Raeanna Davis was named after her paternal grandfather Ray Davis and her maternal grandmother Anna Bracket. The daughter of devoted parents H. Elwyn and Ruth Bracket Davis, she started life in Pueblo, CO in February 1938. A cherished scrapbook, lovingly gathered by her mother, shares the journey of a bright-eyed little girl who finds her wings in life with the devoted love of her family, and by following the her passions. Indeed, a ‘Rae’ of sunshine sparkles back in almost every photo of the smiling Raeanna, initially adorned in ringlets, and often wearing cowboy clothes. Indeed, there are just as many of Raeanna in beautiful dresses, many of which her grandmother hand made. She landed in Beulah in the Summer of 1942, alongside her younger brother John Halford ‘Hal’ Davis, and life was never the same.
Pueblo’s Davis Mortuary was started by A. Ray Davis in 1905, Raeanna knew him as a loving man who once gave her a horse for her 10th birthday in a letter that outlines instructions for the horse trader. Her father, H. Elwyn joined the family business, “My dad was a wonderful man, he would often get up in the middle of the night to go be with people in a very tender time of their lives. He was usually the emcee for gatherings, he was just plain fun.” Her brother John would become the third generation to work as a mortician.
Curiously, it is the mortuary profession that ultimately brought Raeanna to Beulah. In her early years, Raeanna’s family dinner conversation usually centered around death–the latest news of someone passing, and the events that surrounded the departed. The neverending sad topic spurred her mother Ruth to find a reprieve, and Beulah was just 20 miles away.
The small log cabin at 8954 South Pine Drive was originally the home of Beulah pioneers A. W. and Leah Klipfel, their son Vollie was born there in 1918. The fireplace is an ‘Anderson’ original, two brothers famed in the area for the enduring rock work walls and pillars found along Pine Drive. Her grandfather Ray initially bought the cabin for his wife and daughter, but soon learned they preferred spending their vacation time in California. So, grandfather Davis sold it to Elwyn and Ruth for $1, and Ruth made plans in the summer of 1942 to summer in Beulah.
With a hearty laugh, Raeanna recalls that her mother was a good driver; however, she didn’t like being a passenger. When her father was driving, and a road would get hairy, her mother would move to the floor of the back seat, and begin madly crocheting, while questioning her husband’s driving skills.
Her mother was usually driving on the drives to Beulah, and Raeanna describes the trips as joyous occasions. Specifically recalling her mother’s beautiful voice, she offers a song the family wrote on one such occasion.
Well here we go, well here we go, rolling down the Beulah Road.
We’ll leave Pueblo behind so
far that we won’t want to see
We love Beulah.
Yes we do love, Beulah, Beulah.
Encouraged to ‘always wear her boots” in Beulah, Raeanna and her younger brother played outside! They thrived in the mountain air. The siblings, along with local friends Alta Faye Klilpfel and Deanna Hadwiger, would ride horse(s) to the Pine Drive or Traeber’s Stores, play games, or play dolls, but mostly it was all about horses. She invited friends from Pueblo to take hikes at nearby Pueblo Mountain Park, and wondered with a chuckle how she got them safely back home given some of the perilous routes she guided.
The first horse Raeanna was gifted on her 10th birthday was called ‘Dick’, she didn’t know she could re-name the horse, but remarked it fit the horse’s personality. She would eagerly set out for a ride, only to have the horse rear up, trying to throw her off; or stop dead its tracks after going just 100 yards, immovable despite the insistent kicking of Raeanna’s heels. Local blue-eyed legend Jimmy Armstrong once got on the horse at the behest of Raeanna, and the horse behaved like a champ. The horse’s antics continued until one fateful day when Dick acted up near local cowboy Bob Purvis. He put the horse through its paces, and then made the wide-eyed Raeanna do the same, suggesting a 2 x 4 to the head works wonders. Much to Raeanna’s relief, the horse never misbehaved again.
She competed in gymkhanas and trail rides as a youngster, participating in early saddle club events. When the family moved back to Pueblo in the late Fall, her horse was moved to a property in Blende where she rode with friend Betty ‘Winky’ Ball on old airport runways. Raeanna and John attended, Carlile Elementary, Keating Middle School and Central High School; enjoying grand birthday parties, school performances, and storybook Christmas gatherings in refined family homes.
Growing up she was always enamored by dolls, and took great pride in forming a collection of all varieties including china, bisque and porcelain. “My father once told me I spent too much time playing with dolls, and I needed to stop my childish behavior, so I did, and started hanging out with boys” Raeanna continues the thought with a laugh “I think he regretted his words.” Ultimately, she has spent a lifetime of collecting dolls, at one time spending seven years working on a dollhouse. She delights in sharing her collection, noting with a giggle “They’re very good children.”
Raeanna found a love for theater in high school, and was on the 1956 homecoming court at Central High School. She pursued her college degree at Colorado University where she also joined the Chi Omega sorority, taking advantage of the wider social opportunities available to her in Boulder. She studied abroad in Europe and Scandanavia.
She met the father of her two children, Arpad Pallai while in college. He was an engineering student from Hungary, a young man who had just slipped out of his homeland before the Iron Curtain closed. The couple married in 1959 in a ceremony attended by 500, before moving to Los Angeles. Son Laszlo was born in 1961 (now retired from a career as a veterinarianin in California); followed by daughter Lorianna in 1964 (a cardiologist practicing in California).
After Raeanna and Arpad parted ways, Raeanna pursued work as a grade school teacher, also serving on the local board of education, living in California a total of 15 years.
In 1975, she received news that her mother was battling cancer and made plans to move back to Pueblo to help care for her. After her mother passed away, she remodeled her parents home, converting them into apartments, and renting them out. She still manages the properties, today.
She also orchestrated the remodeling and additions to the Beulah cabin, turning it into a year round home, and haven for her own children, and their friends. The trio added a menagerie of animals that included small and large horses, a donkey, rabbits, and goats. The family participated in Beulah Valley Saddle Club, gymkhanas, trail rides, and pursued reigning and Working Cow Horse events. Raeanna also supported a host of organizations including Beulah Historical Society, Rosemount Museum, Assistance League in Pueblo, Job’s Daughters, and Rainbow Girls.
She met and married Chuck Grieve in 1977, and he joined her in pursuits with horses–traveling all over the state. Chuck worked in advance of the ride to clear many trails in Beulah and Westcliffe. After 15 years, the couple divorced amicably.
Raeanna enthusiastically shared her family’s collection of period fashions, offering viewings and programs to highlight the remarkable pieces for years, and still does today. Raeanna planned and organized widely popular fashion shows, reveling in the pagentry of a formal program. She takes just as much pleasure a conversation with tea served on fine china.
Raeanna stays active by walking the school track with her dog, Norman. She makes time for lunch with friends in Pueblo, but at the end of the day, you’ll find her once again, rolling down the Beulah Road. v
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