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  • fostartjimart

Life Saving Climb:

After graduating from Fort Collins High School (57) my first job was helping build The International Time Center Towers with red blinking lights at night, north of F.C. on Hwy. 1 to Wellington. It was a huge job and I was only 17 but it was also artwork to me- I had no idea of its capabilities or mine.

Eventually, the first tower went up, it wasn't tied down to the ground with stabilizer cables so I decided to check it out. Nobody was on the job but me so I was free to look around. I climbed up the tower halfway, around 250'. It was a view of Fort Collins I had never seen. I'm sure I could see Wellington and nearly Cheyenne. As I looked around, I was so excited to grasp the entire Front Range to Pikes Peak in Colorado Spgs.

I noticed I could no longer see where I had come from at the bottom of the tower bed and a scare I had never had before, came over me. I froze with my elbow around the ladder- I couldn't move !!! I was terrified, I no longer felt I could hold on with my hands so I locked my arm around the rung and started to talk myself into calming down. It took me half an hour before I began to make my way by unfreezing my hold on each step. Eventually saving my life with each level of calm - I could feel my hands being able to hold on and each footstep was secure.

When I got on the ground I was sure I would never ever try to do anything so stupid ever again. For some reason I always did.

One of my main jobs as a farm kid- to irrigate 160 acres. So working in clay was easy as an art material for me later on. The exciting part was- my father said, as long as you drive tractors and help with the farm the gas for your car was free. At 27 cents a gallon, I was on the streets of College Ave. from one A&W north to the one on south. And it was all free except for the rootbeers and chocolate cherry malts and fries. I was in my hemi head Chrysler ( it was a monster ) lowered two inches off the ground in front in primer white with spun aluminum discs for hubs. Wearing shades all night long. ( I've got more nighty night stories about running the streets of Fort Collins and making out on city park hill. Never thinking about drinking or drugs- just good clean drag racing. For two years, 55-56-57, I drove my brother Mike and Jim to Fort Collins High- every day, some nights, there wasn't a thing stopping me from driving out on Hwy. 1 at that time. It was exciting driving that far in a fierce snow storm-when most people couldn't have made it - I did. I sure learned how to work a steering wheel and my other hand doing something or another. I always made it home.

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