Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews

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Mickey Judiscak

Scanned by Dick Chenault
Edited by Zale Nagler
Date of Interview - 12-17-1979
Interviewed by Rosalyn McCain

Mickey Judiscak
Date of birth - 6-1-1891
Parents - George and Sophie Judiscak
Ethnic group - Czechoslovakian
Family origin - Czechoslovakia
Date of family arrival in County - Pueblo 1884, Walsen 1890
Kinship ties - Mike A. Spock and Auntie Spock; son George Judiscak of Pueblo, daughter Susie Paspahala Canon City; brother Steve Judiscak

Mickey Judiscak's son, George Judiscak of Pueblo, complied the following transcript from an interview conducted by Rosayln McCain, from an interview he conducted with his father and from a book his father had started to write at one time.

My name is Mike J. (Mickey) Judiscak. My parents were George Judiscak and Sophie Berdish. They were citizens of the Austrian—Hungarian Empire. After World War I this empire was broken up into different countries and the boundaries changed. My parents came from a town named Oleys or Holice in that part of the old empire which is now known as Czechoslovakia.

They were very poor and from what they told me things were tough. They didn't talk too much about it-they were glad to be away from there. I don't think they had too many pleasant memories of the old country. My mother did say that wealthy people owned all the land. She said her people were sort of like tenant farmers; making only enough to live. Except for food and shelter they had very little, sometimes having only five or ten dollars a year in actual money. Relatives and friends pooled their money and loaned it to my father to come to the United States. He came here in the early 1800's and after a couple of years he sent for my mother. He also paid those who had helped him.

After arriving in this country he went to Pennsylvania. My parents left Pennsylvania and came to Pueblo, Colo., where he started to work at the steel mill in 1884. They then left Pueblo and came to Huerfano County, living at Pictou and Toltec. This was about 1890.

There were 7 kids in our family. My oldest sister Annie was born in Pennsylvania. My oldest brother Andrew (Lefty) was born in Pueblo. Then there was my older brother John (Happy), me, my younger brothers George and Steve (Pee Wee) and then my youngest sister Susie. We were all born at Toltec.

My folks built a little adobe house, two rooms and a kitchen. My mother had an adobe baking oven outside. The roof was adobe and sometimes it leaked. The floor was also adobe. The roof sagged and it was propped up from the inside. All of us kids slept in one room.

We had a couple of cows and always had plenty to eat but not much money to buy clothing and shoes. My father made a dollar a day. Coal miners didn't always get a full day's work. Sometimes there were no railroad cars to load and a man would only get in part of a shift and many times the whistle would blow and he'd go to work and have to come back and there would be no pay for that day. In the summer coal business usually slacked off and I'd say he made twenty or thirty dollars a month and some months less. My father talked broken English -- my mother never did learn the English language. They had no education at all in the old country. There was another family at Toltec (Shosky's) who spoke our language and they visited us nearly every day. John Shosky and I were about the same age, grew up together, worked together, boxed and were lifelong friends.

I don't remember too much about my Childhood. Since I went to work in the mine when I was eleven years old there's not too many kid things to remember. We did play run sheep run, baseball (made our own bats and balls), I only went to the 4th grade. Kids stuck to their own age groups, I guess we were generally mischievous.

All boys started to work at an early age. Lefty started to work first, then Happy and then me. When Lefty was working and Happy and I were home it was our job to go get the cows. Sometimes these cows wandered nearly up to North Veta. All the creeks run water and we also had to haul the water. Then when Happy started to work, George and I had to do the chores.

