June 26th. Sorting Out the Memories

Once again, I had a light bulb start to flicker over my head as a memory hit me, and just before it was over, it flickered out and left me with questions.  So, where better to ask than here?

Tezak Street is an alley to me.  It starts at the top of Santa Fe hill and goes east, from behind the old Blacksmith Shop, and goes all the way down across Egan.  You can also catch it at the north end of Mahern, next to Lepik’s old house.  Now, if you go east from Santa Fe, the first thing you come to is the alley behind the houses on Santa Fe hill.  That alley is a story in itself, steep and a challenge for the hardiest of mountain bike riders…..and Bojon kids.  Just past the alley, there is a little house.  It always struck me as odd that there would be a house in that spot, which was basically the intersection of two dirt alleys.  Now here’s my question.  Someone in my family lived in that house when I was little.  I’m not sure what side of the family, Kocman, Medved, Anzick?????  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a Barnett, but I know someone that was related to me lived there, and I remember being in that house.

Things to do in Ljubljana.  Visit the Cathedral of St. Nicholas (Stoinica Sv. Nikolaja).  Take a tour of  Ljubljana Castle.  Walk over the Dragon Bridge (Zmajski Most), with it’s statues of dragons.  I’ve been seeing a lot of references to dragons in Slovenian folklore.  It’s a recurring theme in a lot of their tales and stories from their pagan days.  You can also tour the Railroad Museum.  And on top of all of those fun things, you can eat and drink all sorts of Slovenian dishes and delicacies in the many fine cafes and restaurants.


I started thinking about some of the stuff that Mike Deverich mentioned about the 1100 block of Eilers.  We spent a lot of time on that block when we were kids.  Football games with Horse and Joe Kocman in front of Auntie Elsie’s house and the Vertovec’s house.  Football games that often involved hard tackles, punches thrown, and a shared Pepsi and candy bar later.  I think that Mike or I tried to punch each other for something about one out of ten days.  We’d play for 7 hours, throw two punches, and then play until Mike’s mom or dad came by.  We hung out a lot in Auntie Elsie’s basement, watching cartoons and playing games.  A lot of times we’d end up spending the night at each other’s house.  I spent a lot of time up on Maple Avenue, and that was a pretty cool place in itself back then.  I always enjoyed staying with the Deverich’s and Mickey and Eileen were always so nice to me.


Mike and I never really got into real trouble in all of the time we spent together.  Some stupid petty crap, but never anything bad.  We had that potential, but we were like a check and balance for each other.  There were times when Mike wanted to do something and I talked him out of it.  There was one time where I had an idea that I can’t even remember now, and when I told Mike, he looked at me like I was an alien and he just walked away.  I’m sure it had to be a pretty dumbass idea, given the look on his face.  I think it was the summer after we got out of the 8th grade at St. Mary’s, that Mike and I had our camping adventure.  We were maybe 11 or 12 years old, and we wanted to go camping at San Isabel.  Our dads agreed to it.  Mike and I got all of our camping gear together, got our fishing stuff, and scrounged groceries from houses in Bojon Town.  Some eggs and milk from Auntie Elsie, some ham and bread from Grandma Bear, bacon from Grandma Steffie, and stuff from mom and dad and anyone that would donate to the cause.  We loaded up everything in my dad’s station wagon (we always had a station wagon), and he hauled us up to San Isabel, waited for us to unpack, and left us there.  This was in 1970 or so, when you didn’t have to pay for camping, but there wasn’t an old couple checking on you 5 times a day.  We were pretty much alone in the woods.  We set up the tent, gathered firewood, stored the food away and made a nice camp.  We spent the days fishing and hanging around the old recreation center at the lodge.  They had a pinball machine and a pool table and we hung around until we ran out of cash.  They rented a rowboat to us!  Two kids, eleven or twelve years old, not an adult in sight, and they give us the keys to the padlock, the oars, and two life jackets.    They didn’t have us sign any forms or waivers.  “Fork over the ten bucks and here’s your ticket to possible drowning, kid!”  Man, those were different times.  We managed not to drown, and we lived through it and managed to not burn down the forest.  When Mike’s dad showed up at the time he told us to be ready, our camp was down, everything was ready, and I could tell that he was impressed that we didn’t screw things up.  I don’t remember a lot of details, and I know there had to be a bunch of them in a week, but it’s just like a blur of fun.  I do know that we did a lot of wishing for a campsite full of girls to show up, but I remember that never happened.


