Author pens new book about life in the Rockies
Author Robert Ruesch was in Grand County this week for a reading of his first book, “In the Warmth of The Shadow,” at the Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA. The book is a series of vignettes that chronicles his experiences growing up at the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center.
“It was a unique life,” said Ruesch. “Growing up with 2,200 acres in the Rocky Mountain National Park as your playground as a kid is pretty amazing, and I felt it needed to be recorded. Some of those relationships with the college staff, with guests and with my parents needed to be put down.”
Ruesch was raised at the YMCA, and in many ways was shaped by that experience. He has worked with the organization as a Chaplain, among other odd jobs, for over 40 years, including a stint at the Snow Mountain Ranch location in the 1970s and 80s.
The book details everything from how growing up in the YMCA setting affected Ruesch’s relationships, growing used to fleeting short term connections, to revelations about changes since the 70s and amazing stories about the interactions he had with guests throughout his time there.
“My youth was full of saw tooth relationships,” said Ruesch. “They build up quickly over a week, then a guest leaves and you go back to the bottom of the saw. And that just keeps happening. That shaped my life in many ways with relationships.”
Ruesch highlighted some of his favorite stories from the book. James Irwin, the eighth person to walk on the mood, set up an event to reconnect Prisoners of War with their families. A random guest used the facilities to write briefs for the Supreme Court. A mechanic fixed a doctor’s RV for free, and the doctor later returned to save the mechanic’s father’s life after a heart attack.
“Those are the memories I want to write about, because those will get lost when my heart stops,” said Ruesch. “My memory will be gone, so I want to put it down so it’s there.”
Ruesch is currently working on his second book, We are Pioneers, which dives into the history and development of the Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA in Grand County, using archives from the Sky-Hi News and Winter Park Manifest as research.
He plans to release “We are Pioneers” in February 2019, in time for Snow Mountain Ranch’s 50th anniversary.
“You can’t really look forward unless you can look backward and understand where you come from,” he said. “It’s important to be able to recount what was going on here in the 50s or the 70s, to be able to say here’s what happened.”
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