Friday, June 29, 2007

Vacations (9) - The Lewis Side 2

Grandma and Grandpa Lewis shared their lives with us. Even though we only saw them once a year, I know more about them than most all my other relatives put together.


Grandma was a story-teller. (Now this does not mean she made up things to tell, but that she told stories about the family and the events that made her who she was: that made us all who we are.) She liked to talk about her growing up years, how she met and married my Grandpa, about my dad and Aunt C when they were children, about their lives, the Depression, etc. My dad has filled in a lot of the details that I had missed or didn't remember, because, you see, he is also a story-teller. And, just in case you hadn't noticed. . .I like to pass along stories about our family, too.

Poetry, Songs, & Welsh

In addition to the verbal history, my Grandma, and Grandpa too for that matter, memorized and recited a lot of poetry. They were really big on Robert W. Service and memorized some of his epic poems: "The Shooting of Dan McGrew," the "Cremation of Sam McGee." (I particularly remember the latter.) Grandma also knew some of the poems by Lewis Carroll and taught me "Jabberwocky" (from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872) when I was a young teen. It wasn't until years later that I found a copy and read it.

Grandma & Grandpa knew all kinds of songs and ditties, from years gone by, and would burst into song on occasion to accentuate a story or to convey an idea. My dad and I do the same, but it wasn't until recently that I realized it was a family trait. (I just know that songs pop into my head at the strangest times. And a few years back, when I was teaching in a private school, one of my students dubbed me "The Master of Extrapolation" - which I had to look up - because I was always relating the subject matter to this song or that. But back to the elder Lewis').

Grandma used to say some rhymes and phrases that had originated in Wales. I only remember one, but in the telling, after several generations, it wouldn't likely translate back into recognizable Welsh.

Handcarts, Polygamy & Sugar bowls

Grandma's Great-Grandparents had migrated from Wales to join the Mormon Church. Her Great-grandfather took 2 additional wives (my Ggggrandmother being his first wife, as my grandmother was quick to point out), and the four of them, and any children at that time, came across the US in the hand-cart migrations. There are two sugar bowls in the family, that made the trip in hand-carts, and my sister and I each have one. (I let her have the one that is complete, and mine is either missing a handle or cracked in some way. It has been awhile since I have mine stored.) I don't know which Ggggrandmother either sugar bowl belonged to, but they are still precious to me.

Other handmade gifts:

When my sister and I were in grade school, Grandma & Grandpa Lewis made us a couple of chairs. They measured our lower legs to custom fit the height of the seats. The chair frames were made from thick branches, that Grandpa whittled smooth, and the seats were made of jute or some kind of thick string woven across the frame. The backs were entirely made from wood, and I think they were whittled flat to make the backs more comfortable.The cross bars between the legs were nailed on. I remember this because on the trip home, one of the crossbars got loose and scratched my leg from about my ankle to my knee.


Every year when the entire family stayed at the Lewis Grandparents, Grandma & Grandpa would take my sister and I shopping in downtown Lehi. The downtown was only a few blocks long, and they would take us to Pennys (not J.C. Penny's) but a small "five & dime" where my sister and I were allowed to pick out a toy or game. We may have been given a set amount of money - or a limit, but we could get anything we wanted. One time I bought a stick-on paper-doll set. Where the clothes were made out of a plastic that stuck to the dolls. Another time, either my sister or I bought some "sewing cards" with the holes around the edges that you could "sew" yarn through in a running stitch or cross-stitch. When I was older, I bought a bottle of Blue Waltz perfume. I can still "smell" it. It was a really sweet perfume & I'd love to have some now.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vacations (8) - the Lewis Side

Dad's Parents

I have already blogged about my dad being a goof-ball, but he didn't fall far from the family tree. My Lewis Grandparent's were a kick, and a lot of fun to be around. While we stayed at Grandma & Grandpa Smith's in Provo, for most of our vacation. Our family would always stay a night or two at my Grandparent's in Lehi, Utah, too. Now mom preferred to stay in Provo with her family, but would acquiesce to a night at the Lewis'. Dad always spent more time at his folk's place, and when he would head to Lehi, I'd go with him.


I loved to play with my cousins in Provo, but I couldn't wait to spend a few days with Grandma & Grandpa Lewis. Grandma and I had a lot in common. She sewed, I sewed. She crocheted, I crocheted. She danced, I danced. She sparkled. . .I hope I do, too. I truly believed that if we had been the same age, and lived near one-another, we would have been best friends. (I think I wrote and told her that when I was in college.)

Crafts and Puzzles

When my sister and I were about 10 & 5, Grandma and Grandpa Lewis made furniture for our Barbies for Christmas. They made each of us a chair, a couch, an afghan, and an oval rug. I thought they were the best! About the time I was 12 or 13, Grandma gave me all her yarn when I went to see her. I was ecstatic! She couldn't crochet anymore, because of arthritis - but she knew I loved to make things. I felt so privileged that she would give her stuff to me! She even showed me how to wrap the yarn so that it would feed from the middle, like purchased yarn. That way it didn't roll all over the place when you used it.

Grandma Lewis let me play the top 40 tunes when I stayed at their place, and she told me that used to teach dance when she was younger. She taught the Fox-trot and the Charleston. I later learned how to Fox-trot, and a wee bit of Charleston. I must get my moves from her. . .
While Grandma and I sat in the kitchen talking and listening to the radio, Dad and Grandpa would be sitting in the living room playing Cribbage. If they weren't playing Cribbage or Casino or some other card game, Grandpa would be playing solitaire. I think I got my love for games from that side of the family, too. Grandma taught me several solitaire games, so I wouldn't get bored with my small repertoire.

