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Chapter 11
The Good Years
Part 2

Maria, the pottery maker of the tribe, had a son who had a store on the square where they sold the pottery made by the tribe. Here Erwin and I bought one of Desiderie's vases. Desiderie is Maria's sister. The Copman's bought their wares for their store also. Mr. Copman asked the son how his mother was. He told us that he and she had just returned from Boston where his mother had given a talk in Indian and he had translated it into English. The occasion for the trip was to award Maria a gold medal for rediscovering how the tribe had made black pottery and discovering how to make the designs on the pottery. 

He said his mother was home and for us to go see her. Mr. Copman was well acquainted with Maria so he took us to see this Indian woman of world fame who spoke Indian, Spanish and English. The visit was very pleasant. She showed us her working table and tools she used in making the pottery. The last time I was at Philbrook Museum in Tulsa there was a large vase on display which she had made. It was called an Indian name meaning "she with the big hips." We felt very fortunate in being able to see and talk with her. 

We drove to Los Alamos, but at that time only persons working and living there were allowed to go inside. Los Alamos was a restricted area due to its top secret government work. It was a nice drive and we could see enough of the city to keep it in our minds. We went up into the mountains where the Chimago Indians live. They weave beautiful carpets, throws for dresses and the like. The river bed formed many of the streets. Houses stood on high land on each side of the deep narrow bed. Mr. Copman noticed clouds forming and said, "We have to get down off this mountain. These roads carry the water down the mountain and it gets high and swift." 

We hurried down, but, as we looked back toward the mountain, we could see dark heavy clouds and plenty of rain. On this trip going up the mountain we saw many very small churches on individual farms. I guess you could call them farms, but they were not like farms I'm used to seeing. We drove back to Santa Fe and Mr. Copman took us to the museum. We could have spent a whole day here, but, because of transportation, we had to get back to our hotel. We stayed at the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe. It was close to the town square. 

About a half block east of the hotel was a Catholic church. This church and this school Maria had attended as a girl. A yearly trek from this church to the San Miguel Mission in Santa Fe (founded in 1621) is made. This is a religious ceremony of returning a statue of Christ, I believe, from the church by the La Fonda to the Santa Miguel church. We were fortunate to witness this procedure from the sidewalk in front of the La Fonda. The men carrying the statue were first and were followed by many more men . Then many women and children followed. It was a long procession and very interesting. My cousin Leona and her husband were building a new mortuary in Santa Fe. 

It was to the stage where it could be used, but it was not finished. Alan, Leona's husband, was in Santa Fe at the time and called us. He came and got us and we went to see the mortuary. He offered us a car to drive, but, as neither of us drove, we thanked him and refused. The mortuary had two chapels--one for Protestants and others and one especially built for Catholics. This was a beautiful chapel, but I had never seen one so elaborately equipped before. 

Charles was inventing and designing instruments for measuring thickness of pipe, fluid level in tanks and many things mostly controlled by radium, later cobalt. He had been asked to design some sort of instrument which required his going to Boulder, Colorado, for a meeting. Erwin took his vacation at this time and we three were going to travel as soon as Charles finished his meeting in Boulder which took only one day. Frances and Harry had a son Greg, 4 1/2 years old, a daughter Marilyn, 3 years old, and a premature baby Alan, born February 20, 1954. 

The maid that helped Frances had moved to Chicago leaving her in a bind since I was planning to go on vacation. Erwin, Charles, and I talked it over the day before we were to leave and decided to ask Frances if we could take Greg with us. He was old enough to get a chair and get on it to unlock the screen door at the top. This posed problems as Frances couldn't take care of the baby and try to keep the children from going outside. Marilyn couldn't reach the lock. We took Greg with us. As we left Tulsa, Greg wanted to know why we hadn't taken Marilyn since there was plenty of room. I told him she would get homesick. 

