would pack up their spirits of choke cherry wine, all kinds of goodies to eat. Those we cared for more spirited drinks would make many trips to their supply in the trunk of the cars. If there was not dance at the Bales then the next best thing would be at "The Pine Grove Inn" but getting in could be tricky if you weren't of drinking age. I always seemed to find me a chaperon to promise to keep me out of trouble if they let me in, I always hung out next to the band stand enjoying that good old country music.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Liberty Theater Stories

After the old theater was sold to Albert Petry, things began to change for Pagosa's rowdy teenagers. The Saturday afternoon double feature matinees that used to be so much fun and could become an adventure of pure bravery. Just when all attention would be focused on the screen action or smelling the perfume on the girl sitting next to you,you just might feel a tap on the shoulder or on a shin if your feet rested on the seat in front. Mr Petry took on the job as the town moral Marshall and anyone attending had better tow the line or feel his walking cane. He didn't mind pulling an ear lobe either if he thought boys were getting fresh with the girls.
Buying a soda was nothing like today's concession stands. Ten cents bought a bottle of soda which was then poured into a paper cup to make sure the bottles never entered the seating area.
Janitorial duties after shows were done by those lucky enough to hold a job as collecting tickets or working the concession stand. Sometimes the loose change found under seats was more than an hourly wage, but then you might find other treasures, like half consumed wine bottles,coats,wallets,diapers etc.
Being the only source of entertainment, no matter what picture was showing there was always a gathering for the weekend shows. I'm sure many high school romances blossomed before intermission of the double feature. The little stage in front of the screen served as a treasure trove of gifts during Saturday raffles promoted by local merchants. I came real close to winning a bicycle but came in second to Johnny Madrid.
I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Petry and his family, he never failed to greet me with a smile as he stood leaning on his cane in front the Liberty. He was always willing to give a young boy a job and teach the value of honest days labor. As a young man returning home on military leave Mr. Petry was always the first to greet me as I stepped off the the Trailways bus in front of the Theatre.
I would only hope that one day the city will find it worthwhile to honor these old buildings with some sort of historical marker of importance.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

If Walls Could Talk

In comparing views of photos taken of downtown Pagosa Springs in a span of fifty plus years the thought occurred of marvelous stories these buildings could tell. Lets look at the Metropolitan hotel est. in 1919 with it newly decorated face to attract fun loving tourist.
The Liberty Theater, previously known as the Mesa was a beacon of hope to the Willett family when they moved there in 1944. This little theater served as a place of employment for every member of that family from time to time. Herman with his background in motion picture operations became the projectionist and passed on his trade to the eldest son. Every member of this family worked every facet of this operation from tickets to janitorial duties.
The Hotel itself has seen so many changes over the years, if only those walls could talk. The Lobby has served as a post office, a Trailways Bus Station, a restaurant, a ice cream parlor, and once housed a local physician.
When the post office moved out an ice cream parlor opened and a serving window was cut into the wall adjoining the theater so patrons could be served at either concession area. The restaurant was once proudly operated by a fellow every knew a "fuzzy Guzzy."
the prices for the time period must have been reasonable, this was my first recollection eating in a restaurant.
Dr. Anderson had a room on the 2nd floor that served as his quarters and office. I recall an episode as a young boy developing hemorrhoids from lifting bales of hay too heavy for my size. My father took me see Doc Anderson, he took one look at problem and told my dad to go get a couple men down it pool hall. It took all them to hold me down he gave me in injection and sent me home with a pillow to sit on. I don't know what his remedy was but the problem never reoccurred!
As one would approach the hotel entrance from the street and looked to the left a metal railing and staircase led to local billiards hall,a place mother called the devils den. Along with all the games played on pool tables there was also a table tennis section where tournaments in the art of ping pong were held. One room was for card games and games of rummy could last until wee hours of the morning. Every young high school er had dreams of becoming a great billiard player like Minnesota Fats. The proprietor "Curly O'neal" was willing to teach but only if parents gave permission, other wise a person had to be eighteen years of age.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Seems like every thing in time becomes obsolete even these old vessels that house our souls. I have a difficult time dealing with this modern technology that changes more often than the weather.
My favorite thing to pass the time of day is trying to be creative with photos and scrap booking. I recently decided to upgrade and get a new computer with more memory and one of those slim monitors that is comparable to a flat screen TV. Little did I know that by doing this some of my programs would not be compatible with the windows 7 operating system. My favorite program was Microsoft Picture It Publishing, It seems that Microsoft does not deem it necessary to upgrade this one the new operating system. Oh, sure lots of extra goodies are added to Windows 7 but I have yet to find a photo publishing program as good as what I was used to. All the extra goodies added to Windows 7 are on a trial basis so you like them be ready to whip out that old credit card.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Random Thoughts

While preparing to enjoy the winter Olympics and seeing the taping of "We are the world" I couldn't help but wonder if these words really have true meaning in this messed up world we live in today. Not a day goes by when some headlines are depicting how either political party is hurting this country. Its always easier to point fingers and play the blame came than to say "lets put our ideas together and work things out."
At least for a period of time now we can all focus on something in common, the greatness of athletes around the world and then look forward to spring training of the MLB while still cheering for our favorite teams of basketball, soccer etc.
There seems to be enough turmoil and strife throughout the world, earthquakes, freezing snow storms,rain, drought,wars and the worst enemy of all GREED, so if there is a higher power as I believe we better all try to learn to get along.
Congrats to all the athlete's of the winter Olympics, I must say my heart was filled with pride every time I cheered on Team USA.
The older I get the more sentimental I get. Being away for half a century from the little place in Colorado that I proudly call my home town, I keep searching for some resemblance to the past. Thanks to today's technology I can turn on a piece of electronics and view movies or still pictures that the present day residents love to share with the world. I must say though, the beauty that these modern day devices display makes me wonder if I really lived in the same place. Its amazing how many videos are posted online promoting tourist and developers to come bring your life's savings, big city ideas, kill the game, cut the trees, change the rivers, its no wonder that the senior population now consists of retires from other parts of the world. They came with loaded wallets and like a magician made the real historians disappear.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Time Changes Everything

While trying to keep from feeling like an old bear in hibernation during the past deluge of rain, I decided to drag out some old photo albums and put together a memory slide show to share with the up coming generations.