When I was 7 or 8, my mom and dad signed me up for Old Timer’s Baseball.  I was too young by a few months, but my mom’s cousin, Bill Kocman, was running the program at City Park.  Bessemer Park was closer, but I’d have to wait another year to start, so Bill let me play.  Back then it was huge.  Every team would go down to Memorial Hall on the same day to get a uniform.  Antique pants and unmatched stirrup socks  and baseball hats in either blue, red, yellow, or black.  The shirts were all grey the first few years, and then they got colored t shirts that matched the socks and hats.  No one on the team had matching pants.  Some came down to the bottom of the kid’s knees, while others had to roll them up to keep from tripping on them.  So, my mom is having to haul me to games twice a week and chase my sisters in the park for 2 hours while I played.  And she got tired of that after a bit, so by the time I’m 9, I’m riding my bike to City Park twice a week.  I have a nine year old grandson and I’m afraid to let him cross the street.  Different times.  I used to make it a morning.  I’d ride up an hour before the game, check out the ducks at the lake, ride over to the zoo and look into the bear pits, maybe take a quick climb up Monkey Mountain, play the game, and take an hour or two to ride home.  One time I cut through the State Fair and came out by my Great Grandma Barnett’s house on Euclid.  She was getting pretty old by that time and her sight was failing.  I saw her in the yard and stopped to see her and she was so happy to have some company.  It was probably a few years after my Great Grandpa passed away.  She took me inside and got me a glass of lemonade, and she asked me to do something that really stuck with me.  She told me that she loved reading from the Bible, but she couldn’t see well enough and asked me if I’d read to her.  I could read really well when I was a kid, so it was easy.  She would tell me what to read, and I’d find the passages and read it and she’d stop me sometimes and tell me things about what I was reading.  I made it a point to stop and read to her after that.  I didn’t do it nearly enough, and I wish I had gone over there every day.  She was the sweetest little lady ever.


But I ramble.  Billy Kocman was my coach in quite a few different sports.  He coached me in Old Timer’s Baseball, and football and basketball at St. Mary’s.  Sports at St. Mary’s was usually limited to 7th and 8th grade boys, with a 6th grader that was really good sneaking in from time to time.  Again, thanks to Bill, I got in a bit early.  I was pretty good at basketball and was tall for my age, so I made the team when I was in the 5th grade.  Billy was pretty old school.  He didn’t put up with crap, and if you didn’t listen, you might get a reminder with a clipboard.  He actually tried kicking me in the ass in basketball practice one time, but I saw it coming and he just grazed me!  So, I make the team, and he tells me that I probably won’t get to play because I’m just a 5th grader, and then a miracle happens.  We’re playing in the old gym at St. Patrick’s School up behind Central High.  The gym is so small that when you were throwing the ball in from out of bounds, you had to turn your feet sideways or they’d be over the line.  A kid named Johnny Mihalich is in the 8th grade, and he’s a starter.  He’s running down the court after a basket, and he reaches in his trunks and pulls out a comb and starts combing his hair.  Billy sees him and goes totally apeshit!  Not only did he take him out of the game, he wouldn’t let him sit on the bench and made him leave the gym.  And guess who got to go in?  The skinny 5th grader.  I’m scared as hell, because the coach is pacing up and down the sidelines with steam coming out of his ears, and some jerk throws me the ball.  I’m standing in the corner, and no one is within 10 feet of me, so I toss one up and it goes in!  Cheerleaders are cheering!  The coach almost cracks a smile.  The next time down the court, they throw me the ball again.  Same spot, only this time some guy is running at me.  I toss one up, and it goes in, and the guy fouls me.  I make the free throw.  We won by 3 points.  I scored 5.  I still take credit!  That was big for my playground credibility.  I started looking past the 5th grade girls and getting visions of 6th and 7th graders.   Reality came back later, but man, that was a good day!  Thanks Bill!


Heading up the hill for Day 1 of Donkey Derby Days tomorrow.  If you want to see the fun side of Cripple Creek (the part not in a casino), this is as close as it gets.  Until tomorrow night!


11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeanette litherland on June 26, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Mike, Auntie Millie and Uncle Sam Cosimano lived on Tezak Street for awhile. They had me come to their house for dinner one night about a month before Tami was born. So I know that was in 1960. I don’t know how long they lived there.


