Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Colorado Springs’

90th Birthday Words of Wisdom “Family first and always”

Luella's favorite photo of herself

Luella’s favorite photo of herself

How does it feel to be 90 years old? “I love it!” exclaimed Luella Polcyn of Coshocton, Ohio as she celebrated her 90th birthday with family and friends.  Now ninety candles on a cake could cause quite a flame, so they wisely scheduled the party at Three Rivers Fire House – just in case!

When she blew out the candles at her 80th birthday party, someone asked her what she had wished for. She quickly replied, “I wished everyone of you would be at my 90th birthday celebration.” Now she wants a repeat performance at age 100.

Luella began school at the age of four, walking with her brother Charles along the narrows of Wills Creek to school at Tyner in Guernsey County, Ohio. They walked about a mile each way in all kinds of weather to get their education at this one room school.

The family moved to Colorado when she was ten. Seven people fit in that 1928 Olds – their first car with glass windows – with the trip taking seven days. She graduated from high school at the age of sixteen in Colorado Springs before going to Blair Business College. That was quite the education for a young lady at that time.

Some of Luella's grandchildren look over her 90th birthday cake.

Some of Luella’s grandchildren look over her 90th birthday cake. She still likes sweets!

Her first job at sixteen was a waitress at a restaurant. They were allowed to eat one free meal a day including dessert. Luella has always had a sweet tooth and dessert is sometimes her entire meal these days, but then she just couldn’t resist having ice cream on her pie…two desserts. That time her sweet tooth got her fired, even though it seemed to her that they had plenty of each.

At a carnival in Colorado Springs, she met the man who was to be her husband, Louie Polcyn, and was married in 1942.  Two years later, Louie was off to WWII and stationed in Burma where he was a mule skinner. While he was at war, Luella worked at the Nabisco Cracker Company for 46 cents an hour. Somehow with the $30 Louie sent home from his military pay each month, and her working at Nabisco, Luella saved $1,000, which was used for down payment on a house. They also bought a Model A Ford about that time, and she remembers that the gas prices were 10-12 cents a gallon.

Luella's family made this quilt especially for her birthday.

Luella’s family made this quilt especially for her 90th birthday.

At the age of 50, Luella found a job that would change her life. Her children were raised and she began working at Frontier Airlines. Now she was traveling to places she had previously only dreamed of – Rome, Russia, Mexico, Portugal, Alaska, and many more. She was footloose and fancy free.

Now Luella enjoys relaxing at home so a beautiful autumn leaf quilt was made by members of the family – one square at a time. Luella has made many quilts over the years and all the family has enjoyed a gift quilt for some special occassion – birthday, graduation, wedding, new baby and the list could continue. So today they thought it fitting to reward her wtih a quilt they made especially for her. Each person who assisted wrote their name on one of the leaves. Before the party was finished, everyone in attendance had written their name and good wishes on the back of the quilt. Now on a cold winter’s day, Luella will be surrounded with the love of her family and friends.

This 90 year old lady has seen many changes over her lifetime. Some would automatically expect that all the new technology would be the biggest change, but Luella says that is not so. To her the biggest difference in today’s world is how people treat each other and have lack of consideration for another person’s life. She never thought she would see the crime we have today.

Luella surrounded by her children: Gladys, Randy, Greg, and John.

Luella surrounded by her children: Gladys, Randy, Greg, and John.

Her greatest accomplishlment in life, however, is her loving family. Their love of children shines through with every addition to the family, and there have been plenty of those. Besides her four children, who came to the celebration from Colorado, Hilliard, Ohio, and Coshocton, Luella has 13 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great-grandchildren.  She tells everyone, “One thing you should never forget – family first and always.”

Scenic Pikes Peak Cog Railway Blocked by Heavy Snow

Pikes Peak Cog Railway“End of the line for today,” announced the engineer as the Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway locomotive came to a stop.  Thus, Windy Point, at about 12,000 feet, became the end of the journey up Pikes Peak in Colorado that particular afternoon. The snow was too deep on the tracks for the blower to remove it…and it was still snowing.

Traveling by car to the top of Pikes Peak has been a memorable occasion since childhood; however, traveling by cog railway was an entirely different experience. Even though it was April, seems that spring isPikes Peak's Windy Point the time for heaviest snow in the Rockies as the main road to the top for automobiles was not passable. The only possibility of traveling up the mountainside was taking the Cog Railway and seeing how far it would be able to go on that particular day.

Pikes Peak was named for Zebulon Pike, an early explorer, who happened upon it in his 1806 travels.  He attempted to climb it with a small band of men, but they only reached 10,000 feet before they were turned away by deep snow. Even before Pike, the Ute Indians camped at the base of Pikes Peak and it is suspected that they had a pathway to the top to get ceremonial eagle feathers.Pikes Peak Early Steam Engine

Starting back in 1889,  workers were paid twenty-five cents an hour to lay the rails to the top of Pikes Peak. The first steam locomotive took a Denver church choir to the summit. These early locomotives pushed the passenger car up the steep incline. Over the years the engines have developed from steam to gasoline and then diesel. Today the cog locomotive is run by a combination of diesel and electric.

A cog railway uses a gear called a “cog wheel”, which meshes into a special rack rail in the middle of the outer tracks.  With its use, the locomotive is able to travel much steeper inclines than a standard track. Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway is the highest cog railway in the world…with a perfect safety record.

Pikes Peak steep inclineWhat a great view all the way up the steep incline to the timberline, which designates the altitude where trees can no longer grow due to lack of moisture caused by the frozen permafrost under the surface.  Seemed like you could see  forever over the beautiful snow-covered Rocky Mountains with their forests of tall pine. Fantastic rock formations often gave way to breathtaking cliffs overlooking steep canyons.  Passengers oo-ed and ah-ed all the way to the top.

Back at the base in front of the old courthouse in Colorado Springs, there is a statue of Katharine Lee Bates sitting and looking up at Pikes Peak, which was her inspiration to write the words for “America the Beautiful”.  Although written back in 1913 after going to the Peak using a team of mules, the purple mountain majesty still reigns over Colorado Springs to this day.

Cog Railroad OrnamentWhen in Colorado, take Exit 141 (US 24) off I-25.  Go west toward the Rocky Mountains on US 24 about four miles to the Manitou Ave exit, which is in Manitou Springs. Keep going west one and a half miles to Ruxton Avenue. Turn left on Ruxton Avenue at the Mountain Man Shop using a roundabout. At the top of Ruxton Avenue is the entrance to the Cog Railway. Enjoy the ride!

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