Monday, April 30, 2012

Jurassic Trailer Park...Or How I Waste Time!

A Dinosaur ate my homework...
When you are in the process of doing something...some chore that has become tedious and you can't get out of you find yourself distracted by other projects that are more fun?  I am supposed to be writing a report on my great-great grandmother for the May meeting of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.  But I am having trouble finding enough information about her to do her justice.  So I sit down at my computer...and play on Pinterest...or Blogger...or Facebook...anything but what I am supposed to be doing.  Yesterday I wrote about my old school.  Today I found an old story I wrote some years back when I was bored watching my daughter's softball game.  Grandma Sarah will have to wait a few more I want to take you on a trip to...

Jurassic Trailer Park...
The open hovercraft carrying the two visiting scientists sped silently over the cracked and unused highway outside the city dome.  Neither spoke as they passed the skeletal remains of the old "Tomahawk Drive-in" and "Joe's Junk Yard," where sand drifted through the rusting carcasses of old Buicks.  A pyramid of discarded tires had been smoldering for over a hundred years and would probably do so for a hundred more. The oily black smoke stung their eyes.

"I can't believe these places still exist," said Ellie at last.  She was a trim blonde woman who specialized in American Landfills.

"They were discovered at the end of the Five Year Sandstorm," Sam informed her.  "I hear they are close to unearthing a 7-11 that still has its original Slurpee Machine."

Sam, who had a Doctorate in Late 20th Century Pop Culture...Coke, Sprite, etc...leaned forward in anticipation.  He had prepared for this moment his entire adult life.  It was the proof that validated his years of research.  He wiped his sweat-streaked face with the bandanna he always wore.  A few more hot dusty miles to go.

No pictures are available of Sam and Ellie
But they probably looked like these two people.

Are we there yet?...
It seemed to Ellie that she only blinked and the gate appeared before them.  She was puzzled by the height of the heavy electrified fence surrounding the compound.  But it was the sign over the gate that made her heart beat fast within her rib cage.  In garish flashing neon the sign read:


They were met at the gate by a white-haired gentleman who dressed like Colonel Sanders.  His smile was pleasant as he greeted them.

"Welcome to Jurassic Trailer Park!  I really don't think your inspection is necessary, but the investors insisted.  I'm already behind schedule.  If you pass us off, we could be open to the public by Memorial Day.  My name is Hammond.  Shall we begin the tour?

"Let's pop in first at the Manager's Office.  We find it to be typical of the sites we have uncovered across the former United States."
They entered through a torn screen door into a dim stuffy room.  An ancient electic fan strove valiantly to create a no avail.  Sam took a few steps and stopped, looking at his feet.

"I don't believe it!" he exclaimed.  "This is the largest intact specimen of linoleum I've ever come across."

"Yes.  We're very proud of it.  There was enough to do the entire Manager's Office and part of the men's restroom.  It's been dated 20 years B.C...Before Congoleum!" Hammond bragged.

A wood-grained plastic box with a moving picture screen buzzed fitfully in one corner.  On the screen, a red-headed woman was whining to a Latino man wearing a Toreador costume.

"Please, Ricky!  Please let me be in the show!" she cried, clinging desperately to his pant leg while he tried to make a break for the door.

"That's a recorded broadcast, of course.  We were able to piece together an entire working television from various sites throughout the dig.  But without the primitive signals..."  Hammond sighed, "You know how it is.  This is an example of the sophisticated programming enjoyed by this culture."

They left the office and began walking through the avenues of portable housing units the Old Ones called "Mobile Homes."  The variety of dwellings was amazing.  They ranged from little pink and cream breadboxes...common in the magnificent Double Wides, complete with decks and hot tubs.  They all sat proudly on their postage stamp-sized lots, roofs bristling with TV antennas.

No matter the size of the home, each seemed to have the requisite allotment of pink plastic flamingos, gnomes and hanging pots of artificial flowers.

"We think the flamingos were required by law," Hammond informed them.  They explored inside some of the restored models.

The interiors were typified by green or orange shag carpeting and "harvest gold" Frigidaires covered with magnets shaped like pigs, fruit, and cartoon characters.  Many homes sported velvet paintings of a long dead "King."

"How they must have loved him," Ellie whispered reverently.  Also popular were framed antique prints of dogs playing poker...copies available for sale in the Gift Shoppe...Hammond reminded them.

"The male members of this ancient society used to sit in reclining chairs and observe warfare carried out on 100 yard battlefields...between redskins and pirates," Hammond began his lecture.  "In between skirmishes, the female would bring him intoxicating beverages and crisp vegetable chips fried in hot oil.  Let's move on, shall we?"

