Wednesday, November 27, 2013

50 Years, 50 Stories - David Schmalhorst

Imagine!’s Communication Coordinator Gary Stebick submitted this story for our “50 Years, 50 Stories” series. The story is of David Schmalhorst, who has been receiving services from Imagine! since its inception. David’s mother and father were among the group of parents who helped establish what was to become Imagine! back in 1963. As you can see from the story, they clearly did a great job raising David, and he has been contributing to his community for his entire life.

David Schmalhorst: aka Cliff Diver
By Gary Stebick
Pictured are Mark Kalen on the left, and David Schmalhorst on the right.
Anyone who knows David Schmalhorst is most likely well aware of his admirable work ethic, (resulting in him being employed for 24 years at Boulder Community Hospital and for more than ten years at Old Chicago on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall), his consideration to others, and his sense of responsibility. However, not many of us have heard the story about David Schmalhorst, cliff diver.

When asked about the cliff diving story, David replied, “Oh yeah, I remember that. I was living at Manhattan Apartments when I did that. Julie Hartman and Mark Kalen worked there. We used to have a group that went rafting together. We did a lot of things together.

“This rafting trip was with Joan Handley and her husband, and I think there were about ten of us. We had to paddle the boat by ourselves. The rapids were pretty intense, and I fell out of the boat. I swam back to the boat, and it was kind of fun. I’m a pretty good swimmer, so that went OK.

“Then we stopped for a while and some of the others climbed up the rocks and dove off a cliff into the water. I climbed up too and dove into the water. It kind of hurt for awhile. I went feet first and had a life jacket on. I did it twice! It was an experience. I was scared, but I did it.

“Then we got back in the boat and went down the river. We camped and cooked over a fire. We made s’mores, and I don’t remember what else we ate, but we had plenty of food, I’ll tell you that. On one of the trips we met a police officer, and we got to go to his house. That was pretty neat, but the rafting was the most fun.”

When asked if he would dive off a cliff again, David replied, “Well, I don’t know. I might. I’d wear a life jacket.”

Mark Kalen, one of David’s counselors from Manhattan Apartments who hadn’t seen David in more than 20 years, was invited to the interview as a surprise visitor. Julie Hartman, who also helped with the interview, had invited Mark, and it was a neat reunion for David and Mark.

Julie, David, and Mark reminisced about their days at Manhattan in the early 1980s. They talked about the food they used to cook together, with some of the favorites being burritos, quiche, lasagna, and macaroni and cheese. And they had parties and a big Thanksgiving dinner that required them to use all three kitchens in Manhattan Apartments. They shared memories about going bowling and playing pool at the CU bowling alley, and about their friend Ted who dressed up as Elvis Presley and who would sing by the camp fire. They remembered when Imagine! Case Manager Phil Pfeiffer was a teacher at the Ruth Wood School. David teased Mark about how Mark used to show up early for his shift at Manhattan and make himself a baloney sandwich and watch Star Trek on TV before he had to start work. “I was modeling independence,” Mark said, as he laughed.

Mark went on to tell David how he teaches a class to elementary school students about Star Trek and emphasizes some of the “lessons” from Star Trek, including the importance of people demonstrating empathy, respect, and responsibility towards others.

Mark added, “David, it was a treat to work with you. You made us counselors feel like we had something to offer. That was good work.”

No comments:

Post a Comment