Continuing the story...
It would be Aug. 21st before I would write another letter home to my parents. My previous letter was dated July 31st. What was going on for me in Estes Park during my silent three weeks?
As I have explained earlier, housing was provided for the summer employees of Ranchouse Restaurant. College girls were waitresses; college guys were busboys. The girls lived in rooms in the basement of the restaurant owner's year round home which was next door to the restaurant. The boys lived in a room above the detached garage which was also on the property.
We college students had a curfew. We were to be in our rooms for the night at 11:00 pm. The restaurant closed at 10:00 pm so there wasn't much time after all the final clean-up was completed before the curfew began. Perhaps some employees could leave early if there weren't many patrons still needing service but some employees were on duty until all was cleaned and prepared for opening the next morning about 10:00 am.
On the night of August 1st or 2nd, all the waitresses and busboys except me, decided to sneak out after curfew and go partying. This was probably about 6 or 8 people. It seems some of them had done this before but the habit seemed to be increasing amongst these college kids. I must have gone to bed on my bottom bunk as was my routine.
Sometime around 2:30 am, I began to hear racket as girls were returning to their rooms. One of the girls shared a room with me and slept in a double bed rather than a bunk bed. Soon I was more widely awakened by noises she was making while thrashing and throwing up in her bed. I got up to see what I could do to help her. She was already so bound in her sheets that it took awhile for me to get her unwrapped and into the bathroom down the hall. Another girl was also sick and in our small bathroom as I arrived there with my roommate. Both of these girls continued to be sick for quite some time. I would get the floors cleaned up just in time for more sickness. For an hour or more, I changed sheets, cleaned up inebriated girls and mopped floors. I knew we needed to be quiet or we would wake the owner upstairs but being quiet was not an option.
The middle of the night disturbance had been heard upstairs. It would not be ignored.
The Ranchouse owner was infuriated! She opened the basement door about 5:00 am and came defiantly and loudly down the stairs. Maybe most of us were back in our beds and asleep by then but the presence and ultimatum of our boss sharply awakened all of us.
Her words cut deep into my head, heart, mind and emotions.
"YOU ARE ALL FIRED!!!"
"PACK YOUR THINGS AND GET OUT!!!"
"EVERYONE OF YOU!!!"
I'm sure I immediately responded with a protest stating my innocence in the extremely offensive behavior of the others during the night. But the verdict was pronounced on all of us including me. Though I hadn't gone out with the others after curfew, I was accused of other apparently equally obnoxious behavior in the kitchen when talking with the cooks. What was said of me used words I didn't understand, had never heard before and which I was certain were not true. But I was sentenced along with the offenders.
I packed my things, waited for 7:00 am, then placed a call to Joyce Bennett.
My voice cracked and broke as I began to speak after Joyce answered the phone. She listened only long enough to hear the beginning of my stammering story. She knew what I needed before I could ask. She stopped me in mid sentence and said,
"Don't say another thing. I'm coming to get you."
She came to get me. Loaded my things. Didn't ask questions. Put me into her car and took me to her home. When we got there, she said,
"Don't tell me anything more. What you need is sleep. I'm putting you to bed. We'll talk when you wake up!"
What would I have done without Joyce Bennett? I know God put her into my path for the summer of 1964 because He knew what experiences I would have. He knew I would need someone to take care of me and my exhausted, wounded and disheartened body and soul.
I crawled into Joyce's hide-a-bed and slept soundly and safely for most of the day.
This is probably August 2nd or 3rd and someone else is on his way to Estes Park with his new bride.
How will I break this awful news to him? Certainly he will be so disappointed in me. And what am I going to do now?
More of the story next time...