The Rogers Family
in
War and Depression

The Gun at the Table
-------------
By Chet Rogers
-------------
Published By The Author
1999

Chapter 3


p. 36

CHAPTER III

AFTER THE WAR

I rejoined my family in 1946 at the Burkhardt place west of Loveland nest to the 40 acre farm we lived on from 1931 to 1937. Dad, Mom, Rusty and Nellie [Toni], were in the business of raising thousands of turkeys which proved very successful and for the first time Dad and Mom were financially sound.

Toni and Red were the proud parents of two wonderful children, Eddie Lee and Moneta Anne. Red had been drafted into service and was still in the Army. He ended up in Japan near where I was after the war, however we were never able to get together while there. When he returned, he started his life-time work at which he and Toni were very successful in Estes Park.

Bill and Bud were still in the service. Bill in the Navy, was in the Saipan Islands on board ship and Bud was an M.P. in the army stationed in the state of Washington.

Bud tells of the time he was in charge of a convoy of trucks traveling across the country and because of the special conditions, the convoy was not to be passed. Bud said a General decided he could pass the convoy. Bud ordered him to stop and get back in line. the General said, ''Sargeant, I am ordering you to let me through this convoy! Don't you see who and what I am?!!'' Bud replied, ''I don't care if you are General Eisenhower, I have my orders and you are not passing or invading this convoy, now get back in line!!'' Well, however this confrontation ended, Bud was in trouble.

p. 38

He ended up having to write a letter to Colorado's Senior Senator, Ed Johnson, abut the altercation. Johnson was able to smooth it over and Bud was able to continue his duty.

Chuck was drafted into service in 1940 but because of his health, was given a medical discharge. His back was so bad he couldn't march. If he would have been able to, he would have been in the North African and Italy Campaigns.

Many of our neighbor boys, like Wayne Benson, Grant Burkhardt and others, did go overseas and served in those campaigns. They were very lucky to get back because there was very heavy fighting and their outfits had many casualties.

Chuck and I had been able to save about $4,000 during the war and we were casting around for some business to buy and operate to get on with our lives. Chuck had become acquainted with an older man by the name of Beechel and his wife. When Chuck and I told him that we wanted to look around for a good business, he said he would like to do the same. So for some inexplicable reason, we were into a three way partnership with Beechel, Chuck and me.

We all thought a bar and restaurant was the thing to get into. We started one early morning for Rangely, Colorado, an oil and mining town on the Colorado-Utah border. A real estate salesman in Denver said, ''While on your way, stop in Fraser. There is a hotel and restaurant for sale there.'' We stopped there and before the next day was over, [p. 39] we had signed papers to buy the ''New and Modern Hotel and Cafe'' in Fraser, Colorado, the coldest spot in the nation. In our immature reasoning we thought we would have plenty of business being on Highway 40, near Winter Park skiing area, and a paradise for fishing and hunting. None of these happened and in two years we walked out and let the place go back to the owner. Two things happened while there that changed Chuck's and my life forever. Chuck found his life's work as a school teacher and I and my life-long childhood friend, Shirley Sutton, were married on November 9, 1946. Shirley and I have been happily married for 52 years as of November 9, 1998. We had Charles, born July 1,1958 and Janna, born February 10, 1961. we were also blessed with having two of Shirley's brother Roy's children, Ben, born November 6, 1954 and Harold, born December 6, 1955, to round out our family.

The Harold and Georgia Sutton family has been a big part of our family ever since Dad and Mom were married at Carr in 1916. Mom had known Georgia while at Carr in 1921 and then they were reunited in 1934 when the Sutton family moved to the Berthoud cutoff. They lived in a white house just down the lane from our big house on the hill. From then on Mom amd Georgia were good friends associating in school affairs and other functions of the Big Thompson community such as the Extension Club of which they were Charter members and the Friendship Club.

Then after Shirley and I were married [which was approved by both Mom and Georgia], they continued their association until Mom's death in 1965. When we were able to bring Ben and Harold into our family, of course the Suttons were like second parents to me. In fact, she always called me her third son after Harold and Roy.

p. 40

The Sutton family had it very hard during the Depression as we did. One thing was that Harold turned out to be a wonderful salesman. In the Depression, he took the ''Cappers Weekly'' out and traded it to the farmers all over northern Colorado for anything they had of value. Shirley says that he would come home with everything, from a bushel of wheat to eggs and chickens. He also sold and bartered Starks Delicious apple trees around the Big Thompson area and I'm sure some of those trees are still producing apples.

In the late 1930's Harold started a fresh vegetable and fruit route up the Big Thompson Canyon and the housewives swarmed around his truck at such stops he made as the Forks Hotel and Dicks Harbor. This proved out so good that he and Georgia started a little stand at Beaver Point in Estes Park and the family moved up there and rented a little house. They did so well that in a few years they bought some acres west of Beaver Point and built a store and a house on it. Harold and Georgia, by working together, built a very good business and ran it until 1949. They had Harold Ed and Roy work in the store too. In one incident, Harold Ed was behind the meat counter and a lady by he name of Hersheler became so demanding of him that Harold finally lost his cool and threw some hamburger in her face. Needless to say, this caused a big uproar and Harold learned the old adage that ''The customer is always right!''

p. 42

Shirley and I, through the help of Harold and Georgia in 1947, were able to put a little ice cream parlor and a one pump filling station in along side of the store. We did real well until they sold the store in 1949.

