Charlotte’s Story 1928-2019
When I look for information on our ancestors for the family tree, I always prepare myself for surprises. I found a few new facts about Aunt Charlotte so I want to tell you this afternoon a story about “the prettiest girl in the room.”
In 1928 Frances and Bernard Hancock were living in Elizabeth, Colorado when “the twins” Charlotte and Charleen were born. Frances was 22 and Bernard was 26. The twins joined Evelyn and Pearl their older sisters.
Charlotte lived most of her childhood in Loveland, Colorado when the family moved there in 1929. Her father worked a lot of jobs from farm labor to truck driver. By 1935 there were 7 children in the family. The 1940 census showed her father had earned $510 in 1939.
In early 1943 the Hancock family packed up and moved to Denver when Bernard Hancock started working for Gates Rubber Company as a pipe fitter. Evelyn had just graduated from Loveland High School. And, knowing how children tend to react to leaving all their friends behind, I doubt Pearl, Charlotte and Charlene were very happy to leave Loveland and attend North High School in Denver. Dorothy, Shirley and Robert were young enough to easily adjust to the change and making new friends in their northwest Denver home on Hayward street.
By 1948 Charlotte was attending her senior year at North High School. I think she must have been a quiet student. There were no clubs or extra activities listed under her photo in the year book. She had only been at North for a short time.
In 1950 Charlotte was working for Champa Linen Service at 2809 Larimer Street as a mangle woman. Now if you don’t know what a mangle woman does – a mangle is a heavy iron contraption with rollers that you feed wet sheets or towels or blankets through to squeeze out the water which falls to a tub below. A dangerous job at best!
Also, in June of 1950 Charlotte married Bob Lucero and they lived in a basement apartment at 1395 Xavier just a few blocks from Sloans Lake. Their first child, Bruce, was born in 1951. Bob was a student at the University of Denver, graduating in 1953 the same year their daughter Margaret was born.
In 1958 Kenneth was born and in 1962 Steven was born. So in the ranking of 22 Hancock cousins Bruce is number 7, Margaret number 11, Kenneth is number 15 and Steven is number 17.
Here are some of my observations of the dynamics of the Hancock family from a kid’s view:
We Hancock cousins were all raised the same. Just like Grandma Hancock raised her kids. The laundry was done on Monday and Thursday, dishes were done after every meal, glasses washed first then silverware, plates, pots and pans. We were all woken up at 7:00am whether or not there was a good reason. Except Bruce, he had an early morning paper route to deliver.
Our uncle Robert Hancock was a wonder to us. 6 sisters! Poor guy! He didn’t talk much, probably couldn’t get a word in edgewise! Yet he was close to all his sisters.
You know, Mom’s have their own terms of endearment for their children. When Charlotte was happy with her children there were certain modifications of their name like Margaret became Margy, and Kenneth became Kenny. If she was unhappy with her children the accent on certain syllable’s would change. Bruce became a two syllable name. Kenneth became KenNETH. Steven became SteeeVEN. I don’t believe Aunt Charlotte was ever unhappy with Margaret, such a sweet child.
At Thanksgiving or Christmas when we all gathered at Grandma’s house, the adults would sit at the big dining room table and the children would sit at a table out on the back porch. And, yes, the little ones sat on a phone book or maybe two, or a JC Penny or Sear’s catalogue. That’s why you saved them year after year! Remember when one catalogue had a shiny cover and it would slide off the other? You can’t sit still on a chair when those books are moving around!
Of course we got ‘out of hand’ out there on the back porch and one of the ‘aunts’ would holler out “hey” from the other room or the kitchen and we instantly became quiet. You see, all the aunt’s voices sounded the same and we never knew who was hollering.
Words often used were fussy or fussin. If you’re going to start fussin you can go take a nap. (Are you kidding and miss playing with all the cousins!) or You can just stay in the car if you’re going to fuss. (No way, at the checkout I’ll get a free sucker!)
Our choices were limited!
Have you ever wondered why in the 1950’s we all had the same hair-do? Grandma and Charlotte and her sisters would get out all their curlers together for a home permanent party and meet at the house on Dahlia before the start of a new school year and we would be there for hours while we all got permanents. No fussin allowed!
Charlotte was so creative. She made sock monkies! Remember them? She made cards. You all probably got Christmas cards she made. They were beautiful. I used to run into Bob and Charlotte in Michaels all the time.
For not having a drivers license ‘ever’ she sure got around. I’ll never forget the day the chaplain at Presbyterian hospital called me to say they had found my business card in the wallet of someone brought into the emergency room and did I know who Robert Lucero was. Well, my favorite uncle I said! Bob wasn’t feeling well when he went out for lunch and an ambulance took him to the emergency room. They were trying to find Charlotte, she wasn’t at home. Where do you look for someone who doesn’t drive and isn’t home? . . . . She was probably at Michael’s.
When I worked for a city councilman I was absolutely amazed when I watched a council meeting on TV and Charlotte and Bob were in the audience. I walked down to council chambers and joined them to watch a longtime friend of theirs who was a judge receive the honor of having a new court building named for him. Both Bob and Charlotte were solid members of their community with many, many friends.
In 2014 Bob and Charlotte and I drove to Colorado Springs for her uncle Lloyd Baber’s memorial service. I asked them how they met. Bob answered immediately, “I went to a dance and I saw Charlotte and I thought she was the prettiest girl in the room.”
It was an amazing opportunity to share Charlotte and Bob’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration and their 60th anniversary celebration and last year’s celebration for Charlotte’s 90th birthday.
Just watching them together . . . you could see . . . she was still . . . the prettiest girl in the room.
I had the honor of reading my story about Charlotte at her memorial service.