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Friday, July 3, 2015

National Broom Company and A Really Unique Bojon Woman

My mom is in the back row of this photo. She is holding up a broom on the right hand side as you look at the photo (standing in front of the door). I know a couple of the ladies who were mom's cousin. One I know was Rose Kralj. I believe. If anyone has any information about the other gals in this photo or the National Broom Co.please tell me. I have the names of all the ladies on my copy of this photo and right now I wish I knew where I put it!  The information I have about this company is they were located in a building built in 1917  on Union Avenue which is now part of the historic district of my hometown. The National Broom Company used this building in the 1960's.  In the 1970's the building was used by Sportsmart. The building stood vacant in the 1980's through 2010. This building underwent a major renovation in 2012 and it is located on the Historic Riverwalk. The building is called the Waterford Building. If you live in the Pueblo area you probably know much more about the new renovated building than I do. I am assuming the National Broom Company sponsored these ladies in baseball. I do not remember my mother speaking of working at this company . My mother did clean the home of the Thatcher family when she was a young woman and many of the young women of her day worked in the laundry. If anyone has any information please about this please let me know.
As Bojon's we really believe our heritage and our people are really something special! This photo is Mary Babnik Brown. Mary was an American born Slovenian born to Frank Wolf Babnik and Mary Babnik  who immigrated to the USA from Slovenia. Mary's legal name was Mitzi, a Slovene name, but  she Americanized it to Mary. She was born November 22, 1907 in Pueblo, Colorado.  She spent her early childhood in Bessemer and the Grove in Pueblo, Colorado.  Mary had three siblings and in 1920 her father abandoned the family. She left school at the age of 12 to help support her family. She did part time domestic work for $5 a week  and by lying about her age when she was 13 she found permanent work for 75 cents an hour at the National Broom Company. Mary worked there for 42 years. She became famous for donating her hair to the war effort! Mary's 34 inch long blonde hair had never been chemically treated or heated with curling irons, and therefore proved resilient enough to use as cross hairs in  Norden bomb sights for bomber aircraft which have to withstand a wide range of temperatures and humidity. She was never compensated for her donation, although she was offered war savings stamps. She said she felt she had done her patriotic duty when she turned them down. She was told at the time of her donation that the hair was needed for meteorological instruments, and had no idea how it was actually used until 1987. President Ronald Reagan wrote to her that year on her 80th birthday to thank her and in 1991 she received a special achievement award from the Colorado Aviation Society during a ceremony at the Air force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Mary was a well known local dancer. I told you these Bojon people are talented and super special! She took up dancing as a hobby and when she was 19 she won she won her first dance contest. She danced at the Arcadia Ballroom (it is now razed) on 5th Street in downtown Pueblo.  She taught G.I.'s how to dance and earned the nickname "Arcadia Mary" because she danced at the Ballroom so much! She had a saying, "My family is my first love but I love dancing second.".
In 1944 she was the first woman to donate her hair used for military aircraft bombsights.  She saw an advertisement in the local newspaper in 1943 saying that the government was looking for women to donate hair for the war effort. The ad did not specify what the hair would be used for only that it had to be blonde and at least 22 inches long. It could not be treated with chemicals or hot irons. The operation was a clandestine one even though they found the hair through a newspaper advertisement.
Mary's hair was her prized possession and she cried for two months after cutting it. She washed it twice a week with pure soap and combed it twice a day. It reached down to her knees. She wore it in a braid wrapped around her head and was known as the lady with the crown. She married Carl Brown after 1944 and became Mrs. Mary Mitzi Babnik Brown. In 1947 she became the vice president of  the State Federation of Labor and was the first women to hold that position. She was an active Democrat and was the president and vice president of the Slovenian National Benefit Society,  She spent her last years living in the 300 block of Spring Street in the Grove. Paul Harvey told her story on his national broadcast radio show called The Rest of the Story on November 19, 1990. Mary passed away on April 14, 1991. I never dreamed when I was given this photo of our mom by my brother Bill that such a story was behind the National Broom Company! Makes me very proud to be a Bojon and share this rich history with all of you!
How is that for the Rest of the Story....? Bojon style! Until tomorrow lahko noč 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy Birthday Hannah

It's A Girl and she's 24! Happy Birthday Hannah!
This is that first photo. Born on July 3rd at home, Hannah was our largest baby weighing in at an even eight pounds! She was 19 1/2 inches long and arrived at one o'clock A.M.

