Still snuggling after 64 years together
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” When Alice Carlos was 14 years old, she went to visit her aunt in Iowa and found work in an amusement park. She told everyone she was 18.
Chuck Carlos, 19, came home to Des Moines on leave from the Army at that time. He went to the amusement park and noticed Alice in the Ferris wheel cage, selling tickets. For three or four nights, he talked to her in the cage and kept asking her to marry him. He said he was very worried about dying in World War II, but he if she married him, he knew he could come back from the war and take care of her. By the third night, she let him walk her home.
“He asked another guy to watch the cage, and told him to stop it when we were on the very top,” she said. “Chuck got the cage rocking back and forth a whole lot. I was scared, holding on to him for dear life. He asked me to marry him again, and I said yes.”
Chuck was due at the Army base in Gainsville, Texas, so the young couple went to Texas on the train. Alice got a job at a drugstore, and hocked her watch to get the blood test and the marriage license. They were married Aug. 4, 1944, in the minister’s parlor at the Methodist Church in Gainsville. They spent six weeks in Gainsville, then Chuck went overseas and Alice went back to Iowa to stay with Chuck’s parents.
Chuck’s platoon hauled Patton’s gasoline tanks, and he was overseas until September of 1945. Chuck still carries his original dog tags on his key chain.
After the war was over, on a boat back to the states, Chuck gambled and won $1,000. But the money was stolen, and he had to borrow money from his parents.
He was stationed at Fort Smith, Arkansas, then transferred to Camp McCoy, near Sparta, Wisconsin, where Alice worked in a donut shop.
Upon discharge from the Army, Chuck received $1,000. He contemplated purchasing a car with the money, but decided to wait. Then he got the second $1,000 stolen on his way home from Sparta.
“We didn’t have much money in those days,” said Alice, and Chuck chimed in, “Nobody had any money in those days.”
Alice’s mother remarried before the war was over. She married a soldier, too.
After the war, both husbands came home nearly the same time. Alice and her mother both became pregnant and had baby girls within two weeks of each other. Then it happened again 11 months later. Alice and her mother had their second sets of baby girls within three days of each other, and were both in the same hospital at the same time.
“We were on the front page of the Denver Post in January of 1948, with the caption, “Maternity puzzle,” said Alice. “My mom was in bed, and I was standing, with our husbands and babies in the room.”
Everyone thought the combinations of relative possibilities was amusing ” mother/daughter; mother/grandmother; sisters; grandmother/granddaughter; father/daughter; father/granddaughter; and aunt/cousin. Probably more, but that gets way too confusing.
Chuck and Alice raised six children, five girls and one boy; now they have 22 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. The typical mother and grandmother, Alice loves to tell stories and show photos of her family. But you won’t find a mother or grandmother who can tell you so many details so quickly.
Chuck and Alice house-sat the Redstone Castle during the winter of 1976. Chuck worked for Ken Johnson, and their quarters were off the kitchen. Although Alice enjoyed being at the castle, Chuck looked at it as another job. He had to jack up the floor because there was a leak in a pipe under the pool table in the game room.
“And I had to fight the boilers and radiators,” Chuck grumbled. “They had taken out one return line, and I had to cool everything down.”
“Sylvia Morrison ran a second-hand antique store in Redstone, and she had a son. They helped us use a scaffolding to put up our 22-foot Christmas tree.”
Chuck and Alice moved to Glenwood Springs from Grand Junction in 1992. They were in their home in West Glenwood during the Mitchell Creek Fire.
“The fire came from the west, it jumped the fence,” said Alice. “I thought we better leave, but Chuck wanted to finish his strawberry shortcake. When we opened the door, black embers were flying everywhere.”
The fire melted plastic tubing in the car next door. and some plastic siding on the house next door. It burned the rest of the houses up the hill. They stayed with friends for three days and were grateful to find out their house was still standing.
“We were blessed it missed us. It was remarkable we didn’t have much smoke damage inside the house.”
Alice is a three-year cancer survivor. She also spent 11 days in Valley View Hospital treating a bad case of diverticulitis, which took over a year to heal. She couldn’t eat, and lost a lot of weight. But now she’s spunky as ever.
When asked if they have any pet peeves over the past 64 years of marriage, Alice said, “He thinks I talk too much. I guess I’m afraid I won’t get it all out.”
Chuck nodded his head and laughed.
“If we make it to our 65th anniversary, I’ll be satisfied,” she said. “My grandparents made it to their 65th anniversary.”
As I gave Alice a goodbye hug, she said, “I just have so many memories, and I want to share them with everybody.”
Then I stayed for at least another 20 minutes, captured by more of her intriguing memories.
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