Sunday, September 27, 2009

When Life Was Simple

Ah, the “Good Ol’ Days!”

Astonishing, some people remember those days happening during the Great Depression. A life before TV, cell phones, IPods, computers, movies… what was it like for kids back then? What was it like growing up in Georgetown, a small mining town in the 1930s, imagining adventures, playing outside on old mine dumps, walking over a tall railroad trestle, running up and down dirt streets and in grassy yards? It was a day filled with family, friends, relatives, and neighbors. In those days, it did take a village to raise a child.
To a standing room only crowd in the Georgetown Community Center, Jean Rutherford Duaine reads aloud from her newly released book, “The Colorado Whoopenhollars.” Duaine recalls how Georgetown kids never felt the struggle of their parents during the Great Depression. Her mother, Ethel Ecklund Rutherford, always made sure that Jean and her four brothers had three nutritional meals a day. Although, Duaine remembers, “we were never full but we were never hungry either.”  She continues, “We didn’t know that we were poor, and we certainly weren’t depressed.”

Their dad, William I. Rutherford, was lucky to get a job with the Civilian Conservation Corp during that time, but that meant he was away from home a lot. Missing his children, he started writing stories for his five children back home, the adventures of the Whoopenhollars kids.

From these handwritten stories and letters that have been carefully kept by the family for over 75 years, the inspiration to publish the book began. Instead of answering questions from the crowd, with a smile and a twinkle in her eye, Duaine simply said, "it's in the book."

People lined up across one whole side of the Community Center to buy the book and have it autographed by Jean and her three remaining brothers, Bill, Buff and Glen.  Her twin brother John died 10 years ago. There were many old timers in the crowd who also remembered Georgetown "when" and many others who really wanted to know more about Georgetown's history.