Woman is a lifelong local
Jeanette Friedman has seen a lot of world go by during her lifetime in Glenwood Springs. From a comfy chair in her quiet room at Open Gate Assisted Living in Glenwood Springs, Jeanette recalled her life here.Born in 1922 to Mary Downing and Raymond “Buck” Blue, Jeanette “went through all the local schools” and graduated from Garfield County High School in 1941.Her father was “what you would call a master auto mechanic” and a foreman at the J.V. Rose Chevrolet dealership. “He started out washing cars and changing tires” when the automobile industry was in its infancy. “As the car industry progressed, so did he,” Jeanette said.Jeanette’s mother grew up in Spring Gulch outside Carbondale in the coal mining town. “My father came with his family from Kansas,” she said.During her high school years Jeanette was wrapped up in music. “I played in numerous organizations and the Glenwood Symphony,” she said. Her principal instrument was the violin, but she also learned to play the viola and “a little piano.”
“I had a wonderful teacher, Emily Rumold,” who organized “string trios, quartets, sextets.”When Emily moved away, “I didn’t do much music after that,” Jeanette said. “She was just starting to teach me the cello.”Jeanette graduated in 1941. Many of her classmates had already left to join the military. She still remembers the day she heard the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.”The first I heard of it, I’d gone to the train depot to mail a letter. You could take letters there then and they’d go out on the train. The stationmaster came running out and told us. We were in shock. Then came the rationing. It was tough, but we made it.”Meat and gasoline were in short supply, among other things. “Word would get out when JCPenney had a new shipment of nylon hose. Everybody, all the women, would run up there and get in line. We did without things we’d like to have, but you didn’t mind,” she said.After high school Jeanette went right to work. Although she’d received a scholarship to attend Greeley Teachers College, “in those times, it was the end of the Depression, there was no money to be had.”
Her first job, coming as it did during wartime, was with the War Manpower Commission in Glenwood Springs. Among the jobs her office found for men was work at the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant in eastern Washington state. Hanford was built in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project and produced the plutonium that was used in the atomic bomb, “Fat Boy,” that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on Aug. 9, 1945.In fact, Jeanette met her husband, Dennis, when he walked into her office looking for a job. “I got him his first job in a lumber yard,” Jeanette said. They married in 1954.However, the job was ill-fated. Dennis lost his arm in a machinery accident at the yard then went into the auto parts business. Dennis passed away in 1996.Jeanette, meanwhile, continued to work for the manpower commission that evolved into the U.S. Employment Service, then the state employment office. After 12 years in that line of work, she went into banking, retiring from Colorado National l Bank as a loan officer in 1986.Although her professional life was over, then she found a new line of work helping care for her two nieces in Glenwood Springs. Without children of her own, it was a chance to be a grandmother and become intimately involved in their and her niece and nephew-in-law’s lives. It is a role she still treasures today.Over the decades Jeanette has seen many changes in her beloved town. “To me, it is so sad. I can remember back when the polo field was across from Sayre Park, where all those houses are. Grand Avenue was lined with beautiful trees that arched up (over the road).””Growing up in a small town you knew everybody. Nowadays you know no one unless you’re out in the business world,” she said.
Three years ago, Jeanette developed some health problems and had to sell her condo. She moved into Open Gate and is happy there. “They’re very nice people. They try to make it a homey as possible,” she said.Her family, including her sister Betty Kimminau and husband Victor, their children and grandchildren, visit frequently.”People ask me why did I stay here. I guess I couldn’t find my way out,” she laughed.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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