Tag Archives: Bergen Park

Nostalgia …

nos·tal·gia

[näˈstaljə, nəˈstaljə]

NOUN
a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations

Hanging in our master bathroom is a picture we picked up in a junk antique store somewhere in rural Texas. It is a fit starting place for today’s tale.

In 1981 the Mrs and I moved from Bergen Park Colorado (Bergen Park Dreams, Olde Time Radio) to John Rolfe Lane, a rent house in the suburbs west of Houston to begin my career in the oil patch. We lived at John Rolfe Lane from 1981 to 1989, when we moved into the current Catbeard Manor, using the severance package from my first employer as down payment. Both of our sons were born at John Rolfe Lane.

The John Rolfe Lane residence is a but a few blocks north of Catbeard Manor in a different subdivision, yet sufficiently out of my way that I must intentionally drive past it. I rarely do so, maybe once every ten years. I did so today. Gone was the large tree in the front yard and the red tip photinia growing between the windows of what were the two boys bedrooms. Gone were the shrubs up against the front of the house. Gone was the flower bed around the mail box. In their place was a newly planted tree (looks like an oak of some sort) and an otherwise barren, but well cared for, front yard. I have many photos of John Rolfe Lane … somewhere. If I find them, perhaps I will post them in the future.


 

We moved from Bergen Park with two dogs, K2 (male) and Anna (female). Their tale is one that deserves a much more detailed elaboration, but I will give you the condensed version now … 

K2 was a wedding present from Jeff and Cheryl. His name came from pen 2K at the Dumb Friends Society in Denver. He was alleged to be part Collie / part Australian Shepherd, but I actually think that the “Australian Shepherd” part was in fact coyote. K2 was the smartest dog I have ever known. As a puppy he had enormous ears. I remember noting that he did not bark when we picked him up (turned out to be a nasty case of kennel cough). I vividly remember the drive home when we stopped by a Dairy Queen for a burger. Not sure what followed next but I recall wondering if K2 was hungry only to discover him in my lap devouring my burger. One could not have wanted for a more loyal dog. He would defend us to the death against small children (we think he has abused). Yet he easily accepted his role in our pack as the defender of our children. We used to keep him on a long lunge line attached to the front door of John Rolfe Lane where he would sleep in the entry way. One night we heard a muffled grunt and we ran to the entry way to find the door open and blood on K2’s muzzle. We think that someone had kicked in the front door and a surprised K2 had “taken a bite out of crime”. Only the lunge line had kept him from pursuit. I reinforced the locks after that.

K2 is also the name of the mountain next to Mount Everest. Our next adoptee occurred courtesy of our vet in Bergen Park, Dr. Nealy. She was the only pet we never had neutered, a cat we named Everest. Not long after we got Everest, we were grocery shopping in Evergreen south of Bergen Park and a young boy had a grocery cart full of mixed Samoyed / Golden Retriever puppies. I bought a bag of dog food and came home with Anna Purna (another mountain near Everest). Anna was the stereotypical dumb blond, a Samoyed with floppy gold tipped ears. She was the sweetest, gentlest, most patient creature you could ever have. In Bergen Park the drive way was paved in smooth river rocks. I threw them for her and she loved to chase them. One day I threw one for her from the second story balcony. It went through the driver side window of our new car. Below is a picture of Anna (foreground) and K2 taken by my dad. It hangs above our stairway next to the picture of Bob.


 

Regarding Everest … she got pregnant at Bergen Park, had kittens, and promptly disappeared. The Mrs and I bottle-fed the kittens and Anna adopted them as her own. She would carry each of them around with its head in her mouth ever so gently. She would clean them with her tongue and let them nurse on her until she was raw. We would go on outings with Anna in the lead followed by “her kittens”. She grieved when we gave them all away. I have slides of Anna and her kittens that I need to get scanned. When (if) I get around to it I will post them. So-oh cute!

K2 and Anna got old as all pets do and each had to be put down in time. K2 died while we were at John Rolfe Lane. Anna died after we moved to Catbeard Manor. She really missed K2. The bard said “It is better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all”. No where is that more true than with our pets. They give us all of their love, unconditionally, but we out-live them. 

We had both K2 and Anna cremated and their ashes scattered at Little Friends Pet Memorial out in the country west of us. Today the Mrs and I took a road trip to visit them. We drove past it at first and I thought maybe it was gone, but we spotted it on the way back on the dead end road. It is in farm country, surrounded by cotton fields. It was an extremely hot and dry day. Too hot for the Mrs. She waited in the car with the AC on while I walked around the deserted memorial. It was very peaceful and serene. Several people had left their pets toys at the memorial. It was quite emotional for me, but I have always been emotional.





