On the Scene: Novel event for local author

John Brach, Samuel Baseler and Burl Barlow

Susan Cushman, Charlie Quimby, Janis Nowlan, Frank Nelson and Ann Barrett

Maura Webb Griggs and Priscilla Bowman Walker

Fran Wilson Higgins, Tony Kovacic and Gary Urban

Royanne Oberling Peterson and Mariel Oberling

John Williams, Deanna Cox Taggart and Paula Cox

Charlie Quimby’s novel is set in Grand Junction and various locales associated with the road leading up to the Colorado National Monument.

“Monument Road” was published in November and has been popular party talk ever since. Last Thursday was no exception and in fact, a party was created for just that purpose. A group of people from Charlie’s Grand Junction High School class of 1967 got together.

The event was held at Meadowlark Garden Center, a green house and garden store owned by two of the evening’s hosts, Ann Barrett and Frank Nelson. Meadowlark is by far one of the most beautiful places to buy your greens and with everything else they have going on, it’s an “experience.”

The event for Quimby’s novel was inside the property’s original house that is now used for gatherings and is connected to the gardens.

When I arrived, I could tell by the number of cars that there already was a good-sized crowd so I immediately went into the greenhouse and bought three beautiful geraniums. Bob Morrison helped me pick out the Rocky Mountain Red variety and he took them to my car so I could get to work. I knew I had to work fast because Charlie would soon be giving his talk about the book.

I found Janis Nowlan, one of the organizers of the event and the 1967’s “Class President for Life.” She gathered up Charlie, his wife Susan Cushman, Frank and Ann. As I arranged them for the photo, Frank told me his father, William H. Nelson, retired from The Daily Sentinel after 47 years as a writer. Frank remembered my mom as the Sentinel’s switchboard operator.

Ann has owned Meadowlark for the past 15 years. Charlie and Susan live part-time in Minneapolis and half-time in the Grand Valley at the base of the monument.

Fran Wilson Higgins was at the event with husband, Joe Higgins. Fran was in class of ‘66. She was chatting with Tony Kovacic, class of ‘67, who lives in Montrose. Tony still plays music, (remember “The Sands of Tyme?”) and resides part-time in Mexico.

Gary Urban is retired, as were most of the people at the book reading. I hadn’t seen Paula Cox for quite a while. She lives in Georgetown and graduated in 1970, the year before me. She came with her beautiful sister, Deanna Cox Taggart, who was the class of ‘67. Paula works part-time with Bill and Sherry Stone at Stone Mechanical. Deanna puts in a lot of volunteer hours. She’s currently helping out at the Community Food Bank and Roice Hurst Humane Society.

John Williams talked about used to stand and sing next to Charlie on the bleachers in choir robes.

John Brach, of Brach’s Market fame, posed with Samuel Baseler and Burl Barlow. Samuel taught Senior English to most of the people in the room, including me. Burl spent the past 41 years in banking and also was in the class of ‘67. He took me to a dance in high school, and I can’t remember why. When I asked him, he said, “because no one else would go with me.” Hmmm.

The book party drew two Palisade High School graduates: Priscilla Bowman Walker, class of ‘67, and Maura Webb Griggs, class of ‘71. Priscilla is the president of the Palisade Historical Society and Maura has been happily employed at City Market for 30 years. You might remember her from the store in the Eastgate Shopping Center.

Mariel Oberling and her big sister Royanne Oberling Peterson came to listen to Charlie and buy his book and had him sign them.

I was happy to see wines from Two Rivers and Plum Creek wineries along with Dirty Hippie beer from Palisade Brewing Co. Locals supporting locals. The food was veggies, hummus dips, fresh strawberries, little ham and cheese sliders, and my favorite was a salmon dip that went well on little crostini.

When it was time to gather around and listen to Charlie, he started by explaining how he wanted to hear from people who could relate to the book and could talk philosophically about the “growing up” that happened on Monument Road. Charlie read some favorite passages and talked deeply about them.

Samuel said the book was “superbly written,” and Ann commented it was “English teacher approved.”

I have the book and am not quite finished. I think I need to read the rest while sitting outside in the fresh air, maybe somewhere overlooking the valley, up off Monument Road.

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■ Join Colorado Mesa University’s dance department for its Spring Into Dance concerts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Saturday at Robinson Theatre in the university’s Moss Performing Arts Center, 1231 N. 12th St. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $8 for students and $6 for students. Info and tickets: 248-1604.

■ KAFM Community Radio hosts a Radio Soul Train with electronic artists at 8 a.m. Saturday at Mesa Theater and Lounge, 538 Main St. Info: 241-1717.


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