To return to the Rogers family story, Chuck later told me, ''Chet, I just don't think that God meant for us to be in the bar business.'' Both of us ended up going back to college and obtaining our degrees. He ended up as a school administrator in Elko, Nevada and I ended up with several very good jobs which my degrees opened the doors for me.

Chuck, while going to school in Greeley, Colorado, met Jean Brinkman and they were married on June 29, 1951. I was unable to attend the wedding because I had been called back into service and was in comprehensive training at Lowry Field in Denver. However, my wife Shirley, Bud, nellie and Mom went to the wedding. The following is Nellie's account of the trip that Mom took to Chuck's and Jean's wedding in Nebraska.

ON THE WAY TO THE WEDDING

By my sister Nellie

My mother was the most remarkable person I have ever known! No chain of events or circumstances ever seemed to overwhelm this staunch, capable person. Any task to be done or journey begun, she carried it through.

p. 43

Always, with whole-hearted enthusiasm she overcame, somehow, all disruptions that might occur. She seemed to immediately provide a solution to any problem.

After her family of six children were grown and departed the home fires, she seemed to be blessed with a renewed energy for living and undertook many adventures on her own: traveling to and from the south and west coast---alone with only a dog for a traveling companion. She often would simply park along the roadway and sleep in the car overnight and this was before the advent of our modern road-side parks, or big wide Interstate highways. Since she was endowed with nothing but her monthly Social Security check, she cut expenses however possible. One of these excursions truly expressed her ability to handle any set of circumstances that would ordinarily overwhelm most people.

Her oldest son, Charles, in 1951, had been attending college at Colorado State College in Greeley.

He had met and decided to marry a fine young lady also attending school there. The wedding plans were set for the summer of 1951 in the girl's home town of Plainview, Nebraska.

So, of course, Mom planned to attend. However, she left a few days early to have time to visit a niece, \ul\b\i Myrna\ulnone\b0\i0 , in Lincoln, Nebraska.

 They made plans to travel together the 100 or so miles to the wedding.

p. 44

Upon her arrival there, the incredible incidents began. Mom's car, a 1938 Chrysler, was getting old, had been very dependable, but it was what was known as a coupe then, and would be inadequate for the two ladies and Myrna's three children. Myrna also had only a coupe car, so to avail themselves of a bigger and more roomy car, they were compelled to invite Uncle Allen to go along and take his car. Uncle was then 80 years old, but very self-confident and also blessed with that same unrelenting enthusiasm his sister had. He was the proud owner of an old 1938 Chevy sedan, but it had developed a howl in the rearend mechanism, so he and Myrna's 16 year old son, Elton Lee, decided to tear into it and fix it so they could all go to the wedding together the next day. This was a normal and cautious decision, only trouble was that it was about 6 p.m. in the evening and time for take-off for the 100 mile trip would have to be early the next morning. So, of course, 80 year old Uncle Allen and 16 year old Elton Lee spent all night repairing the car for the up-coming entourage.

But, Mom, undaunted, arose bright and early and got the entire group assembled and started on their way. They had to make it by 1 p.m.

The events that followed are an incredible story of bad luck and mishaps.

Before they had traveled 25 miles the old car developed the gringing whine that all too soon proved to be the inevitable departing of mechanical parts in the rear-end again. Mom was the chauffer, Uncle Allen [p. 45] and Elton Lee were to be the mechanical advisors and Myrna was the navigator. With road map in hand, she steered them to the nearest little farm town and to a gas station attendant for advice about the car's ability to continue the trip. After a short cruise up the street, the attendant prescribed immediate retirement for the car and since it was Sunday, there was no one available to repair or replace the vehicle.

So, what to do? After a short conference among the group, Mom suddenly remembered that along the way into town, she had noticed an old Dodge car parked in a barnyard with a ''For Sale'' sign attached. She inquired of the station attendant if he was familiar with that car. Yes, he knew about it and was sure it would run. He provided transportation out to inspect it. After another quick conference and a pooling of meager funds, they offered the owner $75.00 for the car. After a quick exchange of batteries, it's motor purred perfectly with no unaccountable noises. The deal was made and off they went on their delayed way, a bit more in a hurry now, because this loss of time would have to be made up. The ''new'' car was terribly dirty, having resided in a shed in the barnyard for several years. The chickens had roosted in it and it had accumulated a good many layers of dust and dirt. But it was decided not to take the time to clean it up now, because they had a couple of stops along the way to make sure other relatives and friends had plans and transportation to get to the wedding.

p. 46

As they breezed along, seemingly their troubles over, suddenly, with a big ''thud'' a tire went flat! A mad scramble ensued to find the jack and a spare tire for a quick change, but the luggage carrier on the back end revealed nothing! All were overcome with hopelessness now, except Mom---her aptitude to prevail never stopped there. She immediately requested that Uncle Allen go and hide in the corn field by the side of the road, ''Because,'' she said, ''no one will stop to help us if there is a man visible, but nearly always an old, gray-haired woman can expect pity!'' And sure enough, the pitiable sight of Mom, Myrna and three young children stranded on a country road convinced a passing farmer that he should offer help. Because country folks are so good and ingenious, he was able to dig out some ''tire-patchin'' and tools and he proceeded to jack up the Dodge, disassemble the wheel, patch the hole in the tube, re-assemble all, then pronounce the car ready to travel on. So the three children were sent scurrying into the nearby cornfield to beckon Uncle Allen to come on back. After many calls and searching, he was found a mile back down the road. He had decided to find the nearest farm house and ask for help on his own. He was more than a little disgruntled at having been sent off to the cornfield in the first place.

