By Kathleen Spring
Over the weekend, LaVern Johnson celebrated her 90th birthday with an Open House, a Roast, and at a Rockies ball game. Here is her message:
I certainly had a great 90th birthday celebration and want to thank you all.
All friends and family who came to help me celebrate last Saturday, July 22, for your help, i.e., decorations, food, serving, cakes, the roast, great rounds and square dances, the trip to the Rockies game, setting up, cleaning up, taking
pictures and videos, the cards gifts, Facebook messages, phone calls, those who came from afar, etc. It was truly a great weekend, and I greatly appreciate it.
The Rockies’ game versus Pittsburgh was extra exciting, hitting five home runs in all, and scoring seven runs in the sixth inning! Yea Rockies! Five squares danced on the field before the game decked out in Rockies colors. They sold over seven hundred tickets so they could dance.
Ninety years old is truly “old,” and I hope I can keep going and enjoying life, and doing my “things” until. . . Who knows what will happen as the years go by!
Thanks to all!
LaVern’s ninetieth birthday party began at the Lyons Elementary School gym, which was packed with approximately one hundred well-wishers on Saturday, July 22. Countless handshaking, hugs, and laughs almost wore out the smiling Matriarch of Lyons, but not before she got roasted! Yes, some acquaintances got up before the crowd and told funny and critical tales about their encounters with LaVern over the years. Mayor Connie Sullivan and former mayor Julie Van Domelen were among several roasters, including her sons, Jerry and Ron.
Daughter-in-law Cindy told an entertaining story about how LaVern declared “I don’t cook” when they first broke bread together. Cindy later tried to get LaVern to bring a side dish to big family gatherings, with hilarious results. One time LaVern showed up at the door with a big can of beans and an iron skillet! Everyone who has shared a meal with LaVern at a town event knows that she always leaves with a paper plate of food. Guests from far and near enjoyed the cake and snacks.
In addition to many Lyons residents, attendees included Jim and Ida Leiding of Grand Junction; Estella and Jim Cole from the State Historical Fund in Denver; Carol Purcell, Walden, and daughter Sharon of Aurora; Pat and Harry Kellogg from upstate New York; cousins Glenda and Greg LaFamboise and family from Concord, CA; Cindy Fischer from Indiana, and her mother from Illinois. Also present were past Parks & Recreation Directors Mark Heidt, now living in Brighton, and Kurt Carlson, who isback in Lyons.
About another hundred Red Rock Ramblers square dance participants then came in at 7 p.m., and danced. At 9 p.m., the dance caller Dan Nordbye brought LaVern up to the stage and talked about how he first began calling for the group forty-four years ago, and how honored he was to have been asked. He joked that Mr. LaVerne invited him to come by the house, and when he was sitting alone in the living room, he called for “LaVerne” to come join him. Mrs. LaVern came into the room. He said, “No, I was calling for LaVerne.” She said, “I’m LaVern.” There proceeded to be a “Whose on First” conversation as he did not know that they both had the same first name.
On Sunday, the “real” birth date of LaVern, her Red Rock Ramblers square dance group joined the regional Denver Area Square Dancers in Coors Stadium. More than seven hundred attended, and they did an exhibition square dance on the field before the game, wearing the team colors of white and purple. By the way, the Rockies won!
The Longmont Times Call published a detailed article about LaVern’s history in their July 17 issue. LaVern has printed up a souvenir birthday brochure with her family history in it, available to all, at the Redstone Museum. Happy birthday LaVern! and many happy returns.