Grandma & Grandpa Lewis always had puzzles to play. They had 3-D store-bought puzzles, like wooden cubes or spheres that came apart and you had to put them together. They had puzzles made out of small twisted metal rods that came apart and went back together, but only if you figured out how to do it. They also had some homemade puzzles-games, like the one Grandpa made from a piece of wood, three nails and some circular disks. He had pounded the nails across the board at intervals, so the nail points stuck up. Then he made the circular disks out of thin wood and put holes in their centers, so they stacked small on top to large on bottom on the first nail. The object of the game or puzzle was to move the disks across the middle nail to the far nail one at a time. You could move them backwards, but you weren't to place a larger disk on top of a smaller disk in the process. The game ended successfully when you had all disks restacked on the third nail exactly like they were on the first nail when you started. It took me a while to master that one!

Grandpa Lewis was a rock hound, and picked up agates and all kinds of rocks here and there. He tumbled the rocks when I was younger. It seems like he had a tie clasp for a "Western" style tie -(String with two metal tips that the clasp moved up and down) that he had made out of a brown specked rock. I have always loved rocks, and wanted a tumbler at one time, so I could make them smooth, like semi-precious stones for jewelry. I wonder if I got the idea from him? Grandpa Lewis also liked to whittle. He carved me a bunch of different sized crochet hooks from various kinds of wood. I used one to make a rug from old jeans when I was in my teens. I still have them, and my daughters and I use them on occasion still.

He also made my sister and I "quarter rings." Now these rings were fashioned from actual quarter dollars, minted in the years we were born. The quarters back then were primarily silver and highly malleable. He measured our finger size with steel rings (like they have at a jewelers) then found a button that easily fit inside the steel ring that corresponded to our size. Then he took a hammer and began to tap the edge of the quarter turning it as he went. This caused the silver rim to spread out to each side and become smooth. It also made the writing inside the quarter lay over to the inside of the ring - on each side. When the quarter's new rim fit around the button, he cut out the center and polished it smooth. We still have our rings.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Vacations (7) - Provo Canyon Reunion

One of the Family reunions I remember best was the year we all went camping up Provo Canyon. I was about 5 yrs. old. My parents have movies from that trip taken with Dad's old 8mm camera. It's interesting to watch the film and see myself and older cousins all as young kids. Our parents were young - 20s and 30s, and our Grandparents were still in pretty good shape.


I think we only stayed one night, but it was eventful. I don't think anyone had any tents, but some of the adults built a huge wall and overhang out of tarps. All the bedding was laid out under the "half tent" side by side, so it made one huge sleeping area, with everyone's heads next to the tarp wall. The kids all slept next to their own parents, so there wasn't any giggling, etc. Sometime during the night, Uncle J snuck away from the tent and threw Grandma Smith's fur coat over his head. He came back to the tent area, growling and rustling the bushes and scared the you-know-what out of a lot of adults.


One day, whether it was the previous day -or the next day, I can't recall. . .but something happened that I will never forget. You see, Aunt D, my mom's eldest full-sister had a weak bladder, and the fact of this was well known by family members and others. There was a story, that she actually "lost her grip" (as my dad would say) years earlier when she was sitting on the lap of one of her dates.

It just so happened that there was a playground near the campsite and all of us cousins liked to play there. Well, my mom and her 3 full-sisters decided to play on the teeter-totter. Now when you are 5 yrs. old, and your mom and a bunch of "old" ladies start playing on the toys - you want to watch, and I did.

The teeter-totters in those days were made of a plank of wood with half moon cutouts for one's legs on either side about a foot from the ends. They were fastened to a wood or metal device in the middle so riders could move up and down with ease. (I think there were two half-circles of pipe that were bolted to the top of the board on each side of the middle with the curve running under the pipe or wood that held the plank up at the middle.) Regardless, for those of us who grew up in the 60s, these teeter-totters were common. [When I was in grade school, I used to play at the school on the weekends, and I loved to run up the teeter-totter, and stand in the middle and make the sides go up and down - Or run up one side and tip it so I could run down the other.]

Back to the ladies. They were trying to decide who would sit where. (And none of the other 3 wanted to sit by Aunt D, because they knew if she started to laugh, she would also leak.) Finally, it was decided that my mom and one of the other Aunts would sit opposite of Aunt D & the other Aunt. I can't remember which of the other two Aunts sat where. I was glad my mom wasn't sitting next to Aunt D, because when you are 5 yrs old, you know better than to wet your pants and you are old enough to be embarrassed by such "accidents."

So the ladies started to teeter-totter. Up and down they went. I felt sorry for the Aunt who was sitting behind Aunt D, because they had all started laughing. Up and down. Laughing and laughing and laughing. I was standing close by my mom's side of the teeter-totter, and I was laughing right along with them. Then my mom and her sister, who were on the side opposite of Aunt D, decided to hold her up in the air. They knew that would really get her going - and it did.

There was one thing they didn't count on. They were laughing so hard, they couldn't push their end up into the air. Next thing I knew, a trickle started down the teeter-totter. It followed the grain of the wooden plank and slowly snaked toward Mom and her sister. I kept thinking - "You need to push up. You need to push up." They saw it coming closer and closer, but they kept laughing harder and harder, and trying to push up with their legs. It was too late. They couldn't get off the ground, and both of them were soaked through!

