Monday, April 28, 2014

Memory Lane

While looking for books on my shelves for a friend I picked up a book by an acquaintance from our Aspen days.

I loved our six years there but life in the mountains at 8000 feet is rigorous to say the least. LOVED the summers when we could explore in the high country and do art shows throughout the region.

Winter was beautiful but our world became very small unless we were able to hop on an airplane. Other wise in the winter it was one way in, one way out. You had to carry extra clothes, food, water and chains, "just in case." You could be swept off the road and down a cliff with no warning in an avalanche or rock slide. One time I was the last one over Independence Pass before they closed it due to the snow, when they opened it back up they found a motor home that had gone off the road, and had slid 200 feet down the cliff, and the person was still in it. Scary.

So when I picked up Bruce Bergers book, Notes of a Half-Aspenite it set off a cascade of memories and got me thinking about some of the people we knew there.

One was an artist friend Connie Madsen. We were both members of the Prince of Peace Chapel artists. Here is a photo I just found online, I look so young!  I guess I was, it was 25 years ago.

 Connie's brother was the director of the St. Johns Art Museum in Wilmington. She came to visit once, wish she could see us now! That is Connie on the right, which one am I?

Another talented friend was Mary Eshbaugh Hayes, Photographer and writer.

I first met Mary through Tee Child and The Windstar Foundation which is what took us to Aspen, Michael was the land manager during what they call the "Camelot" days of Windstar. I later worked with Mary at the Aspen Times. She still writes a column for that award winning newspaper.

Boy one story just leads to another ... how I got the job at the Aspen Times was that I filled in for Tee Child doing typesetting, she then retired and I stayed on. I also did the pasteup of the newspaper. That was fun, we had all the pages laid out in a room and we would walk from one page to the next. Printing was a lot different then than it is today, pc's were just beginning to be used. We set type with a typesetting machine which spit out strips of type which we put wax on the back then stuck it down into position on the paper.

I met Mary at a party at Tee's house. How I met Tee and Bob Child was at Windstar. She and Bob owned property on Capital Creek between Windstar and the St Benedict's Monestary. Conservationists from day one, they did a lot for the community. I'm sure they would be shocked to see what the ranch was listed for in 2012. There is little available flat land in the Roaring Fork and adjacent valleys making this a very valuable piece of property. In our little valley were a lot of interesting people I may have talked about before. When we lived there some of the famous residents of the valley were Jimmy Buffet, Glen Frey, and Goldie Hawn probably being the most famous, John lived in Starwood, a high dollar development on the east side of the Roaring Fork Valley on the edge of Aspen.

For a while we lived on Snowmass Creek Road right across the street from Jimmy and Glen, at that time their houses were side by side. Snowmass Creek Road joined Capitol Creek Road. We rented that place for a short time, btw, if you are ever going to buy property in the mountains look at the property early in the morning and late in the afternoon before you purchase. Due to the narrowness of the valley right there we only had direct sun for about 5 hours a day. When we moved into Aspen we were on top of Buttermilk Mountain and had light as much as anyone did and certainly more than they have in downtown Aspen which is in the shadow of Ajax in the afternoon.

By the time you get to Windstar the valley opens up into Capitol Creek Valley. This is right on the edge of the wilderness. You pass the Monestary as you follow Capitol Creek Road it eventually climbs to the tree line. It ends in a spot very high near Haystack Mountain. We were told by Tom Crum, John's partner in Windstar, that that is the spot where John got his inspiration for writing Rocky Mountain High.

Another connection with Tee was that we both belonged to a Computer club that used CPM. Does anyone reading this even know what that is??  It was an early operating system. We had a Kaypro like the one shown here!

Going back to what I started writing about, I can't remember how I met Bruce, who prompted this rant, but I think it was through the Aspen Arts Council where I worked with Dutch Hodges. We were a two man band. He lived in this interesting little log house at the end of Main St. which I think is still there and I think he still owns. I visited him there one day, can't remember why now but remember the house was jam packed full of books. It was built in the 40's by famed architect Fritz Benedict who built many houses in Aspen and worked with and was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

We loved our time in Aspen, like I said, I could write pages of memories, people we met, amazing homes we were in, experiences we had. Even lots of VW stories, me driving through the mountains to do art shows, by myself, before cell phone days, not that they would have worked in some of the places I got into trouble anyway.

I talked about some of those experiences in one of my "thankful" posts not long ago. We've been talking about visiting Aspen again, doing a memory tour kind of like we did in Michigan last June. We'd like to get a little motor home, a Sprinter actually, and take some time off to go on a few trips. Our current VW is ok for short trips and maybe a week but it would be a lot more comfortable in something a little bigger. We really like to camp more than stay in hotels. Well camping like you park in a campground but you have your own bathroom, kitchen and bed!!  We like it because you have all your own stuff but mostly because you're outside more. I hate sitting in a hotel room but can sit in a campground with no problem.
So what does all this have to do with Carolina Creations and my artwork?  Well it's part of the fabric of our lives, everything that comes before contributes to who we become and influences what we do.

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