He wanted to know what homesick was. I explained that she would want to go home and would cry . We left Tulsa around 6 p.m. Because this was typical August weather with high temperatures, we decided night driving might be cooler. Greg was beginning to get tired so I took him on my lap and started singing "The Old Gray Mare Ain't What She Used to Be." Greg looked up at me and asked, "What was she, Grandma?" We drove all night and decided to go across the Royal Gorge bridge. Greg wanted to ride the open cars down to the bottom of the Gorge; however I was afraid he would be too active. This trip we crossed the Royal Gorge at the top by way of the bridge; in 1919, Lenore and I rode an open top touring train car through the Gorge at the bottom of it along the river. 

We drove to Colorado Springs and got a motel room. Erwin and Charles were so tired that they slept for several hours that day. Since the weather was beautiful, I was able to keep Greg busy outdoors. When I gave him his bath that night, he began to cry. I asked what was the matter. He said, "I'm homesick." I told him to start walking if he thought he could get home. He started laughing. He was just showing me he understood what homesick meant. I knew he would be all right because I had had him enough that he was content to be with us. 

From Colorado Springs, where we had gone to the Garden of the Gods, the outdoor theater -Seven Falls, and to the top of the mountain where a train engine was, we went to Denver and got a motel room that we made headquarters while we toured the surrounding places of interest, such as Estes Park. Next we went to Boulder where Charles was to have his meeting. Erwin and I took Greg to the town square where he could run and play while we sat and watched him. After Charles was finished, we went to see the Flat Iron rocks. They are high flat rocks standing so that the flat part is horizontal. 

The rocks are beautifully colored. Again we drove on to Salida and stayed a couple of days with my cousin Lucille. Charles bought Greg a pair of boots here. He had bought a color movie camera at Estes Park so that we could take pictures along the way. The clean, high altitude seemed to make the pictures unusually good. We went home by the way of Monarch Pass. Here we stopped at the top of the road on the pass where people parked their cars and climbed on to the top. Charles took Greg and made the climb. Erwin and I decided we would stay at the turnout place. We could watch them make the climb. 

Greg had climbed every rock pile he could find. When they got back to the car, the boots were pretty well shot. We stopped at a spring coming out of the side of the mountain like a water faucet The water was good, also cold. We drove on to Melrose and took the "Million Dollar Highway" to Durango. This was a treacherous drive. Where the road had lost dirt on the outside, just hash marks showed us that the holes were there. At Ouray, we stopped at a river cutting through the rocks, a rather swift river. I held onto Greg's hand having had two experiences keeping him from doing dangerous things. 

This time it was Charles I was worried about as he climbed down on a rock near the river's edge and took pictures of the water coming through the rock At Estes Park on the Trail Ridge Drive over the mountain snow was piled about four feet high. We put Greg up onto the snow bank along the road to take his picture. He took off having fun. We were very relieved when we got him back on the highway. From then on when we were where it was dangerous, I held his hand. 

Coming from Boulder to Salida we stopped at a rest stop. A swift mountain stream was there. I held Greg's hand as I had already experienced the snow bit. Greg could swim and wasn't afraid of water, but this mountain stream was different. The sun shines very bright and makes you think the water would feel warm, but it actually it is icy cold. As we walked by the stream, Greg would have jumped in had I not had hold of his hand. He asked me, "Why not? My daddy lets me swim." We stopped at a motel in Durango for the night and started for home early the next morning. 

We got to Amarillo, Texas, around dusk intending to stop for the night. Greg asked, " Are there any more mountains?" To which I answered, "No." "Let's go on home then," he said. Charles said, "1 believe that's a good deal, Greg." As he did all the driving, that meant 24 hours on the road, but he decided to try it. With a few rest stops and plenty of coffee we made it to Tulsa about six the next morning. We went through Santa Fe on this trip. I do not remember from where but we went to the town square and at one of the stores facing the square bought Marilyn a dress. Patty and Frank were married June 4,1953; Vicki was born March 23,1954. Debra was due in June, 1955. 

Margaret and Charles were to be married on the 25th of June. Harry and Frances and their three children were going to Benton for the marriage. Erwin and I were sweating it out wondering whether the baby would be born so that we could go with Harry and his family. Debra was obliging and arrived June 23, 1955 letting us attend the wedding as planned. We drove to Benton, Arkansas on the 24th. With 3 children we made more stops than we would have had to if all had been adults. We got there toward night and had our first meeting with Margaret's folks. The wedding was beautiful as was the reception. Margaret had her car in Benton. Charles did also. 