 

I found Anna’s plaque …


but try as I would. I could not find K2’s. I did note that some plaques appear to have fallen off in the almost thirty years that have transpired. K2’s plaque was there when we last visited with the boys in the early 90’s when I thought we might all be moving to Russia for work. That never happened and the Mrs diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis put the kibosh on any thought of foreign assignment.

I called the main number and talked to a very nice lady who told me that Little Friends had a new owner. The original owner was doctor, certainly now deceased, who established it when his pet died and he discovered that no facility of this sort existed. He would collect the pets and take them to the memorial to be cremated and then scatter the ashes. Anyway she asked for my phone number and promised to get back to me.

More to come …

Bergen Park Dreams

[ I began writing this about the time that iOS 10.3.2 Trashed My iPhone … just now getting back to it ]

In a previous post I told you briefly of my time living at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory a mile or so west of Bergen Park Colorado in the mountains west of Denver. 

I lived at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory in Bergen Park from 1976 to 1981 with my newlywed bride, two dogs, and (very briefly) a cat. They were perhaps the happiest days of my life and I still have what I have come to call “Bergen Park Dreams”.

“Bergen Park Dreams” are essentially what they sound like, dreams about living in Bergen Park … but they have evolved subtly over the years. Initially they were simple reminiscences of actual events at the time, but as time passed they became stranger and stranger. This maybe due to the fact that I had revisited Bergen Park in the mid-90s and more recently in 2015 – boy had things changed.

My first drive to Bergen Park and the Observatory was in 1975. It was little more than a crossroads with a Conoco station, a mini mart, liquor store, bowling alley, and a few restaurants. Depending on which road out of Bergen Park you chose, you would be on your way to the more populous Evergreen to the south, or on the road to Squaw Mountain and Mount Evans to the southwest, or heading west back to connect to I-70 via Colorado 65. 

The area west of Bergen Park on Colorado 65 was pristine. It was a Colorado mountain paradise. The Observatory was just off of 65 to the north up a dirt road. Back then, as I said, it was truly a pristine paradise. Elk would graze within a stone’s throw of the upper balcony. Little did I know that it would all change in just a few short years with the development of the Soda Creek community on the south side of 65 and it’s million dollar mini-ranchettes. From 1976 to 1981 I lived in a Colorado paradise worth millions of dollars because I could not afford to live anywhere else.

In the summer of 1976 the future Mrs flew out to visit me for a week during the summer. We had been dating since 1973 when we had met in fencing class at Broward Junior College near Davie, Florida west of Fort Lauderdale where I lived with my folks. Ok I actually lived in Wilton Manors, an island bounded by natural rivers and man-made canals within Fort Lauderdale, but whatever. 

I met my wife-to-be in Junior College while attending a fencing class. She was my partner during field camp for the “barbed-wire stretching” section. We had five miles of barbed-wire to stretch along a section of canal that bordered the Everglades. She cut her hand and I cleaned and bandaged it tenderly with love and care. So gentle were my attentions that she soon fell under the spell of my gentle but manly manner and soon we were lying under the shade of a mangrove tree making sweet, sweet …

Oh wait that was last night’s dream … It was fencing class as in touché, sabers, etc. …

My wife-to-be in fencing class:

20130831-171620.jpg

Ok not my wife … and besides in 1973 the world had not yet been introduced to light-sabers. We used foils, épées, old-school sabers. Her sweet smile and school girl laugh pierced my heart as did the unshielded tip of her épée. When I finally got out of the hospital … OK that was lie. It was fencing class nothing more. But it was the beginning of a 40 year love affair.

For a picture of my wife-to-be back in 1973, click HERE.

Where was I? Oh yes, 1976, so this was the first time I had not gone home over summer break and had moved into the Observatory full-time only a few months before in order to establish in-state residency. My wife-to-be was flying out from Miami to visit me. I had gone to the former Stapleton International airport in Denver to pick her up only to find out that her flight was “delayed”. I was unable to get any information regarding the delay. I began thinking … what if the plane had crashed? Would the Arrival Display calmly announce “Hull Loss” or “Plane Crashed”? Of course not. It would announce FLIGHT DELAYED. I finally gave up and drove back to Bergen Park with the weight of uncertainty heavily upon me. Later that night she called from the hotel in which the airline had put them up in Dallas due to engine trouble. She arrived the next day telling me the story of the woman dressed in her wedding gown flying to her wedding which she obviously missed. Not like you could call someone on your cell phone to explain the situation back then – THEY DIDN’T EXIST.