Finally, one of them crawled off and let the other side down. The Aunt who sat behind Aunt D, climbed off before the water reversed itself, and was the only dry one. She had been forced to sit with Aunt D, but escaped the consequences, because she sat behind her and water runs downhill.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vacations (6)

The Fourth of July - in Provo, Utah.

Nearly every summer we went on vacation, we spent July 4th in Utah. When I was younger we would stay at Grandma Smith's and wake up to the sound of cannon fire. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! (I think they had a cannon situated on each side of town, North, East, South, and West, and they took turns firing to welcome Independence Day.

In the late morning, there would be a parade down one of the main streets. Just before the start of the parade, a group of jets would fly over the parade route and get our hearts pumping. Then the parade would start. These parades were good sized as they lasted about an hour - and hour and a half. There were numerous large floats, bands, etc. My favorite times of going to the parade was when I was a teenager, and my cousin Lee Dawn and I would walk along parade route displaying our latest fashion and attitude.

Speaking of Parades

One year, some of my cousins came to Pinehurst for either July 4th or Pinehurst Days. We had a parade that year that started at the Creek and came past our house on Main St. We set up lawn chairs, and waited for the parade to begin. Our parades usually started with the sirens of the local fire department or police, followed by the color guard. We heard the sirens and looked up the street. "Here comes the parade!" we yelled to our parents, who were waiting inside. "Here it comes!"

Our parents came out to the lawn and sat comfortably awaiting their front row view of Pinehurst's parade. I think we had one float that year. . .and my Aunt D. could see the end from the beginning. She was astounded. The entire parade was only 1 block long. We could literally see the end of the parade from the beginning, and she started laughing. She thought it was the funniest thing she had ever seen. People were sitting out, waiting for a 1-block long parade. She has never let us hear the end of it. "You call that a parade?" She would taunt us. Then she would tell anyone who would listen about all the hoopla surrounding our 5-minute, one float parade.

Back to Provo's 4th of July celebration

Along with the parade, Provo also hosted a very large carnival for Independence Day. We would go and spend a lot of money on rides, toys, treats, and a great time. It was there I first rode an elephant, went on a mini-ferris wheel with enclosed baskets to sit in, one a prize at a booth, and ate cotton candy. I loved the carnival.

In the evening, My cousins and I would sit on either Grandma Smith's porch, Aunt H's porch (one block closer), eat watermelon, and wait for the 4th of July Fireworks to be set off at the BYU campus. It was the highlight of our vacation in Utah. When we were teens, we'd walk to the fence just outside the area where they were shooting them off. It was my first look at fireworks from underneath, where they were literally falling on us.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vacations (5)

Ruth Leone Taylor Hoover Boren Smith family reunion

When we were kids, my closest cousins and I played in Grandma Smith's backyard. See Vacations (1). In addition to hanging out at Grandma's we also had a family reunion every year at Grandma Smith's house. Usually all of our Aunts, Uncles, and cousins would be there. Since Grandma had had 8 children, and many of them had at least 5 kids of their own - the reunion gatherings were huge. Sometimes Grandpa Smith's sons and families joined us, and that made even more fun.

Water Fight

The defining event of the reunion was usually a huge water fight among all the family members. I don't remember exactly who started them, or how they became a tradition, but once the fight started it was every man, woman, and child for him or herself. Sometimes people would scoop water from the little canal running along side Grandma's place, others would grab the hoses around the house, and some even used pitchers, bowls and buckets. The main objective was to see how long you could hold out by not getting wet.

Some people would sneak around to the back of the house and surprise and unsuspecting relative who was focused on avoiding those in the front of the house. Sometimes the soak-er would tip-toe up behind someone on the porch and pour an entire receptacle full of icy water on a unsuspecting Aunt or Uncle. Sometimes two or three wet relatives would gang up on a dry one and hold them down while another drenched them.

As kids, it was fun to watch the adults blast each other. . .but eventually we all became a part of the fun. It was against the rules to hide in Grandma's house - so unless you ran into the street, there was no place you could go to evade the inevitable soaking.


When I was still fairly young, my Uncle J. was on the Las Vegas police force, then later worked for the FBI. His favorite thing to do, was to grab one of his sisters and handcuff them to the nearest immobile object - such as a street light pole or car handle. Usually, he'd just grab them, pick them up, and plant them next to the object of choice, and before they could get away. . .they were handcuffed tight. While handcuffed the aunt or Mom, would plead on deaf ears to be released for one reason or another. I think all of us kids thought it was really funny. (I was glad he never handcuffed any of us kids - or I would have been terrified.)

Eating watermelon

As kids, my cousins and I would sit on the front porch at Grandma Smith's and eat watermelon pieces. The sticky juice would roll down our arms and drip off our chins. We didn't care, because the watermelon tasted so good at the end of a hot day. We'd also spit or seeds onto Grandma's lawn. She was pretty fastidious about her home, but maybe she didn't care about the watermelon juice, cause they could hose off the porch, and the seeds would just add fertilizer for the lawn.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Vacations (4): Summer of '66

For some reason the trip that sticks out most in my mind, was the summer of '66. I think we left shortly after Dad came home from work and drove all night. The next morning we were able to pick up one of the gigantic rock stations in Salt Lake City. We listened to the top forty hits, and as the sun came up over the Wasatch range, the song "Red Rubber Ball" by The Cyrkle was playing (lyrics here). It became one of my favorite songs of the summer.