    • Oh my goodness, I was talking to Karla, my niece who lives at Grandma and Grandpa Kocman’s earlier and I asked if that little peppermint pink house the Cosimano family lived in on Tezak Street was still pink! She said it was a long time since she had been that way. Said it is so different now! Different people living there, might not take kindly to me taking a picture! Then I sent Sammy, our cousin an e mail! Asked him if he remembered that place. I once went down that hill which today would undoubtedly qualify you for the Olympic team, if you survived it! All I is, God exists, Angels exist and they were watching out for me and Lynette Zinno! She was and still is a real daredevil! My brother Eddie once tore down the alley on his bike with Rick and Mike Karlinger ! All I remember , he came limping into the yard and he was bleeding profusely! You could see his ribs and I am pretty sure my dad took him to the emergency room ! I am surprised any of us are alive but than we believed in God and angels and were covered! I never dated a boy from Pueblo that didn’t have my brother Bill as their Old Timers coach or school teacher at some point in their life! He taught at Highland Park Elementary school and he knew everyone either from coaching or from school! It is probably the reason I married my husband, they didn’t know each other because Avery grew up on the East side! You know my very first job at the Pueblo County Courthouse Treasurers office was a job I had because a nice Bojon lady Mary Karlinger helped me get it! Her home is exactly across from that little house on Tezak Street and faces out front on Arroyo Street! Her daughter Barbara still lives there! Maybe she’d let me sneak in her backyard , climb the fence and get a photo of the Cosimano house without getting shot! My sister and her family still camp at San Isabel but today they have some nice cabins ! I can not believe I would drive up there alone in high school to meet kids for parties! Alive only by the grace of God and an angel called Michael the Archangel! I started praying that God would allow him to protect me back than! I still do only now I ask protection for kids, one who is out with his childhood friend , in downtown Denver! Which is why I am sitting here writing this! Those two guys are really good kids but a mother worries, we never stop worrying ! I always loved the City Park and particularly the zoo. I hope Mike Deverich will refresh our memory! I think he jumped in the moat or possibly fell in and swam to Monkey Moutain back in the day! I think those monkeys were agitated with him! As I said before we are all alive simply by the grace of God! I knew every single neighbor and relative when I was a kid in Bojon town! I still think we should have a Bojon takeover and throw the people out who don’t keep up their homes! My Goodness I loved my life there . You know my brother was a good coach and he helped keep a bunch of Bojon n kids on the straight path with sports! He is the one who could always spin a good story! Your aunt Jeannie fills in some of those blanks nicely too! You should record all these stories! You know my daughter Noelle had a Fisher Price tape recorder when she was a kid! Drove us all nuts chasing us around with it! A friend of mine was saying she is forgetting the sound of her dad’s voice from long ago! Not me! Noelle has my folks preserved on that FP recorder! My nephew Brian transferred it was a cassette to a CD! I was out with Noelle Wedbesday morning and said I would give anything to talk to my folks again! She pulled out her I pod and voila, I heard dad singing to Noelle and my poor mom trying to wash dishes while Nielle pushed that microphone in her face! That my cousin is a true priceless memory! Sweet dreams! Thanks for all these wonderful memories. Hugs, Anne xo


    • Posted by Sam Cosimano on July 21, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      Jeanette, that was my mom and das house on Tezak St. We lived there until 1967 where dad sold the house and we moved to New York as that was where my pop’s was from. The man that bought the house was a guy mom and dad knew. After we moved the man that bought the house tore it down and built a new house on the same sight. Oh by the way this is your cousin Sam Cosimano. I live in Charleston, South Carolina. I hope I answered your question about mom and dad’s house. I am also on facebook. Good hearing from you my cousin. Lohka noc


      • Sam, good to see you here. I’m confused on the houses. I remember your mom and dad selling their house on Mahren to Jimmy Anzlovar and he built a new house there. using some of the walls from the old house as interior walls. The house on Tezak is still there. I remember that you guys lived on Mahren and then you were gone and I missed you a lot.