My wife-to-be spent the week with me in Bergen Park the summer of 1976. It was a wonderful week. I asked her to marry me and, fool that she was, she accepted.  We set the date for December 30th, 1976 when I planned to be home for Christmas break. We chose December 30th because we did not want to be driving anywhere on New Year’s Eve. Before and after her visit and until we were married, life was pretty lonely in Bergen Park. I could drive the old International Harvester back and forth to Golden and stop at any points along the way, but I was broke and spent most of my time studying. Since no mail was delivered to the Observatory (I didn’t even know the address at that time), I had gotten a post office box in Golden that served as my official address. There was also a land line to the Observatory, but I tried to keep the long distance calls to a minimum. My wife-to-be was in nursing school in Miami and was quite busy herself.

Over the summer of 1976 I had a lot of time to myself. I hiked around the 75 acres of Coors land that the Observatory sat on. I walked or drove into Bergen Park for groceries. I read a lot. I changed and developed the seismic records every night and once a week drive them down to Golden. Life was peaceful and idyllic, when not outright boring. I caught wolf spiders in jars and kept them as pets feeding them moths. OK – that was creepy, but I was desperate for companionship. Introvert that I was – and still am – I treasure my alone time, but there is alone and then there is lonely. I would talk out loud to the spiders, the walls, myself just to hear a voice.

There was a well on the property that provided all of the water (via an electric downhole pump) and two drain fields. The well was located just to the east of the building and the sanitary septic tank and drain field was located on the other side to the west. There was also a secondary drain field in the front of the building (to the south) near the dirt road up from the main road. This was for the photographic chemicals and rinse water. I had to be careful not to use too much rinse water during the development process or when cleaning the tanks or I would get a spring that ran down the dirt road. Not a problem in the summer, but it would form an ice slick in the winter … which my wife discovered when she slid under her car while getting into it to head to work one frozen morning. It was several minutes before I noticed her screaming for me … an event she tells others to this day.

I didn’t trust the well, so I would fill jugs of water up from a water spigot at the back of the Green Center building back at the School of Mines in Golden and lug them up to Bergen Park. Cecil H. Green (founder of Texas Instruments) was quite the philanthropist and many buildings are in his (and his wife’s) name. Eventually I had the well water tested and it came back with coliform bacteria at “TNTC” (Too Numerous To Count). My fears were justified. Contaminated ground water had gotten into the well. I would fix this. I found the well head and opened it up. Then I ran a hose from the spigot into the well and turned on the water. Finally came the chlorine bleach, I forget how many jugs of bleach. I let the water circulate – I forget for how long – but long enough to circulate the bleach to every part of the system. Then I let it sit and soak. Then circulate. Then soak. Finally I let the water run and flushed out the bleach until I could smell chlorine no more. Then waited to let the well recharge and flushed it again. Eventually I had the water tested again and it was safe to drink. But for how long? I think I waited a month to get the well water tested again before I felt safe to drink it. With the second test passed, I could stop lugging water. The well water at Bergen Park was perhaps the best water I have ever had. It was delicious … and had the bizarre ability to keep our teeth free of plaque. To this day, only Ozarka Spring Water comes close.

Anyway, not long after moving to Houston with my first employer out of college I began to have the “Bergen Park Dreams”.  As I said above, they were originally just remembrances of the past, but slowly began to morph into something stranger, an alternate reality. I am back in Bergen Park present day and move back into the Observatory for no apparent reason. Sometimes the Mrs is with me, sometimes not. We are usually our younger selves. Often the area around the Observatory is highly built up, even more than in reality. The dreams are often quite vivid and colorful. Sometimes I also dream about an alternate reality version of Golden and the School of Mines, usually an ultra high-tech version, with many new ultra modern buildings. 

Dreams are curious things. Mine are often quite interesting. Some folks have the occasional nightmare (scary dreams), me not so much. I tend to think of dreams as the “screen saver” our brain provides while it “defrags.” Sleep is the time our brain sorts and stores our daily memories and our nervous system is flushed of toxins. Sleep is when our muscles are repaired from the damage incurred during our daily workouts. Sleep is also when youngsters grow – and why adequate sleep is so critical for the young. So between nervous system and muscle repair, body growth, and memory fixation we learn that adequate sleep is very, very important to the human condition.

My occasional “Bergen Park Dreams” are just another aspect of my sleep.