When I was a kid most of the men carried six-shooters, lots of cowboys used to come up thru here and they all carried guns. I remember every time there was any trouble in the saloons, the first thing the guys did was shoot out the lights. There was 5 saloons at Toltec. Beer was a nickel a glass and usually there was bread, some kind of meat, crackers, etc. and this grub was free with the beer. I never did drink beer or liquor. My brother Pee Wee, John Shesky and I neither drank nor smoked. Guys would be killed in the saloons and no one bothered to catch the killers. They would just ride off to who knows where. Vic Mazzone used to tell me that fella “Ford”, the one that killed Jesse James used to stop at that saloon on 7th Street in Walsenburg and he saw him a few times. Ford later was killed at Creede, Colorado. The Black Jack Ketcham gang used to come up this way out of Texas and New Mexico; fact is Ed Farr, who was deputy sheriff here, was killed near Cimmaron, New Mexico while going after the gang. There's a headstone on his grave at the Masonic cemetery telling about it. I saw guys gambling in the saloons and some of em laid their six-shooters right on the table.

There was a kid named Bricky Burns who broke his leg at the mine and was off work. I heard about it and went over to the mine to see about the job. I was eleven years old and told them I was 15 and got the job. My job was to open and close the door for the mule drivers when they came thru. Boy, I remember I was really scared. A guy stayed with me a couple hours and then when he left I was so scared I had a notion to run out. But I didn't and then as I got used to going in the mine I really thought I was a big shot cause I was working and not going to school. The year was 1901. During this time my father had bought a house. It was a frame house and was bigger. It was up on the hill but was located on CF&I land. The Turner's, Iren's, Wilson's and other families were our neighbors there. Mrs. Turner was, a “midwife”, I guess you call it. Any way all the people called Mrs. Turner when there was any sickness in their families. There was also a company doctor. You left your name at the office if you wanted him and he'd come out. But Mrs. Turner did a lot of “doctoring”.

As I was saying we moved into this house on the hill and my father was working at Pictou. In 1903-04 they had a strike and a deputy came to our house and told us we had to get out as we were on CF&I land. So we had to get out as did all our neighbors who lived on the hill. My father then got this house at Toltec, near the Toltec store, where I lived until I got married. My folks lived there the rest of their days. Some of the miners who came out on strike started a new settlement called Union Town. It was just east of Pictou and not too far west of what is the new Rambler Motel, at junction of Pueblo and Gardner highways. The United Mine Workers of America had set up sort of a commissary at Union Town where they gave out commodities to the miners. Happy and Pee Wee and I would take the little wagon and go over there and get whatever they were giving and haul it home. My father or us kids never did “scab”.

We were always good union men and fought for what we thought was right.

All the men wanted was decent pay for a day's work and better working conditions. John D. Rockefeller and his people were the owners of all the CF&I mines. In those days there were no fire bosses, very little safety. When a man got ready to shoot his coal down he just did it, regardless of what those working around him were doing. Coal would fly all over. My father and a lot of the older miners had pock-marks on their faces from being hit with small bits of coal. Many of the mines had gas (black damp) in them. Explosions occurred frequently and there was a lot of men killed and injured from them here, back east in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, and where ever coal was mined. Over the years coal mining has been about a hazardous occupation as there is. There was no compensation for injuries. If you get hurt in the mine you said nothing because chances are you would be fired and maybe your relatives along with you. It was a common practice to short weigh the coal a man leaded also. The company would tell you that there was too much reek with the coal and sometimes dock a man more than necessary and there was no way for the man to check the company. Whatever the weighman said was it. Limbering the reef, cleaning up your work area of reck, and other dead work was the miner's responsibility - a miner got paid only for the coal he leaded, nothing else. Another kid's job was “picking slate”, separating the coal from the reck.

The miners lost the 1903—04 strike as they gained nothing, fact is conditions were generally worse after they went back to work.

Now there was my dad and my brothers working and for the first time we were making headway financially. My father took all the money on payday and gave us kids 25¢ a month each. He kept all the rest and if he hadn't handled the money in this manner he could never have quit working when he was old and crippled. As I grew older, I never regretted this as my father and I were very close and we helped each other all the days of his life. My brother George hurt his leg in the mine (1908) and in about a month he died of blood poisoning. He was 15 years old. The doctor came out but medicine wasn't too far advanced then and they did their best, there was a lot of things they didn't know about.