After this delay, it was decided to find the nearest telephone and call ahead to Uncle Julius to tell him that they would not be stopping for him and his family since there wasn't enough time left now. So he had better go ahead to the wedding on his own. He was given the directions and bade ''good-luck'' and see you later.''

p. 47

Well, it turned out that Uncle Julius' car was temporarily disabled, so he had to borrow another. He was employed on a farm and farmers being the good, sharing folks that they are, he was sure this would be no problem...but when his Boss heard the reason for needing to borrow his car, he jubilantly decided that he and his son would just go along to the affair. They hurriedly changed into clean ''bib-overalls'' and their Sunday hats and soon another car load of folks was headed for the wedding!

Meantime, Mom and her group had proceeded successfully to another small town and stopped at a friend of Myrna's where they all freshened up a bit and invited the friend, Mary, to go along too. she sized up the ''new'' car which had now been christened ''the chicken-coop'' car and suggested that they split up the group, so she took the little girls along in her own car. Much time had now elapsed, so they hurried on to the town and church where they expected the event to be held. They located a church which they supposed would be the scene of the event. As it was a small town, it would surely have only one church. They all went in, but lo! there was no one else there!

Typically, Mom proceeded to scurry around to take care of this matter. She located the preacher and inquired, ''Isn't this the place where my son is being married today?''

p. 48

After considerable discussion, the preacher reluctantly admitted that there was another church in the vicinity, but it was out in the country some distance. He gace skimpy directions, and of course, the groom's relatives got lost in the country roads and finally had to ask for directions.

By this time, the ceremony was supposed to begin. The groom was very apprehensive and anxious about his Mother not arriving on time. After a short wait, the preacher proceeded because he had appointments to keep later.

My brother Bud and Pat [Bud's wife], Shirley [Chet's wife] and myself had had an uneventful trip from Loveland, Colorado to Plainview and had arrived the night before. Bud was to be the Best Man. The groom's friends and relatives attending at this moment were very few, but little did he know of the three car caravan on the way!

The music began and to the strains of the Wedding March, I was ushered in to be seated in the place of the groom's Mother. Besides having the natural nervous shakes akin to being a groom, Charles was very worried about Mom's non-appearance and when it was his turn to ''repeat after me,'' he wasn't listening! A quick poke by the bride brought him back to reality and after a repeat by the Preacher, he collected his thoughts of the moment and repeated the vows. Then I heard a hushed bustle in the back of the church and I noticed a great sign of relief on the face of the groom, but a look of awe and disbelief from the Best Man.The groom's side of the church had suddenly come alive with the arrival of Mom, relatives and friends as the Wedding Ceremony finished.

p. 50

Mom took her rightful place in the Reception line following the service though, and all present partook of lovely refreshments. Then the Bride and Groom were graciously excused as they took off for their ''honeymoon'' trip back to school, but without hearing about the grueling tale of what happened to delay the arrival of Mom and all. Brother bud, the Best Man, was so bewildered and amazed at the array of relatives and their farmer friends dressed in their ''Sunday best overalls'', he never enjoyed the remainder of the day very much.

Then, the harrowing trip back home for Mom, Myrna and the children, Mary, Uncle Allen and Uncle Julius began almost immediately.

A delightful fall day had now drawn to a close and despite obvious exhaustion, Mom thought it best they start the return journey. But Mary persuaded them to go only as far ad her house and she would supply sleeping quarters. So Mary was to lead the way. The ''chicken coop'' car was brought from behind the trees and bushes where they had hidden it from Bud's view, the critical one. Charles had tried to instruct the navigator on how to pick up a short-cut road, but since night was now fast approaching, he had hoped they could be well on their way back before dark.

Yes, they became hopelessly lost again. After seemingly following country farm roads for hours, they decided to stop so all could consult the map. Uncle Allen had obligingly been trying to read the road signs and numbers, but because of impaired eyesight, at each crossroad, he had to get out of the car and walk [p. 51] over to the rusted signs and read them by car headlights. While the rest of the group were studying the map by car headlights, Uncle Allen became confused and lost, wandering around in the darkness, unable to locate a house where he had noticed a light along the way and where he hoped to ask for directions. Suddenly, his absence was discovered. So, again, everyone, including the drowsy children, scattered in all directions to find Uncle Allen. This became the midnight call: ''Uncle Allen --- where are you?'' Luckily his hearing was better than his eyesight and he heard their calls and all were once again on their way toward Mary's house.

