Laura  53

Laura was born in Kremmling, a former silver boom-town located on the upper Colorado River in Middle Park. She moved to Loveland in 1974, when she was 10 years old. “Born and raised a Coloradoan,” she proudly states.

Her family moved into a house across from Bill Reed Elementary, which had been Loveland High School until ten years prior, when the current Loveland High was built on the north end of Lake Loveland. She attended Winona Elementary, and then Bill Reed and Loveland High. This was complicated when Laura decided to run away from home at 13. “I left an abusive family.”

Life was not easy for a teenage girl on the streets of Loveland in the late ‘70s. “I got involved with drugs and I was an alcoholic and everything.”  She managed to survive doing day labor jobs and even worked for the carnival, but most of her career was providing in home day-care. “I was a live-in nanny for quite a few years.”  She gave up the party life after a “coyote date” (when you wake in the morning with a stranger sleeping on your arm, and you’d rather chew your arm off than wake the stranger). “I quit. Cold turkey. I never let the drug control me.”

Laura was married a couple of times, but the marriages didn’t last. She has no children of her own. “I’ve adopted my friends’ kids.”  She’s had housing off and on over the years, particularly when providing day-care, and has held full-time jobs as well.  She does what she has to, but she’s comfortable being independent.  “I would work a regular job when I absolutely had to, but only for as long as I had to.”  She has other means for shelter. “Right now, I’m sleeping in a friend’s camper.”

When asked to describe her most harrowing incident on the streets of Loveland, Laura thought for quite some time and then looked surprised. “I’ve, actually, never had one. My dad moved me into this town, and I got a reputation in this town. I’m a bully’s bully. I cannot stand a bully.” Her time living in Loveland has given her a different perspective than most others living here. “I have street smarts. I’m not on drugs. I’m not drunk. I may be stoned, but so what? That’s legal. And it’s not a drug. God put it on this Earth for a reason.” The words come easily now. “I’ve earned my respect. I’m a survivor. I’m an Aries – the sign of the ram!”

How about support agencies? “What support agencies? If you’re a single female, there are none.”

Do you plan on staying in Loveland? “Oh hell no, I’m outta here. I’m going to Mizery (Missouri). I’ve got friends that just moved down there, and they want me to move down there with em.”

After all these years of living on the streets of Loveland, the amenities Laura has wished for are basic bathroom, shower and laundry facilities that are available and affordable. There are very few options for basic sanitary needs for the homeless in downtown Loveland.  Laura feels the welcome mat has been pulled, and she sees the town she grew up in through much different eyes now. “It’s Hell-Land, not Loveland. When I moved here it was nice and quiet, and peaceful. Now it’s all over: heroin, and alcohol, and meth. I’ll stick to my pot, thank you.”