Homeless in Aspen

john peck

Well-Known Member
I had quit a carpenter job at the end of july to go prospecting on the south shoulder of Mt. Elbert.
but abandoned my camp at timberline after 3 nights of violent thunderstorms resembling
artillery barrages, Some strikes were so close that they literally made my hair stand on end. So, I
packed up & walked down to my dilapidated old ford galaxy in Twin Lakes. You had to park it on
hill as there were 2 teeth missing from the flywheel requiring a deal of luck to start.
That afternoon I rolled into Aspen with 7 bucks & a quarter tank of gas. I drove around lookin'
for a job site, & found one just nailin' down plywood on the floor joists. As was my frequent
habit, I slept in the front seat with my feet hangin' out the door.
Next morning
i heard the crew arrive, hopped up, put on my tool belt, & shoved a pencil into my hat band.
I asked foreman if he needed help, He asked how much I wanted. I boldly said $8 an hr, ( The rest
of his crew had come from Grand Junction & were getting $4.75 an hour) So then he points at
a huge bunk of 2 x 6, & a 14" radial arm saw, "Can you handle that?" " I bleve so," sez I.
I spent the next hour at the prints on a list of dimensions etc,, also building a saw table
marked with dimensions,. Then,I had at it! Come 4:30 I'd cut every stud, header, sill, & cripple for
that 4-plex & lugged 'em into place.
AS we were rollin' up, the boss walks up to me & sez,"Son, I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to let
you go. I've got all the knotheads I need to pound nails & some have families." With that he pressed
2 one hundred dollar bills in my palm & said good luck. I'd asked $8 an hr, & got $25 an hr. As a bonus
i was once again blissfully unemployed. I celebrated with a pint of vodka & a 3 pd. chuck roast over an
open fire down in the old hobo camp below the Maroon crik bridge. Gary Cooper had also lived there
once, being homeless in Aspen. (too be continued)
 
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J.R.

Well-Known Member
I had quit a carpenter job at the end of july to go prospecting on the south shoulder of Mt. Elbert.
but abandoned my camp at timberline after 3 nights of violent thunderstorms resembling
artillery barrages, Some strikes were so close that they literally made my hair stand on end. So, I
packed up & walked down to my dilapidated old ford galaxy in Twin Lakes. You had to park it on
hill as there were 2 teeth missing from the flywheel requiring a deal of luck to start.
That afternoon I rolled into Aspen with 7 bucks & a quarter tank of gas. I drove around lookin'
for a job site, & found one just nailin' down plywood on the floor joists. As was my frequent
habit, I slept in the front seat with my feet hangin' out the door.
Next morning
i heard the crew arrive, hopped up, put on my tool belt, & shoved a pencil into my hat band.
I asked foreman if he needed help, He asked how much I wanted. I boldly said $8 an hr, ( The rest
of his crew had come from Grand Junction & were getting $4.75 an hour) So then he points at
a huge bunk of 2 x 6, & a 14" radial arm saw, "Can you handle that?" " I bleve so," sez I.
I spent the next hour at the prints on a list of dimensions etc,, also building a saw table
marked with dimensions,. Then,I had at it! Come 4:30 I'd cut every stud, header, sill, & cripple for
that 4-plex & lugged 'em into place.
AS we were rollin' up, the boss walks up to me & sez,"Son, I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to let
you go. I've got all the knotheads I need to pound nails & some have families." With that he pressed
2 one hundred dollar bills in my palm & said good luck. I'd asked $8 an hr, & got $25 an hr. As a bonus
i was once again blissfully unemployed. I celebrated with a pint of vodka & a 3 pd. chuck roast over an
open fire down in the old hobo camp below the Maroon crik bridge. Gary Cooper had also lived there
once, being homeless in Aspen. (too be continued)
You should take up writing short stories.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
....After that I hung around town catching a few day labors & lotsa brook trout in Castle crik. There were still
string quartets from the music school playing on the mall, & bouncy girls with big tits playing softball in the park.
There were also jugglers & street performers, It was so great just to wander around before dusk. Big hippies
camps up on the Indepence Pass side. There was a sheriff joining in on a hooka, & the mosquitoes were too
hjgh to bite! Fall was comin' though, so I began an inventory of all the best dumpsters without the slightest
desire to be gainfully employed. ( to be continued )
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
The first dusting of snow is usually the first week of September. Just before Halloween It suddenly got brutal
cold, -2, but the party was on!! There's no telling who'll turn on Halloween,& the costumes get really outrageous.
Wudda ya know, there goes the Gorton Fisherman guy dressed like a fisherman: Jack Nicholson wearing a pleated
Madras tux & a gorilla mask. I knowed it wuz him cuz I'd laundered that tux Aspen dry cleaners, Then too the was
the headless horseman & some guy in a black outfit had conical Chinese hat with a veil. Mighta bin Bruce Lee,
who knows? Not to be out done, I unpacked my beaded Cheyenne Ghost shirt with the red throat piece made
from a smallpox blanket. On my belt hung a couple #1 Victor jump gin muskrat traps. Now All I had to do was sneak
in a the Wheeler Hotel party, I tried the main entrance first thinkin my outfit might pass for a cover charge. That
didn't go over so good. The bouncer was dressed as an Aarab, & he had long, sharp, very pointy knife. As i tried to
slip past He pressed that point against my stomach. Most gingerly I reached down & pinched the blade twixt my
thumb & forefinger.& kinda swung it off to one side. He looked up at me & said, "you're cool, go ahead."
(to be continued)
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
Okay, I'll skip past the lady the cat get-up who somehow got her tail caught in a muskrat trap. She smiled;
leave it at that.
Anyhow, It started snowin' the 1st of Nov. & didn't stop for more than couples 'til the 1st of Jan.
I bleve the phrase is 'ass deep to a tall injun', but it was deeper than that. I was parked on a back street at the
edge of town. After two or three passes by snow plow, the ford vanished beneath the snow & became an igloo'
& not a very comfy one either, but by tearin' out the passenger seat & turning the back 90 degrees I came up with
a passable sorta rack. I did have a not light, but warm fiber fill bag & a couple of wool blankets. This was far better than the
winter I spent outside of Leadville in a canvas tarp & 2 moving van packing pads at 10,000 ft,+
I digress. I had scavenged Some restaurant candle stubs. One would be enough light to read by & heat for an hour
or so. By days I spent most of my time in the library. When the lifts closed it time for apre ski.
There always empty liquor bottles behind the Ute City Bank,(a bar), with half a shot still in most of 'em. Following that
I'd go up to Little Nell's. The rail on the deck always had a dozen or so half empty beers. On a good day I could get picky
& only drink Heinekins. There were always roaches* in the alley next to Andre's. If I got up early on Sat. or Sun., I could
find all manner of interesting stuff in the gutter that had fallen out of pockets or parked cars. I averaged about $8
a day cash along with various substances in baggies. Getting an an expensive pair of gloves was no problem at all.
Just look around the lot for a glove. When you find one the mate will be about 100 yds, down highlands road.
I pooled my loot,(including cash for alu. cans), and bought a used pair of 210cm Head 360s, $5. They gave a pair of heavy
size 14 boots at the thrift store. They couldn't legally sell down, but I scored a good parka from the free bin outside.
On good snow days I'd pack or work the Highlands lot for a lift ticket. I had a millionaire life style on found. At night
I could get blue fin tuna scraps or the backstrap of prime rib wrapped in foil from the dumpster at the Captain's Anchorage,
pizza back of Mama Maria's, Chinese, or McDonalds in a pinch. For dessert, the bakery's day old, good stuff too. I once
found 5 boxes of expensive Swiss chocolates some guilt-ridden woman had abandoned in a desperate attempt to
save her figure. To top it off there was no shortage of older affluent divorcees wanting to give me a thorough bath.
How sweet it is!
 
