Nova E., Nova A., Viola, Avona, Zelda & Orla 1943
Our folks made special efforts for us to have fun times as
well. We would go fishing up on Pinion Mesa.
I don’t know about now, but back in those days they kept the creeks
stocked with fish, and we’d come home with not only fish but ticks. Getting rid of the ticks was always the first
priority when we arrived home. Mom never
believed that the bridges over the creeks were stable and she would make us
kids get out and walk over the bridge with her.
The bridges never did let my Dad or the car fall into the creeks, and as
far as I know the same bridges are still being used today as you drive up to
the Madden place, but seventy years later they may have replaced the
bridges. Going up toward the Madden
place we always watched for Mr. Sugar’s unique house with its dirt roof and
often with grass growing in the dirt.
Canning was a big project as well. Mom always raised a large garden (which we know she hoed, usually getting up early in the morning to do the job). The garden provided not only food for the summer, it was also canned for use during the winter months. Fruit from the orchards in Grand Junction, as well as venison and chicken, were also canned and placed in the cellar. Later, when she was alone she continued to raise a large garden so she could share the produce with others.
For many years Dad was the road maintenance man for Glade Park, and Mom sometimes drove the big dump truck for him. Once, with all of us kids along, Mom was driving the truck and following behind the road grader when a wheel came off and went rolling down the road ahead of us. That brought us to an abrupt stop. My Dad, unaware, continued with his road grading. A carload of young men came along and stopped. Surprised to see Mom and us four children in the truck, they exclaimed “It’s an old lady and a bunch of kids!” before driving away. Dad finally came back and rescued us.
Winter was the time for winter sports. We often had groups of people coming to ski on the hill behind our house. There was no telephone to advise us they were coming, and on any Sunday Mom never knew how large of a group that she’d be cooking for. She made many a big canning pressure cooker full of delicious soup or chili, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Speaking of food, one year Mom and four other Moms (Eula Miracle, Bertie Thompson, Goldie Cruise, and Annabell Bonnichson) decided that we needed hot lunches at school. They set up a kitchen down in the basement (there was a basement back then), and each of the five volunteers would bring food on their day and cook lunch for all the children. It was a lot of extra work but we all looked forward to each of their specialties.
There were lots of fox and geese games, igloos and forts built, many snowball fights, cross country skiing, all resulting in piles of wet snowsuits to dry out. This was done by hanging them over chairs around the heating stove. Mom never said “enough is enough,” she just continued to put up with always drying snowsuits. If it wasn’t snowsuits it was the laundry. On wash day the laundry was hung on the line but instead of drying it would freeze, and at the end of the day, clothes that stood up by themselves, were brought in to dry by the heater. Monday was laundry day and Mom would pull out the wringer washer and two large tubs for rinsing. They were filled with water from the boiler on the stove. The clothes were sorted and then washed, starting with the lightest colored clothes and ending ******with the darkest colored clothes. We were always warned not to let our hands get caught in the wringer. When we were young I remember Mom making lye soap to use to do the laundry and making hominy for us to eat. I think that lye was used in making both and she would get bad burns from the lye getting on her. We don’t often think about how easy we have it as we go to the store to purchase what we need and/or want.
Nova loved rocks so when the family went hiking we always took canvas bags to carry any interesting rocks we found. He also found burls and crooked limbs on the cedar (juniper) trees, and he began to cut them and bring them home. He spent many a winter day debarking and polishing the wood. I admire my Mom, the kitchen was his workshop and it was littered with bark and shavings as Dad would work on, and assemble his findings into beautiful lamps and tables.
This is a picture of one of the lamps that Dad made. =>
Years later he built himself a workshop got a rock saw and a polisher, and spent hours cutting and polishing many of the rocks that we had gathered over the years. He put many of them in settings and they often became gifts to those who admired them. Mom was probably glad that she didn’t have the rock saw and polisher in her kitchen. In Mom’s home you will see many of his handiworks that she cherished and proudly displayed.
Even getting us bathed was a project for Mom. When we took our bathes, a big boiler was placed on the stove to heat the water and then was dipped into a round laundry tub on the kitchen floor where we all took our turn getting our bath. More hot water would be added as the “next-in-line” got in the tub. I sure appreciate being able to turn on the faucet and getting the right temperature for my shower. We didn’t get electricity until I was in sixth grade, the first family to get electricity on Glade Park. Electricity was brought to about a mile south of us for some kind of aeronautic building, and since the line went past our house we got to hook up to electricity. Our family had no telephone service until after I was married. Up until then we had wood stoves, kerosene lamps, and all our water (except for the bath and laundry water) was heated in a reservoir or teakettle on the stove. A wood/coal stove continues to be used to heat the house.