Hannah is a very pretty girl. But we raised our girls to be more than pretty faces. Focus on your qualities likes kindness, honesty, sincerity. Don't follow the crowd.
Stick to the truth, the good stuff. The world will drag you down, tear you up, lie to you. cheat you, steal your dreams, dash your hopes! Go with God! He will always be waiting for you even until the end of time!
Hannah in 1996. She looked very annoyed having her photo taken! She was a quiet girl. Kind heart.
Graduation 2010.
Mother and Daughter, May 19 2009
Father's Day 2015, Hannah and her dad.
Hannah at the Royal Gorge, Canon City, Colorado  June 20, 2015
It is a small world we live in. My father had a little brother Frank who was born on July 3, 1915. He passed away in 1918 but he shared his birthday with our precious youngest daughter Hannah. Bojons like to populate the earth with more Bojons and make the world a better place.  Happy Heavenly Birthday to Frank Kocman. I often wonder how these wonderful folks keep going when they lost so many of their loved ones. I know  they had tremendous faith, something that seems to be fleeting for so many today.

My tribute is to my precious youngest daughter Hannah but I am sharing her today with Beverly and the Pinkies at Pink Saturday. Have a perfectly pink day! If you have any Bojon stories to share please come over and bring your photos too. I am always happy to give credit where credit is due. I also am sharing the letter "G" for girl with Ms. Jenny and the folks at Alphabe Thursday

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

School Daze and Growing Up Catholic

When I think of the money my parents had to pay so that all five of their children could have a Catholic school education it makes me wonder how in the world they did it! Dad worked and mom stayed home to raise us. Here is my former parochial school Saint Mary's in my hometown of Pueblo, Colorado. The school sits in the historic neighborhood known as bojon town. The school was opened from 1895 to 1971. You know we had a lot of fun at that school. I still keep in contact with a handful of kids I have known since the kindergarten. I wish I had some photos to match with the various teachers:

Kindergarten , Mrs. Killian . She once caught me being naughty, sent me to the corner when I   cupped my hands over my mouth and stuck my tongue out at her! I was mortified because I was shy. I know it is hard to believe today but back than I was afraid of my own shadow! I fixed her though here is what I was really thinking:

I was a strong willed kid, what else can I possible say! 

You know there is a story behind those incredible short bangs. My mom had this friend Zolly who cut our hair. She lived on Berwind Street in Bojontown,  No Zolly did not make a mess of my bangs I did! Boy did I get into trouble with my mother!  When I look back I often wonder how my mother survived raising me! I will talk about Zolly later in a different post. Bojons, they are multi-talented!

First Grade: Sister Leocadia O.S.B. I was so afraid of this woman. If you were ever a small child and had to deal with nuns that look like penguins in their black and white habits because they belong to the Benedictine Order you can relate. I figured the best way around this nun was to get on her good side. She asked if anyone had a hole punch that she could borrow! I eagerly raised my hand! I didn't have one but my older sister did! To this very day my sissy will remind me how that nun stole her hand held paper punch!
In case you don't remember here is that 99 cent Bollinger's special!  I often wondered if God punished that mean ole nun for stealing my sister's paper punch!

Second Grade: Sister Caroline O.S.B. Although this "nice" looking nun appeared to love small children and she was the sister of our parish priest Father Daniel Gnidica I figured she must be nice! Ha! Until she turned into Miss Agatha Trunchbull ( the evil teacher from the movie Matilda) The woman said I was not to use my left hand. She tried to force me to use my right hand. I told her  she was making me ill. She had I was not wanting to do what I was told! I said, "Sister, I am going to be sick" and she replied "No you  aren't" and I puked inside my second grade religion book! They never asked me to use my right hand again!

