Saturday, October 26, 2013

6. First Day in Estes Park, CO... June 16, 1964...

"The bus ticket to Denver is $2.20."  
This was the last line in yesterday's post.
It is June 16, 1964.  
I am 19 years old.  
I have just finished my freshman year of college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
I am about to board a bus in Colorado Springs which will take my sister, Kathy, and me to Denver as we wend our way to Estes Park where we hope to find lucrative jobs so that we can save money to help pay our college expenses for the next year.   
Letters I wrote home to my parents which my mother saved are helping me tell my story.

Tuesday, June 16...
"...We got to Denver fine but found out there wasn't a bus leaving for Estes until 9:00am this morning. 
I called Gene's (an adult friend from our home church) sister, (Nadine), and she invited us out there for the night so we took a cab out there.  They have 5 children;... One of the boys was scheduled to have some surgery on his hand this morning in Boulder so Nadine had to take him to the hospital Mon. afternoon - came back about 8:30 at night. 
 "We went to Boulder with her this morning and caught the bus to Estes from there about 10:00am.  The trip was extremely beautiful as we went through the mountains... 

"We got to Estes about 12:15.  We left our luggage at the bus station, got something to eat and then went to the employment bureau.  We filled out job applications but there weren't any specific jobs available so we started walking the streets. 

"First of all, though, we got directions to Mrs. Manford's.  She is a spry, 90 yr old lady who has a bunk house and cabins...  We found her place and are now staying in her bunk house for $.50 / nite.  She also gave us bedding.  It's nothing very great.  It's just a little old shack which everyone would probably laugh at if they could see it but right now, the beds sure look great and it's nice to have a place to stay.  We can stay here until July 6th when we'll probably have to be out to make room for the other kids coming from BTR then. 
"After we got lodging settled we started out on our trek around town.  It's a beautiful place.  Jobs are scarce though.  Most everyone has all the help they need right now but several places told us to come back in a couple days.  We did find several possibilities though.  One motel might need a girl to clean and will probably know tomorrow for sure.  That job would pay $100.00 per mo. + R&B.  There's also a store which is waiting to hire 6 girls from BTR when they come which we will look into tomorrow.  This job would be about $40.00 per week. 
"The swankiest Hotel here needs a girl to iron.  I will probably look into this job as the manager of this hotel told us to come back within a few days to see if he would need some waitresses.  He only hires girls with experience and was also pleased to hear we were IV girls.  I figure if I ironed there I would hear when they were needing waitresses.  
"The fellow who drove the taxi to take our things from the bus depot to Manford's also told us of a store which needed some clerks so that's another job for tomorrow.  Right now though we're almost dead and our legs are ready to drop off but we're praying for something definite tomorrow.  
"It's sorta hard being here all alone and not really knowing anybody but all the people we've talked to sure seem nice and I'm certain things will work out.  It's good we're both here though or I'm afraid neither of us would have gone on this far.  I'm sure we won't forget this trip and our experiences for a long time.  
"We found out they have a good Baptist Church here... We're looking forward to going there.
"The address on the envelope is Mrs. Manford's and we can get our mail with hers until we move somewhere else if we do.  We'll sure be waiting to hear from you - send all our other mail as well.
"I've got to scribble a note to John now and then get some sleep.  Will write again soon.  Love, Lee"
 My family calls me "Lee".  I think my brother was unable to pronounce "Linda" when I was born and he said something that sounded like "LeeLee".  Somehow that nickname stuck and was eventually shortened to "Lee".  But that name has only been used by family.  Now I have a granddaughter named Joanna Lee so I decided my Grandchildren should call me "Grandma Lee".  In this way, Joanna Lee will know for whom she's named - and the name will stay in the family.

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