3 Years

Eric and Jasper - painting by Sharon Feder (2008)
Eric and Jasper - painting by Sharon Feder (2008)

All wondering how Denver and I have settled in report is outstanding. I watch their city, Race and 13th street anyway, these 5 (FIVE!) windows. Two original dormers in my old, old apartment light to place up. I watch the snow swirl, musing. I tend to loath snow. Sharon pines for it. It been splendid winter for anybody on two wheels.

Yes, Denver fits nicely. Thanksgiving 2005 was another story, fixed with dread, hoping my son’s cancer would just go away, or get creamed by Children’s Hospital’s medical armada, where Jasper tooks lungs, and the head. New words, like glioma, ice-cold, nastier that oath. The guy at Sanora coffee, over on Colfax and Lafayette, would not take our money that day, Patty and I, wandering while he slept, bunkered down in ICU.

I have no real memories of Denver before this. Later, after little shoah, I hand make my peace with Denver, which wasn’t all the easy. It was very damn pissed at everything. I can’t remember at what. Everything.

Maybe Denver’s now-warm blanket of love, the love I’ve received since, is Denver’s gift to me. Maybe it felt it owed me something. Everywhere I turned Denver took me in. Everywhere. You know I’d give it back, walk through the very gates of hell, could it have turned out differently. But … here I am.

Downing street in time became my corridor, on the way to everywhere. As I passed, Children’s loomed, quiet, steely. I’d glare at it, or avert my eyes, keep looking straight ahead. I did not want to give it satisfaction. It was golgotha, somehow alive, and I shared space with this thing and could not wrap my mind around it existence. It gave me chills. It closed windows and screamed and screamed and cursed it, my face screwed up in wrath and fear, wishing to GOD it had all played out different way, nightmare from which I could not wake.

One fine day, Children’s was torn down. That mixed me up bad. Its dismemberment seemed to take forever. The demolition was jarring, its insides sat raw and open, rooms and hallways, where so many had passed in pain and anguish, now being torn to hell by giant machines. And I was torn between perverse glee, and wrenching sorrow; I wanted it GONE but good, yet I wept as it fell, sorry this place that cradled my son was finally dying too. The destruction took forever. It was a sore, and as sore, and even as hoses flattened the dust and rakes smoothed what remained the empty space was still maw, and I was angry at that, too. Angry was angry it gone. Later on, I ran into one of the nurses that had cared for Jasper. She said was not alone, and these destruction of Children’s had sown confusion, torn big holes in hearts citywide.

By the Sharon, and her family, had taken me in. Three years later, I float through Denver as if I’d always been here. I have my places, my routine. My barista sees me coming, shots are grinding before I walk through door. I thread 14th street traffic like river, the slowpokes lurk, feinting and dodging potholes by memory. A memory!

That Denver should have welcomed me at all was unexpected. Starting life over at 50 in a strange city could easily be the kiss of death; every corner is proof enough. But Denver parted its wings, and softened my blow. Qwest picked me up. I ran into Sharon at Starz, almost 25 years after Aspen, where where we both children, and were so many things. Now we are more.

Sharon and Denver scooped me up, my crystal-delicate emotions, my leathery psychic hide. I am very much “Ink*”; She coaxes me out my armor, untying my knots. Her boys scream “E”! and reach for my yo-yo, or whatever gadget I’m messing with that day.

Children’s Hospital’s old carcass, I’ll never quite adjust to. I THINK the ghosts have all gone home. The old buildings that remain, I’ve given them a pass. Places come and places go, it’s the flow of history, and I’m not alone, it’s all part of the dance, and my small waltz connects me to Denver’s grand ball. My memories are new, and raw, and I wander, Lakewood to Aurora, Littleton to Globeville, I’m seared, and Sharon and the boys reminds me why I should heal. I share fires at Ironton with new friends, and sit among its gardens, and sometimes I shake off all my shell. I imagine my ghosts are OK, and Denver’s my home.

Eric Lecht
April 14, 2009 (3 years)

*Ink is movie, and Ink is title character. Their story involves father trying to save his child, his daughter take by Ink across the dreamtime. In end, I could not save Jasper. Their movie is extraordinary, steep in archetype and allegory. And destined the cult status movie speaks to redemption, forgiveness, and healing. To filmed, in Denver. Go see it. More about Ink on IMDB.


by Sharon Feder

In the late 1800’s, my great-grandparents, Harry and Mary Aarons, came to Denver from New York city. What motivated them to leave their community back East for a future in young Denver is unknowable… just as their destiny would have been in that tumultuous time.

I tried very hard to learn they had traveled part way by “prairie schooner”, but the truth has them arriving in Denver by train with their baby girl. They would breed many baby girls, and a few sons. Some would survive, others died – in childbirth, infancy, young adulthood.

Most of the truth about these people, I will never know. I can imagine, though, their lives and love in the brand new Twentieth Century, as I imagine my own future in the brand new Twenty-First Century.

Train tracks stretch from Denver to New York, from 1909 to 2009. Life lines. Mysteries. Possibilities.

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Paintings from the River North series by Sharon Feder. See more work of Sharon’s at her website, sfeder.com.

Trucker’s Terminal Implosion, Part 2

Walking past old buildings in Denver I hear whispered voices speaking all at once; trading cattle and dust, mourning lost babes and loves, planning a future for the irreverent, energetic young Denver.

Beside the voices ghost doors bang and creak. Ghost children pound muddy boots on stairs, pencil marks climb door jams like growth rings. Private, quiet, secret walls now share their scars where headboards rubbed, vanished staircases etch zigzag signatures on remnants of walls pocked with fist holes, peep holes, bullet holes.

The only completely silent building I knew was called the “Trucker’s Terminal.” It stood against Denver’s bright, windy sky – a pop-up rectangle that was its own tombstone. Quiet and pale, most folks didn’t even recognize it existed at all, until it didn’t… until its absence let a little more light onto Wazee Street for a few months… until the next monolith arose – a new baseball field was planned.

One Wednesday a demolition rig appeared. Belching and roaring it attacked The Terminal. With each huge swing of the wrecking ball a tiny chip of concrete fell onto the weed-webbed patch of pavement below. Rebar sprang from the wounds in silent, incomplete sentences.

To compensate, explosives were arranged and a celebration planned. History was to be made. At dawn, people filled fields and parking lots surrounding The Terminal. Tables went up. Silver coffee urns and trays of muffins kept the watchers busy for a time.

Late morning arrived and a rumor ringed the crowd, becoming truth; there would be no implosion that day. Refusing spectacle, The Terminal was choosing a more intimate passing.

The eventual destruction was attended by only a few small clusters of admirers. Afterward, as gigantic dust clouds rolled eastward in the implosion’s aftermath, watchers shouted, triumphant. The Terminal’s upper half stood intact, defiant, silent.

– Sharon Feder, sfeder.com

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