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Mildred J Branson Smith

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I Lived In The Rico Depot
by Mildred J Branson Smith   

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Publisher:  BookSurge,LLC ISBN-10:  141961987X Type: 


Copyright:  Macrh 2007 ISBN-13:  9781419619878

The narrow gauge steam trains served the rural mining communities of Rico, Colorado and the surrounding area. My mother was the ticket agent for the Rio Grande Southern and we lived in the depot.
I retell life in a mining community at 8,827 feet with a population of 200 people.
The Galloping Goose is a train unique to this area. It was created in the macine shop of Ridgeway, Colorado. I have included coverted home movies into photos and show a Galloping Goose arriving at the Rico depot.
This is a caption of an era lost to the onward march of time.

I Lived In The Rico Depot

I Lived In The Rico Depot shows  a lifestyle and era that has been lost to the onward march of time.  The book recounts my childhood spent in the mining town of Rico, Colorado and the isolation of life at 8,827feet with 200 persons. 

My mother was the ticket agent for the Rio Grande Southern.  My home and playroom were different than the other kids.  I lived in the depot. 

Sometimes it is the little touches in a home that make a lasting impression.  My mom had white curains in all of the windows.  This gave our living quarters such an elegant appearance.

The interior of the depot was finished with a polished, light brown wood, creating a warm, elegant feel to these beautiful buiildings.......

As kids, we rode horses all summer and sleds all winter.  My friend and I wanted to go to the Head of Stoner, a pass that allows one to see into the states of New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.

The ride would take us from 8,827 feet to over 11,820 feet on the highline, a 20 mile round trip that would take us all day.   Joyce and I were in the 2nd grade.  Our moms said we could go if we found an older man to take us.  We did.  Donald was in the 3rd grade.


My home and playroom were different from the other kids. I lived in the depot.
My home was full of activity-what entertainment! I'd wake in the mornings and mom would already be at work. It was no problem, because mom and I had our own communication intercom. The entire depot was heated with one huge coal stove in the lobby. to get heat into the upstairs living quarters, an opening was cut into the floor and covered with a metal grate. I'd crawl out of bed, walk to the grate and holler down, "mom, I want my eggs".
Come with me to a day inside the depot as breakfast is just over and daily activites begin. Imagine the busy activities surrounding a depot. There was the engine house, customers, and the coming and going of the trains themselves. Feel the vibrant hum of activity surrounding my home as I welcome you to a front row seat.

Professional Reviews

I Lived In The Rico Depot
New York Times best-selling author Ellen Tanner Marsh Review of: I Lived In The Rico Depot By Mildred Joanne Branson Smith

Memoirs are a tricky genre. All too often they turn out to be self-centered, self-absorbed works, seemingly written primarily for-and appealing only to-the author, eventually devolving into woe-is-me stories of tragedy or self-empowering tales of survival. This is not the case with Mildred Joanne Branson Smith's wonderful memoir I Lived In The Rico Depot. That is because Smith's book, which recounts her childhood and the years beyond spent in and around the mining towns near Rico, Colorado, is more than a memoir. It reads like a family history and an evocation of a place and an era lost to the onward march of time.
The book begins with the author's chidhood, spent, as the title suggests, in the Rico Depot, the train station that served the rural mining town of Rico, Colorado. Her mother worked in the depot, and as a child, Smith had free reign. Readers are treated to scenes deftly recreated through Smith's own eyes of such delights as "driving" the trains with the help of friendly conductors, the wonders of the town as seen through the depot's bay window, and other warm childhood memories.
The effect is dazzling in its childlike simplicity and wonder, and as the book progresses, readers are treated to the equally charming, unfolding picture of Smith's unique life. Like the other children of Rico, Smith reveled in the great outdoors, becoming an expert horseman and hunter at an early age. Yet her tales of the joys of the outdoors are balanced by the sobering realities of life during the long, cold winters in the Rockies. Younger readers will learn a grat deal about life before the convenience of modern appliances, and older readers will appreciate Smith's no-nonsense evocation of the hardships of something so mundane as washing clothes or heating a home with coal.
I Lived In The Rico Depot is buoyed by Smith's simple, spares prose and the obvious joy with which she has recreated her unusual life story. Incorporating family pictures, letters, and even recipes, this is a memoir worth reading, one that will leave the reader far richer for the experience.

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