Second, a long time friend in Red River, celebrated her 90th birthday. Ilse and her husband Tony came to the US in the early 50's from Germany. They were instrumental in starting the ski area in Red River and ran the Alpine Lodge, restaurant, movie theater, and Red Onion Bar for years. Her son, George, lives in RR and runs Sitzmark Sports. Her other son, Rudi, is a lawyer in Midland, TX. I have known Ilse and her family forever. She and her husband skied and hiked the mountains of Northern NM together until Tony died years ago. Ilse is still hiking and skiing and is just amazing. She is always a lady.
A couple of memories: I remember the first time I entered Ilse's restaurant in RR. It was probably October - off season - and the RR Jr. Racers had been hiking the mountain, cleaning up the slopes to get ready for ski season. In the usual horseplay that goes on, I fell in a small patch of early snow without any gloves and my hands were freezing. Mr. Stewart (the coach and father of the handsome Charles) cupped my small hands in his big hands and blew on them to warm them up. I didn't know Mr. Stewart very well, and was very shy at the time, but I remember being awed by his care for me. Then he took the team to Ilse's restaurant where Ilse served us hot chocolate. That is how things were back then. All parents were busy making a living, but it was like a large family that just pitched in and looked out for each other.
Ilse's restaurant became one of my favorite places to eat. With their great, German work ethic, the Alpine was kept pristine. The grounds around the lodge and restaurant were beautiful. They had tables with umbrellas set out during the summer and served a wonderful lunch. It was a great gathering place for locals - lots of good memories there.
The second summer Toby and I were married, he tended bar at the Red Onion. I worked in the movie theater, but would often help out at the bar when things were busy. It was easy working for Ilse and her family, although I was scared of Tony who was rather gruff and had a strong German accent. But one time while working at the movie theater, I sat down to watch "A Bridge Too Far" when Tony came in and sat beside me. We watched in silence as the Germans put it too the Allies. Eventually, Tony stood up, shook his head in disgust, and said, "War is hell!" and stomped out. You see, Tony was in WWII, and he was German. It gave me a whole new perspective on men and war. He and Ilse came to America, made their life here, raise two terrific sons and have two terrific grandsons. They contributed much to life in RR, and Ilse is still someone I find quite inspiring. Happy 90th Birthday, Ilse!
Ilse and her son, George and DIL, Carol. This is another photo stolen from Carol's facebook page of Ilse and her sons and her DILs - all of whom I am good friends with. This photo was taken at the Riverside Lodge in RR where I used to play on that very merry-go-round and rode those horse swings in many a race.