1965 Fort Collins, Colorado
I have discovered throughout my entire life if I was unhappy or things were crumbling around my shoulders, we moved.
We had moved from a little rented house on Smith Street to the big beautiful red brick house on the corner of Smith and Stover. We bought the house for $12,500 and paid $24 a month on our mortgage. Jack worked for my dad at the McClure and Sons John Deere Implement Company. Jack was the parts man. He was paid good money for working there, but unfortunately most of what he earned never reached home. I babysat and took in ironing, baked cookies, cakes, bread, and pies.
In my mind, if we had a smaller house, smaller payments, maybe that would help. I put the big red brick house that I love so much, on the market. I sold it the same month to a couple who were college professors. They gave me $500 down. I sold it to them for exactly what I had bought it for.
I wanted to live in the mountains for as long as I could remember. Mom, Dad, relatives and picnics in the mountains were always so delightful. When I saw a house with two rental cabins on it for sale, I paid $200 down, and we moved to Poudre Valley Canyon. The hurt of selling my big brick dream home was glossed over by the fact that we were moving to the mountains!
I tackled the fixing of the little house with young ambition, scrubbing painting and making curtains. I moved the kids’ beds all into the one little bedroom and fixed up the front glassed in porch for our bedroom.
The living room-dining room had a huge stone fireplace at one end. One of the first things I did on a crisp spring morning was gather up branches and a couple of logs and build a fire in the huge fire place. With the kids gathered round, I lit the match and watched as the flames began to flicker into a nice little fire. We all sat on the floor to watch and get warm.
Poof, puff, out came a huge cloud of smoke into my newly scrubbed and painted house. Then it just started sending smoke up the outside of the chimney and not up through the inside of chimney. The house filled with smoke as I ran for water to put out the flame. Looking up the chimney with the flashlight I could see daylight. After attempting a few more fires to make us warm in our little house, and a bunch of theories about why that fireplace smoked, it was decided to put it in a glass fireplace door. That way it would keep the smoke out of the house and we could still have the warmth and glow of a fire. Up until then, I had completely ignored the fact that the river rock fireplace that someone had taken so much time to build was completely black. I had spent a whole day scrubbing with a wire brush, soap and water to get the black off, the week that we had moved in.
We bought the glass door for the fireplace and with great difficulty finally got it installed. We plugged every hole around the fireplace door and happily built another fire. It’s sputtered and went out. We opened the glass doors and smoking rolled out. Shutting the doors again we discovered a vent in the bottom of the door that lets air in so the fire could breathe. We lit another fire, quickly closed the door and we had a glowing fire. We learned never, never, never open the door when the wind was blowing and to always keep the vent open.
One Saturday afternoon we all crawled into the old pickup that Jack had restored, and off we went up the mountain to a sawmill. We loaded pine slabs while the kids slid down big piles saw dust. When we got home we sawed each slabs with a small circular hand held saw. We stacked that load and went back for another. We had our winter fire wood. The kids still talk about sliding down the saw dust the hills and coming home covered from head to toe. Do you know how hard it is to get saw dust out of wool winter clothes?
Then I turned my attention to renting out the two small cabins.
Next week. Washing clothes in rain water, renting out the cabin. Marie Bean, Yahtzee, going to work and school time while living in Poudre Valley Canyon.