Being a sentimental old fool, the blood shot eyes began to tear up when I ran across a photo of one of my favorite places to hang out as a young boy, my grandmothers house. This was the place where the aroma of old fashioned home cooking was always an open invitation. A young boy could always expect a handout when asking "Mom, can I do some chores for spending money?" knowing that a quarter would slip into my pocket without having to do anything.

This photo is the property where my grandparents home was in the 1950s. It was located on the north side of US 160 at McCabe creek. The auto parts store is where the garage was and a two story apartment was behind. The house was approx. 50 yds east of the present store. The hill in the background once housed the local school until it burned down in early 1900s. The land on top of the hill belonged to Buck and Nellie O'Neal who had two boys. Many adventures were enjoyed playing with those boys on the hill.
The water from McCabe creek ran under a bridge on US 160 and behind a big red barn across the street belonging to an early pioneer "Ed Speelman." The place where he cleaned his horse stalls near the creek was a perfect place to find feisty little red worms in the manure to lure a rainbow trout onto my fishing hook. It was under that bridge that I caught me 14 inch trout and proudly took it my grandmother who made sure I got my share for supper.
Yes its true time changes everything and now all that is left is memories and faded photos.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Where's The Ark??

Be careful what you pray for you just might get it! This golden state of sunshine has been in a drought and people were being fined for watering their yards, now it looks like someones prayers were answered but who ever is charge up there forgot to turn off the faucet. I"m just real grateful to be an old timer who don't have to get out in the rain to punch a clock anymore.
Being shut in has given me time to tackle a project on computer. Many attempts at capturing my old family photos into a slide show I could share or hand down to grand kids was getting the best of nerves but I think I finally mastered it. After recently acquiring a new computer and printer I thought my problems would be solved until I discovered my favorite photo program was not compatible with the new operating system. After using up all the colorful language I could muster I decided maybe I better just learn to deal with the programs that came bundled. Being a stubborn old fool has now brought forth good fruit, I now have a slide show with background music that brings tears to these old eyes.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

By The Numbers

Well, old father time has turned the page on yesterday and now we can all wonder just what changes the new year will see.
As for me I'll just wait and see if I can add up more failures to my life span. I remember growing up and hearing my grandfather say, "get your hands out of your pocket"," or you're never goin' to amount to a hill of beans." After surviving for over half a century and looking back at my past failures, I see maybe he had the foresight into my future.
Back in my early teen years living in Pagosa Springs, my attempts to be accepted along with my peers found me only getting into trouble. Maybe the hormones were growing faster than the brain and looking for that magic bullet to strengthen the nerves lead me straight to the liquor bottle.
If only I could turn back the years and have the courage to say no to tobacco and beer, I would not have broken my Mother's heart or embarrassed my family. Many adventures found me letting the beer do my thinking for me, like the time I must have made some remark to a fellow on crutches that he didn't like. We were at the wildest night spot in Pagosa, a place by the name of "Pine Grove Inn," standing in the parking lot. I had no Idea what I was being accused of saying so when I denied it , I got beat to a bloody pulp by a cripple on crutches. I wouldn't fight back because he was crippled., big failure! My face was such a mess none of my so called friends wanted to be around me. All I have is memories of the the place called the bloody bucket or "Pine Grove', like many other landmarks it has disappeared. That was also the sight of a terrible auto accident that took the lives of four of my high school friends.
The last episode was at the age of 16. Both brothers had gone off and joined the Navy. Feeling lonely and sorry for myself I got into a car with some older boys who were celebrating a huge Elk Kill and the car was filled with all kinds of booze. After consuming so much, I got sick and ask them to pull over at a place called the "Y" where US160 and US89 merge. While heaving my guts out a car pulled behind and I thought it was more high school kids but it turned out to be the highway patrol. After a short pursuit we all ended up in the local jail for a few hours but the episode ended with a court hearing and fines issued. My punishment was to pay off my fine by sweeping the streets in "Jail" overalls after school and cleaning the drunk tank in the jail on the week-ends. Seeing all my school friends watch as I swept the street was bad enough but my Mother bless her heart worked at the bank and could see me from her desk. I couldn't wait to see my birthday roll around and talked my Dad into signing for me to join the navy. I missed walking down the isle to graduate with my classmates.
Military leaves and vacations always found me making it back to good old Pagosa, mostly during the summer months to attend the 4th of July celebrations. The "Red Ryder Roundup" was not only a favorite of mine but all of my in-laws. My parents never mentioned my troublesome teen years but I have always felt ashamed for what they went through.
I was really blessed when I fell in love and started a family as a young man, loosing the Mother of my children after only 18years left a big void in my heart. I've had many failures in my life since but the good Lord has been good to me and helped me steer this old ship on a much straighter course with extended families, so for those who read this, Happy Trails and many more Happy New Years.