| “If I had it to do over again, I would not change one thing,” Marsha Preuit says of her childhood in Pagosa Springs. “I loved everything about growing up here. I cannot think of a bad thing.”
The daughter of a coal miner and a teacher, Preuit moved to Pagosa Springs in 1950 as a toddler when her family purchased The Spa, which, at the time, consisted of 23 cabins with no electricity and no indoor plumbing.
“We never said we were bored because if we ever did, oh my gosh, could my folks find stuff for us to do. But we weren’t bored,” she says, fondly remembering days filled with play on Reservoir Hill with her brothers and the other neighborhood kids, hayrides at friends’ ranches, ice cream floats at the soda fountain, softball, swimming and dancing.
Marsha remembers dancing at friends’ ranches, at the dancehall that was converted into the home she now lives in and at the American Legion building that still graces the downtown. “When I got a little older, junior high, we would rent the American Legion building and everybody would put in a quarter, I think it was, and we’d bring our record player. Everybody would bring records and we’d have a dance almost every Friday night,” she recalls. “We just danced a lot and the big dances were always family dances.”
While Pagosa Country was small in population when Preuit grew up, it was big on community and freedom that came from the small-town status. She remembers the Fourth of July celebrations, walking or riding a horse everywhere, visiting the telephone company to watch the operators at work, watching the four-drawer cash register at Hersch’s Mercantile and the ability to walk anywhere to visit people at work.
“Everybody knew everybody and it was community. You weren’t afraid to go anywhere because you knew everybody,” Marsha reminisces, noting that the extreme hard work on the part of everyone in the town gave it the strong sense of community she loved.
“I’m glad I grew up when I did and lived here to enjoy all the good parts.”
Although filled with so many good memories, Preuit left Pagosa for a time, teaching in Farmington before moving back in 1975 and opening a sewing and fabric shop. She ran the shop until 1980, when her daughter, Angel, was born. While her parents eased into retirement, Preuit ran The Spa for short bursts before taking over in 1984.
Now, following in the family footsteps, her daughter Angel runs The Spa when Marsha and her husband are out of town, keeping the business in the family.