Longtime local, Jony Larrowe, has recently wrote a book containing stories detailing her life in Aspen and how she made it in the Roaring Fork Valley throughout the years. “Heartfelt and Happy”, however, is not for just anyone.
“It was a Christmas present for my grandchildren,” Larrowe said from her home in El Jebel. “The whole family got a copy, and some of my closest friends. They’re not on the market; they’re not for sale. They are my love gifts to my friends and to my family. Only 60 copies are available.”
Although “Heartfelt and Happy” may not be available to the public, Larrowe’s life story as one of the few individuals from the post-World War II era who helped to shape Aspen in the 1950s is nevertheless universal in its appeal.
Born Jeanne Elizabeth Purchar to Swiss-American parents, Jony moved to Denver with her family when she was 15 and attended college in Boulder as a journalism, photography and art major. As an avid skier and lover of the mountains, Larrowe did not like how classes interfered with her favorite winter activities. So she took a semester off and eventually found herself in Alta, Utah, waitressing.
“I met my first husband, Harry Poschman, at the Alta Lodge,” Larrowe said. “He had just left the army and was on a ski vacation after having left the 10th Mountain Division. We met in 1946 and married the following year in 1947. I was a 19-year-old bum and he was an ex-soldier. We decided our lives would be skiing in the mountains. No matter what. We would find some way to survive and enjoy life in the mountains. That was the whole purpose of finding each other.”
After three years of being ski bums and honeymooning, Jony and Harry settled in Aspen on August 1, 1950. The family rented an old white Victorian house with green trim and opened the Edelweiss Inn, where the Copper Horse is now located.
“Aspen was not what you would call a pretty town at that time,” Larrowe said. “Old fashioned, no new paint. It was so beautiful, though, with the mountains and how green everything was. I really knew how it was before what we know it as now.”
During that time, while her children were at school and had she rare down time managing the lodge, Larrowe started to write stories of her life in Aspen. On Oct. 18, 2018, she decided she wanted to make something of those stories for her grandchildren.
“I had already decided I wanted to put them together for my little girls (her granddaughters), to tell them what it was like when I was young and when I came here,” she said. “They’re family stories. They’re their stories.”
Larrowe worked with Light of the Moon Inc., a Carbondale-based, family-owned-and-operated publishing company dedicated to making publishing simple, exciting and fully attainable to all authors.
“Alyssa Ohnmacht was so open to the idea and we seemed to really click to get it together,” Larrowe said.
As a result, Jony published “Heartfelt and Happy” at the age of 92. It is a collection of short stories, written and illustrated by Larrowe, which follows her family’s history in Aspen over the course of the almost 69 years she has lived in the Valley. The stories range from funny and sweet to thoughtful and impactful.
“I tried to be honest and show it wasn’t all sweetness and light,” Larrowe said. “There are some stories I feel tie into today’s events, like some of the horrible things that have happened to women. Even though these aren’t those kinds of stories, it suggests there were those kinds of problems. There was another a story in there I felt was important to have because it’s about getting along with newcomers. People who come over and don’t speak the language well, or do the work, and do good things, and are appreciated. There are funnier, sweeter stories that are for my grandchildren, but they were all stories I wanted to tell.”