Monday, October 28, 2013

7. Happy Father's Day from Estes Park, CO...June 18, 1964...

I have been in Estes Park, CO for two days.  My sister and I are searching for summer jobs as waitresses in order to make money to pay for college.

We are 1,200 miles from home...
  • no car
  • no personal phone
  • no friends or family nearby
  • $14 between the 2 of us 
  • both have really bad colds
  • beds in a bunkhouse with no heat or hot water or kitchen
  • nighttime temperatures are in the 30's to low 40's
  • broken window beside our beds allows cold breezes to keep us chilled
  • but we are actively searching every business in town as we seek employment
I wrote a number of letters to my parents and I continue with some quotes from a letter I sent my Dad for Father's Day that year...

   Thursday Morn.  June 18, 1964             
Dear Dad,
"It seems funny to be so far from home...  Time goes rather slowly out here, right now anyway.  I sure do hope we get jobs soon as I'm sure that will make the time go faster.  I'm not really worried though because I'm sure it was the Lord's will that we come out here.  Maybe we'll get something today.
"It sure was good to be in a good prayer meeting and Bible Study group last night at the Baptist Church.  The spirit was real good and everyone seems real friendly.  They all mentioned they'd be thinking of us if they heard of any jobs.
A post card sent home to share a glimpse of the Rocky Mountain beauty surrounding Estes Park..
"I sure wish you could all see the place we're living in.  We really could use a camera..  there are so many beautiful scenes I would like to take a picture of...
Another post card showing Longs Peak, elevation 14,235...
"Have a happy Father's Day.  We will certainly be thinking of you especially Sunday.  It's a real comfort to us to know that you as well as the rest of the family are holding us up in prayer.  Right now we appreciate prayer more than ever.  It seems wonderful to be able to talk to the Lord about all of our problems and I certainly thank you and Mom for introducing me to the Lord and for teaching me the importance of reading His word and talking to him personally each day.  Will write again soon.  Love, Lee"
 We didn't have success that day.
 
As Friday arrived, we had been gone from home for a week.  On train, by car and bus, we had traveled the 1,200 miles from our farm home in WI to a beautiful resort town in Colorado.  I had gotten to know a gal during my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who had worked the previous summer in Estes Park.  She had saved $600.00 and that seemed to me to be a fortune.  (Inflation Calculator says $600 in 1964 is = to $4,526.65 today.)  I needed to pay most of my own way for college and I needed between $800 - $900 to cover room, board and tuition.

Before leaving for Estes Park, our mother had vigorously helped us search for summer jobs closer to home but there were no options.  I was just sure we would find jobs, save money and be safe if we were able to get to Estes Park.  Youth, naivety, courage, confidence in God and an adventuresome spirit inspired me to tackle the dream which had been swirling in my inexperienced persona.

Now reality was meeting the dream.  We were only 2 among hundreds of college students searching for jobs.  Our only mode of transportation was our feet.  We had to walk everywhere we searched.  And when an employer told us he would know more in a few days, we had no way to call him so we returned on foot and often learned he needed even more time before he knew if he was adding or changing any employees.  It seems that the summer of 1964 was off to an unusually cold start.  That was affecting the tourist business.  Without customers, business owners did not need employees.

So it was that my next letter home reveals that my high hopes, confidence and dream may be in jeopardy.
                                                               Fri. June 19, 1964
Dear Folks,
"I don't really know how to begin this letter.  I'm afraid I won't be able to express myself as I would really like to but I'll try.  I was hoping I'd never have to write this kind of a letter but I'm afraid that now it is necessary..."
The letter and story will continue tomorrow.

2 comments:

Linda said...

Love it.

Rene R Ortega said...

I feel so bad that you had it so rough back in those days while I was roaming around Hawaii.