Since five of us was working in the family, we were getting along pretty well. A family where there was mostly girls generally had rougher sledding as there weren't many jobs for women. We bought one of those Edison talking machines. We could record voices and also bought a lot of records. They were those cylinder type records. Sometimes we recorded my father's voice when he didn't know it and he never could find the record. ha-ha. That machine cost about $60. My father used to get paid in gold. I don't know when they started paying in paper money, but the bills were much bigger than the paper money now - people used to call em “saddle blankets”. In those days a man had to trade at the company store and when payday came, the money went to the store manager and he took out the “store bill” and then you got what was left. Later on they had “scrip money” which was good only in trade at the store.

After Brickie Burns recovered from his leg injury he got his job back and then I went back to school. I didn't stay in school long and was back working again. Sometime around 1905, John Matterol and I went to Denver. He was to be a mechanic and I was going to be a machinist. I guess our parents sent us up there. We lived at a boarding house and worked on Blake St. We had never been to a big city before and spent one whole day riding the street car around Denver. Once we went to an Opera - I don't know how we landed there. We didn't understand none of it-sure was in the wrong place. We stayed up there a couple of months and then came back home.

I got on again at Toltec. I remember some time back there they used 2' X 4”s for mine rails and then the steel mine rails come in. Then punch machines came in and I learned to operate a punch machine. It was one of the hardest jobs in a coal mine. It was air operated and cut into the coal to a depth of 5 ft-also 5 ft. wide. The machine was mounted on big heavy boards and you kept the puncher right against the face of the coal. It looked like a small cannon and a man sat on a board on the back end. If you got too much air on The Puncher, it bounced you around like a top. Then the electric coal cutting machines were installed. I learned every job in a coal mine. I drove mules, operated the punch machine, coal cutting machine, loaded coal, lay track, put in switches, whatever. I tackled anything they had, always figuring I could do as well as the next man.

Work was not always steady and I went to Denver with the fella who had installed the punch machine. We contacted an employment agent in Denver and he sent us to Rock Springs, Wyo. We couldn't get on there and so wound up working in a restaurant. We waited tables and helped the cook. This was in Laramie, Wyo.

There was a Russian surveyor there and he asked me if I'd like to survey with him. I told him I didn't know nothing about surveying but I took the job anyway. They were putting in a line from there to Walden, Colo. I worked some on the Construction there too- drove a couple of mules. We lived in tents, about 50 men were working. Altogether we were up there about 3 months and then came back to Denver. I came home again. When I was about 15, I went to work at Oakview, near La Veta. I was driving mule and the mule got a broken leg. To break a mule's leg meant an automatic firing as this was considered destruction of company property. The super's son, a kid about my age, was a good friend and we run around together. He told me “My dad won't fire you”. But I knew better and so I drew my time and left.

I went back to work at Toltec. About this time or sooner, I met Myrtle Warren, who was later to be my wife. Her father and mother came from Cornwall, England. Her dad worked in the coal mines and the gold mines. They had lived in Colo. Springs, Canon City, Centre City and up around Cripple Creek, Colo. She was born at Williamsburg, Colo. They moved in a covered wagon. Mr. Warren had two nice horses. Her folks had come to this country, like everyone else, to better themselves. Mrs. Warren used to say she heard the streets were paved with gold in the United States.