Of course, when you listen to a top 40 station, they play the same songs over and over again. I memorized "Red Rubber Ball" as well as "Paperback Writer" by The Beatles. Now "Paperback Writer" was one of those songs that was difficult to learn the lyrics to because it moved fast except on the chorus. Dad memorized the song, also. He said, "What are they singing? Pay forThat Rifle?"

I told him it was "Paperback Writer," but he began to sing the chorus "Pay for That Rifle,
Pay for That Rifle, Pay for That Rifle." (I never really liked that song, anyway. . .) "Paperback Writer" - lyrics here. Sometimes I still tease him about that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Senior Pic

My High School Graduation Photo

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My Dad's Humor

My dad doesn't have a computer, so it is not likely that he will see this blog. Regardless, I have to say he is and has been the best Dad ever!

Dad has an amazing sense of humor that has popped up at unexpected times as well, as the expected ones. For example, one time we were walking along the streets of downtown Spokane, and my dad asked my mom to hold his hand. She took his hand, and he began to walk a step or two behind her, doing his gorilla imitation. My sister and I started to laugh, so my mom turned and seeing his antics, threw his hand from hers and said, "Now stop that!" She was mortified. I don't know if we laughed harder at her response, but that was the way life was with Mom and Dad. He was the goof-ball, and she was the unsuspecting "straight man."

When we would go to the grocery store, Dad would invariably pretend he was going to run the cart into the grocery shelves or displays. "BAM!" He would say, as he heaved the cart toward this side or that side of the aisle, stopping just short of hitting something. "BAM! BAM!" As we went up and down the aisles. One time, his depth perception was just a little off - and he knocked down a stack of cans or boxes. We laughed at his embarrassment, but that was okay with him. He knew we were laughing with - not at - him.

When I was away at college, my sister introduced a young girl to my parents who was looking for a new foster home. My parents took her in. After she became comfortable living with my family, my dad took B with him to the grocery store. When he started BAMMING and acting off to embarrass her, she turned to him and said, "If you don't straighten up, I'm never coming to the store with you again." So Dad complied. I guess her personality was a lot like Mom's, and Dad only acted up when someone thought he was funny.

My sister and I can attribute our sense of humor to Dad. Although we didn't inherit his love of public displays of goofiness, we like to banter, joke, and do plays on words. We so "get" each other's humor, that sometimes we don't have to finish saying something, before we are both laughing so hard we can't stop. We have thus far evaded disaster at Barney's Sooper Market [how they spell it] by retreating to different aisles in hopes we don't hear each other's snorts, guffaws, or snickers. Someday, if we aren't careful, we will hear, "Clean up on aisle 6 - - -and aisle 7."

I can see Dad's humor in my daughter's also. Each one has a little different style, but they are all funny. Sometimes it isn't evident to them how much they share the same sense of humor, until a friend will say. . ."What's so funny?" (while my girls are practically falling out of their seats with laughter.)

Thanks, Dad, for the sense of humor that you inherited from your parents and passed along to us. You are the best Dad ever, and this is only one reason why. . .

Rambling eccentricities

I had another dream about Pinehurst last night. Usually the dreams center around living in my parents house, and this one did. There wasn't anything noteworthy about the dream. . .just that it took place in Pinehurst.

I did have a Pinehurst dream a few weeks back, where I was about Jr. High age, was riding my bike home from the Pinehurst school, and thinking about some boy I liked. We were getting ready to leave on vacation. (Could have been prompted by my recent writings about vacation.) I wasn't excited about going, and I think it had something to do with the guy I liked. (Funny, this dream was fairly realistic, but didn't mirror my actual experience. However the ideas came from a real-life incident - that I will likely write about in the near future.)

The Sunday Scribblings people are blogging on Eccentricity. I sent Myrtle Beached Whale a couple of examples of eccentric people that I will share with you here (with minor modifications). . .although I am not really writing on eccentricity. . .

Maybe the scribblings aren’t speaking to you, because it’s a fantasy piece. . .”How eccentric do you feel?”

I take myself too seriously to “pretend” to be eccentric, although I do like to act goofy once in a while. I think there’s a fine line between eccentricity and insanity. . .

Take “The Blue Lady” from Kellogg, for example: When I was going to beauty school at Millie’s in the late 70s – there was this woman who used to be a school teacher. She called herself “The Blue Lady.” She wore blue, she drove a blue van, (prob. Lived in a blue house), colored her silver hair blue “baby blue”, and even drew on her eyebrows with a baby blue eye liner. Every time she came to the school, Millie would say, “Tell her we don’t have any “Blue Mood” (temporary blue coloring). This was because she would pick up a bottle from us ever so often to keep up her image. (Now, she was eccentric.)

Another lady that came into the beauty school, would come without her teeth. She was probably in her 40s or 50s at that time. It was really difficult to carry on a conversation with her, because I couldn't keep from looking at her mouth. (Now she was’t eccentric, just weird.)

When you are in beauty school, one of the first things you learn is that the customer can see your facial expressions. It isn't part of the course, but if you have any scruples at all, you can figure it out pretty quickly. So when someone sits in the chair, you can't make faces behind their back, show surprise at something that has gone awry, or indicate that you are frustrated, scared, or anything that will tip her off to something you do not want her to know.

One day the toothless lady came in for a set and style. The student stylist had set TL's hair up in rollers except the bottom edge in the back, as it was too short to roll. The stylist secured the hair with pink hair tape to keep it smooth while TL was sitting under the dryer. Now the stylist always said the same thing to her customers when she pulled the tape off of the dried hair. It was "Grit your teeth!"

