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Meet a Westsider:
Merell Folsom

      Profession/Occupation... I was an industrial arts teacher at Cheyenne Mountain High School for 23 years. For 10 years I portrayed Abe Lincoln, reading the Gettysburg Address at the annual Rock Ledge Ranch Family Fourth and visiting elementary schools during February (his birthday month). I stopped portraying Abe in 2009, the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. Over the span of 30-plus years, I called old-time square dancing at places such as Rock Ledge, Bancroft Park and Ghost Town Museum.

      What I like most about the Westside is... the history. Beryl, my wife for 64 years, and I live in Old

Colorado City, surrounded by the history of yesteryear. We watch the New Year fireworks on Pikes Peak from our bedroom window. To the west of us is the site of the 19th-century Glass Works on Busch Avenue. To the south is the railroad to Cripple Creek (now Gold Camp Road) and the one-time Skyview drive-in theater. East of us, the Golden Cycle Mill operated, and to the north was/is the roundhouse built for the Midland railroad.

      If I could change anything about the Westside, it would be...the intersection at 21st Street and Highway 24. It’s ridiculous that the section between the highway and Colorado Avenue is often backed up for several blocks.

      A good movie I've seen recently is... I don’t go to movies anymore. However, my favorite was a Gregory Peck movie in 1946 (which ties in with dancing): “Duel in the Sun.” Former Cheyenne Mountain School Superintendent Lloyd Shaw advised them on the dancing scene of the Varsouvianna.

      The worst advice I’ve ever gotten was... I was ordered to participate in an open-air atomic bomb test in 1955 at Camp Desert Rock, Nevada. I was regimental communications officer at Fort Benning, Georgia, so my job was to evaluate the effect of a nuclear bomb on communications equipment. Afterward, the same day, we drove through ground zero to get to the equipment. I wore a radiation badge that day, but I never learned what it indicated. Ever since then, I have avoided as many medical or dental X-rays as possible.

      If I could meet someone famous, I'd like to meet... Irving Howbert. He was involved in early Colorado City and helped General Palmer develop Colorado Springs.

       The next time I travel, I'm going to... Not much anymore, but we have been to 49 states including Alaska and Hawaii, but not Minnesota. Also Europe and the Bristish Isles.

      My favorite childhood memory is... the road trips in the late 1930s on gravel highways from Mankato, Kansas to Steamboat Springs in a Model A coupe. There were four of us – my mother, father, younger brother and me – in the single seat and I remember part of the time lying on the shelf behind the seat. The rumble seat was used as a trunk for our luggage.

      My favorite winter pastime is... cross-country skiing. We’ve been to half-a-dozen ski areas; anymore, we just go to Bear Creek Park.

      Something good I've read is...I enjoy reading Irving Howbert’s books and Mel McFarland’s Cobweb Corners.

      My pet peeve is... suggestive clothing worn by females in public.

      If I won the lottery… I don’t buy lottery tickets. However, if I came into a lot of money it would go into the family trust.

(Posted 12/12/16; Opinions: Meet a Westsider)

       "Meet a Westsider" is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you would like to be a Meet-a-Westsider (or know someone who should be), please give us a call at 471-6776.