There was a house where once I lived in Denver
sitting on the corner of 13th Avenue at Williams…. a house with obvious history.
Yet… what it really had was story…
My second abode after graduation from University of Denver in 1967…Came with
The first abode was known as Lafayette House #2, implying that there was an earlier & larger faerie collective north up Lafayette Street.
Because I intended to move soon… following a deep, if immature & ungrounded notion, to find my fortune New York City, I had quit my job at Martin’s Jewelry, where I’d worked for three years & was living with friends I’d met through the Glee Club. I found myself in a place of social exploration as a young gay guy living in lively times full of enough wonder without committing to to such a large & risky move.
There were four of us living there, but the two who held the lease were in on the east coast for that summer, so I got to know Russell Hunter, who was a traditional piano man at a club called The Brokerage. He was quite good. He was also writing a musical about George W. Ferris & the first Ferris Wheel at the Colombian Exposition in 1893.
Instead I took what was supposed to be a temporary job of helping to set-up Denver’s first year-round Christmas store in Larimer Square, which was just beginning to become a reality of “urban renewal” in a part of downtown still in distress. I’ve written about that experience, which more or less became my “cure” for that holiday. I must find that story… suspecting it is somewhere in my journal.
I met my first serious love that Thanksgiving… at Lafayette house #1. Rather suddenly there were five of us.
We moved into one of those stately houses abutting Cheesman Park which were being scheduled to be demolished to make space for the ubiquitous high rise apartment buildings which still dominate where used to be homes with character like this one.
One story was that it was built for two brothers
Nothing would do for Dutch & Todd
One might be invited from the stair foyer toward the right into the large drawing room on the East, or to the left into the library with the further possibility of more doors revealing the dining room. Between it & kitchen was an ample butler’s pantry to supply what was needed to set the table. The kitchen was, as might be expected, rather antiquated, but functional.
This was indeed quite a refinement in our notion of housing… home. We figured we had found a bit of heaven. A bit of aspiration toward pretension documented by the flocked wallpaper of the powder room off the foyer. I had collected the print of the soldier in the bearskin hat. The marble was contact paper…
Russel occupied one of the matching pair of large bedroom suites at either end of the upper floor, while we had what would have been the maid’s room, at the top of the back stairway. At his request we’d draped his bed with fabric hanging from the ceiling in some version of “Liberace” mock royalty. On a tour showing-off the house to one of my friends, she exclaimed that “It is fit for a queen!” without realizing her double entendre. This was earlier than what is now more familiar as “camping”. We have recently laughed again at that memory!
I had a very rudimentary studio in the basement where I painted & made jewelry, but I was just beginning to be independently creative during a first year out of school… while being free to develop an active social life.
Russel had become interested in researching the history of the house… & more particularly the tales of its haunting. His writer had caught the whiff of a story. Somehow we had become interested in the Ouija board, & while I never experienced any of what those tales described, we did play with that game to help attempt some contact. We had tested it enough to have some sense of its validity but we were mostly just enjoying the lark of an adventure.
One session revealed
I’m just as happy that the character Russel originally wrote on me disappeared under another. When saw the film I could not find anything of me. We shortly became irritated & exhausted by his seeming maniacal hysteria & cut ourselves off from the friendship to find quieter happiness.
As addendum to my mention of Russel’s musical endeavor which was called Wheel Of Fortune , about G.W. Ferris , I learn that it was eventually mounted as some minor production.
That is the quiet version of my
I suppose the ghost of this story has now been buried under the closets of many floors! Some other time I might attempt to write the more vividly detailed… rather overwrought… version I actually remember.