Forgetting who was in the chair, she said her usual warning, then remembered this lady wasn't wearing any teeth. As she was telling the story to us later, we all started laughing as she described not only what she had said, but how she ducked down behind the lady's chair - so TL wouldn't see her silently laughing.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Vacations (3)

Route Through Salmon

Sometimes instead of going clear to Butte, Mt, we turned South at Missoula and traveled through Salmon to Idaho Falls.

I liked going through Missoula. It was a unique city and the road followed the river through town. Somewhere around the old hospital - a building I always looked for, we would turn and go South - if we were going through Salmon, instead of Butte.

Mother Goose Land

One such trip, we stopped at a place called "Mother Goose Land" near Lolo, Mt. My sister and I were so excited! We rarely stopped on our vacations, except to eat and use restrooms, so this was a real treat. I thought it was a great place! There were Nursery Rhymes on large bill-boards and either statues or cut-outs of characters from each rhyme. Near the middle of M.G.Land, there was a playground and my sister and I got to swing and slide. (They may have had a pop machine there also, but I don't really remember.)

Years later, my mom gave her perspective on the place. She had not been impressed, because all we did was walk around, read signs, and play on a small playground. For her, the expense wasn't worth it. (Of course, my sister and I always wanted to go through Salmon in hopes we would stop there again sometime.)

Mosquito Barrage

One time we went through Salmon – and it could have been on the same trip. We were leaving Salmon around sundown, and the shadows were lying across the road. As we wound down through the mountains just south of town, we hit the largest swarm of mosquitoes we had ever encountered! Now swarming mosquitoes aren’t usually a problem when you are in a car, and no, they didn’t get in the car. However, these mosquitoes had been feasting on some kind of animals, because they were bulging with blood. Now just imagine a swarm of bulging bloody mosquitoes all hitting the windshield at about 25 – 35 mph. The windshield was a mess. My dad tried to use the wipers and he may have had washer fluid, but all that happened was the red smeared with the dust already on the windows and it became a muddy, bloody mess. We had to pull over to the side of the road, and creep our way down the mountain for miles. Because of this episode, my parents were really reluctant to ever go through Salmon at dusk again.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Vacations (2)

A Long Trip

As I mentioned before, we only vacationed in Utah when I was growing up. In the early years, from the time my parents were married (in Sept of 1952) until the freeway was constructed (sometime in the 60s), the trip took 18 hours. Now my mom was young (16), when she married my dad, and was anxious to get "home" to see her parents and siblings. My dad told me they made 2 or 3 trips the first year, and even settled for a time in American Fork. Dad wasn't making as much money in Utah as he had in the mines of Northern Idaho, and they were really strapped for cash. He told me a story about that time, that ended with my mom saying she wanted to go back home. "Home?" my dad asked her, "Where is home?" "North Idaho." she replied, and they moved back to the place where I would be born and raised. I think Dad was relieved that mom trusted him to provide for her, even though they would not be living close to her "family."

How to travel with kids

When I was in grade school, the trip had shortened to a mere 14 hours, due to the sections of freeway that were built along the route. Mom would pack the "jockey box" full of lifesavers and such, to keep us occupied, and we would often play the "Alphabet Game" on the way down the road. When we were really young, we would leave around 1:00 am [not long after Dad came home from working "swing shift" (3-11pm)], so my sister and I would sleep the first 8-10 hours or so. This meant that there was less time of us saying, "How much longer until we're there?"

The usual route & music – or lack thereof

Most of the time, we left No. Idaho - heading East on Interstate 90 [Old US 10]. After we came out of the mountains, there were fields of cattle here and there in Montana. When R was really little, she called them kitty-cows, and I thought that was really funny. Usually, we turned South just outside of Butte, MT, and travelled I-15 [old US 91] all the way to Provo, UT.

In the 60s, much of the road was still 2 lanes, and nearly all the radio stations in Montana (that we could pick up) were AM stations that played Country music. (I hated Country music - and if you have ever heard early Country - you may have had the same feelings.) Most of the time, we couldn't get any music on the radio - or what we did pick up was full of static (or static-y, as we would call it.)

I didn’t care much for sagebrush scenery, and from Butte south, that’s about all you see until you reach the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. I certainly got my fill of Country music and sagebrush on the trip. (For this reason, as soon as I was old enough, I would bring numerous books to read, puzzle books to play with, and my all time favorite summer treat: Summer Weekly Reader! I loved the games and puzzles in there and there was always something interesting to read about.

The longest stretch

In the days of the two lane road, the longest stretch of road was between Dubois and Roberts, because there were no turns or distinguishing landmarks. One trip when I was about 5-7 yrs old, we hit that stretch late at night. Mom had decided to climb in the backseat and sleep and I climbed into the front seat to keep my dad awake. He suggested we count the number of dead jackrabbits on the road. I don't know how many we saw (and there were a lot), but I do remember the feelings of importance I had in talking to my dad and keeping him awake along that stretch of road.

Favorite Eating Places

My parents had some favorite places to stop and eat along the way. If we were going through Butte, we often stopped in Deer Lodge, and ate breakfast at a restaurant kitty-corner from the Old Prison - (which was still being used at that time). I was fascinated by the stone structure with its guard walks and turrets, but I was always nervous that someone might escape when we were there.

