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Young man struggles for love

Willa Soncarty
Registrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Glenwood Springs CO Colorado

“As I figured out at the time, an attack of love is in the same category as getting the hives. Both can be very uncomfortable and cause a lot of misery ” but never fatal.” ” “Getting Down to Bedrock,” by George Gibbons Hayes, 1960

At the age of 21 years, Glenwood Springs resident George Gibbons Hayes fell in love. It was in the year of 1910, when, as George recalled, “Dan Cupid shot his arrows,” hitting his heart but missing hers by “a mile or two.” However, the unreturned affections only spurred George toward public demonstrations of love.



George Gibbons Hayes had many interests and talents. Music was one of those passions. He picked up his violin and began to compose his feelings into song. Hours passed as he created an original melody note by note. Emerging from his efforts was a tune he called, “Why Must You Break My Heart, When It’s Breaking Yours.”

It was not enough that the song was complete. His composition had to be memorialized on paper. George found a publisher, and for $50, he had 500 copies printed. The music came with a piano arrangement and a style cover used universally on self-published works. Later, George realized that self-publishing would be one “kiss of death” for his new musical creation.



An amateur talent night provided opportunity for the music of George Gibbons Hayes to be unveiled before the public. George brought out his violin and sang “like a crow with a sore throat the mournful love song I had ‘composed’ and ‘published’ all by myself.” The object of his affection was in the audience, but rather than being flattered, she glared with “anger and resentment.”

The friends of George Gibbons Hayes whooped and applauded to the point where George won the first-place prize of $5. Rejected by love, he took his friends to the ice cream parlor, where he spent his entire winnings on ice cream sodas at a dime apiece. So many sodas were purchased that the druggist threw in an additional 10 sodas.

The local bookstore owner carried the music, and sold only 10 copies at a quarter each. He offered George $2.50, and would not charge a commission for the sales if George would remove the publication from his store. Not only was the heart of George Gibbons Hayes broken, but so, too, were his finances.

A few years later, George Gibbons Hayes married a new love, Mary Peteling, and the couple had two daughters. Thirty-five years later, he would meet his first love face-to-face on a Glenwood Springs street.

“And my old heart never skipped a single beat ” not a flutter,” he recalled.

“Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448.


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