Third Grade: Miss Octavia Cook, the woman was a spinster but she could be very kind to children. While attending third grade we learned how to square dance with boys and we all thought it was pretty gross, boys included ! Nonetheless it was a nice lesson and we learned how to take direction! Here I am in the third grade:
I had a poodle cut to match my pretty and very soft turquoise colored sweater with a bow in my hair! My mother's cousin Rose who was married but childless always got my mother 
 a great deal with her Crews Beggs discount as Mrs. Rose Ballas worked in the girl's department. Bojons are generous people!

Fourth Grade: Sister Beatrice.O.S.B. This is a tough one! This nun was possible the devil himself or perhaps his twin sister. Nonetheless, she was quite mean and wielded a long yardstick! If you got in her way she would whack you out of play! We all learned to be patient and tolerant of this evil woman. I started wearing glasses in the fourth grade. That alone will destroy a girls confidence. Please do not be frightened when you see this photo:
The top row is my fourth grade photo. On a bright note my outfit was so adorable. A red knit short jacket with a navy kick pleated  skirt! That hairdo is also not a style Zolly would have given me! I am sure it was myself making me look quite silly with my cat eye glasses. I recently bought new glasses and the gal helping me was talking about all the latest styles! I saw those very glasses, laugh out loud! She said they were quite popular. Sad note in the fourth grade my grandmother Mary Videtich  Kocman passed away. I remember all the wonderful family Sunday's we spent with all our relatives in bojon town at Grandpa and Grandma Kocman's home. I will write about that home soon.
Fifth Grade: Mrs. Roseanne Dionese. The fifth grade was a turning point, knowing there were only three more years left to finish parochial school. Our teacher was sweet and very young.  She genuinely cared about each and every student. It was a nice breath of fresh air after having to tow the line for some of the nuns!
Sixth Grade: Sister Adelaide I felt blessed to have Sister Adelaide as my 6th grade teacher. She had a kind heart when I lost my grandmother Cecilia Kralj Steblay when I was 12. I remember how she took me out of the classroom and expressed her sympathy. I remember asking my mom how that nun would know how I felt. My mom told me she had lost her own brother, a fireman, who fell off a fire truck rushing to a fire. He died from the impact and I think in those days they did not have the head gear that they wear today. When Sister passed away, she was about 100 and I remember my mother called me on the phone and told me and I wept She had a great impact on my life because I had lost my dearest friend in life my grandmother, and she understood.

Seventh Grade: Mrs. Martha Sandstorm This teacher was an older lay teacher but she had a nice method of teaching. She seemed to understand young people our age. It was an exciting time and I enjoyed walking to school with my good friend Karen Mesojedic. Karen's dad came from "the old country" and she was a bojon like me. We still keep in contact to this very day and she is a colon cancer survivor. She is the oldest friend I have, having known her since we were infants, four moths apart. I lost my wonderful grandfather Joe Kocman and felt that same sadness as I had losing my maternal grandmother. He shared many stories with me.  He is the person who explained how the term "bojon" came about.

