Performing, writing life for Green Mountain Falls woman
Modenia Joy is one of those characters that is larger than life.
Even now, when she enters a room, all eyes turn to her. She’s done rope tricks at county fairs, written novels, performed one-woman plays and pranced in Bronc Day parades adorned in period costumes.
She hails from Eastern Oklahoma. At a young age, Modenia married John Kramer, gave birth to four sons and was the dutiful wife, moving to wherever he was employed. John worked for Gulf Oil in Oklahoma until he took a job in Southern California.
Every other year when the boys were young, they’d pack up and spend the summer at their cabin in Green Mountain Falls. John’s grandfather, K.C. Jones (yes, from Kansas City) had originally built the cabin way back when. In time, John inherited the property.
The cabin was renamed Kramer’s Korner and renovated under Modenia’s direction. A very narrow kitchen was expanded into a large eat-in country kitchen and the ‘water closet’ was made into a real nice bathroom. It has a big ol’ fireplace. No central heat or air, but it’s still comfortable enough in the summer.
Long summers in the Pikes Peak region inspired Modenia to write. She wrote a charming book, “Mother’s Memories,” in poem and picture form about her sons’ growing up years. She also wrote “Lilly Going West – A Young Woman’s Journey”, described as bringing a breath of fresh air to Westerns, and also a historical novel trilogy, “Melinda Ann,” “ Secrets of Kingsley Mansion” and “The Orchard-Kingsley Brothers – End of the Line.”
Once her sons were older, the Kramers came to their mountain getaway every summer. John and Modenia became grand marshalls of the Bronc Day Parade, the biggest summer event in Green Mountain Falls. Many times she’s won Bronc Days’ best costume contest, (beating out her son every single time).
Cherry on the cake is their hosting a potluck Hill Party – inviting friends and family to the cabin every year on the Saturday before Bronc Day. It started out with four guests and now about 60 attend.
Three sons opted to stay in California, but her second oldest, Sid, loved to spend his summers in Colorado. He thoroughly enjoyed ‘roughing’ it and getting into the Western lifestyle. He worked the ‘gold’ panning booth and transformed himself into an authentic mountain man/miner at Bronc Day. Now at age 61, he’s perfected both costume and character.
John and Modenia were happily married for 61 years when he passed away in 2016. Her last book, “Sunrise-Sunset,” is dedicated to his memory. Modenia admits she had to figure out at that point who she was – no longer someone’s daughter, no longer a wife, no longer a mother of young sons.
The year after, she suffered two strokes and calls her recovery a miracle. After the hospital stay, seven angelic women helped her regain movement and learn to speak again. She praises God for her complete recovery.
At age 85, Modenia’s latest creative adventure involves women of the bible. Along with Christian women friends in Oxnard, each notable biblical woman is researched. Removing the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ they write a script, creating a short dramatic presentation surrounding that woman’s story. Three presenters and one narrator perform these plays in costume at churches, before religious groups and at schools.
You are in for a treat because Modenia has written a short play about Lot’s wife and she will be presenting it at the 9:30 service of St. David of the Hills Episcopal Church, 36 Edlowe Road in Woodland Park on Sunday, Aug. 26. This writer got a sneak preview and it is not to be missed!