Mom was instrumental in getting Summer Vacation Bible Schools on Glade Park and they were a special part of our lives. We enjoyed the songs, and especially the flannel graph stories. Vi and Nova were also instrumental in again getting a church started on Glade Park. First we met in the Church building that was located just west of the store. For several years in the 1950s Paul Henry would drive up from the Fruita Brethren Church to teach God’s word, until he was no longer able to do so. Later when Coates Creek was the only remaining school Mom would go once a week and teach lessons from the Bible to those who came. Joe and Georgie Carns and Anna Lawson and Mike were some of the ones who attended. She says she was so thankful when a gentleman from American Sunday School Union came and took over the teaching. Eventually the church began meeting in the Pipe Line School (Community Center) and evolved into the Glade Park Bible Church. Their good friend, Rev. Delbert Golike was the pastor for many years. Vi’s desire was always to have some spiritual influence in our lives and in the community, and she continued to host a Bible study in her home until a short time before her death.
This is the church building that was just west of the Glade Park Store. This picture was taken in the 1950’s. Nova E. is standing at the west corner, J.P. Miracle in the doorway, Cora Henry, Pastor Henry’s wife is approaching in light colored coat. Over the years as I was growing up, occasionally a church from Grand Junction would come and a church service.
Dad was the one who quoted poems to us, and he knew s plethora of them. He was also helped us learn about the Bible by having us play Bible 20 Questions- animal, vegetable, or mineral. He usually stumped us when it was his turn for us to come up with his Bible animal, vegetable or mineral. Mom was the family story reader, and we always looked forward to the stories that would be read to us at bedtime. Besides reading the Bible to us, some of our favorite stories were Winnie the Pooh and the Thorton Burgess books. Mom had a wonderful reading voice, and after her many years of reading to us she became the story reader for her grandchildren who also enjoyed hearing her read.
Mom was quite the seamstress and spent many hours making our clothes, maybe her most challenging project was making my wedding gown. Mom wanted us to learn how to sew and embroidery and cook, and started us doing all of these at an early age. On our ninth birthday we each made our own cake. When I was nine Mom started a 4-H club and we began to sew and cook in earnest as we looked forward to the 4-H Fairs and the hopes of taking home the best ribbons. We also raised and showed lambs which we raised and cared for. As other children in the area grew they were added to the club and Mom continued as 4-H leader for 26 years. She went to Denver in 1965 to be honored and given a plaque for her long service as a 4-H leader. Many of the children who were loved and nurtured by her during those years continued to come and visit her when in the area.
When Nova’s health began to fail they had to give up farming and make a change in duties. Vi took over the outside work, which included herding the sheep on Black Ridge, and Nova became the chief cook and bottle washer. I think my Mom’s only complaint was that all those sourdough biscuits (the best in the world by the way) that he was making her for breakfast was making her gain too much weight.
When Nova passed away on November 23, 1975, Vi lost her best friend, but being a woman of faith she took God at His word that He would be a husband to the widow, and she lived many years trusting in that promise. She trusted Him to meet all her needs. He graciously and abundantly provided for her in every way, not least of which are all the many people He put in her life who so generously and lovingly cared for her. She became known to many as Grandma Vi.
With Nova gone, their four children all married and with homes of their own, Vi continued to take care of the home and livestock, be involved in the church, and hosting the weekly Bible study in her home.
In 1980 Vi was honored by the Human Relations Committee of Mesa Valley Education Association in recognition of her continued Services and Dedication to Mankind. She definitely had an influence in this community and in her family.
As Vi was advancing in years, her daughter Zelda took her for a doctor appointment. The doctor, trying to determine what Mom wanted at the end of her life asked her what her desire was. She told him “if I’m alive I want you to take care of me.” He then asked what if she stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating and she told him “if I’m alive I want you to take care of me, but if I’m dead leave me dead—but I’m going to live to 100.”
When Mom turned 90 she had a big birthday party at the Pipe Line School/ Community Center, with about 200 people. She had a great time visiting with so many friends that she had known over the years. When she turned 95 we had another large celebration for her, again to her great enjoyment. Thanks to all who helped her celebrate.
Mom continued to care for her home and the livestock until a few days before her 96th birthday when she fell and broke her hip. The doctors told us that at her age she would not survive the surgery. Surprise, she did! After going through rehab she returned home and 10 days later she fell and broke her other hip. The doctors told us that she would not survive two broken hip surgeries in two months. Surprise, she did! The doctors told us that she would never walk again. Surprise, she did! But it did end her independence. We found a wonderful place for her to live and have care for 6 months of the year. My husband and I would return in the spring and take her home to Glade Park for 6 months. When she turned 100 we had another big party to celebrate. In September that year Mom fell again and it was like she thought “I reached my goal of 100, and I’m tired of going through rehab” and on September 28 she not only reached her goal of living to 100, but also her goal of going to heaven and spending eternity with her Lord, Savior and friend, Jesus!
At Mom memorial service we sang one of her favorite hymns, “I Want You To Know Him” because she wanted everyone to know Jesus as their personal savior. She would want you to know that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23; and that “the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23; but that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus) that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins therefore “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, not as the result of works, that no one should boast” Ephesians 2:8-9. To have a relationship with God and eternal life you have to believe that Jesus died for your sin, was buried and rose again. Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” John 14:6.
Thank you Mom, for your example of godliness, hard work, and perseverance. I love you!
Orla Holloway Helmick