Eight Grade: Sister Xavier O.S.B. Ah, what comes after the 8th grade? High school! A change in scenery and meeting more cool kids from other Catholic schools and starting a new journey. If you could survive the Big "X"! This nun who I am pretty sure was the second sister of Satan was a tyrant! She enjoyed wielding her power over young people! She carried a wooden ruler with the metal strip on the back. She never hesitated to use that ruler! Karen once passed a note and was busted! The nun read it out loud for the entire class to hear and when she saw that Karen called her the "Big X" she told Karen, go home and inform your parents that the "Big X" raised H E double hockey sticks with you today! Don't forget to let them know that I used profanity too! That nun kept you on your toes. We had all become so accustom to Sister Benita Coffee O.S.B. She was this super young and super cool Irish nun who grew up in Chicago. She was the type of person to roll up her skirts and play baseball with us. When Sister Benita took a new assignment she was replaced by the devil's sister. Not too long ago I asked Boyd Damkoehler at Face Book if he remembered her. He must suffer from repressing Catholic school memories because he said no! I remember the day well. I was called to the board by the "Big X" to solve a Math problem. I was not a Math whiz that was my older brother Eddie's department. I was the reader, the writer, the poetry composer. So Boyd was trying to signal the answer to me and she caught us. She backhanded him across the room and she took her trust ruler and hit me across the middle of the back of my head with her metal strip. When I had my first neuro surgery in 1984 the surgeon asked me if I ever took any blows to my head. I said "I went to Catholic school, what do you think?" I was going to go to high school and to be truthful, many of the nuns were scary but they did teach us well and we learned to read and write and no one I attended Catholic school with tried to bomb their school, murder their peers or harm anyone because of something someone else  had done to them. We were raised in the greatest neighborhood ever and we had values, respect, honesty, and kindness instilled into us not only by our phamilies but also but the teachers at our parochial school. I have taken a lot of time with this post but I will carry on my heritage and write more stories and share more people as the days of July slip by. Thank you for sharing with me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grandma Steblay and My Bojon Heritage

I told my cousin Mike who writes a fantastic blog called that I would join him during the month of July and post about our wonderful childhood in what we all affectionately know as "BojonTown"! We both come from good stock. Our people came from Yugoslavia. Today it is known as Slovenia. There are many wonderful stories about these people probably because they are smart, funny and very becoming! As I write these posts I will share some beautiful scenery from this place where my ancestors including my sweet grandmother (above) traveled to start life anew in America. This tiny grandmother, pictured here with many of her great grandchildren and one of  her granddaughters (me) holding my nephew Tony and my cousin LuAnne. My grandmother arrived in this country at the age of 18 all alone with ten dollars to her name . I found her at Ellis Island on a ship's manifest. My spine tingled as I thought about what she must have been feeling, traveling all that distance and being alone  She came to America with her father's blessings. He also arrived in this country later and I will share a photo of his grave site when I can get a photo. I have been unable to find any information about my grandmothers mother although I know she had two sisters, Anna who never left Yugoslavia and passed away when I was five. Anna was her youngest sister. My Tata Rose (tata sLOVEnian for Aunt) was also younger than my grandmother Cecilia and I will share some stories about her on a different day.  My grandmother settled in an area called "the Grove" in the city of Pueblo, Colorado. She was married to my grandfather Joseph and they had two sons and eight daughters, three of whom died in infancy.  Uncle Louie was the eldest , Tony, Mary, Cecilia, Anna, Elsie and Josephine. The babies that passed away were Frances, Agnes and Rosie. I am uncertain of their dates of birth but I do know that Rosie is buried at the Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo because my father paid for her headstone. She is buried near the family plot of her sister Anna and her husband's family. I often wonder what went through their minds to lose so many children and to keep living their lives. They were a rare breed that generation of people, strong willed, hard working, honest and giving up their former lives to start a journey on a new life in a new country.
This is the front of my grandmother's home. My sister Mary inherited the house from my Uncle Louie and his wife Auntie Ang after their passing. The house was built in 1908 and features three bedrooms and one bathroom. It is near the Ruyon Field, which is a baseball field. Today it is considered a Sports Complex .
This is sort of how I remember Ruyon Field. This is a google image. I am thinking Hobbs Field must be related to the Hobbs Linoleum Co. that faced Santa Fe Avenue and sits in front of the ball field. As kids when we visited my grandmother we would search the field outside the ballpark for all baseballs lost and it was always a wonderful time and brings back lots of good memories. When we were kids a family named Spelich, also sLOVEnians a/k/a Bojons, were caregivers at the ball field and they were very nice to all the kids. You could get a hotdog for a quarter and a soft drink as well. My father played semi pro baseball in our hometown of Pueblo and I have stories about him later as well.
When a gal asks her sister to send her a photo of her home the sister never lets her down! My sissy is a sweetheart! She took this photo of her backyard for me. At one time Uncle Louie and Auntie Ang had the most beautiful rose garden in this yard where the grass now grows. I wish I had photos of that garden. If I close my eyes I can smell all the sweet and delicate scents of the dozens of roses they had planted in their garden. The two of them were master gardeners. If you look closely at this phot you can see the clothesline near the tree. My goodness, that tree has grown so much from the days of my childhood. Thank you Mary for sharing photos with me for my blog.
Uncle Louie and Auntie's Ang's wedding day, November  27, 1946. The Catholic priest, Father Daniel Gnidica (a bojon of course) and my precious and beautiful grandmother Cecilia.
This is the certificate of marriage for my aunt and uncle. You can see the priest's handwriting along with Auntie's niece Anna, who was the mom of my good friend Rob. Bojons all over the place.
Remember Father Dan because I do not have other photos of him but I will share a little something about him. He cleaned up nice when he was doing his priestly duties but Father was a Saint to me simply because he was also a carpenter and I always thought he was a cool priest because when he was not offering Mass or officiating at a wedding, he was on the church/school grounds in his workshop wearing his overalls! I thought he was terrific because I loved Jesus and he was a carpenter and I figured Father Dan must have wanted to be like Jesus! This old school priest had a very kind heart. I will always remember him fondly.
This photo of my sister's bojon home shows the path to her shed on your left and the garage which was a one car garage and Uncle kept it neat as a pin! I shared my Grandmother;s home with you first because the government has something called eminent domain. I don;t want to get into the politics of it basically they have the right or their agent has the right to expropriate property for public use, with payment of compensation. What bothers me about this particular home, aside from it being in my bojon phamily since the early 1900's is the fact that in June, 1921 Pueblo had a devastating flood . Not only did this sturdy home survive the flood my grandmother chose to stay in her home. There is some conflicting information when you read the local news reports because when they started this campaign and put a you tube video  titled :

