Letter: Memories of a small town

Tony Vagneur’s column “A large part of the bedrock” (Commentary, The Aspen Times, May 20) mentioned Walt Matthew and Dick Sturdivant. For my first winter here in 1962-63, I rented a bedroom in Pearl Maltzberger’s house at 333 W. Bleeker St. There were two other young men there. One was the son of the barber whose shop was next door to the lobby of the Isis Theater. The other was Dick Sturdivant, who had started working for Matthew about 1956. Dick was a volunteer fireman. When the town fire siren went off, he would run down the aisle of Matthew Drug to join the others on call that day.

I was the day-shift helper for Sarah Armstrong at the Copper Kettle, Aspen’s first gourmet restaurant. Every week, Sarah provided an erudite offering of a different national or regional cuisine complete with appetizers, at least three kinds of fresh breads, salads and entrees with sauces and condiments plus the desserts and wines specific to that cuisine. She worked out those menus a year in advance. Nick Lebby (busboy) and Terry End (hostess) are still around.

I’m leaving the best for last. Matthew was standing at the door of his drugstore when I approached. He moved close, stuck out his hand and said: “I’m Walt Matthew, and you are?” Aspen was still so small that he recognized me as someone new. It was as if he had designated himself as the official town greeter. He was a very warm and outgoing man. I think Carl Bergman came a year or two after that.

David Bentley