Hard as it might seem to imagine, there was no television in Walden when I was a child, so we read. My entire family has always been voracious readers, and we started out with my dad’s westerns and detective stories and my mom’s “confession” magazines. My sisters and I read pretty much anything we could get our hands on. We still do, although my personal favorites are mysteries and biographies. I was fortunate to have two inspiring teachers—Jenny Abbot in grade school and Bill Porterfield in high school—who taught me to love words.
When I was a freshman at Jackson County High School, our beloved English teacher, Mr. Porterfield, taught us how to write fiction. We discussed plot, characters, setting and all the elements that make up a fiction story. Then we each wrote a story. Later, Mr. Porterfield read them all to the class, without naming the author, and we voted on the best one. Mine won. I decided at that moment, at age 14, that I was a writer and it has been the underlying theme of my life. I have written everything: fiction, non-fiction, essays, articles, poetry, letters, and, of course, a journal. The journal now resides in 43 fat, 3-inch binders and contains probably a million words.
Fast forward to 2002, when I had put together a book about former Colorado Governor Roy Romer, for whom I had worked since 1983. Such a book has a limited audience and no traditional publisher was interested. A writing friend told me I should start my own publishing company and, to learn how to do it, I should join the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA). The result was Walden Press, named for my hometown, and the first book I published was Roy Romer Is Alive and Well and Living in California. That book won a CIPA EVVY Award in 2004 and Walden Press has now published 13 books, three of which are by me.
I moved home to Walden in 2003 and, thanks to the internet, was able to continue publishing books. Walden Press has published two of Paul Richard’s five books, as well as two of Jim Dustin’s four books (complete list below). When I moved back, I was immediately struck by how many authors North Park has produced and that there was no central place to see all the books. I became the local books distributor, filling orders and showcasing the books at events like Art in the Park and the Harvest Craft Festival. All of the books are listed on www.waldenpress.com, and can be ordered that way.
Walden Press doesn’t handle every book written by North Park authors, and some of the books are also carried by the North Park Pioneer Museum, the Moose Visitor Center, and the Rand Store, but I can provide most of them.
Walden Press carries the following books:
Timber Times & Tales by Earlene Belew Bradley.
Stories from the Gould area during the logging days of the 40s and 50s.
No Humans Were Hurt and Other Stories from The Jackson County Star Police Report by Jim Dustin
Jim Dustin was the award-winning publisher/editor of The Jackson County Star for 15 years. His police report in the newspaper was the first item everyone turned to because of his humor and unique outlook. In this book he compiled eight years of the best of the police report.
Dog Tales by Jim Dustin
A collection of short stories about dogs, some a bit science fiction, some just tales that will bring a tear to your eye.
How Frank the Dog Saved the World by Jim Dustin
This is a story about how the human race in the near future might face extinction—execution, actually—because of their behavior toward animals in general and one dog in particular. It mixes science fiction, politics and philosophy and is a smashing good read.
Ranch Hands, Rhubarb and Radishes by Mardie Hanson
Cebe and Mardie Hanson spent more than 20 years running the Big Horn Ranch. Mardie spent a lot of time cooking for the ranch hands, when she couldn’t find a cook to hire. These are tales of what life was like on the ranch and of some of the ranch hands that crossed her path, along with recipes for meals she cooked for them.
Gentle Path by Martha (Mardie) Hanson
In 1848 a young woman desperate to escape her murdered father’s enemies joins a wagon train bound for the Oregon Territory. An entertaining tale of perilous hardships and found courage.
Feeding the Flock by United Methodist Women
Wonderful recipes from the women of North Park.
Whiff of Sage by Oley Kohlman.
Second Opinion by Oley Kohlman
These two books are based on Oley’s long-running column in The Jackson County Star.
Moonshiners, Bootleggers, and Some Prohibition by Oley Kohlman
The days of prohibition, as seen through the eyes of North Parkers and residents of the High Plains between Greeley and Cheyenne.
Uphill with the Ski Troops by Oley Kohlman
Oley’s recollections of the years he spent in the Army as part of the 10th Mountain Division.
Child Protective Services Survival Manual for Parents by Carolyn Lewis
The author writes: “I want to educate those parents whose greatest desire is to love and properly care for their children but want to avoid run-ins with CPS because of a silly error or misunderstanding. This can happen to any parent.”
View from the Folding Chairs by Michala Miller
Mickey Miller’s childhood memories from her home in the north end of the Park.
Westward in a Trunk by Michala Miller
A true story about a doll who headed to Colorado with her long-time owner. Both had already been through many adventures, but there were many more to come.
Where the Rockies Ride Herd by Stephen Payne
Payne’s classic tale of what life was like in the early years of the 20th century on a remote ranch in North Park.
Colorado’s North Park: History, Wildlife and Ranching by Paul Richard
Paul Richard’s great-grandparents settled in North Park in 1886. This book describes the history and geography of the Park and tells what it was like for his great-grandparents in those early days, and what the Park is like now.
Growing Up Wild by Paul Richard
Paul’s memories of growing up on the Two Bar Ranch at the north edge of Walden.
Smokey, A Dog of My Own by Paul Richard
This is a beautiful love story of a brave, faithful dog and his adventurous young companion growing up in the 1950s on a beautiful ranch high in the Colorado Rockies. Richard makes the land and its creatures come alive with his keen observations. No surprise that he became a biology professor when he grew up.
Exploring the Galapagos Islands by Paul Richard
A book for middle-schoolers about a young South American finch who becomes cast out to sea and ends up exploring the Galapagos Islands. It’s an exciting trip with feathered adventurers investigating many secrets of nature on unique enchanted islands with weird animal life far out in the Pacific Ocean. A great way for youngsters to gain knowledge of the world while being entertained.
Departure of the Cliff Dwellers by Paul Richard
If you have ever wondered what happened to the Anasazi people of Mesa Verde, wonder no more. This beautiful tale of the lives of two Anasazi children gives a clear picture of the ancients who lived in and then abandoned those places. As you read this, you will come to feel the reality of what life must have been like for those cliff-dwelling people.
Roy Romer is Alive and Well and Living in California by Helen Williams
Stories about Colorado’s last three-term governor by his colleagues and staff. These stories reveal the real Roy Romer, in all his complexity and political brilliance.
Sing to Me in Spanish by Helen Williams
A memoir about a year spent teaching in a Mexican orphanage. The experience changed the author’s life, while letters from the children in Spanish and English express what it meant to them.
These books are available at www.waldenpress.com. Some of them are also for sale at the North Park Pioneer Museum in Walden, at the Rand Store, and at the Moose Visitor Center. Or, if you want personal delivery in Walden, call Helen at 970-723-8639.