My father homesteaded 160 acres west of Turner mine and he, my mother, and the younger kids moved out there. Happy and I stayed with my older sister Annie, who had married Mike Spock. Lefty was left in charge of the money and we turned our pay over to him. He gave us 25¢ or 50¢ a month just as my father had done. I was going with Myrtle then and one time I wanted a dollar. He wouldn't give it to me and gave me a punch in the jaw. I had quite a few fights with Lefty but he was too big for me. Happy and I was talking about it a few years ago and Happy said “Lefty treated us just like slaves”, ha—ha

We were out of work again and Lefty and I and a fella named Shepard went up to Lafayette, looking for work. Then we went to Denver and saw that agent again and he sent us to Routt County. We got work there and went over to the boarding house. They only had room for Lefty and Shepard and the guy told me to wait a minute and he'd try to get me located. He introduced me to a gambler and this gambler looked me over and told me that he gambled all night and that I could sleep in his room-and not to touch nothing. So it worked out OK-I slept at night and he slept in the day. We stayed up there a while and then came home again. I started going pretty steady with Myrtle (Mert for short). My friend John Shosky was boxing professionally and doing pretty good too. I trained with him quite a bit and had a few fights in the ring. One time I fought a cross-eyed guy. I couldn't tell where he was looking and he beat the hell out of me. I got $5 for that fight and I never forgot it. Myrtle and I wanted to get married she was nearing 16 and I was about 18. Her older brother (Jim) was the head of the family then and he told her no- that she'd have to wait a couple of years. Then on the 4th of July, 1911, I had a fight with a guy at the fair grounds, the purse being $100, 60/40. I got knocked down in the first round. Myrtle and some of her girl friends from Toltec went under the grandstand and started crying. Then in the second round I caught him with a good right and knocked him out. I got $60 and I told Myrtle “Let's get married”. She said OK so we started making plans. There was a house on the corner by the road (Toltec). It had a couple rooms and a small kitchen. So I talked it over with my father and he loaned me $250, and I bought the place. Then he and my brother-in-law, Mike Spock, helped me put on a new roof. The store manager, Mr. Wallace, was going to California and so we bought some furniture from him. We were getting pretty well set up by the time we got married.

We got married November, 11, 1911. We caught the water train down to Cucharas Station, which was on the main line from Trinidad to Denver. Walsenburg had no passenger station then. We caught the train to Pueblo and went down to the grove to get married. I was Catholic and Myrtle was Protestant. The Catholic priest there wouldn't marry us. We didn't want to get married by a Justice of the Peace so we went to a Baptist minister and got married. We got a room at the Vail Hotel, went to some shows in Pueblo and after a two week honeymoon we came home. We moved in the house and Myrtle and I fixed up the other 2 rooms after I came home from work and whenever we could. We put up some boards and filled the space in with adobe mud. That house was warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It took us quite a while. Then we had the outside pebble-dashed. The house is still there. Both my kids were born there, Susan in 1913 and George 1915. We had another son, James, who died shortly after childbirth.

Toltec was a hot mine to work in. At one time they had a mineral bath house there and rooms, then after Toltec opened up all the natural springs drained into the mine. Water out there was no good. Nearly all the miners ended up with rheumatism. It was tough on the teeth also. Nearly everyone had bad teeth.

Toltec mine was owned by a couple partners named George Fruith and Jim Autry. Mr. Autry and I became good friends and as the years went by he helped me many times on different business deals. Mr. Autry had bought some property in St. Petersburg, Florida, and his property turned out to be on the main business block there. He, in later years, spent his summers in Denver and winters in Florida.

Mr. Fruith's nephew came to the mine and asked me if I would drive for him. Why he picked me I don't know as there were some guys who were older and better drivers than me. Then they offered me a contract for 10¢ a ton for all the coal I could get out and hauled to the parting. I really did good on that contract, fact is when it was over, they never gave me another one. Myrtle had gone to the 8th grade in school and she helped with my arithmetic and I learned to figure pretty good.

Then 1913-14 there was labor trouble again. The miners wanted the same wages as the Wyoming union scale and an improvement in working conditions. The CF&I was the big producer in this area and they said no, so there was a strike. The companies brought in a bunch of outsiders to “scab” and continued to work their mines the best they could. Toltec closed down completely as the owners didn't want any labor trouble. There was a small mine about a half mile from Toltec, on the way to Walsenburg and they said they would keep working and pay the union scale ($3.45 a day). So I went over there and got a job driving and working nearly all through the strike. My brother Lefty came over and he got a job check weighman. They took 200 lbs. of coal (value) off each car loaded to pay his wages. The men were willing to do this in order to get a fair shake at the scales. We worked at the Peanut steady until, the big trouble at Ludlow, near Aguilar was over.

