City Park, Fort Collins, Colorado
Last week’s article about the Fourth of July picnics at City Park in Fort Collins brought many memories and comments from old friends and my sister, Ginger. I love to hear from all who read this column and welcome all your memories.
I was reminded that I forgot about the trolley that was such a delight for us farmer kids and adults alike. It started at the trolley barn at City Park and went downtown. My mind’s eye is a little sketchy but I do believe when the trolley conductor got to the end of the line he just walked to the back of the trolley, flip a switch and the back of the trolley became the front. Off we would go back to our destination at the City Park. (I am not sure of this)
I can remember how excited and thrilled I was thinking I was big enough finally to go on the trolley with my friends and none of my relatives! We would sit me jabbering and giggle, kicking our feet back and forth on the tall seats, all the way to town and back. We felt so independent and grown-up! I think I was all of 12 years old!
Later, if my teen farm girl friends were bored we would go to the City Park, watch the swimmers (none of us had swimming suits) and take a ride on the trolley. If the little train was running we would climb on board for a ride around the park. Then we would go back to the dock to watch the swimmers and look for good looking boys. Never found any! We would make comments like to skinny ... too old ... too young ... not good looking enough. If was fun!
I also was reminded of the little train that ran through the park, stopping close to the picnic table so little kids and mamas and daddies would pile in. With a little “toot-toot” off we go down the track around the park — once in a while the engineer would give out a little “toot-toot” to the delight of all the passengers. When it came to its destination we would all get off unless there was no one around to get on — then we would get to go around again! The “toot-toot” always and still does bring a smile
The park was divided by a little creek that had a rock bridge. When you walked over the bridge you were in the city cemetery. That is where the adults would go after the picnic to pay the respects to the relatives and friends and place little flowers or flags on the graves. My sisters and nieces go there on Memorial Day every year to decorate the graves of our relatives and friends. This is where our Dad and Mom now lay at rest in the beautiful tree lined cemetery.
The park also had a place for high school kids to go on Friday and Saturday night called Club Tico. I understand it is still there. I do not remember too much about this big gray building other than my mother did not allow me to go see what was inside, unless I was with my uncles Les and Marvin. I am sure I was a big aggravation because I wanted to see everything. I am not sure, but I think there was a roller skating rink inside. That is where I first saw my first vending machine — things in it cost all of a nickel and dime!
The big beautiful city lake had tons of ducks and geese on it. If you had a sack in your hand, full of popcorn or bread crumbs, they would come running up to you as they were well trained in begging for food. What a delight that was to watch all the friendly ducks and geese. In the spring ducks and goose eggs would be laying everywhere along the lake and in the grass. You had to be very careful not to step on the eggs. We would make a trip to town just to see the like baby ducks and geese once they hatched.
Two big duck eggs made it all the way back to Sidney, Nebraska where the little five-year-old girl had them in her bedroom for a long time until one day the smell in her room was out of this world! Come to find out the duck eggs had started to stink and had to be disposed of! I was warned by my forever “what-if” mother, not to touch eggs or the ducks or geese “because they may have germs on them!” My mother caused a lot of worry and caution about everything especially germs, through the years! Now I smile about it!
We hope you had a great Fourth of July — I gained a new deck onto the front of the house and peaceful days with Susan digging and planting a new beautiful flower and rose garden for us. Porter helped Bob with the deck and we all were very pleased at the result.
Helpful relatives and friends is what Alaska is all about!