For lunch, we'd stop at Doc's on Broadway in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Although the restaurant was no longer there, the building was still standing when my husband and I moved to town 16 yrs ago. Recently, the building was torn down. It was located somewhere near the new Wendy's and the road beside it are located on Broadway, across from Boozer's truck stop. Dad thought it was pretty cool when the freeway went in, because we could take the Broadway exit, go about one block to Doc's to eat and get right back on the freeway. Our third stopping place was in Tremonton, Ut. We'd go to a little cafe on the main drag as we passed through town. It seems to me, the place there was named after some bears. . . or there was a sign with bears on it, but I can't remember the name.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Vacations (1)

Every year that we took a vacation, we always went to the same place: Utah. No Disneyland, no Sea World, never a World's Fair, nor a ski trip to Banff, BC. Always Utah. Not that I'm complaining. When it's all you know, what can you compare it to?

Of course I don't remember the trips when I was a baby. Toddlerhood, not really, but pre-school, naw. About the time I reached grade school, things started following a certain pattern. First of all we stayed at Grandma Smith's in Provo. She had a three or four bedroom house, albeit small - and we took up two of her bedrooms.

Grandma & Grandpa Smith lived on 6th West, about a block from the Provo Hospital. (Grandma had worked there as a nurse for some time, but was retired by the time I remember. Their house was a painted white, and had a long porch that went the full length of the house. There were two doors on the front side of the house. The one on the left, which we were not allowed to use, went directly into the living room. The one on the right, nearest the driveway, that opened into the kitchen. It was through the kitchen that we accessed the hall to the bathroom and bedrooms. In the early years, there was also a lot of land surrounding the house that belonged to Grandpa Smith.

Now Grandpa Smith was my step-grandpa, and he married my Grandma about the time my mom was in Jr. High, I think. He was her third husband. I don't know the circumstances surrounding the end of her first marriage, but she was divorced from my mom's dad. Quite a few years after Grandpa Smith died, she remarried again.

All in all, my Grandmother had eight children of her own and 3 (?) step-sons. She and Grandpa Smith were very devout Mormons and had their marriage "sealed" in the temple, which they believed would mean they would be married throughout eternity. The fact she married again, was okay with her church, because she only married him for "time" and not "eternity."

Grandma was very busy working for the LDS church. She baked bread regularly (and it was the best I have ever had) and gave it to the church to help the poor (or something like that). I don't think they did bake sales, but I really don't know. One time she offered to teach me how to bake bread. I was excited to learn, until she told me I had to cut off my fingernails. I must have been a bit vain, but I thought she was too strict, so I kept my fingernails and never learned to bake her bread.

Grandma Smith was really strict. As youngsters, my cousins and I were not allowed to play in her house. We could only come in to use the restroom or for meals (and only my family got to come in for meals). If we were all being fed, we had to eat outside. Fortunately, for us kids, there was a huge tree in her backyard that shaded the house and yard from the afternoon sun, making outdoor play tolerable. Some of the older cousins climbed up in the tree, and that was okay. But the one thing we all wanted to do, but were absolutely FORBIDDEN to do, was play on the cellar door.

The door was wooden and laid ontop of the opening to the cellar. Beneath the doors were cement stairs that went down under the ground and then led to an area underneath Grandma's house. (I remember going down to get some home canned goods, but I think I was only down there once when I was older.) The cellar door was located just outside of Grandma's kitchen window, and it was tempting in the way it sloped for running up and down. Unfortunately for us, the adults usually visited in the kitchen, and if we ran up the door someone would come to the window and yell at us to stay off of the door. (I don't know if they were worried that the door would crack and we'd fall through, or if they thought we'd fall off the high side, or if they just didn't like the noise.)

For some reason I remember Grandma Smith had Blue Willow china. But at other times, I think her pattern was brown. Is there a brown willow, with a wee bit of pink in it? (Strange). Maybe one of my cousins can shed light on this, as they lived in the area year round.

I also remember that her stove had watermelon rind shaped lights in the front that indicated the heat the burners were turned to. For example, on the low setting the lights were a mint green. On medium they were yellow, and on high they were orange or red. (?) I was always fascinated by the color indicators.

One time, when I was in grade school - not sure which year. We had just sat down to eat at Grandma & Grandpa Smith's table. I began to dish up my plate, as we always did, then I started eating something. Upon seeing me chew, Grandma said loud enough for all to hear, "Those that don't pray, don't deserve to eat!" I was mortified. Pray?? We never did that at home. How was I to know that I didn't deserve to eat? I was scared to take another bite.

Shortly thereafter either Grandma or Grandpa prayed, and everyone began to eat. I finally ventured to put something in my mouth, but I never forgot the humiliation of that moment. You can bet I never ate anything at Grandma Smith's house after that without waiting for someone to pray. It wasn't that I didn't believe in God, and it wasn't that I did ---I just didn't know the rules. It was humiliating to be made an example of especially when I was a kid. I guess it wasn't Grandma's way to instruct prior to the meal that there would be prayer first. (I often wondered later, when I was grown, if Grandma used me to make a point to my parents. I don't think she approved of the way they were bringing my sister and I up without "religion.")

When I was in High School, my Grandma Smith tried to get me to come and live with her and attend BYU (Brigham Young University). I didn't want to venture that far from home, and so I refused. (Plus I never forgot how she tried to "hook me up" with her paperboys and the missionaries from the Mormon Church. She didn't care if they were good-looking or not, she just wanted to convert me. . .guess she didn't understand that even though I wasn't Mormon. . .I had standards. . .

