ATASCADERO - The Colony Days Committee announced this week that local retirees Lamon Colvin and Jeanne Colvin will serve as the 2018 Colony Days King and Queen, respectively.
The Colony Days Committee voted to move the annual celebration of Atascadero’s founding from the third Saturday in October to the first Saturday in October starting this year, setting the 45th annual event for Saturday, Oct. 6.
This will be the second year the event is held in the Sunken Gardens after success in the location in 2017. Quota Club International of Atascadero hosts the annual Colony Days Reception the Sunday before Colony Days at Atascadero Bible Church at 6225 Atascadero Ave. in the fellowship hall with the Colony Days Parade and the Tent City recreation at Sunken Gardens starting with the parade at 10 a.m. on Oct. 6. Tent City After Dark is set for that Friday evening.
King — Lamon Colvin
Lamon Colvin was born in Phoenix, Ariz. on June 8, 1933 and the family moved to Watsonville when he was a child.
A member of the Atascadero Community since 1958, he credits the US Army for stationing him at Camp Roberts and giving him an introduction to the area. Before his time in the Army from 1956-1958, he went to school at the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science, which gave him the skills to manage the local Chapel of Roses Mortuary and ambulance service in 1958.
He recalls that an emergency ride in a 1947 Cadillac ambulance cost $15, $10 on appointment, and was still considered a difficult to collect sum for the time.
Depending on inflation index that $15 pencils out as roughly $130 today.
Another bit of math he had at the ready when speaking with the Atascadero News, as of Oct. 6 he’ll have officially moved to town 60 years and 10 days ago, having seen the community grow approximately six times over the size it was then.
All the new people make some of the conveniences of the 1950’s a bit impractical now, for instance there were only two telephone numbers. The exchanges had operators acting as an informal answering service, tracking down missed connections and as an emergency dispatch.
“At that time El Camino had a sign that said, ‘Atascadero, 5,000 people and 50,000 chickens,’” he said, noting that local businesses would call the operator to inform them of important changes or folks would leave a message with them before going out for the evening.
He became a partner in the mortuary in 1961 and a new facility was built in 1976.
In between, he remembers instances where the family dog would retrieve golf balls from the No. 2 tee box at the golf course which was near the house and the mortuary, which messed up a few games but also led to new acquaintances.
Particular changes of note through the years, “Chuck Paddock was just starting his zoo. They’ve built it up to what it is today from a pen with just four geese in it,” he said adding that the E. G. Lewis estate was still intact at the time and that motor boats and water skiing were still allowed on Atascadero Lake.
The Highway Patrol also had a particular game of ‘Cat and Mouse,’ parking behind the bushes at the mortuary so as to, “keep an eye on speeders as they left the drive in.”
Regarding his long career in town, 38 years on the job, retiring in 1996, followed by traveling and a lot of service club activity — past president of the Atascadero Lions and a lifetime member, charter member of the Atascadero Methodist Church and a co-founder of the Flying Condors Club and Wagon Master of Elks Camping Club — Colvin said that people don’t pick his brain too much.
“Occasionally people will ask how long I’ve been here and I tell them that the little yellow house next to the Sunken Gardens was my first home in town,” he added
Colvin shares some memories in town with last year’s King, Ed Chidlaw, both were members of the “Club 50” swing dance club held in the impressive upstairs ballroom at City Hall and Colvin regularly was a guest at Chidlaw’s home on Santa Lucia Road for events in the informal “Chidlaw Stadium” during home Greyhounds football games.
Queen — Jeanne Colvin
The Colony Days Committee doesn’t always get to pick a married couple as King and Queen for the event but they found one with an interesting story this year.
Born in Watsonville in 1937, Jeanne Colvin has known Lamon since she was a baby, but they went on to have very separate lives and families until circumstance intervened, and he convinced her to join him in Atascadero in 1983.
They moved into their current home on Atascadero Avenue a few years later.
More than the changes the town has gone through in the last 35 years, she reflects on the time traveling with the friends they’ve known from town, especially in the Elks Club, although those were more weekend excursions than the Coast to Coast trips she also remembers fondly.
For example, the Colvins have been friends with this year’s Grand Grand Marshall, Bob Brown, for at least 40 years, with memories of nursing the Brown’s struck with flu in their RV on a visit for two weeks.
And, whereas Lamon prefers to bullet-point facts of interest, Jeanne breezes through 30 years of history in a paragraph but pays attention to relationships.
“In 1942, my family moved to the Central Valley and I attended schools in Modesto,” she said, noting her first marriage in 1955, gave her four children before she went to work in 1966 as a nursing assistant for eight years.
“I then worked as secretary to the youth minister where we attended church for four years,” she added. “After divorcing, I went back to work at the hospital in the hospice/social services department until marrying Lamon in 1983.”
She describes the life they made here as, “a blended family with six children, 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.”
While Lamon’s two children from his first marriage grew up in Atascadero, only one of Jeanne’s children followed her permanently after the 1980s. Unfortunately, Ed Marco Jr., who was well known in town from his job at Jespersen's Tire Service, passed away in 2007.
It was a loss the likes of which Lamon had seen many in his professional life, and experienced himself with the death of a spouse. Brown added that the Colvins had seen him through similar tragedy.
While she hasn’t taken and active part in Colony Days festivities recently, staying engaged with the life of the Atascadero community has remained important.
“I have volunteered as a counter at our church [the United Methodist Church] for many years now and currently am the financial secretary and head counter,” she added.
The couple added that they were, “surprised and honored,” to have been selected by the committee to be the King and Queen, but were “going with the flow,” as they weren’t sure what to expect on the day.