Erie High School students honor local seniors

Generations collided at the Erie Community Center on Thursday as local high school students launched a project that will honor area seniors.

About 30 freshmen from honors English classes at Erie High School interviewed Boulder County residents age 55 and older about their lives and local history.

Students questioned a cowboy from Wyoming, a Hungarian transplant and a woman whose family has been in Erie for more than 150 years.

Maxine Canaday, 84, reminisced with fellow Erie resident Sneat Haile, 15, about childhood memories and the town's simpler days.

Canaday was born at her grandmother's house at the end of Cheesman Street when Erie was known as the "heart of the Northern Colorado coal camps."

She grew up in a "converted chicken coop" and played outside with her cousins and neighborhood kids.

"We were poor but we didn't know we were poor because we always had enough food and place to sleep," Canaday said.

Many of Canaday's childhood stories revolved around World War II when the entire town would gather at the post office awaiting word from soldiers overseas.

Anyone who got a letter from a military member would let everyone else read it "so we would all know what the boys were up to," Canaday said.

Canaday showed Sneat a 1945 copy of the Erie Herald featuring front-page news about locals who "spent Sunday in Denver with relatives."

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Erie High School freshman Stephanie Pratt, left, interviews Carol Melampy on Thursday at the Erie Community Center. About 30 freshmen interviewed Boulder County seniors about their lives and local history. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)