Monday, June 11, 2007

Summer of '65

The "young lady" swimsuit

I think it was the year I got my first bathing suit with "padding." I was not too happy about that! It was an embarrassing suit to wear to the creek where some of my childhood friends all swam. Not only did it emphasize certain portions of my figure, it was, in fact, more well-endowed than I - by double or triple.

In addition to their blatant presence, these devices were made out of something akin to tennis balls. I was afraid if I bumped one it would permanently dent, and I was tempted to invert them. Now the size would have been more accurate, but the shape would have been irregular. Even wearing a t-shirt would not make the protrusions less noticeable. It was a difficult summer for swimming, and I was mortified that someone might notice. Thankfully if they did, they didn't say anything.

Summertime fun!

My mom worked in a grocery store, and she would fill the bottom shelf of our fridge with Shasta pop. At only 10 cents a can, we got to drink several cans a day. . .(no wonder my teeth needed a lot of fillings). Somewhere in the mid to late 60s. Shasta came out with a Chocolate flavored soda. I really liked it! My favorites, besides Chocolate, were: Grape and Black Cherry. My sister and I ate a lot of candy and ice cream, also. Thankfully, we were active - riding bikes, swimming, and playing at the school playground.

S. Rivers

My sister was probably still being babysat for the summer, but I don't really remember. I spent a lot of that summer
playing with S. Rivers and running back and forth between her place and mine. Her parents lived in a trailer house two streets directly behind my parents, and we would walk through the fields to get to one another's house. I was amazed at her home. I thought she had the coolest bedroom, because it was compact, and there wasn't much to clean. Also, since she was a lot younger than all her siblings, she was like an only child and didn't have to share her room with a sister. (Probably wouldn't have anyway, as there was only one bed.)

The thing that was unusual to me was the way her mom made popcorn. In those days everyone cooked popcorn on the stove (except for Jiffy Pop). My mom would take great pains to cool the popcorn pan to melt her butter so it would remain a light golden yellow, but easily pour over the popped corn. Then she would lightly salt it. Mrs. Rivers cooked her popcorn in a cast iron skillet, dumped the popped corn into a bowl, then quickly tossed the butter into the skillet so it would sizzle to a burnt brown. Then she would pour it over the popcorn and salt the daylights out of it. I always wondered if she did this on purpose, or if she didn't know the butter was burnt.

Friday, June 8, 2007


I threw out a word, and Myrtle Beach was on it "like a rat on a Cheeto" as my husband would say. . .

Music of the Night is a great poem (and I am not being generous here). He has a way with setting creative images to cadence that bring the subject alive. There is flow to his writing and an underlying smirk - as if the poems content was always there in the air - he just had to capture it and write it down.

I could see this poem being illustrated and put into a children's book, although the poem is a bit sophisticated for a child to read. Perhaps it would be best in a Poetry reader. This way, the poem could be read to the young child, create images in the mind, and expand the child's vocabulary all at the same time! Additionally, it is not so simplistic as some children's literature today, that it would bore the reader to tears. (I have often found myself - near crazed - while reading Seuss and other inane Children's literature to my children.)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Support Freedom

We have a volunteer military. These men and women have chosen to lay their lives on the line for us. They deserve our appreciation - regardless of how we feel about the wars we are engaged in.

From Mrs. Fierce Shoes' post: "Please stop by this blog and offer him some support. He's just back from Afghanistan and needs some words of encouragement."

My girls have friends who have joined the Army, the Air Force, the Navy and the Rangers. We know these young men - some since they were kids. They are quality Christian men, intelligent men. They could have opted for higher education and careers in business right out of High School - but they are fighting for freedom first. My husband and I appreciate their sense of duty and sacrifice. We are humbled by their service.

To them and to all who have ever served. Thank you!

Boating (2)

Rose Lake

The first time I got scared in a boat was at Rose Lake. I was still in grade school, and I had gone there with the Johnson's, the W. Gilman's, and I'm not sure who else. (I don't know if my family was there or not.) All I remember was that I had gone to the restroom, and when I came out - everyone was gone except for Paul Johnson and little S. Gilman. Apparently, everyone had gone to the other side of the lake, and we were going by boat.

Now this was not the pontoon boat that I liked to ride in. It was an ordinary cabin cruiser - albeit a smaller one. Once I got in, S G and I sat up in the bow, under some windows and hurriedly put on some life jackets. (Now I always wore a life jacket, even though the other kids thought it was silly. They believed that nothing was ever going to happen, but I didn't want to take any chances.) I helped SG, who was much younger than I - get his life jacket all strapped on, as we were zipping across the lake.

When we got to the other side of the lake, which many of you know - isn't that far, Paul started looping around, and around, and around. He was doing some kind of display for the crowd on the beach, but I was terrified. I thought the boat was going to tip over and we'd be pinned underneath in the bow. I was so dizzy and upset when we stopped, I swore I would NEVER ride in a boat again.

Coeur d'Alene Lake

A few years later, my family was invited by the Carvers to go boating on C d'A lake. I was apprehensive, but figured since my parents were going - that nothing would happen to me.
I thought, I'll give this boating thing another chance. (Can you hear the music from "Jaws"?)

We began our excursion in Harrison, I believe. C. Carver had either rented or borrowed a cabin cruiser from a friend, and the plan was to drive it from Harrison to Coeur d' Alene and back. This one was a bit larger than the previous boat, as it had a small galley in the bow that was a few steps below the deck. There were several seats on the deck and seating in the galley. The Carver's daughter, M, was there as well as her parents, my parents, my sister and I, but M's youngest brother B, may have also been there.

