Friday, October 14, 2011

When my family moved from New Jersey to Colorado

My dad was really tired of commuting for 3 hours each day from our home in Ridgewood, NJ to New York City after doing it for 12 years. He got the opportunity to take one year off work to come to CSU and get his PhD. As a family we would vacation in Colorado so my family was in for it totally. We moved to Fort Collins when I was starting the 7 grade. It was rough for me to leave my friends in NJ but I knew it was just for a year. The strange part was most of my friends turned to drugs while I was away. I was too much into the outdoors to do such a thing to my body. Looking back at it now my dad made the best decision. I am grateful. That was the summer of 1969 just like the song.

I faced many challenges in going to a new school. Having to meet new friends not to mention find my way around school. I had a locker for the first time in my life. Simple things like memorizing my locker combination were another challenge. But two classes that were special to me were gym and conservation. I don’t mind admitting but my body was changing drastically back in 7th grade especially my muscles. That’s why gym was important to me. When I got back to NJ, my friends said my biceps were gigantic! It made me proud. My gym teacher was extremely strict and my guidance counselor warned me on the first day of school. I really liked it. I was petrified of him. He he. The second class that I would like to tell you about was Colorado conservation. The really strange but interesting thing was the teacher was my next-door neighbor!

As a side note my family was really close to them and still is today. I would babysit their children! Yes I was an excellent babysitter! That’s when I learned that I love babies and young kids so much. They have so much love and what I like about them is learn at an incredible rate. I changed diapers and had no problem with the smell after all that’s what babies do, eat, sleep and poop!

His name is Richard and he impressed me with his love of the great outdoors. He would rather take a camera with him when he went out rather than a rifle. My Dad said he was a wuss. He he. But I learned so much from him inside and outside of school. Even when I had to do a speech in his class I was comfortable which isn’t my style because I get petrified when I do speeches in front of people that I don’t know. One time I had to give a speech for 11 Generals when I was working for the government. Talk about pucker factor! Rich had a way of teaching that made it fun to learn! After one year with him, I wanted to become a teacher but my dad said teaching was a dead end job and you don't make any money. I was young and believed my father but to this day I wished that I became a teacher.

Dad bought a house on Clover Lane right off of Laporte. Our backyard was a huge field where the KCOL radio towers are and I had a lot of fun riding my mini bike all around. To the left of the field is where my friend who had an underground trampoline. Also I would go to the city park pool with my friends. A girl named Sherrie lived a block away from my house and I became friends with her brother. I would love to go to her house and we would talk for hours with each other. I was so shy with girls at that age but glad that I could talk about anything with her. Her parents were way older than my parents but they were up on the times. I liked them a lot and they always made me feel at home. It was the time of the sexual revolution and all 5 of us would sit around the kitchen table and talk about sex and other interesting topics.

My dad knew that I was interested in how things worked so he helped me fix my mini bike when it needed attention. He let me practically rebuilt the engine. I loved my mini bike!

That year was very special to me and I think that I became more of a young man in that single year than any other year! I really grew to love Colorado because of all the things that my dad and I did like backpacking, skiing, hunting and fishing. If you get a chance read my favorite fishing story on my blog. My favorite hunting trip was with my dad and a good friend of the family named AL Barns.  We got this elk pictured below.  Dad named him Ralph! 

In 1972 my parents decided to give up on life in NJ and permanently move to Colorado. Again for me it was difficult because I was entering my junior year of high school. We bought a house in Lakewood over looking Denver and the view was magnificent. Our house was two blocks from where no houses could be built because of the hills of Green Mountain. To my good fortune my new high school named Green Mountain was brand new so for the first year there was no seniors because they never pull the senior class away from their school. I was a senior for two years and walking tall! He he.

Before school started my mom and I were grocery shopping at Safeway and a very tall boy was sacking our groceries and mom started talking with him about school and he said he would be glad to show me around. His name is Alex. We clicked immediately and became friends. After a while during school we had so much in common that he became my climbing buddy and backpacking companion.

In the summer we would hike up to the top of Green Mountain and camp up there. My most memorable experience was when I took pictures of the stars with my 35mm camera with the shutter open for about 10 seconds. I would capture the stars moving across the sky. You should try it sometime.

Alex is the person who climbed Longs Peak with me a few times when we were going to CSU! I must get in touch with Alex someday! We can talk about our adventures that I could go on and on for days!