Frances drove Margaret's car back with Marilyn, Alan, and me in it Erwin and Greg came back in Harry and Frances's car which Harry drove. Trying to keep track of each car slowed us down. Margaret had been teaching in Wilson Ir. High that year. This is the junior high school which all three of our boys attended. Some of the teachers who had taught the boys were still there. She got a pretty good history of the boys' junior high lives. Erwin and I made many short trips with Margaret and Charles and their twins Scott and Carolyn. The two trips to San Angelo, Texas to visit her father, Mr. Robertson, and his family were two of the most enjoyable ones. 

When her sister Ian was married (Ian was only seven years old when Margaret and Charles were married), we went to her wedding with Margaret, Charles and the twins who were then about ten years old. It took us about 14 hours to make the drive. This southern part of Texas was new to both Erwin and me. The small trees looked more like shrubs. There were acres of these trees. When we were there, they were void of leaves. I believe they are called mesquite. The cities and towns were new to us also. When we reached San Angelo, the flowers were beautiful. We were invited to the rehearsal dinner also and all of us had a chance to "size" up each other. 

Erwin gave the grace before the dinner. Ian's future mother-in-law, Mrs. Long, had said, "Dad will say grace." Erwin thought she said, "Mr. Schad will say grace." Usually Erwin was not one to offer to do such honors, but in this case he went ahead. Later he commented that he had been surprised that Mrs. Long (Io) had asked him without any previous hint that she intended to. None of us ever revealed to Erwin that he was actually second choice. The twins were very good through all the various activities and we were very proud of the way Scott and Carolyn conducted themselves. The wedding went off in good shape and we stayed a few days afterwards and were able to tour the area. 

Whereas Tulsa has many Indians, San Angelo has many Mexicans. Margaret's stepmother Jo is a very likeable person and really showed us the works. Margaret's mother died when she was seven years old. The relationship between Margaret and Jo was good and Jan is, in feelings, her own sister. We went to a steak house out of town a ways. Here you ordered for the number in your party -- not for each individual, and a large platter of steak is served plus a platter of baked potatoes plus a huge bowl of salad plus hot bread. We couldn't have possibly eaten all of this meal. We also went to a cafeteria in a senior citizens' apartment building. 

We watched some of the occupants take more than they could eat so that they could take home enough for their next meal. In this cafeteria you paid a flat rate and served yourself. Our next trip to Colorado was with Frank and his family. At this time Vicki was four years old, Debra was three, and Kristi was two. Erwin's sister and her daughter Jackie had moved to Denver because Jackie had been transferred by Gulf Oil, the company she worked for. Roy, Nelda's son, and his family lived in Arvada, a Denver suburb. Nelda had been a widow since 1941. Her husband Jim had been struck by lightning. 

He was a Public Service employee and was up in a tree when a storm came up very quickly. Actually there was only one cloud to be seen. Harry and Charles had seen it on their way to an afternoon movie. I was talking to Nelda on the phone at the time when she said two people were at her door and she had to hang up. The two people had come to tell her about Jim's accident and to tell her that they were taking care of arrangements at their funeral home. 

She was very upset because they had a policy with Moore's Funeral Home. These people did not want to release the body, but they had to. It reminded me of the ambulance chasers. We left Tulsa about 6:30 p.m. and drove all night again because of the summer heat. Frank put the luggage and whatnot on half of the car floor of the back seat giving the girls a place to stretch out. I sat in back with them and Erwin sat in front with Frank and Patty. 

The children slept well, except for Debra who was wide awake every time we went through a town that had a stop sign or whenever we had to stop for gas. We made better time than we had expected and arrived in Denver about 5 a.m. We ate breakfast and drove around until about 8:00. Erwin and I stayed with Nelda and Jackie and Frank, Patty , and the girls stayed with Roy and his family. We drove to Colorado Springs taking in the Seven Falls where the children enjoyed the chipmunks because they actually got to feed them. Kristi would put a nut in the palm of her hand to feed them, but, just as the chipmunk started to eat the nut, Kristi would close her hand She was just a 1ittle bit leery of the chipmunk and was afraid it would bite her. 

