Long-lasting quality: Retired rancher still has same appliances purchased for first home in 1940s
Gladys Bertram lives in the same house she moved into as a young wife and mother in 1948. Her husband built it while they lived in a rental down the road. She still has the same stove, refrigerator and hot water tank that were installed in the home when she and her husband, second-generation cattle ranchers, started working that land in Cedaredge, Colo.
“My husband, George, wanted things that would last,” she said. “He decided on the Crosley brand, which was top quality.”
George passed away in 2003, leaving Gladys on the land the Bertrams purchased from his parents decades ago. Times were hard then, right after World War II.
“We literally saved up penny by penny to buy those appliances,” she said. “Tell you what, that stove was really heavy. We could barely get it into the kitchen.”
But it was worth it for the Bertrams. The Crosley stove, though an antique now, was fancier than everything else on the market, with its two ovens, a timer and a broiler. That was a luxury on the ranch.
Not long after the Bertrams had settled into their house, Gladys’ sister, Marjorie, married George’s brother, Charlie, and moved in across the road. They also bought acreage from his parents. The two couples became partners, raising mink as well as cattle.
The market for mink was especially good, Bertram said, but it took round-the-clock work to feed and water them and keep the cages clean.
Janice Thompson, the only daughter of Gladys and George, said the family always had cattle, running 20-30 pair. She and her husband, Paul Thompson, have carried on the family’s ranching legacy, raising a Gelbvieh and Simmental cross.
George Bertram liked a mix in his cattle, too. Though he kept Angus and Hereford bulls, his herd also had some Charolais bred in.
The Bertram family kept some of their livestock to feed their family, as well as selling some for profit, Thompson said. In those days, everyone on the farm worked, too. It was how the family survived.
“People raised fruit, shoed horses, trapped — whatever it took,” she said. “And we helped eachother out.” Gladys Bertram helped by keeping busy over her Crosley stove, feeding her family and every hired hand who stopped by.
But things are different these days. Gladys is 94 and doesn’t cook much anymore. Now, she relies on the microwave.
The appliances that came with her home and lasted through most of her life are still working well, and Gladys thinks they’ll likely outlast her.
“I’m saving them for my grandchildren,” she said. ❖