The trip started out pretty good for a boat trip. I don't know if we ever stopped to swim, or if it was a marathon trip (as some men are wont to do. The "Git-R-Done" syndrome.) But C. Carver was drinking and driving the boat, and we were all doing fine for a while. . .(Jaws music). . . Somewhere around Coeur d'Alene, C. was challenged by or did challenge another boater and the race was on. I can't remember if they were just speeding, but it seemed more like a "Game of Chicken." We were careening back and forth across this guy's wake. The water was getting rough already, but this game of chicken was scaring most of us.

Now, my dad is not a confrontational guy, and he may have suggested that C slow things down a bit and consider the women and children. (The children, I being the oldest, were all crying their heads off by this time.) We were pleading with our mothers to stop this mad man from killing us all.

There were a couple of times, that the boat nearly flipped as it caught a wake broadside, in an attempt to turn one way or another. I knew we were gonna die. (We probably didn't have life jackets that day either.) My Mom was sooooo mad! My Dad was mad, too, but there was nothing they could do to stop C Carver from trying to capsize all of us.

Finally, somehow, C decided it was time to get back to Harrison - we still had the full length of the lake to travel, but we got there without capsizing. My sister was so tramatized I don't think she has ever gone near a boat since. I have - but I haven't liked it! My parents both swore that they would never go anywhere with C Carver again.

So now, you know why I don't like boats. I guess, you could say I don't like fast boats with stunt drivers and drunks at the wheel. I am trying to get warmed up to the idea of my husband's speed boat, but it isn't easy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Boating (1)

Since I drove our boat for the first time last Sunday, I am feeling the need to explain why I am deathly afraid of boating. I didn't start out that way. As a grade school-er, I was often invited to go boating with the Johnson's. They owned my favorite boat of all time. . .a pontoon boat. I don't know when they got it the boat, but I do remember singing songs like "Madelina, Catalina" and other childish ditties with the Johnson girls as we bounded down the road for a boating trip. They used to launch the pontoon boat on one of the lakes on the lower Cd'A river. (It could have been Black Lake or Cave Lake). Once the boat was launched, we would sail up and down the "channels" as they called them from one lake to another.

It wasn't until years later that I realized the "channels" were actually portions of the Coeur d'Alene River that ran between the lakes. I do remember the channels were murky waters, but I also didn't connect this with the "lead" creek in Kellogg, which merged with the "North Fork" to make up the bulk of the Cd'A river.

These boat trips were fun. They were leisurely, and although I had no idea where we were, or where we were going, I had complete confidence in Paul and Dottie's knowledge of the channels.

[Upper picture shows Dottie & Paul on the shore and lower one is close up of the original pic.]

One time we went to Killarney Lake where I finally got to go to "Popcorn Island," a place the Johnson girls raved about, but I had never seen. Paul dropped anchor in the middle of the lake, and the girls and I took turns diving off the mini board and swimming around in the water. I still wore a life preserver, but the older Johnson girls swam well enough they didn't need one.

Popcorn Island

I loved that pontoon boat, and swore if I ever got a boat, that's the kind I'd get. . .(I suppose if I ever have the money to buy a boat of my own - that's what I'll get!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tea Time!

Last week, I ordered some tea from Twinings where they have my all time favoite tea: Twinings Darjeeling. The Darjeeling is a light tea. It tastes like it's sweetened, even without sugar or honey (but I add sugar anyway!) My mother-in-law, who's a Lipton fan, accused me of sweetening her tea, when she tried this. (But then I think anything tastes better than regular Lipton.)

I first tried Twinings Darjeeling here in S.E. Idaho, but the stores have only carried it intermittently. Lately, they have stopped stocking it again, so I decided to buy it online. I needed to purchase a minimum order of $15.00, so I ordered a bit more - - -but I got some amazing teas. In addition to the Darjeeling (loose - for the "tin") and Darjeeling bagged (large box),

I ordered:

  • Vanilla Black Tea (love the Bigelow brand - so thought I'd try this)
  • Tastes of Summer Black Tea (This is sooooo good. Can't wait to try it iced.)
  • Four Red Fruits Black Tea (just tried it tonight another Winner - that will taste good iced.) and
  • Chocolate Indulgence (Not a tea - this is for hot cocoa & it comes in a tin!)

I was sooo excited when all the products came in. It's been awhile since I ordered anything just for me!!! (Well, and the family, as I generously share all of this.)

I am hoping to have a tea party and meet some of my neighbors. I say hoping, because I am not good at following through on "intentions." Until I set the date, and send out the invites. . .it's not likely to happen. So stay tuned. . .who knows. . .maybe I will actually pull it off this year!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Photos from the Falls

The Hunk - unhitching the boat from our Sunday excursion. I drove it for the first time. What a thrill. Ten times better than being a passenger!

My blue delphiniums. These are not Pacific Giants, as I have quite a number of those, but they are mostly purple and lavendar. I wanted some blue ones, so I bought these even though they only get about 4-5 feet high.

Mz Oz (Ozzy) near the rhubarb by the back fence. We have to keep a wire fence in front of the vegetable garden, so she won't run through it!

My clematis [Jackmanii] is beginning to bloom. It has grown quite large, and I have been debating whether I should divide and relocate a portion of it.

These painted daisies plants were given to me about 10 years ago from a dear friend who was unable to keep bending over to care for them.