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Oldtimers Party

One annual Aspen event that I really love is the Oldtimers Party over Labor Day weekend, held in a big tent at the base of Buttermilk Mountain.You have to have lived in Aspen 35 years ago and been at least 21 at that time, so it’s basically a codger crowd. Lots of the attendees have moved away and return for the event, so it’s a reunion of Aspenites you may not have seen for years. It’s like going back to the ’60s in Aspen and here is this sea of vaguely familiar people who have been fast-forwarded 40 years into various stages of geezerhood (each, of course, noting how old everyone ELSE is looking).Though I am sure there were some spry foxes who dropped by after knocking off a couple of fourteeners, we would not have been mistaken for a YM/WCA jamboree. Thank god for the name tags, written in big bold letters. I usually hate being in crowds, as I am very terrible at names and faces. But at this party everyone is in the same boat so the atmosphere is forgiving.Between the acoustics of the tent, the ravages of time and the auditory damage wrought by rock ‘n’ roll (our parents warned us, the upcoming generations will be deaf by 30), the decibel level is extreme as we shout to hear and be heard.Also, being an old Aspen get-together, much of the crowd is pretty well oiled, though we lack the old endurance. By 8 p.m., almost everyone had left for bed or was headed for the parking lot.If the sound system had worked, it would have been fitting to read a roster of those who have gone on ahead, an unscientific count of which comes from invitations “returned to sender.”The party was started by Betty and Art Pfister and has been continued by Georgia Hanson of the Aspen Historical Society. Big hip-hoorays for Georgia, who has enough on her mind without running the Oldtimers Party at what would be a loss if it weren’t for donors. I didn’t know that.There should be some way that we could all enjoy the party and the Historical Society could come out ahead. I do NOT mean the ubiquitous “silent auction,” but, being a living group of hundreds of historic human memorabilia under one tent, there should be some fun way to raise money to ensure next year’s party and kick in some extra for the Historical Society. Because if the Historical Society goes under, which it’s in peril of doing, who’s going to run the party?At the very least we need a tip jar, and for starters we need the loan of a sound system so that whatever we may be asked to do, we’ll be able to hear it.Su Lum is a longtime local who missed the best decade, the ’50s. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.


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