The UMWA leased some land on the prairie, away from the mines, and set up a tent colony for all striking miners. Trinidad was heavily deputized and then the state militia was brought in to help protect property and maintain order. Nearly all the newspapers were controlled by money interests and practically all propaganda went against the miners. The militia set up machine guns on all the hills overlooking the Ludlow tent colony and after some small skirmishes here and there they opened fire on the colony and burned all the tents down. Many women and children were killed in this massacre and this episode in labor history brought national attention. John D. Rockefeller appeared before an investigating committee in Washington and testified he knew nothing about it. Before being relieved by the US Army, the state militia engaged in one skirmish with the miners stationed all along the hogback, and after failing to break through the miner's line at Craddock hill, the militia withdrew. Dr. Lester, who was a major in the militia, was killed in this engagement. Miners poured into the Southern coal fields from Northern Colorado and Wyoming. The federal Government called up some units of the Army from Ft. Bliss, Texas, Ft. Warren, Cheyenne Wyoming, Ft. Leavenworth Kansas and shipped them into the Southern Colorado coal fields. The militia was taken out.

The main army unit was stationed on West 2nd St. They also had a training ground above Loma Park, toward the hogback. The miners lost this strike and went back to work at $2.95 a day. Many of the mines compiled a “black list” and a lot of men had trouble getting back on.

Politics played a big part in those labor disputes. Since we lived in Toltec and not so much under the control of the CF&I we started the Democratic Party in Huerfano County. When my father first got here and there was an election he told me that sometimes when he went to vote the polls were moved out in the pinons somewhere and by the time he and others who they knew would vote democrat found the voting place it would be too late to vote. There were very few democrats holding office. Jeff Farr, Republican sheriff ruled the county for many years. He wasn't to lose his job until after the 1914 strike. The trials (Ludlow Massacre) were held in Castle Rock, Colorado as there was no way the miners could get a fair trial from a company dominated court in Trinidad. Later, John D. Rockefeller made a tour of the coal mines. The camps were painted, YMCA's built and a company union was set up, which, to my way of thinking was as bad as no union at all.

After Toltec opened up, I went back to work and was driving and got caught between the car and side of the slope and got my back broke. I was off work for a long time. They put a cast on me and it got so loose that Myrtle drilled some holes in the front and back of the cast made some suspenders so I could keep it on.

We then homesteaded a place (320 acres) near Badito. We built a small house and improved it. The grass was high and water running the year we went up there and I don't believe it ever got that good again. We then came back to Toltec.

A flu epidemic hit around 1917-18. People were dying like flies. I got the flu and nearly died. Dr. Chapman was the main doctor. He worked day and night doctoring people. He was well loved and the people never forgot it. World War I came along and my oldest and youngest brothers en1isted. Lefty served in the cavalry, stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas. He served on the Texas-Mexico border. He got pneumonia in 1918 and died a few days before Armistice Day 1918. He was buried Armistice Day. There was a big celebration in town (as was the case all over the country) celebrating the end of war and the celebrating and parade in Walsenburg was held up until after he was buried. My younger brother, Steve, was in the Medics and served in France and Germany. Many of the camps had teams. Fellas like him and Babe Shosky got some good jobs because of their baseball playing ability.

After the war and through the early 20's I continued working at Toltec. I liked to hunt and fish and in the summer (which was a slack time at the mine) we went fishing a lot. Besides fishing the nearby streams, we fished the Conejos, Rio Grande and Gunnison. Sometimes there would be half a dozen families from Toltec camped along a river. We caught strings of trout. We could camp anywhere in those days. Ranchers would sell a bucket of milk for 10¢ and along with the spuds, bacon and eggs and fish we had some good thing. The kids fished, hiked, made bows and arrows out of the willow. Those were the good days. My daughter Toots, was fishing on the Conejos and thought she had a snag and so she pulled the line slow and steady and she caught a 19 inch rainbow. My brother Pee Wee and I were fishing one time on the Conejos and Jack Dempsy and a couple pals came by on horseback and talked with us a few minutes. They were headed up stream. This took place some time after the Dempsy - Popo fight.