When they arrived there, they were appalled to learn that Mary had no room for them, but had planned to ask a kindly neighbor to accommodate them for her. Upon their arrival, however, the neighbor lady had retired for the night, it being well past midnight by then.

So, again all were calling out into the night: ''Yoo-Hoo--Mrs. Yancy.'' But Mrs. Yancy was sleeping soundly on her ''good ear'' and was stone deaf in the other ear, so she could not be roused. Uncle Allen had fallen asleep in the car and was very disgruntled again when they wakened him for another midnight conference to decide what to do now.

Once again Mom decided to allow Mary to influence her with an offer of another friend's home. This was several blocks away, so they roused up a very grouchy Uncle Allen and the children to move on to [p. 52] another place. All were so weary by now they would be grateful for any place to stretch out aching backs. Mary was able to awaken this friend, a prissy little lady who sometimes rented rooms to single people needing temporary lodging. She agreed to ''put up'' the weary travelers but not until she went upstairs to ''tidy up'' a bit because her last roomer had been an elderly gentleman who had not been very neat in the bathroom!

The overnight bags were unloaded and a sleepy and grumpy Uncle Allen aroused [he wanted to be left alone and allowed to sleep in the car]. Everyone slumped into the nearest chairs all over the living room to await the call from upstairs that all was ready. They waited and waited---Uncle Allen stretched out on some cushions in the corner and was soon snoozing away. The children were drooping sleepily on their mother's lap. Everyone else was casting anxious eyes to the stairway. After an interminable time lapse, Mom became alarmed and disgusted at such a long wait, so she went upstairs to see what the delay was. Behold, she found the little old lady on her hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor! She had given the entire upstairs a quick but thorough cleaning job! This trauma had been about enough to do in everyone. But undaunted, Mom ushered all up to bed, warning that they would be aroused early enough in the morning to get Myrna to work on time and the children to school on the Monday morning after the trip to the Wedding!

p. 54

My mother

Was like no other.

She marked life's pathway

With a glow of happiness and mirth!

How to measure her worth?

No one can say !!!

[End of Nellie's account]

In 1950 another incident happened which proved to be very unsettling to all of us. Mom and Dad had what we all thought was an enjoyable good retirement, spending the winters in Phoenix, Arizona and the summers going to Oregon. Rusty, after graduating from high school, usually accompanied them on these trips. However, there must have been some antagonism going on which built to the breaking point one day. Mom had purchased a run-down home at Laporte Avenue and Sunset Street in Fort Collins. Dad had not been in on Mom's financial arrangements to buy the place. However, he thought he should help her in the remodeling, so he made suggestions about how to put a cupboard or closet in. This was not appreciated by Mom and she ordered him out of the house and told him not to come back! Dad had just purchased a new 1950 Mercury sedan and it was still in Ghent's car dealership. He set off walking down to get it after the dealership had checked it all over. I had just come down from our house on Sunset and got in on the tailend of the flare up. Of course, I was thinking they would resolve it and Dad would get over it, but I [p. 55] looked out and he was going down Laporte Avenue. I got my car and went after him. He was so mad I had trouble getting him into the car. On the way in I tried to soothe Dad down but he wouldn't soften saying, ''If that's what she wants, she won't see me again ever!''

This proved to be the case and they were separated for good. A few months later Mom tried to reconcile with Dad, but he would not relent. So they were divorced in 1953. After a few years, Mom met a man named Jacobsen in the Senior Center and they were married in about 1960. Mom was a people person and wanted to share her life.

Needless to say, all of us were very hurt by the breakup of Mom and Dad; after all they had lived together 35 years, went through all the hard times and now the family core was rendered asunder.

Mom's health was never too good. She had asthma most of her life and began to have a bad heart condition. After she suffered through a minor cyclone in her and Jacobsen's home west of Loveland, she ended up in and out of the hospital and nursing home. She died on July 25, 1965.

Her passing was a real shock to all of us. We had lost the connecting link to a sweet, forgiving, loving, caring part of our lives. The family purchased a lot in the Estes Park section of the Loveland cemetary. She was cremated and buried there on my birthday, July 28, 1965. On the headstone it reads: ''Beulah E. Rogers Jacobsen.'' Later on Rusty and Dad were buried there.

p. 56

The following section was written by Charles ''Chuck'' Rogers about his life.

I was born on March 5, 1918 in the Boulder Sanitarium at Boulder, Colorado. My father and mother lived on a wheat ranch in northeastern Colorado where I lived until I was two years old. I was the oldest of what was to be a family of five boys and one girl. When the brother next to me was born, my mother took me and went to stay with her mother until after my brother's birth. While at my grandmother's home, I contracted a serious case of pneumonia.

During the summer after we had returned to the ranch, I was bitten by a rattlesnake with very near fatal consequences. By the next winter, wheat prices had dropped to the point where my father was forced to sell out his ranching interests and move to a small town. He then went to work for my mother's brother-in-law on his ranch until he also was forced into bankruptcy. From there we went to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a year. My father worked in the roundhouse there and my mother ran a boarding house. After a year here, we again moved to a farm at Lingle, Wyoming to raise potatoes. The price of potatoes by the time of harvest wouldn't pay for the digging, so my father abandoned the crop and moved to Cheyenne to work as a roundhouse foreman for the railroad. By this time, my sister was born and there were three children. My mother was again running a boarding house. We children were given over largely to a nurse.

p. 57

My only recollections of these early times are the lonliness of the prairies, train whistles in the distant night, wide expanses of rolling, treeless land and the excitement of the cavalry in front of our house in Cheyenne.