On this trip we repeated where we had gone with Greg. Garden of the Gods, the outdoor theatre, Trail Ridge Drive by way of the Big Thompson River, to Estes Park and on to the place where. we had put Greg on the snow. To our surprise the gully was very deep. Had Greg gone into the snow, we could never have gotten him out On this trip we started up Pike's Peak. When we got as far as what was called the North Pole where Santa was, the children sat on his lap and we took pictures. We also took pictures of them feeding the small deer. Here we decided that with a car full of children we had better not go any further up the mountain. 

We went to the Royal Gorge again this trip and drove across the bridge. Erwin and I stayed in the car and kept the children while Patty and Frank walked back onto the bridge taking pictures. The cars of lifts that go up and down the gorge have now been enclosed. The Big Thompson Gorge had been practically destroyed by a flash flood and mud slide since we were there. Many campers died there because of the sudden rush of water. In 1977, the year my husband passed away, we had the family Christmas gathering at Frank and Patty's house. For me it was a hard Christmas. 

Erwin had always played Santa at these gatherings in earlier holidays. My sister was going to Texas to visit some of her children and asked me to go along. We left the day after Christmas. Her daughter Helen was up from Dallas for the holidays and we drove back with her. We stayed in Dallas that week and then went to Houston to visit Princess's daughter Dorothy and her family. While there Dorothy took us to Galveston for a day. I had never been to the Gulf or to Galveston before. The flat approach was new to me. Houses (big brick ones) were built up on stilts in many places along the highway going into Galveston. 

Galveston proper also had many buildings which had been built up on stilts. When there are hurricanes, the ocean waters often cover much of the ground, but I was surprised to see how far inland houses were built this way. After a very pleasant week with Dorothy and her family, she took us halfway to Chandler where her brother Ben met us and took us back to his house just outside of Tyler. Up until this time everything went fine. We got to Ben's Sunday. Monday morning I couldn't stay out of bed. I was sicker than I realized. Princess, Ben, and his wife Colleen all wanted me to go to the hospital, which I should have done, but I thought I would be all right. 

Everything was covered with sleet The tall pines were beautiful. Small pines bent over and touched the ground. The storm was general; there was sleet and ice in Tulsa also. The conditions were such that not even the company planes for both Harry's and Frank's companies could get in. Frank and Charles, after receiving a call from Ben, drove down to pick us up. The front seat in Frank's car was made so that I could lean back and be comfortable. I was confined to the house for a week or so with a congestion of bronchial tubes and lungs. 

One thing I learned on this trip. Never again will I say no to going to the hospital if I'm sick. I just didn't realize how sick I was. In 1978, Nelda's daughter Marjorie who lives in Canada invited me to visit her and her family. Her sister Jackie was going to take her vacation and I could come with her. I flew to Denver and then the two of us went on to Canada. We flew from Denver to Salt Lake City where we had a few hours layover before going on to Calgary. This time I saw Salt Lake City by air. We flew along the Great Salt Lake for several minutes. 

In Calgary, our luggage was inspected. We flew to Edmonton where we spent the night at a hotel near the airport. It was 15 miles to Edmonton but we called a cab and went into the city .We were lucky as the driver lived in Edmonton and was a college student. He took us to many interesting places and let us out where several stores were joined to each other by means of connecting second stories over streets. There were a variety of different stores and restaurants. We spent several hours browsing around in these stores buying a few trinkets and eating our dinner. 

The next day we flew to Fort St. Johns, 45 minutes by plane from Edmonton. Hudson Hope is 60 miles north of Fort St. Johns, British Columbia. The Peace River is close to Hudson Hope where Marjorie and her husband Pete lived. The surroundings were much different from anything I had seen. It was hilly but not mountainous. The river we drove along going to Hudson Hope from Fort St. Johns was wide with some large pine covered islands in it. 

