2021 Survivor’s Notes by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Dear Reader,
The smile on my face in my Aspen Grove several years ago shows that I love living in Southern Colorado. What the smile does not show is that living in my hometown of Canon City, aka Klanyon City, has never been easy for me but my grandparents, parents, and several siblings are buried here and this is my birthplace and will probably end up being my final resting place. I will have my ashes scattered with my Sister, Irene, on Irene’s mountain about fifteen minutes from my home. 
The difficulty for me in living here are all of the memories, good and bad. I lived here for fifteen years before I left home and headed to San Francisco, California to have my son, Daniel. He was born when I was fifteen and a year later before his first birthday, we returned to Colorado and to my parents home. 
I worked and attended high school until I was sixteen and went to work full time for the phone company as a telephone operator. I made lots of friends with the ladies and learned skills in communication and business. From there I moved to Denver, Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City, Green Mtn. Falls, Divide, Woodland Park, and transferred from Mountain Bell to higher paying jobs and better positions. 
One day, my life changed and I lost everything and returned to my parents home. When I figured out what I was doing, I returned to work and began my higher education at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs. I attended Pueblo Community College, Denver University, Denver Metro, Arapahoe Community College and eventually graduated from Colorado State University – Pueblo with a degree in English and minor in Creative Writing. 
I became an educator and taught in Pueblo, Colorado at Cesar Chavez Academy for a year and loved teaching middle school language arts and teatro. But the next year I went to work in my hometown as a 7th grade language arts teacher and began my full circle of teaching in the same building that I attended almost forty years ago. 
The building had lots of memories and I felt proud to be able to visit my mother in her home everyday and go home for lunch from my job as a teacher in my hometown. It was too good to be true. I failed as a teacher in my hometown because I refused to accept the conservative and close minded parents and administration who told me that I could not teach diversity in my classroom. I did not return the next year to teach. Instead I went to work for Colorado Humanities Writers in the Schools. I taught K-12 students in writing workshops that lasted ten to twelve weeks and ended with their poems being published in an anthology of their work. It was the most rewarding job of my life. Until I began teaching writing workshops for Bridging Borders a leadership program sponsored by the El Pueblo History Center, CSU-Pueblo, Social Services, and the Rawlings Library. 
Mentoring those young women changed me. I became a role model and a leader in my new community of Pueblo. Pueblo accepted my liberal ideas and creative lessons in diversity and one World one Love thinking. I found my calling. 
Today, I continue to write for the Stiletto Gang, write book reviews for la Bloga, attend writing workshops via Zoom, read my poetry and sell my books at conferences and book fairs. I have found a way to enjoy living in my hometown without being part of the community. Instead, I travel the state and nation to places filled with diversity, and open minded individuals like me who appreciate my crazy ideas and flamboyant lifestyle. 
I graduated college at the age of fifty. I  blossomed at mid-life and now that I’m nearing 65 and senior citizen status, I’m semi-retired and loving reading, writing, researching, learning, and growing into the best human being I can possibly be. If my hometown taught me one thing it is that home is where the heart is but happiness in your community can only come when you surround yourself with like minded people and I’ve found my tribe. They are writers, educators, performers, activists, and students who are life long learners like me.  


3 replies
  1. Aimee Carr
    Aimee Carr says:

    Your life story, your essence – I don't know what your Corn Mother write-up is going to look like but this is close to perfection. I am so proud of you and to be family is pure gift. Looking forward to the roll-out of those chingonista Colorado Sisters! Feliz Nuevo Año mi hermanita.

  2. songspiral
    songspiral says:

    You certainly have learned to use your wings. Your cooking videos are the bomb! Peace and Love to you.

  3. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    Survivor and poet and woman of valor are all words that come to mind….. Thank you for sharing this meaningful insight into your mind and being.

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