I was about four years old when the family moved to a sugar beet farm near Berthoud, Colorado. I can remember my father plowing with a team of mules and hauling beets to the dump. Much of the time I was with him. While we were here another brother was born and my mother fell ill for a long time after. The farm we had was sold and we moved to another one near Loveland, Colorado. While we were still at Berthoud, my father began to wholesale fruit and vegetables on a route through southern Wyoming and western Nebraska. On one of these trips my father and I were forced off the road. Though I was not seriously hurt, it left me with a fear of traveling on narrow or mountain roads. It was not until I began to drive myself that I got over the fear.

I started to school while we lived on this farm at Loveland. I had a hard time becoming accustomed to school. I was afraid of being late and often stayed away from school when I was late or thought I was late. This and an incident when I was punished for not applying myself to my work is about all I can remember of school the first couple of years. During my third year of school the family went to Missouri and Arkansas. I went to school in a small school where several grades were taught in one room I became quite [p. 58] attached to the teacher, who was very young, and went to visit her once at her home. I remember being deeply hurt when she wouldn't let me run in a race with the older boys and because I cried, gave me a sucker that was to be the prize for winning the race.

In Arkansas the whole family picked strawberries. I remember enjoying the warm summer weather and lush vegetation of the Ozarks. During the summer we returned to Colorado and my father again took up his wholesaling. There were many up and down periods financially for the family. Generally, there was enough food and shelter, but very little security. I used to help a lot in sorting and packing fruits and potatoes and making many trips with my father. He taught me to drive the truck when I was about ten years old. Once when the truck as broken down, my father borrowed a small pickup to go get it. He took me and my brother with him. After he repaired the truck he drove it and let me drive the borrowed one home alone. This was about my eleventh birthday. When I was thirteen years old, we moved from town to a farm in the foothills west of Loveland.

During the years between our return from Arkansas and moving to the farm, we moved from one side of town to the other every few months. There were three elementary schools in town and I had attended each of them on at least two different occasions which made six changes of schools besides the part of a year in Missouri. Consequently, I was an indifferent student and more concerned with practical things connected with my father's business. I did enjoy reading and read a great deal. I read all of the [p. 59] Tarzan books, Zane Gray's books, and many of the children's classics particularly those of adventure. My indifference at school gave me much time to get into mischief and resulted in considerable trouble with teachers though they were never really harsh with me and I like them all. At last I failed the sixth grade. The next year I was doing a worse job of it than the year before and all that saved me was the move to the farm and my first man teacher.

My father's first love had always been the farm and livestock, a regard my mother little shared. My father's business had been struck disastrously by the Depression and jobs were nonexistent. My father was broke and, seeking the only security he had ever known, took us to a very poor farm where he felt he could at least make a new start. The first few years we raised head lettuce, sweet corn and other garden produce which was grinding and hard work. I was thirteen years old and worked along with him whenever it was necessary. Up until this time I had been undersized and not overly robust but possessed lots of nervous energy and a venturesome spirit. In the next few years I was to grow tall and very lanky with phenominal rapidity. I had always tired more quickly than other boys and often doggedly exceeded my strength. Growing rapidly and working so hard brought on a lowered resistance and I developed pleurisy and several cases of blood poisoning and was often ill. Our circumstances were often desperate and though we [p. 60] generally had enough to eat it was not always of a variety to keep a growing body healthy.

I liked the hard work of the farm, the animals, growing things and the freedom of doing things on my own. My father was a good workman and liked things done with care. He seldom gave us a lot of instruction in our tasks rather expecting that if we watched him and tried something a time or two, we should be able to go ahead on our own. Generally, my brothers and I simply started out to do a task and worked out our own solutions to the problems. The first two summers on the farm, he let us take a pickup and sell vegetables and apples from door to door in town. For boys eleven and thirteen we did pretty well and seldom had difficulties we couldn't get out of without help.

After a run in with my man teacher in which he grabbed me by the front of the shirt, shook his fist in my face and threatened to knock my block off if I didn't behave, we got along fine. My school work picked up and by the eighth grade I was doing well. My physical condition could not always keep up with my venturesome spirit and I would now and then succomb to exhaustion and have to stay on the side lines until I could regain some vigor. During these times I would read a lot and try to think through the problems of life around me. I developed some sense of insecurity regarding my physical strength but in this life, where robust physical strength was most important and, because this was so, my dreams of a successful life centered around achieving success through hard work and physical power over the elements.

p. 61

Somewhere along this period of my life, I decided to go on to school and welcomed High School. I did well in high school even though I had to stay out of school often either to help at home with harvesting or planting or because I was sick.

During my freshman year an accident happened which was to frustrate a great many of my ambitions and change the course of my life. During a meeting at my former school, I was recklessly running down a stairway and fell injuring my back. Though it pained me for weeks I didn't go to a doctor and finally the pain subsided. Thereafter, though, when I was engaged in various kinds of physical work it would again pain me until I could or would give it some rest.

