Becky Boo

Becky BooBecky was walking by the time we moved to Colorado in the late winter of 1957, after the B-52 and B-47 projects at Boeing's Wichita plant wound down and put our parents and 24,998 other people out of work.

We moved into a duplex in Littleton. Our parents got jobs at the then-called Martin Company (you know it today as Martin Marietta). Becky had a bedroom next to our parents. Sue and I shared a bed in the basement, next to the washing machine. A housekeeper saw to Becky during the day, while Dick and Gen worked and Sue and I were at school.

We didn't stay in the duplex long. Right after school was out for the summer, we moved around the corner and down the street into a two-bedroom bungalow with an enclosed front porch. Shortly after we moved in, Dick loaded the car with camping equipment and took off leaving us bewildered in the driveway, watching him go. He never lived with us again after that departure. Gen couldn't afford the bungalow on her own salary, so we moved once more, just before school started.

Gen found a place to live on what was left of a farm on a bluff between the railroad tracks and Santa Fe Boulevard, on South Rio Grande in Littleton. The one-bedroom apartment was perched over a three-car garage. You climbed a flight of steps to get up there. The steps landed on a porch that extended the entire width of the apartment, with a great view of the property from up in the trees. The porch had a single pipe rail to keep tall people from falling off, but nothing between the rail and the deck to keep the short ones penned in. The apartment was only about 10' up, but 10' feet was higher then than it is now.

Becky and I were playing out there once when she fell through the railing off the porch. She hit the ground pretty hard. As I scrambled down the steps to her, she got up on her own and I saw a teardrop fall from her face. I thought it was blood and I was sure she was going to die. Becky wasn't hurt (or just didn't show it) and when Gen got home from work, she didn't kill Sue or me for letting it happen.

Becky stayed in the care of the landlord's wife, Mrs. Elliott, while Gen worked and Sue and I were at school. Mrs. Elliott got sick and went away for a long time. Mr. Elliot took care of Becky for a few days, but didn't seem to be very enthusiastic about it. Soon Becky went into the care of Mary Durban, who lived over in Englewood. Mary Durban was sweet and serene. Her own kids were nearly grown up. She liked Becky very much and was really nice to her.

Gen adopted a long-haired white cat that a little kid was fixing to abandon in the parking lot at a Littleton shopping center. The cat, whom Gen named Pixie, had a sweet disposition and settled right in with us. One night after dinner, Becky had a giggling fit and sat on Pixie, who didn't object much. We told Becky to get off, but that just made her giggle more. Gen suggested that I sit on Becky to show her how it feels. Apparently it felt just fine to Becky, because the harder I sat on her, the harder she laughed.