 
Links in this post:
https://contrafactual.com/2017/05/24/ios-10-3-2-trashed-my-iphone/
https://contrafactual.com/2017/05/22/olde-time-radio/
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen_Park
https://contrafactual.com/2013/08/31/convoy/
https://contrafactual.com/2013/09/28/hot-chick/
http://greencenter.mines.edu
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Howard_Green
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coliform_bacteria
https://www.ozarkawater.com
https://contrafactual.com/2014/05/27/sleep/

Olde Time Radio

Note: please click on the highlighted links included in the text for more information.

“This is radio station WWV, Fort Collins, Colorado, broadcasting on internationally allocated standard carrier frequencies of 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 megahertz, providing time of day, standard time interval, and other related information. Inquires regarding these transmissions may be directed to the National Bureau of Standards, Time and Frequency Services Section, Boulder, Colorado 80524.”

At least this is how I remember it from over 40 years when I lived at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory in the mountains west of Denver just outside of Bergen Park. Compare this to the current version as shown in the previous post

From 1974 to 1981, I was enrolled at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden Colorado (home of the legendary Coors beer re: Smokey and the Bandit). I lived in the dorms from 1974 to 1976. In a move to establish in-state tuition and a SIGNIFICANT cost savings I needed to 1) have my parents stop claiming me on their income tax, 2) establish year-round residence in Colorado, and (most important) 3) fill out the forms and get in-state status (probably easier to do then than now). As luck would have it during my second year at Mines, my undergraduate advisor Maurice W. (Maury) Major needed someone to change the records at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory on the weekends. This provided me with some extra money. When I eventually told him of my desire to establish in-state tuition and that I needed a place to live over the summer, he suggested that I could live at the observatory and change the records every night as part of the deal … and what a deal it was. I got totally free accommodations on 75 acres of Colorado mountain land owned by Coors, continued to get paid a small stipend for changing the records, and the use of an old International Harvester to travel back and forth from Bergen Park to Golden. The Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory was part of the World Wide Standardized Seismograph Network, ostensibly set up to study the internal structure of the earth via earthquake signatures, but actually set up to monitor Soviet underground nuclear tests. For 82 pages of mind numbing detail be sure to read the World-Wide Standardized Seismograph Network: A Data Users Guide. The Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory was instrumental in proving that that the earthquakes Denver was experiencing during the 1960s were in fact caused by the pumping of chemical waste into a disposal well at the Rocky Moutain Arsenal just north of Denver.




  

Then (1989)

http://gis.utep.edu/subpages/states/documents/Colorado/bergen%20park%20ca.pdf

 
Now (2015)

I took the above photo in 2015 while in Denver attending the wedding of Jess and Brian (a story for another time). As near as I could tell, the land and structure had been sold and someone was converting it to an actual home. When I lived there the first floor contained the seismological recording equipment and the second floor (two-thirds the size of of the first floor) had room for a large “class room”, a small toilet/sink/shower room, and two small “offices” (one of which, next to the bathroom, I used as a bedroom). The other third of the upstairs area was a tar paper and gravel “sun deck” enclosed by a wooden railing.

Every evening I would go downstairs (note that the stairs were outside) and turn on the short wave radio tuned to WWV. It was part of the vertical cabinet pictured in the image below. The actual seismometers (the x-y-z pendulums), the triangular boxes, were located in a tunnel excavated into the hill behind and to the north of the building. The actual recording equipment … the drums (and galvanometers pictured below the drums) were located in room 103* as indicated in the schematic pictured above. Room 101* contained the radio and time coding equipment. Room 102*/ 102A* contained the photographic developing tanks and the drier.


https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2014/1218/pdf/ofr2014-1218.pdf

Since each seismogram was recorded by light bouncing off of a mirror attached to a galvanometer, I had to work “by touch” in total darkness to change the paper on the drum and develop the paper with the seismic recordings. While working I usually left the radio tuned to WWV as it told me how long to leave the photographic paper in each stage of the development process. Night after night after night after night I heard “This is radio station WWV, Fort Collins, Colorado, broadcasting on internationally allocated standard carrier frequencies of … ” yada, yada, yada until it was burned into my memory as surely has the lyrics to Happy Birthday to You or Back in the USSR

One night I even tried tuning into other stations specifically trying to locate Radio Moscow. I finally gave up trying after tuning into a station where a man and a woman with obvious mid-west accents were reading questions from that week’s “mailbag”. Imagine my surprise when they proceeded to answer the question “What is the weather like there in Moscow?”

I lived at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory in Bergen Park from 1976 to 1981 with my newlywed bride, two dogs, and (very briefly) a cat. They were perhaps the happiest days of my life and I still have what I have come to call “Bergen Park Dreams”.

Don’t forget to click on the highlighted links for more information.