It has been a tough month for me and my family. My uncle Gerry Bowen (known to his family as Ed Bowen) – pictured, right, with my daughter – passed away on May 6. Uncle Ed and his wife, Norma, were among the first wave of families to make Waterville Valley their vacation home when they bought a 2-bedroom unit at Village Condominium in the early 70s. Ed loved Waterville Valley in all four seasons. He was an avid skier and golfer. Ed opened his Waterville Valley home to his large extended family and friends. I marvelled at the number of people Ed and Norma could squeeze into a 740+ square foot 2-bedroom, 1 bath condominim! Ed enjoyed his Village Condominium neighbors and liked nothing more than holding court in his backyard as he grilled burgers and hot dogs and drank a beer. In recent years Uncle Ed’s morning ritual included driving to Town Square, parking in the circle, going to Jugtown to buy a cup of coffee and newspaper, then returning to his parked car to sip his coffee and read the paper.
Ed and Norma are two of the reasons I made Waterville Valley my career and home for the last 30 years. When I graduated from college in 1981, the country was in a severe recession and the job market was very limited. Hmmm…sounds familiar! I heard of a job opening at Waterville Valley Group Sales as a group reservationist. I interviewed for the position and was hired. Yay! My first “real” job. My excitement was short-lived once I realized how tough it would be to afford to live in a resort community like Waterville Valley on a $150 per week paycheck.
Ed and Norma came to my rescue. They offered a sweet deal to rent their Village condominium unit to me until I could find my own digs. I couldn’t believe my luck. Twenty-two years old. Living on my own in a “Yankee Shangri-la.”
Thanks to Ed and Norma’s kindness and generosity, my fiance (now husband) and I were able to save some money and buy a piece of land in Thornton’s Sugar Run development and ultimately build our own “Shangri-la.”
Only One Uncle
Millions of stars in the heavens above,
Only one uncle to cherish and love.
Thousands and thousands of flowers and trees,
Hundreds and hundreds of mountains and seas.
Everything multiplied over and over,
Robins and butterflies, bees in the clover.
Many good friends to think the world of,
But only one uncle to cherish and love.
Until we meet again, Uncle Ed…