The trees were different also. Pete goes in after the engineers have surveyed the river for building dams. He hires the help and finds where to get the material. He manages the building of the dam until all the cement work is done. A dam was being built on the Peace River. 

Pete was in charge of the cement pouring and whatever else was necessary. A fence had been built along the highway to keep people from fishing and being in the way with all the construction going on. The only way was to come through the gate. Only people working on the dam would be allowed to come in. Fishing was good on the Peace River at a place below the dam and shortly after entering the gate. As Marjorie was allowed to fish there, she, Jackie, and I put on jeans and jackets and fishing hats and went to the river. 

We could see the bridge over the river downstream. When we reached our fishing area, a strange young man was already fishing there. Marjorie said she had seen him there before. Pete knew we were coming so he came down to the river where we were. He asked Marjorie who this boy was. She said she didn't know but that he had been there several times before when she was fishing. Of course he didn't know who Pete was. In talking with him Pete learned he had come down from the town where the Alaskan Highway started going to Alaska and through Canada, called the Alcan Highway I believe. 

Pete knew he couldn't get in through the gate. As he wanted to show me around the place, Pete asked me to go with him while he did some hunting for a place to get in. He showed me the camp where 1000 workers lived and the dam and then we started up the river where sand had been piled in dune shaped hills. He knew somewhere along this route the boy would have had to get in and, as it was not easy to get down to the river bed, there had to be some place he could drive down the slope. Finally Pete said, "There it is." 

A dune shaped pile of sand had been pushed up against the river bank below the fenced-in part. We headed back to where Marjorie and Jackie were. The boy was still fishing. Pete said, "I'll fix that." He then ordered equipment moved to the place he had gotten in and moved the sand way from the bank. No way could he get his car up the bank. The young man had to get permission to get out through the gate. His friend, who was from the same town as this boy, who was working there was fired. 

One day Pete called us and said the beavers were taking logs down the river. We went to the same spot and watched them work. Wild raspberries were ripe as were blueberries. We went berry picking. The berries were delicious. The only thing we had to watch for was bears because they also like the berries and, though there would be a clearing where the berries were, trees were always close by and bears came out of these trees often. 

In fact, where the garbage was dumped from the company kitchen, bears would come in to feed at night. It seemed to rain some nearly every day. This rain came straight down and lasted only a short time. We didn't even have to shut the windows. At night we did because the temperature dropped. In fact there was snow about 20 miles from where we were in August and early September. Pete and Marjorie's house was a company house - 3 bedrooms, one full bath and a half bath, a large living room, a large kitchen with eating space at one end, and a large utility room with a washer and a dryer in it. 

The washer, dryer, stove and refrigerator were built in. The rest was their own furniture. When they moved from one project to another, these houses were also moved. But before moving them the gas, water, plumbing and foundation were already put in. To my surprise the houses split down the middle leaving solid walls all around. This left each side like a large wide truck. On one side were the living room and 2 bedrooms. The other half had the kitchen, utility room, full bath and a bedroom with a half bath. Outside of wishing my husband were alive and with me to see the sights, this had been one of my most enjoyable vacations. 

In 1946, my husband got his license to operate an amateur radio station. It was new and people came to see and hear it. At this time radios, church organs, and the like were not made to reject these amateur frequencies so quite often they would interfere or come in on these devices. However the radios could be modified to reject the interfering signal, and most operators would do this if the person having the trouble would ask them to, but most wanted it left as it was so they could hear the conversations. 

The only drawback was that they could hear only what we were saying and couldn't hear what the person said we were talking with. A ham (amateur) radio operator had to keep a log of all contacts. By this is meant a special log book for keeping records is kept on all the desks of operators. Whenever he uses his rig, he has to write the date, what frequency he is using, the time he started to use the rig, to whom he is talking, and the signing off time. If a written radiogram (message) is required, he also keeps a record of that. 

Reproduced by 
Kathie Harrison
Ancestral Whispers
Copyright 2012 
All rights reserved.