I was introduced to Colorado at the ripe old age of eleven, when my Dad decided to take a new job in Boulder. That transfer from a small town in Kansas to this mecca of hippie culture in 1966 moved me fast forward into a new way of seeing. I’ll never forget the time some guy on “The Hill” offered me acid at age thirteen. I much preferred candy at The Country Store on Broadway at that age. For us the culture shock was just beginning!
A couple years later we moved to Colorado Springs so my Dad could take a job at Colorado College. From one of the national centers of hippie culture to a majorly conservative military town, how shocking for our young, vulnerable minds. Between Fort Carson, The Air Academy, Peterson Air Force Base and NORAD, the military presence was hard to miss, and our teachers in junior high and high school were often retired military officers. My brother John, the natural rebel, had the most trouble with the conservatives there. He got suspended from school for wearing a peace symbol around his neck! We all wore black armbands when members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State University demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine on May 4th 1970. This was the first time I protested anything.
“Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, we’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio… ” – Crosby, Stills & Nash
Then I went to college for short periods at Colorado College (2 years), University of Northern Colorado (1 semester) and CU-Boulder in quick succession. What was I seeking? To understand Asia and learn Chinese after living in Bangkok at the end of the Vietnam War.
Over the years after college I lived in Asia, on the West Coast (Seattle), near the East Coast (Cornell University) collecting graduate degrees and worked at a number of university libraries. But Boulder always called me back. I felt safe and comfortable there. After one of my most harrowing years, studying Chinese at the Stanford Center in Taipei, I found myself sitting there wondering where I should move next. I chose Boulder, a place where I always felt safe and comfortable. I ended up with a position at CU-Boulder libraries for a few years.
So really the theme of my life has been, go out and explore the world, then return to Colorado for safety and reassurance…
The crowning glory of my love for Colorado has been our move almost seven years ago down to the foothills west of Walsenburg. Out in the country, with an astounding view of the Spanish Peaks and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, far from all the people noise, that’s the Colorado I love best! I have climbed peaks, run rivers, even biked a few off-road trails, but now I’m happy just looking outside and dreaming of past adventures…
“The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” – W.B. YEATS