Who we are: Meet Helen Moorman
February 29, 2008
MONTEZUMA ” Living in a town with no paved roads or reliable cell phone service wouldn’t fly with most modern gals. But Helen Moorman? You might say she was made for Montezuma.
“It’s heaven,” she says. “But don’t tell anyone I said that. They’ll all come pouring up here!”
Moorman has been a Montezuma local since July 1, 1989, the day she and her husband Mike ” whom she met during Keystone employee cribbage games in 1982 ” moved into the three-story house on the main dirt road just beyond the stop sign.
One of eight kids raised under a liberal roof in Colorado Springs, Moorman, the kitchen manager at Upper Blue Elementary in Breckenridge, maintains a healthy disdain for anything approaching a cosmopolitan existence.
She’s convinced big corporations are taking over the world ” not to mention squeezing the soul out of irreverent places like Montezuma, whose 50 or so residents all go to sleep at 10,400 feet.
She doesn’t trust George Bush (or John McCain for that matter). But she does trust the power of nature and believes in the merits of a united community, as she expounded upon one brilliant winter morning from her kitchen table.
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– “My first time in Montezuma was in ’79. I went to a party up here. It was at this cabin back behind where we live now. I knew a couple of the girls that lived up there; no electricity, no running water, they were just living the rough life. There was a lot of drinking and drugs, having a good old time. You know, big old bonfire. It was just a lot more relaxed back then.”
– “I really think the county has turned into a city down in the valley. That’s what I call it: Down in the valley.”
– “We’re all fairly knit up here; we pitch together on just about anything. There is a fella in town that hurt his leg several years ago. I would go over and help him change his dressing on his wounds because it was really hard for him to do and he couldn’t afford to go to the doctor too often. He’d lost his job because he couldn’t stand on his leg. Other people were bringing him food; somebody was constantly watching him, checking in on him. And in exchange, he watches everyone’s dogs in town. When it’s cold out, they go over to his place. If you need somebody to take care of your dog when you go out of town, he’s there for it.”
– “We don’t want this town to overgrow and become, you know, citified, like so much of the area. We like it rural, we like it the way, you know, it should be. Not with everyone on top of each other. We don’t want excessive government controls. There should be reasonable things: You pay taxes, you get roads, you pay for your police, you pay for your fire protection. But none of that should be privatized, because privatization equals, we’re headed toward fascism!” (Laughs)
– “If you come up here, move up here to live, I think you just kind of know what you’re in for.”
– “A few years ago a young bear was coming through the town all summer. And if you’d see the bear out and you knew somebody’s kids were out, you’d start calling people and go, “Hey, the bear just went this way!” Or, “The bear just went that way!”
– “We’re the last road they plow, since we lead to nowhere.”
– Needless to say, my teenager isn’t overly thrilled with the idea of living this far away a lot of times, but I don’t think she minded it when she was younger. The socialization, you have to make sure it happens. Jessica (age 17) was only the second kid in town when we had her. But my son (Ben, 11) was born in a baby boom. Five kids in two years in Montezuma!”
– The craziest thing I’ve ever seen in Montezuma? It was Fourth of July, three days after we’d moved into the house, and my brother had come up to visit. This truckload of guys, whoopin’ and hollerin’, looked pretty loaded, they go flying up the dirt road. We could see from across the street that they’d gone up to an old mine on the hill. We could hear ’em whoopin’ and hollerin’, having fun, and all of a sudden they all come flying back down, yelling, “Fire in the hole!” And some dynamite went off, little shake, you know, kinda rattled the town a bit. And my brother looks over at me and says, “Are you sure it’s safe to live here?”