Meet a Westside Pioneer!
What kind of career have you had?
I've been a musician all my life. In fourth grade, my name was literally “drawn from a hat” at Buena Vista School for the last school cello available, and I started to have lessons. I got a pretty good teasing too – hauling that instrument that was “bigger than me” up and down the hill to school! (It really was pretty funny.) I have now performed with the Colorado Springs Symphony and the Philharmonic since 1977 and done freelance work and recordings with other local musicians. I teach cello to students of all ages now in the same room in the family home that I practiced in while growing up.
Can you tell us about your marriage?
I've been married to Bruce Austin, who also grew up on the Westside, for almost four years. We knew each other in high school at Coronado, then reconnected 30- something years later (took us long enough!).
Did you have children?
I have one son, Evan Wolfe, who is now 27 (making it harder for me to lie about my age).
No grandchildren yet – do cats count?
Any of your family members still here?
Yes, my son Evan, and my nephew Rob, 34, who is the son of my big sister, Robin, who lived here all her life until her passing in 2002. My sister Ronna and her son Josh live in Fort Worth, Texas, but Ronna still considers herself a true Westsider! It's as we always say, “You can take the girl out of the Westside, but you can't take the Westside out of the girl!”
Can you tell us about your parents/grandparents?
My grandparents, Arthur “Artie” Winter and Ruth Bartlett Winter, and two sons, my father Robert and brother Gail Winter, lived on a “homestead” farm in Deer Trail, Colo. My grandfather died fairly young. My grandmother married Walter Kling, and the family moved to 30th and Bijou in Colorado Springs. My father went to West Junior and Colorado Springs High School (now Palmer). He joined the Navy at 17, and fought in the famous WWII Pacific Battle of Balikpapan on the USS Marblehead. My mother Betty grew up on the Western Slope in Grand Junction and then Ouray, where she met and married my father. My dad retired in 1958 in San Diego after 22 years in the Navy and we moved to the Westside to our present family home. My father had his own business (Winter Radio and TV Shop) and my mother was a homemaker and served as PTA President at Buena Vista Elementary School.
What are your best memories of growing up on the Westside?
I have great memories of growing up on the Westside. I started my cello lessons at the little brick building at Buena Vista , went to school picnics at Thorndale Park and played on the stagecoach, got sick on the merry-go-round, and swung on the big swings. I loved going to Cy's Drive In for a dipped ice cream cone and playing in the field which is now Uintah Gardens.
What is gone from the Westside now that you wish had stayed?
I really miss the big swings at Thorndale (but can't say I miss the merry go round!). I miss the fiddle contest they used to have at Territory Days. I miss going to Rogers Bar to hear Biford Gordon play fiddle and Mark Bechetti sing. I still go to Cy's for an ice cream now and then! (Now would be a good time!)
What has stayed that you wish had gone?
The heavy traffic in rush hour.
How about the way things have changed? I don't feel the Westside has changed that much – in spirit anyway. It will always be home to me. It has improved in so many ways – especially the renovation of Old Colorado City. I love that everything I need is pretty much right around here, and don't venture out “past Union” – unless I have to! The twist is that the Westside is such a great place that more people want to live here, and it's a lot more crowded than it used to be. But the growth has brought a more cultural atmosphere with new art galleries, interesting shops, and more diversity!
Overall, is the Westside better or worse than when you were a kid here?
Of course the Westside is as good as it was when I was growing up – and just keeps getting better! I still see friends I have known since kindergarten, still feel part of a real community. We still have the small-town spirit, and will always be “the heart of the city!”
“Meet a Westside Pioneer” interviews people who were born, raised and still live on the Colorado Springs Westside. If you meet that criteria (or know someone who does), please give us a call at 471-6776.