At the end of my sophomore year in high school I went into a C.C.C. camp. We were in the depths of the Depression and drought and my family needed the income I could furnish them by my enlistment. However, in October my cousin offered to let me stay with his family and go back to high school if my folks would consent. They did and I went back to school. I got a N.Y.A. job in the school and managed to get by. At the end of the first semester my folks had moved to a larger farm and my father became ill. He wanted me to come home and help get the crops in. I transferred back to Loveland High School and by alternating weeks with my brother we got the crops in and also I completed the year of school. During the summer I worked for a neighbor and helped at home entering school again in the fall. Again it was necessary to stay out of school some to help. At midterm I received notice that I could not take my exams [p. 62] as I had not paid my tuition for the three years I'd been in school. My sister was also in school and we could not pay hers either. It was decided that I'd go to work packing turkeys and pay some on hers so she could finish her year. That was the end of my high school.

I continued to have bouts with my back and was unable to work much of the time. When I was twenty years old I tried to get into Colorado Agricultural College to study animal husbandry. Because I couldn't furnish a transcript I was refused admittance, a circumstance that made me rather bitter about further schooling.

In 1940 I enlisted in the Army. At the time of enlistment I was suffering from my back. I had been hauling milk from farms to the condenser and lifting the cans into the truck had about finished my back. However, I passed the physical and started training as a medical corpsman. The basic training proved too much for my back and when a severe cold sent me to the hospital my trouble with my back was discovered because I could barely walk and couldn't straighten up when I bent over. I was hospitalized and given treatment but I had abused it so long I didn't respond to treatment very much and was discharged as unfit for military duty.

After this the attacks became more severe and more often. Our family doctor finally convinced me I would have to find some kind of work where my back wouldn't become so involved and advised me to go [p. 63] back to school. The summer after my discharge from the Army I had work driving a school bus for a tour company. Some of the other drivers were students at Colorado Teacher's College and thought I might get in there. I wasn't much interested but when I had a particularly severe bout with my back during the winter I decided to try, thinking that after a year I might be able to transfer to the Aggies. I got a job as night porter in a hotel and started school. I worked all night and went to school in the mornings and slept a few hours in the afternoon. The work was hard on my back and not much sleep didn't help. By the end of the term I had decided I couldn't make it this way. I went back to driving the bus.

After the tourist season I stayed on for the bus company as a mechanic. By the first of the year I couldn't get up off a creeper without help. Our doctor advised me to go to Mayo Clinic. After an exploratory operation with some adjustment in muscle balance on a disk in my back, I was advised to go home and try to live with my back as a fusion at my age would be dangerous if I should ever break it.

I went back to the bus company the next season and worked until late in the winter. I then kept books in a grain elevator but couldn't stand the deadly routine and went back to the bus. The next winter I went to work for United Airlines as an account clerk. They wanted me to go to Chicago and take training after the war but the wages were poor and I wanted to get back out of doors. While I was working at the elevator I had helped unload bags of grain from freight cars and had slipped on a wet ramp with a load of grain on a hand truck and had injured the old back again. It was again giving me considerable trouble.

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Over the years I managed to acquire a good piece of property in Estes Park, Colorado which I now sold and with my brother bought a small hotel and cafe in a small mountain lumber town. A teacher in the school had been a boyhood friend. She was to have a baby soon and it was necessary that someone be found to take her place. I had some college so the superintendent persuaded me to take the job. I found that I enjoyed teaching enough to want to go back to school and become a teacher.

The lumber mill shut down and the men left the community and our hotel went broke. I left Fraser and worked at various odd jobs through the winter and went back to the bus job in the summer. My back was giving me progressively more trouble and I decided to have it operated on. I got an intestinal infection a day or so after the surgery which complicated my convalescence and prolonged it until after the first of the year. By then I felt strong enough to enter school again which I did with the aid of the G.I. Bill. I worked through the summer for the bus company and took a couple of courses too. In the fall I got a job in a cleaning plant pressing clothes and making deliveries after school and continued school that fall and the next summer. The next fall I took a teaching job in western Nebraska.

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While I was teaching, I picked up several courses by extension and one by correspondence. After the year of teaching I went back to school during the summer. I discovered that I had enough G.I. time coming to get me through another quarter and a half of school if I could go on to school the next winter. I had been selling real estate through the summer and continued that for a while during the winter. When my G.I. ran out I had to cook in a restaurant to have enough money to stay in school the rest of the year and graduate.

The next summer I went back to the bus company as a taxi driver and to wait for a job teaching. Teachers' salaries were so low at the end of the summer I took a job in the power house at Estes Park, Colorado, as a relief operator. I had also married a teacher whom I had met the year before in summer school. A cut in the labor force at the power house took my job at the end of October. I applied for a teaching job and came to Elko to take the place of a teacher who had to leave the position.

I enjoyed teaching the sixth grade but felt I wanted to be of greater help to more teachers and pupils than I could be in the classroom and decided to go into administration. After I had been in Elko four years, I was made principal of the school where I had taught. During the years in Elko I had begun again to have trouble with my back. I did not respond to therapy and the condition became steadily worse until I was nearly physically incapacitated.