Potica, Pints, and Prayers in Old Bojon Town

 Now in this video they say that the bojons moved from the Grove Southward to higher ground (my neighborhood) but many sLOVEnian or Bojon families stayed put including my Grandmother, her sister My Tata Rose, the Trontel's, the Ahlin's and the Meglens to name the families I can remember. I think rather than run a highway through this historic area they should deem it historical and preserve it. I am sorry I can not attach the you tube video. Some of my relatives are featured in the video and their homes as well. You can go to you tube and pull up the video by the name.

Until tomorrow I bid you lahko noč

/Love is.../Blue Monday/Aw...Monday/Fearless

 I missed Blue Monday! Frustrating, because I love it a lot and I also missed Aw...Mondays! I am putting my post up here anyway. I am mixed up on my days. Busy trying to get the painting done and the heat is so uncomfortable. I know, I know, excuses!
I am sharing this google image. My nephew Joe and his pretty bride Jessica were married Sunday in Florida. They all wore touches of blue. I am waiting for them to come home from their family trip/honeymoon so I can ask Jessica if I may borrow some of her wedding photos to share here. In the meantime I like this blue rose trimmed wedding cake.
Keeping with the romance and wedding theme I love this Love sweet and reminds me of the love I see in Jessica and Joe's eyes. They have eyes only for each other.
Laughing out loud! If I know only one thing about cats, they do not like to be held or bothered with! This was so sweet. I figured I would still share it for Sandee and all the shares with Aw...Monday!
Ninety five degrees is way too hot for me to go on a hike! I chose to stay home and work hard indoors with my a/c on! My tiny middle is getting ready to take on a new job at her office.  She starts it soon and she loves to go hiking and release her mind from all the cares of the world.
Nick looks like he is conducting an orchestra from a top the mountain at Chautauqua Park.  The city of Boulder is tiny in the background.
My handsome Nick and grandson Colton, two of the most handsome young fellows I know! Taking a break from the rocky climb.

