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An Autobiography: Chapter 29, Christmas Surprises

In my career of writing and publishing, I produced countless publications in the music/entertainment field, including program books for our stage productions and events, and the novel, Brewster’s Kingdom of God, which I will talk about later. In addition to these, I also published important books in various genres.

In 1955, I produced a beautiful children’s book called Christmas Surprises, illustrated by Hal Bachemin, a very talented Cincinnati artist. The 8½-by-11-inch book had a beautiful color cover of a boy and girl looking with glee and astonishment through the branches of a Christmas tree. The back cover was a Christmas crib cut-out set.

Christmas Book  

The book had the illustrated story, Journey to Bethlehem, Christmas carols, many “Happy Holiday Playtime” activities, and full-color cut-out ornaments for the tree. Hans Christian Andersen’s The Fir Tree covered four pages, and two pages were devoted to a uniquely illustrated The Night Before Christmas. 

The Stagecoach Inn in Manitou Springs, Colorado, according to some historical accounts, was originally a stage stop and then became the Stagecoach Inn. It was reportedly the summer cottage, built in 1881, of Helen Hunt Jackson, who was a famous American author/poetess and champion of Native American rights. Her novel, Ramona, is still in print today, after more than 300 printings in many languages.

Later the building became the home of the Manitou Springs Journal. One of the paper boys for the Journal, A.B. Armstrong, later bought the building and transformed it into Colorado’s first choice for true Colorado Comfort Food. Famous patrons of the past include President Eisenhower, and Pa, Little Joe and Hoss Cartwright.

When we lived in Denver, we often went to Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, driving through the beautiful majestic Garden of the Gods, a registered National Natural Landmark. Imagine dramatic views, 300-foot-tall towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies.

We always enjoyed our stop at the Stagecoach Inn and became friends with the owners. In 1966, Heather Publications published a 194-page hard-cover book with dust jacket called Stagecoach Inn’s Collection of Gourmet Recipes. On the inside flap is a drawing of Heather at her little school desk. In our library is a signed copy: To Mr. and Mrs. Moore. From Sue and A. B. Armstrong, June 2, 1966. 

Stagecoach Inn Book 

The following year, Heather Enterprises published seven publications, as well as “Heather’s Colorado Travelscope.” This was the same concept as the “Elvis Presley Fact-Finder” we produced 11 years later. The Travelscope was a ready-reference sightseeing guide to 47 Colorado attractions.

Colorado Travelscope 

Colorado author Elaine E. Clearfield submitted a wonderful children’s book concept called A-B-Seeing Colorado, and we published it with illustrations by my longtime friend and artist, Kit Kelly. The book went through the alphabet highlighting places and attractions in the state. For example, under “B” were “Balanced Rock,” “Boulder” and “Botanic Gardens.” Under “U” were “Uranium,” “Ute Indians” and the “U.S. Mint.”

We published an elegant little book, illustrated by Kit Kelly for the Qvorvm Restaurant in Denver, which was one of the finest restaurants in the United States. The Colorado Governor and other dignitaries ate there regularly. In the evening, the waiters were professional singers, and while serving sang poplar operatic arias. One of these singers was our good friend, Leo Frazier. We were given a surprise going-away party at the Qvorvm when we left for New York City, and Leo was one of the singers that evening, as more than 20 close friends attended to wish us well. Good friends are one of the blessings of leading a rich life.

Qvorvm Restaurant 

The host and owner of the restaurant was Pierre Wolfe, a native of Alsace-Lorraine. He received his chef’s training at the Hotel and Restaurant Management School in Switzerland, Hotel Fachschule in Lucern, and Hotel School in Lausanne. He came to Denver in 1950, and opened the Qvorvm in 1960.

It was natural for authors Iris Gilmore and Marian Talmadge to write Colorado Hi-Ways and Bi-Ways, the four volumes I published in 1967. They have either driven, hiked, gone by Jeep or horseback, or flown over practically every square mile of Colorado. They were particularly interested in the “Bi-Ways” with the result that they have explored almost every nook and cranny in the state. In addition, they have collected dozens of stories from “old-timers” to use in books and articles.

They have also collaborated on other writing projects. They have written several books about the United States Air Force Academy, and the first book about NORAD, THE NORTH AMERICAN DEFENSE COMMAND, which tells the story of the fabulous underground detection system for the protection of the United States and Canada, located deep in the heart of Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs. As of this writing, many of their books are still available on Amazon.com.

Another nice book we published by Colorado authors is Where To Eat In Colorado, a guide to more than 200 restaurants, embellished with 19th-century art and ads. In their foreword, the authors, Donna Miller Hamilton and Beverly Anderson Nemiro, wrote:

No matter what your choice may be…from a juicy hamburger sandwich to a leisurely, continental dinner with candlelight and wine, we have tried to include a restaurant to fit your mood of the moment in this guide to eating in the Combine state…Thank you for “eating with us,” and here’s hoping you will enjoy the wonderful, varied, and memorable “tastes of Colorado.” 

The book was sold in many of the restaurants featured in the book, and they displayed an attractive 8-inch oval poster with a photo of Heather at age 7, wearing an apron and tossing salad in a bowl. Above her image was OUR RESTAURANT IS FEATURED IN WHERE TO EAT IN COLORADO. Curved on the bottom was A HEATHER PUBLICATION.

Heather Oval 

In 1972, I published Selected Pastry Recipes from De´lice Continental Pastry Shop and Tea Room in Aspen, Colorado, with illustrations by Kit Kelly. Walter Huber, the chef and owner, made his apprenticeship as Patissier-Confisent in Geneva, Switzerland, then roamed through Switzerland from one pastry shop to another, picking the finer shops and consequently their recipes. He came to America to work as a pastry chef at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. Four years later he went to work at the Jerome Hotel in Aspen, and a year later opened his own pastry shop.

In the book, Chef Huber stated, “In the French pastry fabrication absolutely no preservatives, baking powder or soda are used. All lifting action is done by whipping air into the ingredients and through evaporation of water. ”

Don’t Miss the Next Chapter: Presidential Calendar