  2. Posted by Mike Deverich on June 27, 2015 at 5:47 am

    It’s funny Mike I don’t remember ever throwing a punch at you but I’m sure you are right. I do remember fighting Mike Trontell everyday during lunch for 3 years, 6th,7th and 8th grades, the only day we didn’t was the day Jerry Cortese beat me half to death. It lasted about 10 minutes and all of it was spent with me on my stomach and Jerry hitting my head. I kept screaming is that all you got fat man, ok I wasn’t too smart at times. I weighed maybe 100 lbs. soaking wet and Jerry went at least 170, never let the much bigger man get you on the ground and never turn your back to someone you just insulted and the best lesson was always smack the guy first and often. I was sent home from school and Grandma Elsie went ballistic, I think it was the only time I ever saw her angry. She called my mom and both of them went after our favorite nun, Sister Rosario. It may be the only time Sister R was truly afraid. You never wanted 1 Bojon lady angry at you let alone 2, I’m sure that was a true come to Jesus moment for the meanest nun in history. We spent an inordinate amount of time together especially considering we didn’t live close, but I spent as much time in Bojon town as I could. Maple street was nice but it was way too Krekser, no one had a personality or any imagination. It was Leave it to Beaver hell and I was Eddie Haskell. I can remember spending hours reading in your room when it was too hot or cold outside. I think we spent more time reading in your room then kids today spend reading their entire lives. I need to go as my tee time approaches but will post more later today.


    • Man, you always say something that gets me going. Now that I think about it, you were way too Bojon for Maple. Those were some white people up there! And when you said Krekser, it took me back to a conversation I had when I was about 5. Me: Grandma, what’s a krekser? Grandma Bear: They’re cookie pushers. Me: What’s a cookie pusher? Grandma Bear: When you go to their weddings, they don’t have food and they just feed you cookies. God, you have to love Bojon wisdom. As for Jerry Cortese, I think of him almost daily. In the 8th grade, before our first football practice of the year, he tackled me and all 470 pounds of him landed on my shoulder. That top notch equipment that we had snapped right in half, and I ended up with a separated shoulder that still hurts to this day, and I was never able to throw overhand after that. Thanks, Jerry! Not only do I get the pain, but Coach Kocman nearly broke his clipboard over my head for getting hurt before he got there 😉


  3. Posted by Mike Deverich on June 27, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Cousin Bill coached us in everything. His assistant at City Park for Old Timers was my uncle Joe Kocman, We practiced basketball at Columbia grade school on the tile floor, we were so jealous of the kids at St. Pats and St. Therese because they had their own gym. We walked to Stauter field for football practice. In 8th grade we didn’t have a team because you were hurt and in the first hitting drill I tackled Terry Yoxey and dislocated my collarbone. I remember trying to hide it and went to 2 more practices using only my right side to tackle. Our favorite nun told my mom to take me to the Dr. because I sneezed and screamed. Bill made us tough, typical old school coaching. He helped shape many lives and deserves his reward in the next life. He is one of the best men God blessed us with and we treated him with a healthy dose of respect and awe. God how I wish I could do it all over again.


    • I coached my son and a bunch of 14 year old kids one year during baseball season at Runyon. I did things at our practices that he used to do, and I said some of the same things he said. If there were more coaches like him, there would be less spoiled brat athletes ruining their teams.

      One day in practice when I was in the 6th grade, I whiffed on a tackle in tackling practice. He made me go to back and do it again, and he called a kid from Sacred Heart Orphanage named Henry Maes. to the front of the line. He threw him the ball and told him to run me over. He looked at me and told me not to let him run me over. That kid hit me square in the chest, but I wrapped him up and took him down. I had bruises on my biceps for weeks. Billy looked at me and said ‘nice’. That was it. Just ‘nice’. That’s the way he was. That one word made the bruises worth it.


  4. Posted by Mike Deverich on July 1, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Sorry it took so long to respond Anne but yes I was the dumbass kid that fell in the moat, panicked and swam the wrong way to Monkey Mountain. Those little beasts are not herbivores but carnivores and they are extremely aggressive, they bit the crap out of my right hand. The zookeeper was Homer Buford and he came out swinging a flyswatter at them and pulled me out of the water and took me inside. The police took me home and my mom was not happy. My dad was fishing for the week and returned after my stiches were almost healed. Made the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News-headline What’s new in the zoo, Mike Deverich that’s who. Still have the scar. .


    • Man, Mikey! We gave you some shit over that. I almost feel bad, except it’s such a great story! I remember reading the article in the newspaper and almost choking when I saw your name. You got a lot of street credibility from the rest of the kids. We teased you a lot about it, but we all thought it was cooler than hell! In fact, when I take my kids to the zoo, I always stop there and tell them about my crazy cousin fighting off a whole island of rabid monkeys.


  5. Posted by Mike Deverich on July 2, 2015 at 7:49 am

    As much as I want to forget that experience I can’t help but laugh at my own stupidity, the moat was only 3 feet deep. Rabid is a excellent description. I hope Anne is like me and rereads your posts and the other comments since she brought up the story. I am like her in my amazement at still being alive, but God protects of us if we only ask. I asked a lot.


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