Wednesday, May 1, 2013

50 Years, 50 Stories - Betty Bowar

It is not an exaggeration to say that Imagine! might not exist today if it weren’t for this week’s contributor to “50 Years, 50 Stories,” Betty Bowar. As you will read below, what was to become Imagine! was first formulated by two sets of parents sitting in Betty’s kitchen in 1962. Thanks for the insight into the very beginning of this great organization, Betty.
Imagine! The Beginning
By Betty Bowar

Joe and Betty Bowar at Imagine!'s 35th Anniversary Celebration

What very wonderful memories I have of being involved with Imagine!.

In 1962, what turned out to be the Ruth Wood School started over the kitchen table with Doris and Dwayne Miller in my husband, Joe’s, and my house on 42nd Street in Boulder. In those days, 42nd street was way out in the country and when we got classroom space at the old county hospital on Iris and Broadway, there were only two buildings on the drive down 28th Street from our house. As I recall, 28th Street was gravel. We held classes for five students, including our daughter Christi, from 9:00-11:00 am, Monday through Friday.

Once Ruth Wood became involved, she really spearheaded programs for the kids. She hired Joe to train and supervise a student janitorial crew that cleaned the county buildings. I believe she also put the sheltered workshop in motion, and Christi really looked forward to going there after graduation. Christi always needed purpose in her life, and she really found it at the school.

Once Joe and I retired from the education business, Christi settled into the Adult Day Program which grew into Labor Source where she worked happily for many years. She was already there when John Taylor arrived (as Executive Director) in 1983, and one of my favorite memories of John is his response to our transportation troubles. Both Joe and I were working elsewhere and Christi was using BCBDD (Boulder County Board for Developmental Disabilities) transportation services to get to day program. We had a good deal of trouble with them, and one morning I phoned in, late and irate, and John answered the phone. He asked how he could help, and I told him to meet me at Tanaka Farms, a big farm stand out on Highway 287 and Lookout Roads. John was brand new to Boulder, but somehow he found his way out to that east county farm stand, and when I met him that first time, he was wearing his cowboy boots and big old cowboy hat, and he gave me a big hug and asked me to be patient with him since he was new in town and just learning the ropes. He took Christi in to work, I went to work, and John has been one of my favorite people ever since.

There were so many other friends -- Eva, Caroline, Gary (who still brings me “Pennies from Heaven” from Christi when he finds them on the ground), and our lives were so enriched by knowing so many of the people in Christi’s life.

Christi passed away on June 9, 2003. She was a complete joy.

Christi Bowar (left) at the 1986 College for Community
Living (an early Imagine! adult services program)
graduation ceremony

Are you interested in sharing your story for “50 Years, 50 Stories?” If so, contact Caroline Siegfried at or 303-926-6405. We’d love to hear from you!

No comments:

Post a Comment