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john peck

Well-Known Member
Post Script, Off & on, I lived the the Roaring Fork Valley for 15 years, & I can tell you, except for trust funders.
no one who worked in Aspen could afford to live there.
I am about the only survivor who has ridden the old single chair lift #1. Back then a regular joe could still
afford to bring his family skiing, That was in 1952. I was four. My mom & a couple of her friends had gone to
Aspen after visiting Glenwood Sprs.
Dorothy Meirot,(sp?), the most brilliant woman I've ever known, put me on her lap along with my sled & took
me the 400 yds to the top of #1. This woman had 2 phds, & 4 other masters degrees, Her father had been
a dean at Colorado college. My maternal grandfather had been dean of men. Boy, was I a disappointment for
that old stuffed shirt. He always resented my 'half breed' dad.
Any way, Dorothy was about the ugliest woman I've ever seen, but she was a tremendous athlete with
a remarkable sense of humor. I learned a lot about geology, minerals, & wild plants from that woman.
Later on she founded a college in Katmandu, Nepal & was active in the Peace Corp. for many years.
Time passed & eventually the flatlanders & 'developers' ruined Aspen. The cost of living grew absurd ,&
most of the locals were driven out. I was among the last of the expatriots.
 
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Cowlitz

Well-Known Member
How about deleting the comment on Dorothy Meirot's looks? It isn't necessary and is demeaning.. --Expecting to be flamed now, for expressing my opinion.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
How about deleting the comment on Dorothy Meirot's looks? It isn't necessary and is demeaning.. --Expecting to be flamed now, for expressing my opinion.
That was mentioned because, in spite of appearances, this was an exceptionally gifted woman with amazing achievements.
She never considered it a handicap, nor did anyone who knew her. She had such a sparkling & positive personality, but yes
she was ugly compared to the media Barbie dolls that are perpetually foisted upon us. Still, all who knew her loved her.
 
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bob armani

Well-Known Member
That was mentioned because, in spite of appearances, this was an exceptionally gifted woman with amazing achievements.
She never considered it a handicap, nor did anyone who knew her. She had such a sparkling & positive personality, but yes
she was ugly compared to the media Barbie dolls that are perpetually foisted upon us. Still, all who knew her loved her.
Interesting what you have pointed out referring to the Barbie doll "syndrome" that affects mostly women. The fashion industry touts that women in general have to meet a certain criteria with their looks and figure. That explains why Plastic Surgeons are enjoying a billion dollar industry in America alone because of it. It appears that mostly women are patients in this industry for their own personal reasons, but not medically required. It seems to cause many to react in a 'competitive' manner. Kudos to Dorothy M. to live above this identity and for her accomplishments. She is a true inspiration to women and sets a better/higher standard as a whole IMO. ;)
 
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