Press "Enter" to skip to content

Adelina’s Bench

Adelina’s official school picture from 1963, her last year teaching in Pitkin. Photo courtesy of  Jean Buster.
Adelina’s official school picture from 1963, her last year teaching in Pitkin. Photo courtesy of Jean Buster.

by Nancy Best

Growning up in Pitkin during the Depression and working closely with her woodcutter dad in the woods since she was a small child, Adelina Taylor was a woman with many stories to tell. Some of those stories she told in Colorado Central Magazine.
She loved reading the magazine, too, even being called by the magazine a favorite subscriber. Another lover of Colorado Central, Dorothy Roman, had introduced her to it, and she in turn passed her affection for it on to Jean Buster.
Retired teacher Buster tells how she and Taylor became acquainted in 1997: “Adelina and I were both friends of Dorothy. Dorothy was a wonderful, out-of-sight teacher. When Dorothy became almost blind, Adelina did errands for her and we both read to her. She read the periodicals and I got to read the books.” That was back in 1997. “Dorothy Roman was 101 when she died in 2006. I’m sure she is the source of our love for Colorado Central.”
About five years ago, Buster and Taylor began taking walks together. “I don’t remember how that happened,” Buster says, but “we became close friends when we started walking together. Walking was her way of life – that was the expression she used. She walked everywhere. She never drove a car her whole life.”
They carried the magazine with them and sat on the bench by the school sign in front of the Buena Vista High School, where Buster would read it to Taylor when her eyesight began to fail. “She gave me Colorado Central as a gift, and I would read that to her every month. Getting the subscription just touched me. She was so thoughtful.”
Taylor, an artist and author, had spent her working life as a teacher. She began her 44-year career in Pitkin with a variety of ages and subjects, including art. During her career, she taught one year in Iola, two in Sargents, two in Ohio City, ten in Pitkin, seven in Gunnison (high school), and twenty-two in Buena Vista at Avery-Parsons, ending in 1992. During the summers, she worked a variety of jobs – serving in restaurants and cleaning in hotels.
Whatever life threw at her over the years, Buster says that Taylor never complained. “She was never negative, regardless of her circumstances.” She did consider herself ugly, though, but Buster and others who knew her found it easy to look past that. “I didn’t think she was ugly, because she was spiritually beautiful. People loved her.”
Taylor passed away suddenly on Dec. 16, 2014. It was quite a shock to Buster. “We would walk together on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, weather permitting. We had walked on Saturday. She walked on Sunday and didn’t come back. Her daughter, whom she lived with, looked for her and found her hanging on to a fence by the nature trail behind the high school. I called on Tuesday, and her daughter said she had died that morning.”


Buster has fond memories of her dear friend. “She gave me a book of beautiful daily meditations – A Cherokee Book of Daily Meditations – and a handmade postcard she painted in 1997, and I’ve used it as a bookmark ever since. I don’t hang on to stuff, but I love this book. We had read it twice together and I’m reading it again.”
Taylor, part Tewa Indian, was 87 years old when she passed, leaving three sons and one daughter. “I just wailed when I heard she had died, and I don’t do that,” confesses Buster. “Her spirit was so beautiful. She never complained. She was very, very humble. She was the most humble person I’ve ever met.”
Reminiscing about her on a beautiful day in April of 2015, Buster can’t help but recall that “her favorite word was ‘glorious.’ She’d say about the day or weather, ‘isn’t this glorious?’ She loved the nature area [behind the high school]. She was something else. I miss her so much.”
Buster says there was one consolation on Taylor’s death. On their walks as they grew older, “we had talked about how we wanted to ‘check out’ and we wanted to go quickly. She did.”
Taylor’s family and Buster have purchased a memorial plaque that will be installed on the bench that holds so many fond memories for Buster. “We sat on this bench for our reading, and it will be named for her.” The bench was made by students in Kurt Scheidt’s metal shop class, and Scheidt will attach the plaque. The plaque reads, “In loving memory of Adelina Taylor 1927-2014.”
“I just loved her to pieces,” Buster concludes. “We laughed a lot and teased each other. I’d say, because she taught first grade, ‘I’ll read it to you because it has big words.’”

Nancy Best has called Buena Vista home for six and a half years. When not playing pickleball, she writes for the Chaffee County Times and volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club, all of which pay about the same. She also meddles in civic and educational affairs – and they still haven’t kicked her out of town.