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Born With a Rusty Spoon: Episode 56

Continuing her autobiography, Bertie Stroup Marah tells of her passion to succeed as an artist.

We moved from Delta to Grand Junction in 1967 when Larry was offered a promotion with the propane company. At that time Grand Junction was a small town and an ideal place for raising our sons who were eight and five. Money was a major concern, so I immediately started looking for a job. I took Kelly with me as I drove around Grand Junction in search of work. He patiently waited in the lobby while I was hired by Union Carbide.

We enjoyed living in Grand Junction, which is surrounded by the beautiful red bluffs and rock formations of Colorado National Monument that runs along one side of the Colorado River. The Bookcliffs and Grand Mesa, with its lakes, aspen and spruce trees are visible from nearly anyplace in the town. Easy access to Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa made living in Grand Junction a wonderful experience.

Living in this wonderful place, however, could not prevent the problems that were growing in our marriage. Larry's tendency to lie about small things that should not matter created mistrust on my part and anger on his when I confronted him. His jealousy that had been present from early in our relationship was also an issue. His jealousy began to manifest into anger. None of these problems ever really got settled—just smoothed over or ignored.

Although I was very busy working and raising two sons, I made time to do some oil painting. I joined a group of artists who shared the cost of live models and I continued to work on my drawing skills. I knew I had a long way to go to become a good artist and that it was solely up to me to make it happen. Now my passion was kindled and would eventually become a burning desire to succeed.

The family stayed close and I enjoyed the relationship with my sisters even after they were married. Just as laughter had helped us get through our bad childhood it also helped us deal with marriages that were not going so well.


To buy a copy of Bertie's wonderful book please visit

To see some of her pictures click on


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