Friday, March 9, 2012

June 1964 - Looking for a summer job...

I concluded yesterday's post with these lines:

When we arrived there, we were applicants numbers 95 and 96 to apply for jobs.... that day!!!  

And we were told there were no jobs for any of us!!!
The story continues...

Though it seemed nearly hopeless, we filled out application forms and walked back onto the street.  What good that did I don't really know because we had no way of any prospective employer to locate us.  Of course there were no cell phones and since we didn't have a place of residence yet, we had no contact info.  We must have left the office promising to return often for updates on local job openings.  We were advised by the office personnel that our only way to find a job would be to walk into all local establishments, introduce ourselves and ask if there were any job openings.  Maybe in time there would be something.
Our most pressing need at the moment, however, was to find a place to spend the night and the foreseeable future.  

I can't remember how much money we had between us but it wasn't much - probably about $20.00.

The travel route we had taken to get to Estes Park had taken us by train from near our farm home to Madison, WI.  The passenger train for Madison stops in Columbus, WI where Madison bound passengers get off and board a bus to Madison.  

In Madison, we joined a few Inter-Varsity friends who were driving to Colorado Springs in order to attend a 3- wk conference at Bear Trap Ranch.  That camp grounds is 18 miles (over an hour's drive) into the mountains above the Springs.  

We could have attended that conference but we didn't have the financial means to pay for the cost of it and we assumed it would be wise to get to Estes Park as soon as possible in order to find a job and start making money.  

We arrived at Bear Trap Ranch in the afternoon of probably June 12th or 13th.  We were able to spend the night and get a meal and a ride into town the next morning where we were taken to the Greyhound Bus station.

We had the name of a family who lived in Boulder, CO - outside of Denver.  This family was related to a family we knew quite well in our home church in Winona, MN.  We had been assured that they would welcome us and give us a place to spend an overnight if we needed it.  I can't actually remember if we called ahead to alert them to our planned arrival or if we called them from the Bounder bus station when we arrived there.  However it happened, they did pick us up and took us in for a couple of days.  They were kind and friendly and showed us around Boulder.

Their hospitality meant a great deal to us as we had definitely embarked on an adventure for which we were nearly totally unprepared.

  • We were from a dairy farm family - that means you milk cows morning and evening 365 days of each year.  There is not freedom to be away from the cows even if you had money for such an opportunity which our family did not.
    Our farm in later years - still picturesque and stately
  • We attended church 3 times a week and drove 7 miles from the farm to our church - Lakeside Evangelical Free Church, Winona, MN.  
    Lakeside Evangelical Free Church - no longer used as a church
  • My sisters and I were a singing trio at Lakeside during our high school years - L-R Barbara, Kathleen & Linda
  • We had attended a one-room country school with about 24 - 26 other farm kids;
    My family outside Cross Ridge School when we attended a reunion in June 2009
  • Cross Ridge School classmates who gathered for a reunion in June 2009 - same blackboard we had in the 1950's
  • there were 43 in my high school graduating class;
  • but I had spent a year with 5000 other freshmen at the University of WI in Madison.  
  • Our family had attended some family reunions with a 75 mile drive to those destinations - between milking times
  • but we had never been on a family vacation; 
  • never spent a night in a motel; 
  • slept in a tent at Bible camp;
  • had only eaten a few meals at an A&W Root Beer Stand
  • and once at a newly opened McDonald's
I do not remember being afraid as we began our trip to CO.  I'm quite sure I was confident and optimistic.  I trusted God and knew we would find something waiting for us in Estes Park.

We would learn later that our mother wept as she watched us board the train and leave.  She had done her best to try to locate summer jobs for us closer to home but to no avail.  She spent many sleepless nights praying and worrying about our well being.   

Inter-Varsity had a summer program at that time which trained students who attended the Bear Trap Ranch June conference to be Christ's ambassadors on their campuses and among their friends and in whatever relationships they were able to establish while being employed.  Students who were at Bear Trap Ranch in June, would arrive in Estes Park at the end of their training.  They would locate jobs and begin to share their faith with new friends.  An Inter-Varsity staff member/s would be with them to encourage and mentor/disciple these college kids.  It seemed like a wonderful plan but without the money for the June conference, that program was not within our reach.

The girl who had told me about her waitress job in Estes Park, had been part of this program the year before.

There was an elderly woman known as Mom Manford, who lived in Estes Park.  She had been a missionary in Siam which is now, Thailand.  She had a Bunk House and a cottage on her property.  The Inter-Varsity group would stay in that housing when they arrived from Bear Trap Ranch around the 4th of July.

We had been given Mom Manford's name and address during our stopover at Bear Trap Ranch.  We had been told that she might offer us a place to stay if we showed up at her door.

With her name and address, hope in our hearts and the need for a bed for the night, we headed off in the direction of her home on the south east edge of town.

Until tomorrow...

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