Wednesday, April 8, 2009

March Winner ~ Tell Us Your Boulderado Story

One of the components of the Boulderado's 100 year anniversary is the Tell Us Your Boulderado Story campaign, which is a collection of memories and narratives from the last century about the Boulderado. The goal is to collect 100 stories which will be compiled into a coffee table book. Our staff selects a monthly favorite, and March's winner is Gordon Wickstrom, whose grandmother (pictured) was a resident at the Boulderado until she died in 1953. The following is Wickstrom's story, "Grandmother Lulu."

"Lulu W. Hatch, my grandmother, was resident at the Boulderado Hotel during the five years preceding her death in 1953. She occupied a spacious room in the southwest corner off the Mezzanine. Grandmother found the hotel life exactly suited to her needs, which were as little housekeeping, cooking, and general upkeep as necessary. Here she was able to study and sew gentlemen's fine custom neckwear.

Grandmother was a thoroughly public woman. Her interests were social, political, and commercial. She was a downtown lady, a good, old-time progressive who found conversation with the gentlemen of the hotel on matters of politics, society, and religious life down in the lobby precisely to her liking. The world was her study. The role of women, the aging, and her church life were her particular concern.

She had, earlier, with my grandfather John T. Hatch been a strong partisan on behalf of the Townsend Plan, which, in the days before and just after the advent of Social Security, had proposed a national pension payment of $200 monthly for every citizen over sixty-five. It was projected that this money pouring into the economy would greatly help to end the Great Depression.

Grandmother had sold medicinals door-to-door as one of the very first women to drive about town in a Model T Ford. Later she became the agent for the distinguished Bernat knitting yarns with which she became Boulder's first lady of knitting techniques and styles. She held style shows of ladies knit dresses and gowns in the Broadway family home, her daughters acting as models. But, for all that, it pleases me most to think that were Grandmother alive today, and forty years old, she would be a power in national liberal politics. She loved it and thrived on intellectual give and take.

It is interesting to note that during those years that my grandmother lived in the hotel, her son Byron Hatch, my uncle, owned and operated the hotel barber shop in exactly the space of the bar in the elegant Corner Bar.

The Hatch family of six had come from Cimarron, Kansas, to Boulder in 1921. Twin daughters, of buffalo chip incubation, stayed behind in Cimarron to marry. The rest came to Boulder for the benefits of the mountain air and the university. My grandfather opened a barber shop on the south side of 1100 block of Pearl Street. Upon his retirement in 1939, his son, my Uncle Byron, took over the shop until moving to the Boulderado location, circa 1949.

In addition to Byron Hatch, were the three Hatch daughters: my mother, Thelma M. Wickstrom of the Boulder City Bakery family, Christabel Fonda, of the Fonda Bottling Company family, and Irmagene Murrin, of Sterling, Colorado.

One of my great pleasures to have lunch with Grandmother in the hotel restaurant downstairs, on the tile floor, spacious, suffused in light, and the blue-plate special lunch a flat thirty-five cents. With Grandmother, I, Gordon Wickstrom, always felt substantial."

Check out the rest of the Memories of the Boulderado collection. Which is your favorite?