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Patsy and Goodwill

By 1978  after we got settled into our Westside house, Patsy was able to search out the neighborhood. She always was willing to reach out for bargains or things worth collecting at places like Army Thrift Shops or in Goodwill Stores. One store was only a walking block from our house. She visited there many times, even picking up a very good sofa with ornate design that still graces our living room.

But the facility was also the headquarters of the entire Colorado Springs Goodwill Industries operation. She learned that, among other things, it had a sheltered workshop where handicapped adults worked. Some lived in a neighborhood Nursing Home, but others were bussed to the front door on Colorado Avenue, or even dropped off and picked up by their parents, who themselves were middle aged and older themselves.

It was a pretty large operation.

It was probably 1979 when Patsy, who had done plenty of volunteer work in various Army Post facilities as an Army wife, thought she would go over and volunteer for some work in their workshop. She could easily walk to and from the facility. Our kids were, or becoming, gone from our house. So she was free to do what she wanted independently. To her surprise she was offered a paid job supervising and organizing the work of Goodwill's handicapped adults. It would take some training, for most of those in the workshop had not only physical limitations, but mental problems ranging from having the general intelligence of a young child, to erratic behavioral problems - many only handled by careful taking of medicines, at work as well as at home.

Unlike many normal adults, who avoid the handicapped and 'crazy' people, Patsy took to the job readily. She liked it, she liked her group of 'clients' - who rapidly came to like her. It was icing on the cake that she was actually being paid to do that work. Which earnings added to her Social Security trust fund that which, when she turned 62 in 1991, delivered her $550 a month. HER money. Which she liked.

She worked there at least 15 years.

She would occasionally tell me of incidents which happened there, some of which made me wince when I realized that many of the men clients could get out of control and be a danger to the half dozen supervisors over clients.

But nothing happened to her, for she had great skill at persuading even the biggest male workers to do the right thing.

I had a few occasions to come into the workshop to see here, and I was always struck how happy so many mixed-backgound, mentally handicapped, 'workers' were.

I wondered why the entire Goodwill operation seemed to be run so well, and was frequently cited as one of the best, and most efficient, Goodwill's and sheltered workshops in the country.

I finally figured out why.

I knew while I was at Fort Carson, that both that Army post and the surrounding Colorado Springs had a reputation for having good 'mental health' facilities. That had metamorphised from lung-health and tuberculoses disease sanatoriums in high dry Colorado from the 1880s, to 'mental health' facilities by the 1970s. Not only did the Army send families to Carson to avail themselves of such facilities, but many civilians who had mentally handicapped children to adult age, moved to Colorado Springs, worked and even retired there. One City Manager I knew, two City Council persons. Businessman families. 

I realized that the Board of Directors of Goodwill, Colorado Springs was made up of many such accomplished successful - in government and in business - parents of such adult children. Goodwill was a place that their adult children could be supervised, trained, and even earn a little money during the day.

Goodwill was run by a high class volunteer Board, which hired capable top managers. And it was able to get Contracts with many large local companies - from greeting card companies to light manufacturing company need for low skill 'packaging' and other work. Where not only the clients did useful work, they got paid for their often 'piece work.'  Everybody won - the parents, companies, Goodwill, the clients, and those, like Patsy, who handled them in spite of their limitations!

I was so impressed that I wrote an editorial letter that praised the entire operation and cited how 'happy' Goodwill Clients were in its sheltered workshop. Reminded me of the happy cartoon 'workers' singing as they went to work in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. 

Patsy was so liked by clients - when they walked outside, into Bancroft Park, or to or from nursing homes or on the Avenue they would greet her "Pat! Pat!" Soon enough they figured out I was her husband, and they would greet me happily too. 

And one of them, who was least likely to be in normal social gatherings, asked and she invited her to attend the reception at our house when Rebecca was married in 1981.      

 

 

David, having graduated from Colorado College in 1977, where his great uncles David and Walter had graduated from in about 1918, and after having had some success on the public stage as a dancer while there, decided to give Broadway a fling. In 1979 he moved to Manhattan.

Ironically, with his western upbringing and style, he got attention when he made the rounds of the theatrical shows.

Meanwhile Edward completed his high school at Coronado on the westside of Colorado Springs. And graduated in 1981

(pic of grad)

By then, Ed was hooked on Hockey. No doubt influenced greatly by the fact that Colorado Springs - with its many skating rinks, and Olympic level figure skating at the Broadmoor - was an Ice skating town.

He wanted to go to a college where he had some chance at playing intercollegiate hockey. After researching many for several criteria - including Computer Science programs, he settled on Quinnipiac College.

I drove him cross country and delivered him there for entry in the Fall of 1981.

He selected Computer Applications as his major and settled down to study, practicing to make the hockey team, and to earn money helping run the campus bar. We managed to pay for his college, but it was tough.

At one Christmas he brought a cute girl home with him. That didn't last.   

He graduated May 1985. Patsy travelled back there to attend his graduation. And she was able to also visit the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, and her friend Cindy Adams who lived nearby in Virginia.

After coming back to Colorado after graduation. Edward got a job working for contractors for the Defense Department. He did that until February, 1989

Rebecca Grows Up

 Attractive daughter Rebecca lived on the second floor of our little Cottage behind our house and took some interest in what I was doing on the lower floor with my Radio Shack computer bulletin-board and separete computer with Spread Sheet and other useful programs. I was using the cottage as the genesis of my 'Old Colorado City Electronic Cottage' that became rather famous later.

She dated, got involved with the sport of scuba diving, going on a number of outings, on one of which she met Rod ....They became engaged, and we helped plan a quite traditional, even if small, wedding.

That included, the usual wedding gowns, a small beautiful church wedding, reception on our home. 

They married in 1981.

But that did not last, and they seperated and divorced within a year.    

Rebounding from that, she met Mike Grossman, and they went at it hot and heavy and married in 1982. In sharp contrast to the wedding to Rod, they were married on horseback, while a Fort Carson Chaplain we and she knew from years back, officiated.

Sep 82 Jennifer Born

Sep 85 Lindsey bor


David went to Hollywood and stayed at Kretchmenr place in 1984

Then went to Broadway between 1979 and 1983, Brigadoon

 

 

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