PROMO Community - Words Letters Share Your World Story - ChristianChan iStock-476118892

A Tribute to Judy - Part 1

© ChristianChan - iStock-476118892
Ernest Hammer

Judith Darlene Hammer

May 31, 1938 – August 8, 2023

I, Ernest Hammer, was raised on a ranch fifteen miles southeast of Fountain. Fountain was a small farming community south of Colorado Springs.

When I was in school there were twenty eight kids in the first grade and thirty two when we graduated in 1956. About seventy percent of us started together in the first grade.

I didn’t have very many dates in high school because our class did a lot of activities as a group. When I was a senior, this new girl showed up. She was very pretty and very shy. I finally worked up my nerve to ask her for a date and she ignored me. She did this several times. She then started saying no.

I would not give up. I told my friend Violet about Judy. Violet was a little on the wild side, but she was my friend. After she had a talk with Judy, Judy said yes. After we started dating, Judy told me that she was standing at her locker, which was next to Violet with the door open, Violet came up and slammed the door shut and said to Judy “why do you think that you are so high and mighty that you won’t go out with Ernie.” We started dating and over time love grew.

Our class leased a fancy tour bus from another school to go on our senior trip to El Paso Texas. When our bus was loaded and ready to go, our sponsor came down the aisle and checked how we were seated. I was sitting with Judy and my friend Jerry Chiddix was sitting across the aisle with his girl. Our sponsor looked and us and said, “this won’t work.” He then told me to sit with Jerry and Jerry’s girlfriend to sit with Judy.

The first night our class stayed at a fancy motel at White Sands. It had a big swimming pool. I was standing on the edge of the pool and Judy was getting a little to deep. She was panicking and our sponsor slapped me on the back and said, “save her, Ernie.” I couldn’t swim very well but I got her back to safety.

After we got back from our trip, I headed to Arkansas. We were having a drought and my dad had a friend who had recently moved to Arkansas, and he had some grass. We shipped our cattle by rail, and I rode in the caboose. 

My folks came to Arkansas by car, and I rode home with them. I then drove my pickup back to Arkansas. This was before air conditioning. It didn’t cool down much at night. I would write letters to Judy and let the sweat drip on the letters so she would feel sorry for me. Two months was all I could stand so I drove home.

That fall, my friend Jerry Chiddix and I shared a dorm room at Colorado A & M College in Fort Collins. The school had an open house one week, Jerry and I had our girl friends come up. We Showed them around and then took them to our dorm room. Someone told us later that we weren’t supposed to have girls in our dorm room.

Coming next: Judy and I get married, the wildest wedding ever, bar none.