Descendant of original Sun Valley residents

Posted on Aug 22, 2017 in Events, Featured Articles, General, Learn More | Comments Off on Descendant of original Sun Valley residents

Descendant of original Sun Valley residents


Photo estimated date: 1929

I visit EarthLinks a lot, but many times during off-hours.  My grandfather built the small structure that now houses your administrative offices.  That little structure, built around 1912 in the poorer section of the very modest Jewish neighborhood around the old West Colfax Avenue, was home to my grandparents and their eight kids.  This neighborhood was settled by Jewish immigrants, like my grandparents, who were mostly from what was known as the Pale of Settlement where Jews were forced to live during the time of Czarist Russia, and who had come to America to escape the bloody anti-Jewish pogroms and oppression in Russia.

For many years I have biked the roughly 20-mile loop from my house to this house in which my mother grew up.  I stop on my bike in front of the building on West 13th and commune with the house, seeing it as sort of a portal to somehow connect with all my mother’s family, none of whom are still alive.  It’s a place which gives me great peace and perspective and occupies a very special place in my heart and soul, if you will.   I have seen this little building transition from part of an automatic door company to a temporary office of Colorado DOT and then, miraculously to EarthLinks.  I always expected my mother’s house to be razed, especially now with its high real estate value.  I was completely delighted when I discovered that it would be the home of EarthLinks, and ecstatic the first time I got off my bike and went into the building and found out what EarthLinks is, and its mission.

I practiced for nearly 40 years as a clinical psychologist, with my first love and primary focus being psychotherapy with people who have severe mental illness.  I developed the greatest admiration for these truly heroic people who engage in life, day after day, often while living an unspeakably difficult existence due to severe mental illness, an illness which often results in homelessness.  So it is very special for me and almost fateful that the little house my grandfather built, and from which my mother and her siblings through their own grit and resilience and the grit and love of my grandparents managed to successfully wend their way in the world and build useful and successful lives, is now such an extraordinary resource, thanks to EarthLinks, for people who similarly, with grit and resilience, are working to enter the community, building useful and successful lives.  I caught up with EarthLinks’ Director when I stopped in during a bike ride and she filled me in on the wonderful work that’s going on, such as the progress in putting the clients’ workshop in the building in the back, and the plans for a porch on the 13th Avenue side (the original porch was located there and was a beloved gathering place).  When I was there, the clients were having lunch, and the atmosphere and sense of community were wonderful and uplifting.

Martin G. Smith, Ph.D.