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Finally it was determined that the fusion in my back had become infected due to the severe fever I had undergone during the post-operative period when the fusion was made. It took two operations to remove the infection and with it much of the bone tissue of the vertebras that were fused. The loss of the bone tissue made it impossible to fuse the vertebras again and left my back so weak that I had few periods without pain and many rather severe attacks. Consequently, I had to conserve my energy and strength for my work and to take a secondary role in education I would have liked to have take an aggressive part in.

[End of Chuck's account]

On July 5, 1963 Chuck had a fatal heart attack while working on the porch of his home. Mom and I flew out to Elko to be with Jean and the girls. While there we met Jean's family who had come from Nebraska.

After the girls were several years old, Jean started teaching. During those years she met and married Birney Powell, an accountant, who had lost his wife a few years before. He had three girls and one boy. The boy died after a few years so the family consisted of Jean's two girls and Birney's three girls. It was a wonderful arrangement and the girls were all well educated and now have very good careers and families.

Bud met and married Patricia Clark in 1950. They started their family in Estes Park with the birth of Scott in 1951 and Matt in 1953. Bud had a good job at Estes Park City Recreation Department. He was in charge of the development of the golf course as well as the Estes Park Lake docks and fishing and boating areas.

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After a few years on this job he was offered a position at Snowmass, Colorado doing the same thing except that it was on a much larger scale and included the development of the ski runs and tows. In addition, he was the Chief of the Fire Department. Bud was so good at his job that when he retired, the whole village turned out to honor him. Nellie and Red, Shirley and I were in attendance and it was great to see many folks pay homage to Bud. One of the evnts I remember were the signs saying ''Grumpy for President.''

Brother bud was a very quiet child and I think he, as a boy, was always in the shadow of older brother Chuck. Dad, Chuck and Bud worked together in trying to make a living before and during the Depression. Bud learned a great deal from Dad and Chuck and I'm sure this laid the groundwork for his success in his adult life as a person who was a ''jack-of-all-trades'' and able to accomplish anything he set his mind to.

While he was in the 9th grade at school, an incident happened that showed his iron will and independence. We had a principal named Dickinson who did some strange things. One of these occured one morning as school started. Dickinson said, ''Everyone get up and when the music starts we will all dance around the room.'' Instead of getting up, Bud just sat there and so did Nellie. When I saw them sitting I didn't get up either. Dickinson said, ''If you don't get up, I will expel you from school!'' We didn't get up and he did expel us. Dad and Mom met with the School Board and Nellie and I were able to go back, but Bud said, ''Why should I go back when I know more than the teacher?''

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Bud's wife Pat, was a very active person in community affairs and politics, particularly in the League of Women Voters. She also was active in sports including skiing. While skiing at Snowmass she suffered an aneurism in the brain and before they could get her to a doctor at a hospital for treatment, she passed away on March 1973. Bud, Scott and Matt were left without a wife and mother. Bud served his role as father and mother until the boys left home.

Enclosed here is an article written on July 18, 1985 in the Snowmass Sun by Gary McElroy entitled ''Bud Rogers Retires.''

``One of Snowmass Village's hardest working leaders decided to call it quits two weeks ago and simultaneously retired from two positions in town.

``Bud Rogers --`As in Uncle Roy [Rogers],' he quips-- was the village's first and only fire chief until two weeks ago. He also worked for the Snowmass Company, overseeing among other things, the golf course.

``He has lived in Snowmass for 17 years. His wife Maureen works in Aspen at the Emporium. They have two sons.

``Rogers is a quiet man, but not at all shy. He dealt with the approximately 25 employees who worked for him at the Snowmass Company and the 40 or so volunteer firefighters under his command the same way--straight, without any false punches.

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''Consequently, they responded to him. He calls himself an 'old s.o.b.' yet through the years, 'I never had a big turnover.'

``He had a few requirements for those working under him, such as 'being at work on time, getting the assignments done' and offering no excuses if that did not happen.

``He can say with some pride that no one in the fire department has ever had a serious injury fighting fires. Rogers exacted strict safety rules and an adamant training system.

``He says firefighters have to be 'physically adapted' to the work.

`` `You are exposed to danger at all times [during a fire],' he says. `You probably realize that more firemen are killed in the line of duty than policemen.'

``There is another requirement for a good firefighter in Snowmass. `You have to be dedicated to the community, especially on a volunteer [firefighting] basis. You have to have some kind of feeling for the community to do that successfully.'

``His policy in dealing with those under him has always been the same, but he never let friendship get in the way of promoting those who deserved it and holding back those who did not, even though they might be a friend.

``He tried to instill a feeling of, as he put it, `sociability' among the men and women who served under him at the volunteer fire department. This works well at the station and it works better when there is a fire to fight, he says.

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``As golf course superintendent, he built the original back nine holes in one summer. For a decade he served on the board of the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District, and became one of its more respected members.

``He is not the kind of man who throws out smiles easily, and for no reason. But when he does, it's real. Gruff is a good word to describe him. Looking back over his time in Snowmass, Rogers says he has no regrets.