Three of my loves, Nick, Colton and Rebekah.
Colton is fearless. He does par kour so this is a walk in the park for him! I love the view!
Colton is a climber. When he was very small I turned around and he was gone. I heard him giggle, "Hey Grandmother, up here". He had scaled our roof in a matter of moments. He still loves climbing.
This is a young man who loves living on the edge. I pray a lot as you can well imagine!
The view from up here is magnificent. I hope Sally will stop by to see my blues anyways.
Adding a few prayer requests here. Pray for Noelle, she has an interview for a different position at her workplace tomorrow. Please pray for Joan, her cancer has returned and she is going to see a new specialist to find out what options she has. This gal is a prayer warrior and a fighter. She is always grateful for pray. Bailey is 7 years old and she had such severely swollen lymph nodes her mom is fearing the worse. Please pray as she was released from the hospital and has an appointment today to see if they have any new information. I also appreciate the prayers for myself while I keep searching for work. Thank you and if it is hot where you are chill out and stay cool. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


So Here we go with Ms. Jenny and our letter "F"! Please stop by later today and share your F posts and all your stories.
You know my P H A M I L Y - kids and cousins and all of immediate loved ones, the hubby, the kids, all together now!

Goodness, without these memories to see in front of me where would I be? Lost, alone, hopeless! You know I have whined and cried and felt sorry for me the past two days! The unemployment office drops the bomb on you, your unemployment runs out on July 14th! Still no job. Panic sets in, the tears fall, I ask God, do you dislike me so much you would rather I drop dead? Then I retract it! Certainly I am not the only person in the world that feels pressured and frightened! Why am I blaming God? He has stuck by me like glue! In it for the look haul. I think of my Sweets and how much I love him. How much he does to keep our heads above water. I tell him all the time, I tell anyone who listens as I babble and cry and wipe those tears away, "I would rather live in a cardboard box with my Sweets at the Platte River under an overpass, then have everything handed to me on a silver platter and be a terrible, miserable human being." I mean that from the depths of my soul, from the very bottom of my heart.  He keeps me encouraged! Makes me laugh, yesterday he said "Hey babe, cheer up, I could always do some nude modeling." We laughed until we cried!

My cousin Mike has been writing about our heritage, our neighborhood since June 1st! He promised to write everyday for 30 days! He says his brain needs a break, so as of July 1st he will take a break, than resume writing July 2nd! I told him I would write posts regarding our heritage during the month of July as well.  The pressure is on, oh oh, what did I get into? It will be a breeze! My cousin Juliane and her daughter Jessica in New York love hearing the stories so part of it is for them. They want to have the blanks filled in because Juliane's folks, are both gone as well. Mostly it is good therapy and definitely a journal of our lives. Our heritage. Something tangible that the kids can have after we are gone. Once I get a job I am going to tuck away money to have my blog put into book form. It will be a series of books that my kids can share down the road.
The wonder of children, the grand kids, the great grands! Gosh my life is good. It is really, really good.
The tiny new baby! Michael is a gift. A precious gift. There is no other gift like this anywhere. There are no material things this beautiful. A tiny new baby to tug at your heartstrings! Little smiles and dependence on someone  else to take care of it all.
Drazah with Michael on his birthday June 3, 2015. There is no love, other the love of God, that can compare to the love of a child.
Look what my girl Noelle got for me! An i pod! It is pretty in pink! You know I love my music. Now to download some. The little I have on my phone I will move here. I use so much of my phone's memory I need to rearrange things. I had to take  pinterest off my phone because I ran out of memory! My son just shakes his head.  As for this i pod, it is very cool and I am very grateful for my daughter. She is a precious soul. We were listening to her tape in the car earlier, that she recorded when she was a tiny child of three or four! She used her durable Fisher Price tape recorder and drove us all mad! For that I am extremely grateful. It has preserved the voices of my folks through all these years. My nephew Brian put that cassette tape on a CD for her. It is such a blessing. Noelle and I were chatting in the car. We had taken Nick to babysit at Crystal's house. That is Noelle's BFF! She treated me to a delicious breakfast and when we were coming home I said, "I would give anything to hear my mom and dad's voices again." Presto! She pulled out her i pod and I was smiling through all my tears. I miss my folks so much.

Dad and Mom and Noelle

I hope you visit Ms. Jenny and all those who participate in Alphabe Thursday. My F A M I L Y is number one in my book! What about you?