Colorado Springs, Colorado
I am the oldest of five. My brother John, is my little brother, by one year younger. My little, little brother, Jim younger by ten years.
I have a little, sister Ginger, 3 years younger. My little, little sister Elaine is 8 years younger. Thus the little, and little, little… Makes sense to me!!
The morning my little, little brother Jim was born, my Dad came into my bedroom and told me to get up and help Aunt Ruth make breakfast. We had a little brother and his name was James David. I jumped out of bed and said my comment was – “What? Where did HE come from ?”
I loved helping Aunt Ruth, my Moms little sister. We had lots of fun finding things in Moms kitchen. Mom came home in three days from the hospital – a usual stay in those day when babies were born. Aunt Ruth stayed a few more days. It was like a great big holiday for me. I wanted to hold baby Jimmy as much as possible. I had to sit in the rocking chair in the kitchen, then Mom would hand me the tiny little baby. Oh I felt so important. He was so wiggly and cute.
As he grew and learned to walk, I was appointed to “watch Jimmy” and that was no little job! He never walked – he ran. He never went by anything that he did not touch, pick up and run off with.
He was a great explorer! He was born in October, so through the winter, he got sled rides for hours from us. In the spring – not one dandelion or flower was untouched. He either bent over and smelled them or grabbed and pulled up and handed to the closest person. Moms flowers that year were in great jeopardy if Jimmy was close by.
At age 4 and 5 he learned to crawl up on tractors, trucks, into chicken pens, under hay bales, in the barn-out of the barn…down in the silage pit and out into the beet fields. If you picked him up and told him he could not go there -or do that – you were in for a great debate – and he usually won.
I think this is where I learned to enjoy walking!
Mom wrote in her tiny handwriting in our big ancestors heritage book, “ James, known and Jim, was constantly occupied with endless projects of his own, although not all were constructive! He liked any small animal he could play with, including at the age of about six, raccoons he obtained when he accompanied his father and brother, Johnny, on a raccoon hunting trip. He also enjoyed camping out with the neighbor boy at a small lake on the farm. Later he enjoyed hunting, a sport he continued to pursue. Jimmy and his brother Johnny, with other friends often camped out many times in the snow, near Dads Larimer River Ranches for deer and elk hunting excursions.”
Mom continues: When Jim was nine years of age, his father retired from farming and although the family continued to reside on the farm home for several years, Jims experience with farming and cattle was short. He assisted with his fathers newly purchased John Deere Business darning his high school and college years.”
Like the rest of the older siblings in the family, he attended the Cactus Hill Observatory District # 101 grade school for six years. He transferred to Windsor school system in the seventh grade and became very active in sports, football in particular. Then in high school he was active in sports, including track and field events. He tackled each with great enthusiasm. He also was great at wood working classes and made many things for Mom.
When Mom and Dad moved to Fort Collins, Jimmy became Jim, commuted to Windsor to complete his school term He entered Fort Collins high school in the fall of 1962 but was unable to continue with football having to have surgery on a malformed shoulder. He did enjoy water skiing and snow skiing and was full of great details of his conquering great mountains and big lakes. He graduated in 1965 and enrolled in a business courses at North-Eastern College in Sterling. He lived on campus. He returned and enrolled in Business at Colorado State University, working in his spare time in the family John Deere business.
Jim met his forever-life partner, Sandra Rein “Sandy” and they were married in December of 1967. He assisted father and brother in the operation of the McClure and Sons John Deere business, before resuming his collage education at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. In Dec. 1972 Jim received his B.A. degree in accounting. Following the sale of the McClure John Deere business, Jim managed the Ault John Deere Store In 1976 for a few months for the new owners. He took a position with the city of Fort Collins as Manager of the City, Service and Equipment Division in 1976.
Jim also took a positions in Sandy, Utah and then in Grand Junction, Colorado.
In the mealtime. Jim and Sandy became proud parents of son, Kelly James, three daughters, Mindy Ann, Krista Kay, and Jennifer Sue.
Jim and Sandy in later years settled in Colorado Springs, where Jim and Sandy became very proud grandparents. They all live in the same area and are in very close contact.
My daughter, Gail remembers Jim as fun loving, into everything on the farm. Hay bale forts, hidden doors. Getting in the chicken pen and terrorizing the chickens. Excursions across the hay field in old feed truck, bouncing across ditches. He also had an unlicensed ‘57 Chevy. (?) Then, one day, with Gail standing in the seat next to “uncee” Jimmy, was backing out of a drive-way to the main road, seeing a car coming, slammed on the brakes and smacked Gail into the knobs on the dash. She sustained a nasty cut above her eye and while taking her to Mom, he joked with her about blood pouring out of her eye, although he was scarred white. Gail said she did not know the difference, although her grandma was real upset with Jim. Jim was very compassionate but a Joke Master! Gail participated in his pranks, too. Snakes in Grandma’s new Barracuda car. Bats in her cupboards and not to kind if he saw a cat!! She hung out a lot with him and learned much more.
My son David has fond memories of him also. Jim was the one who, in his brand new GTO took me and my little family to Denver and put us on our first trip on an airplane to Kenai, Alaska. He stood beside us until we boarded and waved goodbye with big tears running down his cheeks. He said he wished he could go with us. Me too.
My little, little brother died to young, in his sleep this Sunday, April 3, 2016. He was 68. He will always be a special memory in all our hearts forever. He joins the rest of our fond memories of relatives who are sitting under Gods Apple Tree with Dad and Mom.
The Grannie Annie series is written by a 47 year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski.Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook. She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.
Grannie Annie can be reached at anninalaska@gci. net
The “Grannie Annie” Cook Book Series includes: “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ on the Woodstove”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters”; and “Grannie Annie’s Eat Dessert First.” They are available at M & M Market in Nikiski.