Portfolios > If My House Caught Fire

Peggy, Lakewood, Colorado
Peggy, Lakewood, Colorado

Peggy Lynne Elgin Harper
Born: April 26, 1953
2921 Welton St. - Five Points
Denver 5, Colorado

In this photo are my three sons, my daughter and my husband. That was my family. In the top left hand corner is Marion Ornestus Harper, he is now 45 years old. In the top right hand corner is Maurice Orlando Harper, he is now 44 years old. In the lower left hand corner is Marselleus d'Odell Harper, deceased and would be 42 years old now. In the lower right hand corner is Peggy La Niece Monique Harper-Gordon and she is now 40 years old. In the center are the parents of these beautiful children, me and my husband Marion Harper Junior.

At that time he was 30 years old. He is deceased and would be 69. We were celebrating my 24th birthday that day and I am now 63 years old. The building in the background is “The Rossonian Hotel” - very well known in Five Points as having the best black entertainment of the day. Denver's Five Points has been referred to as “The Harlem of the West.” It is one of the favorite places in my heart's memory. I was go-go dancing on the stage there in the late 60's and drinking there when I was under age.

In Oakland California at 3501 San Pablo Avenue stands the California Hotel. In 1962, my parents and I stayed there about a week. San Pablo Avenue was the equivalent of Welton St. in Oakland. I fell in love with that hotel just as I would later grow to love the Rossonian.
Part of my life story was being written. Being born in Five Points, I returned there unbeknownst to my shocked and appalled parents. I hung out, drank wine from a bottle right out in public, things that were not supposed to be done.

I met my husband on Five Points. We “hung” on Five Points. Sometimes we'd stand in front of the hotel, or down the street in front of “Lincoln Liquors” - across the street in front of the “Porter and Waiters” club or “Benny Hooper's Pool Hall.” We kept running into each other and we would end up hanging out and I wouldn't go home. Another part of my puzzle is finding out that his family lived in Oakland...and then years later, moving to Oakland and living together there.

When I was young, I thought I couldn't live without my kids and my guy...but God showed me that I could. I lost my youngest son when he was 20 in 1995 - and 12 years later, I lost my husband to cancer. At that point, we were no longer husband and wife, but I was with him very often. I'd go to his chemo treatment with him, took him grocery shopping, and he’d call me at any time of the day or night whenever the urge struck him - I loved him deeply and on cloudy days, especially if it rains, I feel him here with me. So, if my house was on fire, this is the picture I would take with me - because my whole history is there.