Corner of Smith and Stover, Fort Collins, Colorado
1962 to 1965
Gail, age 5; David, age 3; Susan, age 2.
We had a great time in our big two story house, made of brick from Germany, and original stained glass leaded windows throughout. They were beautiful. The floors were hard wood oak floors taken from the gym, when they replaced the basketball court at the college.
It had four bedrooms upstairs and a very large bathroom. There was a large family room downstairs and a small bath off the kitchen. The kitchen cupboards went up to the 10 foot ceilings. There were so many cupboards I never did get them all filled! The only drawback in that kitchen was it had a small apartment size gas cooking stove.
We bought (used) a great big oval oak table to fill up the space in the other end of the kitchen area. There was a big swinging door between kitchen and the formal dining room.
The living room was slightly smaller than the rest of the rooms in the house, but had three big leaded stained glass windows surrounding it. My mother gave me her big green couch and chair. I had a wooden rocking chair that my Grandma Cogswell gave me when Gail was born. The problem with the beautiful windows was they looked right out onto the street or anybody on the street looked right into our house. So in my creative mind and empty pockets, I bought white sheets and dyed them a real pretty soft yellow. They complimented the beautiful light oak floors.
A year later, to make ends meet, I converted the family room into a bedroom and took in a college student. He was a very misplaced youngster from New Joyzee (Jersey). His way of using words and his accent was a constant source of entertainment to us. Our Colorado-Kansas speech was just as foreign to him. (Wuutur for water, stuone for stone — we said rock! Raadiaatur for radiator.) His name was David; my 3 year old son was David. We called them Big Dave and Little Dave.
Big Dave was energetic – curious – and believed everything! His mother interviewed me before he moved in to make sure he was in a good Christian home. She was concerned about him and always called me once a week from New Jersey. He was helpful around the house and always went to classes on time – as far as I knew. His mother got good reviews from me.
Little Dave was just as curious and loved to take things apart. Grandpa McClure provided him with fans, clocks, carburetors and other parts that came off of old worn out John Deere tractors. Grandpa owned the John Deere Dealership. David was in heaven taking things apart, sticking nuts and bolts, and other small parts in his pockets. It was his total entertainment and he spent hours and hours with a box of old parts to take apart, thanks to Grandpa. He had little green and yellow tractor parts all around him. David was meticulous about taking them apart, and putting them back in the box at the end of the day when it was time for supper and bath time. I made so sure that I shook and looked and shook some more when I washed Little Dave’s clothes. More than once I washed nuts, bolts, green and yellow parts!
At the end of a long, long day, I had set the table after making spaghetti and a big salad for the supper. As usual, Big Dave was the first at the table. I put Little Dave in his wooden high chair, Jack was washing up. Gail was setting next to David and Susan was in another wooden high chair next to me. I asked Big Dave to say the blessing of the food we were about to partake. He bowed his head, clasped his hand together and planted his elbows rather hard on the end of the table.
The table top flipped up — everything slid right into Big Dave’s lap. What a surprise! What a mess! Spaghetti and salad in his lap and onto the floor, followed by the clatter of all the supper plate, glasses and silverware. Big Dave jumped up, grabbed the table top and shoved it back on its pedestal. His shocked statement was “I didn’t get to say grace!” Gail’s statement, looking at her little brother, Little Dave, was, “Did you do that?” “No, no! Big Dave!” he said, shaking his head and pointing at him.
We all started cleaning up and as we were crawling around retrieving what was left of the unbroken dishes, Big Dave, peeking out from underneath the table, stated, “There are no bolts or nuts under here to keep the table top on!” Gail saying, in a matter of fact way: “He’s got them in his pocket,” pointing at her little brother. Little Dave squiggled around and reached in his pocket and pulled out the nuts and bolts, one at a time and laid them on the tray of the high chair. He had spent part of his afternoon, undetected, with his pliers, getting those bolts out. He did not seem to understand the connection between the mess on the floor and the bolts on the tray.
Next week – No more Big Dave. Little Dave hiding under the dinning room table and no more Lassie on TV.