``At age 65, though, he decided it was time to go on to other things. He is still on retainer by the Snowmass Company, but he is pretty much fully retired, and glad to be.

`` `There comes a time when you have to let go,' he says. `If you don't you keep dragging on. You lose some of your enthusiasm, your lack of involvement. It was getting just a little harder to get up in the middle of the night.'

``Rogers says he and his wife will probably sell their Snowmass home, then travel. Eventually they might settle somewhere else, in a warmer climate, but not too warm.

`` `I won't go to Texas, that's for damned sure,' he said.''

[End of article by Gary McElroy]

Bud met and married Maureen in 1975. In 1978 Bud suffered a heart attack and had by-pass surgery in 1978. He recovered from this and was able to return to work until his retirement in 1985. Bud lived a happy life and was able to have a winter home in Florence, Arizona and another in Redstone, Colorado [p. 71] where he moved after he retired. Bud died in 1993 and was cremated in Redstone. Bud was a very productive worker in his life and obtained the praise and gratitude from his family, his friends and his co-workers.

Our brother Bill, born on March 8,1928, was always such a quiet, studious boy who never got into trouble except when he was with me!! I remember though, one time when he was about six years old and was coming home from our neighbor, Leon Burkhardt's house. Our house on the hill was between two big irrigation ditches and each had a great amount of water in them in the summer when the farmers were irrigating. Bill said he was along the bank of the Home Supply Ditch pulling flowers and throwing rocks in it. He slipped into the fast running water and was only able to save himself by pulling on the long weeds that were overhanging the water. He did manage to pull himself out and arrived at the house soaking wet and scared to death. He was a welcome sight to Mom and the rest of us. He never went close to that ditch again.

While Bill was going to high school in Fort Collins, he applied for a scholarship to the University of Chicago. Out of the whole state there were only six scholarships given and his was one of them. He attended the university in what would have been his junior year in high school. This experience shaped his whole life and after the war he returned and received his B.S. and M.S. in City Planning from Chicago University. While going to school he met Hazel Burton Town and they were married in 1948. Hazel worked and helped him finish school. After he graduated he always had good jobs that paid well. Perhaps the [p. 72] highlight of his career was when he went to Alaska after the earthquake in 1964. He has told me about working with the Alaska State Government to help with the redevelopment of towns and villages that were hit by the earthquake. He said he enjoyed riding around with the Governor of Alaska in the Governor's airplane surveying the damage. Bill returned to the lower states and obtained a federal job as a planner in the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. He spent many years there in Washington D.C., and likes to tell about when he was there during the Nixon presidency. According to Bill if the American people hadn't risen up and started impeaching Nixon and kicking him out of office we could have had a dictatorship.

During their time in D.C., Bill and Hazel adopted Laura Ellen who has been an inspiration to him. Hazel was in ill health for many years and after months of very ill health, she passed away in 1982. After several years of being single, Bill met and married Robbie Hannah on December 15, 1984. They are very happy and are presently living in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Bill and Robbie love to travel as do Shirley and I and we have been traveling together to see all of the U.S. and maybe some of the rest of the world.

Our youngest brother, Rusty, was born on a cold winter day on January 3, 1933. This was in the depth of the Depression and everyone had to get along as best they could without any money to meet even the necessities of life.

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Also, soon after Rusty's birth our Granddad Rogers came from Oregon to stay with us. Granddad took care of Rusty when he was a baby and through the years they were steadfast buddies. Granddad always smoked a corn cob pipe so Rusty had to have one too and when Rusty was able to walk, they would take long walks each ''smoking'' their pipes.

Rusty had a good life; however, the poverty we lived in had probably a more detrimental effect on him than the rest of us. After Mom and Dad made some money in the turkey business during the war, they were able to take trips and Rusty was always with them so he attended many different schools. Then he was with them when they broke up. Despite all this, Rusty was able to complete college and he obtained a job in the State Department of Welfare in Denver. He had met and married Anne Kiss in 1959 in Denver. They started their family and had Chester Anton born on August 2 in 1960 and Raymond Alfred was born on August 20, 1962.

Rusty was doing very well as a quality control officer for the State of Colorado Department of Welfare.

In 1968 Rusty and Anne were divorced and as a result, because of so much trouble and stress, he had a heart attack and passed away in September of 1969. This was so tragic for all of us, and Dad in particular who wouldn't go to the funeral. Rusty was buried alongside our mother in the cemetary at Loveland.

Rusty was very smart and was able, during his life, to adopt well to various situations. Shirley's brother, Harold Edwin Sutton, told me recently how he had gotten Rusty a job as a Union Carpenter in [p. 74] Cheyenne. Harold said Rusty became a very accomplished all-around carpenter, plumber and electrician. During the first years of his marriage, Rusty began to buy run- down homes in Denver and remodel them. He had several homes in Denver when he died and by now he would have been wealthy because of his abilities, know-how and his willingness to take risks.

Our Dad lived to the age of 85. After all the hardships and joys I have descirbed in this book he was up until the last few months of his life, full of hope for the future and love for all his family.

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W. B. Hill Index Page
Chapter 1, Introduction and Pre-war years

Chapter 2, The War Years

Chapter 3, After the War

Chapter 4, Genealogy and Supplements
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