Myrtle and I worked hard, saved our money and about 1925 or 26 we bought an auto supply store in Walsenburg (where the Loaf N Jug is now). We lived in the back of the building and Myrtle run the place and I kept working at Toltec. We kept it about a year didn't make much money, but didn't lose any either. We sold out to Albert Lenzini and went back to Toltec

About this time Father McCarthy came to Walsenburg and he would walk out to Toltec and the other coal camps. Visiting the Catholic families. He came out frequently to visit Nikie Spock Jr.(my nephew) who had been paralyzed and couldn't walk due to a roof cave in at the mine. Nikie was a favorite of mine. He was 20 years old at that time. Myrtle became a convert to the catholic faith and the kids took catechism lessons and made the First Holy Communion at a little church at Gordon, Colorado. We got married again in the church. One funny thing happened Myrtle was taking instruction, and the kids were with us. The priest asked George what sacrament you received when you were dying and he said Matrimony, ha-ha

I was working at Toltec when the Wobblies called a strike. I never belonged to the Wobblies but I came out. My brother and his family lived down behind the Wobbly hall and when we came to town we usually went down there to visit them. This one day I told Myrtle not to take the children down there. But she did. They had a machine gun on the street about a block away and about the time she went down there a man was killed down there. I had to go get the car. I was foolish and if I had things to do over there I wouldn't have gone down there without having an escort. The town was under martial law. Then in 1928 I heard of Norton's Cottage Camp being for sale and we bought it. We had a good business there. We had cottages to rent, sold gas and oil, and had a grocery store. The whole family had a job there. We made good money although I didn't particularly like dealing with the public. Guess I was always used to doing a job and people leaving me alone. Sometimes we had tourists who were sickly and I'd get disgusted with the cabins (the way they looked) after the people left. After about a year or so we sold out to Roy Bunk. My wife didn't want to sell and she gave me a lot of static over it. It was the only time in our married life that she really disagreed with me about business.

A little later on I bought a hamburger stand from Matt Kilmurray. It was located on 7th St. near Ruffini Grocery. The following summer we decided to take a trip. My brother took over the stand and we headed for California.

We had a 28 or 29 Chevy Sedan. The first day we got as far as Wagon Mound, New Mexico and the car broke down. Then something broke again near Holbrook, Arizona and we stayed there a couple days till the car was fixed. While in Arizona, we decided to drive down to some Indian place to see some Indians. When we got down there we saw only one Indian as they had all gone back up in the hills. We were all disgusted about driving 70 miles to see just one Indian. Things were cheap those days and years later I ran across a little book where Myrtle had been keeping track of expenses. There were items like 25¢ for lunch (bread, lunch meat) and for 4 people. We went to the Grand Canyon and then to California. Myrtle had brothers at Big Bear Lake and Los Angeles. Then we went up to San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and clean across the country to Moline, Illinois to visit some relatives. We had planned on going to St. Louis to see Babe Ruth play but my brother had an emergency mastoid operation and so we came back. We were gone most of the summer -- had a great time.

In 1922, my father and I had bought this house and we had it rented out. So we lived with my brother a while until the renters moved out and then around 1929 we moved here. I have lived in this house ever since. The depression was on and things were steadily getting worse. The Guaranty State Bank, among others, had foreclosed on the chicken business of the Hill ranch east to town. Mr. Kastner asked me if I would take over the chicken business and so I went out there and ran the operation for a while. We sold eggs for 10¢ a dozen and had trouble selling em. The chicken dust gave me sort of an asthma and I told Mr. Kastner I didn't want to fool with the chicken business anymore. He asked me if I could sell them. I told him I'd try--I wound up selling about 1,200 chickens at 25¢ each.

