by DiVoran Lites
Chapter Twenty Four -Shopping in Denver
Ellie couldn’t help a sigh of relief at being surrounded by tall buildings and noisy traffic. She loved the mountains and the clear fresh air in the valley, but she supposed most people felt more at home in the kind of place where they grew up.
Denver, she had heard, was the capitol of Colorado and growing fast. She could hardly believe that when it came time to choose a capitol, one of the small towns in the Wet Mountain Valley had lost the designation by only one vote. Just think, if it had won, it would be the city, now and maybe Denver would be the almost abandoned ghost town. At the hotel, bellboys carried the luggage to the separate third-story bedrooms assigned to the three of them.
Ellie’s room had a large double bed with art-deco designs in the duvet and pillows. A window looked out over the busy Denver street. She went into the tiled bathroom and washed her face with a generously sized, pristine-white wash-cloth.
A knock came at the door, and when Ellie opened it, Lia swept into the room, walked straight to the window, and stood looking down at the traffic.
“Are you ready to go shopping, now? Enrico is waiting.” Lia had changed into a light summer dress. The skirt floated out as she turned back to Ellie. “He is excited to get his measure for the new suit. He wants a black fedora, two ties, shirts, and I believe I will buy him a set of diamond cuff-links. What do you think of that? I did not want to wear any of my old hats. They would not fit now that my hair is cut. We will select a new one first thing and they will let me wear it. We will tell them to throw the old one away. Straw, I think.
“Am I all right like this?” Ellie asked. She was wearing the same blue serge suit she’d traveled in.” Looking at Lia’s voile made her feel hot and uncomfortable by comparison.
“Oh, poof, you are, of course, fine. For it will be a new dress, perhaps of the chiffon for you. That suit will go into a box and be sent back here. You must have also a light summer jacket for evenings. We will buy dresses for Molly’s birthday party and for the Independence Day Dance. No one in the valley has ever seen any such as we will be in our finery. Come now.” She led the way to the elevator and they went down to meet Enrico in the lobby.
“Please go ahead,” Ellie said as they walked along the crowded street. “I’ll catch up with you at the store. I assume you’ll be in men’s outfitters or ladies apparel?” She nodded first at Enrico who stood in his soiled white suit with his hair falling over the collar of the jacket. “They may have a barber shop.”
“Oh yes,” said Lia. “He will have a hair-cut.”
“Yes, signora,” he bowed, then turned and stalked off. Ellie noted that Lia and her step-grandson were not getting along as well as they had at first. Enrico’s appearance was not her business, but he wasn’t as attractive now as she had at first thought. He could never approach Aldon in manliness.
Ellie went into the bank on the corner to cash the check her grandmother had sent for the wigs and postiches she had made from Lia’s hair. The hair that had grown all her life was a gold-mine for Ellie. She would thank her again for the gift of it. Grandmother was thrilled with the strength and thickness of the wigs and with Ellie’s workmanship, too. She had surprised Ellie with a large amount of money, and Ellie knew the profit for the store would be good, as well. She could well afford the two dresses, new summer coat, a Stetson, a pair of boots, a long-sleeved tailored shirt, and trousers that would stand up to riding.
After cashing the check, she waited for the light to change and crossed the street to the May Company. In the elevator, she watched the numbers climb. When it stopped with a ding the operator slid the door open and Ellie emerged into the ladies department. When she heard Lia’s voice shouting, she knew exactly which direction to go. She saw three clerks in long-sleeved black dresses rushing back and forth with piles of chiffon and taffeta over their arms before she saw Lia. One of the clerks nodded in the direction of the voice which was coming from a dressing room.
“Go to the men’s department,” Lia commanded when Ellie stuck her head through the curtains.“See to Enrico. He is such a child! The suit will have to be measured perfect because it will come in the mail barely in time for the parties and there will be no time to send it back so they can alter it.”
Ellie went downstairs where Enrico postured while a tailor attempted to wrap a measuring tape around his waist. She decided to wait a few moments before she approached the two men, each intent on a goal.
“Yes sir,” sighed the clerk, at last, bowing in mock humility.
For the rest of her time in the men’s department, Ellie nodded or shook her head over the clothes and accessories offered to Enrico. He tried on a black suit and the hat he wanted. He and Ellie then went to find Lia who, when she heard them talking, stuck her head between the curtains and commanded, “Enrico, you sit over there in the slipper chair and Ellie you come in here with me. I have selected a few things for you to try.”
When Ellie saw the pale green-gold frock with gold embroidery on the wide belt, she threw off her skirt and blouse and tried it on over her chemise. It flowed over her slender body as if cut and fashioned just for her.
“You will wear this one to Molly’s birthday,” said, Lia. “And here is mine,” she picked up a rose colored with layers of gathered silk falling to mid-ankle in tiers. Ellie admired how it balanced Lia’s small hips with her larger top.
They bought casual clothes, too and when they stepped into the lunch room each of them wore something new.
DiVoran’s Promise Posters, Paintings from Go West as well as other art can be purchased as note cards and framable art