In 1932 the depression hit rock bottom. As always I worked for the democrat party and this year I worked hard, trying to elect my lifelong friend John Shosky, who was running for sheriff. John lost that election by just a few votes. Prohibition had been voted out and John and I started to get the Walters Beer Agency. We also looked into opening up a pool hall. At the same time I had been thinking of starting a truck coal mine. Seems as though everything came at the same time.

Finally I decided on opening up a coal mine and John started a tavern (Shosky's Tavern) which opened July 4, 1933.

I got a lease on some coal land near Rouse, Colorado. It was on Dr. Chapman's land and we opened the Leader mine. My four partners were my brother Steve, Matt Bogan, Pete Grgich and Al Newman. Then we leased some adjoining land from the First National Bank of Pueblo and-incorporated into the Red Ash Coal Company. Al left after a few years but the others of us stuck together until the 1950's. I sold out my share in 1956 to Clarence Clair. We were the only small company that started in business at that time to make a go of it. Several other companies started but for one reason or another they all had to quit.

We worked the mine 6 days a week through the winter and then on Sunday many times we had to work on the road so the trucks could get up to the mine. We had that mine (Leader) five or six years and then I got hurt--broke a leg and some ribs. A “pot” rock fell out of the roof on me. A pot rock is a rock you can't detect by sounding---it is solid and falls out without any warning. I told the guys I wasn't going to work there anymore and they said they wouldn't go in there either (as the roof was bad). So I sold out to a Mr. Javernick from Aguilar. We then looked around at different coal properties to lease and finally decided on opening up the Maitland mine. It was on school section land and we leased it from Victor-American Coal Co. The First National of Pueblo wrote me a letter of appreciation of our business dealings over the years. We had 2 mines at Maitland. World War II came along and we had a lot of static with government inspectors and government regulations. Things worked out OK though. I took care of all the business for the mine, did the collecting and all business dealings. I learned a lot over the years and I guess I must have liked hard physical work as I kept going back to the mining business.

My son and nephew George Spock volunteered for Service in 1940. Then other nephews, Mike Judiscak joined the marines, John Spock, Andy Spock, Tommy Spock, Buster McCrackin and Francis Judiscak. Since then Sonny and Jimmy Judiscak and many other grand nephews have all been in the military. So I guess you could say we've been a patriotic family. One thing I do know, I never had any patience with some young men during World War II who wanted me to hire them at the mine to avoid the draft.

I retired in 1956. I was getting in pretty bad shape (arthritis). There were times when I couldn't even lift a cup of coffee and it was difficult to get out of bed. When I was 70 I was back in much better shape--guess I had been practically worked out.

Myrtle and I traveled quite a lot after I retired. We took quite a few short trips and went to California and other places. We took one trip down into New Mexico and Ft. Bliss as I was anxious to see where Lefty was in the cavalry.

Myrtle became seriously ill in the 1960's. She was never one to complain and up until she passed away June 13, 1968, she still talked of getting better. She was always active in St. Mary Church work. She belonged to the Tabernacle, CDA, and a sewing club. We also were in the Mizpah Club started by Mr. and Mrs. Roy Bunk at least 45 years ago.

My daughter (Mrs. Bill Pospahala) lives in Canon City, Colo. They had a large family so I have lots of grand children and also great grand children.

My son George and his wife Dorothy live in Pueblo. They have two children. Coincidentally, George and Dorothy lost their second child (George II) a week after birth just as Myrtle and I had lost our second born at birth.

Well this is my story. I am now nearly 89 years old. There's not too many of my old coal mining buddies from Toltec left. I have had a good life and my only regret is that my beloved wife and mother of our kids, Myrtle is not still with me.

A finer woman never lived and I thank God every day of my life for all the good times we spent together. Thank you.

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