"Mr. Hammond," Sam interupted.  "I've been meaning to ask you about the electrified fence.  Are you trying to keep something out...or something in?"

"Why, keep something in, of course" Hammond said cryptically. 

"The Disney Millennium Park doesn't use electric fencing." Ellie added.

"Well," Hammond replied. "When the Pirates of the Caribbean Galaxy breaks down...the pirates don't bore the tourists.  I don't want the little dickens to escape without visiting the Park Museum and Gift Shoppe.  Why, we have a genuine push lawn mower on display...the only one of its kind on the planet.

"The kiddies will enjoy the Jurassic Trailer Park souvenirs.  We have whoopi cushions, squirt guns, slinkys and those x-ray specs that see through women's clothing.  Sam...Ellie...let me give you one of these t-shirts to take home.  It says 'My parents went to Jurassic Trailer Park and all I got was this  lousy t-shirt'."

Sam and Ellie exchanged looks.  "Run!" she cried.  They ran for the gate, leaving a puzzled old man choking on their dust.

Ignoring his pleas to stay and finish the tour, they took one last look back at Jurassic Trailer Park.  As they watched, the neon letters J, I, and C went dark.

One more afternoon wasted!

To gnome me is to love me!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Moments in Time...The Old Alpine School!

Gone, but not forgotten...
In the misty landscapes of my dreams, the old Alpine School still waits at the top of crumbling steps.  Rough grass has sprung up through the cracks in the surface of the deserted tennis court and the merry-go-round has rusted in place. On the old flag pole, where we lined up at the bell, a tattered flag flutters like fingers waving goodbye.

A wild October breeze whistles and dances through the bones of the rickety fire escape as if laughing spirts have flown down from Cemetery Hill to play hide-and-go-seek.

Hide and Seek...
My friends, Kim and Cathy Pam, are inside the school somewhere, but I cannot find them.  I search for them through dark and dusty hallways.  Maybe they are hiding in Miss Greenwood's cloak room.  No...I must have just missed them.  The kindergarten room looks the way I remember if the children have only just gone out to recess.

The playhouse still sits in the corner near the Story Time Rug.  Empty milk bottles line up like little glass soldiers on Miss Greenwood's desk, next to the Magic Wand used to waken us from nap time.  I so wanted to wave that wand over the other children, but I was too noisy to be the Naptime Fairy.

The Stairs...and Mr. Nicholes...

Echoed giggles drift down the stairs.  How I hate those stairs when I dream.  No matter how badly I need to reach the top...they keep growing steeper and STEEPER.  I am so afraid I am going to fall that I crawl up them on my hands and knees.

If I fall and hurt myself, will someone take me to Mr. Nicholes' office and bandage my knee?  Little kids were taught (by the big kids) to be afraid of the principal.  But he was the nicest man in the world, I thought.  He always had a kind word for shy little girls.

In the picture on the left, Mr. Nicholes and some of his students bid the old school goodbye.  Alpine was growing and there were only four classrooms...for grades K through 3.  The older grades took a bus to school in American Fork.

An old photo of children playing Maypole.
The dream shifts...and I find myself in the old gymnasium, where the corners are hidden in shadows.  My imagination is working overtime because I see little boys in dungarees and little girls in shirtwaist dresses holding the tattered ribbons of a long-faded Maypole.  They skip gracefully in and out to silent music...never getting tangled in the ribbons like I used to.

The children disappear and I'm all alone in the gymnasium...where it's been festively decorated for my Aunt Jane's wedding reception.  It's a western theme...with wagon wheels and driftwood as part of the decor.  I'm wearing my flower girl dress, twirling around and around in the middle of the floor singing "Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah" at the top of my lungs.  I only know one verse...but it's repeated ad nauseum.  It's a good dream.  I dread waking...because when I do the school will be gone.

A trip down Memory Lane...
The building was of red brick with a granite foundation.  The sign over the arched entry read "Public School 1899."  More than 100 years have passed since it was built with such high hopes for the children who would grace its halls.  A school may be only boards and bricks and mortar, but it is the caretaker of our childhood.  We spent more hours within its walls than any place other than home...and it's forever gone!  It breaks my heart every time one more landmark of my life is reduced to rubble.

The Monument...
One day, feeling nostalgic...I drove slowly down the street where the school used to stand and pulled into the parking lot at Kencraft...a candy factory that used to make candy canes and fancy suckers.  In a park-like setting stands a sandstone and bronze monument created by sculptor Dennis Smith to commemorate the old school and the children who attended it.

Running my finger down the list of names on the plaque, I'm pleased to find my Father's name and well as my own and my brother Mike's.  It feels rather strange, because people who have their names on monuments are usually dead historical figures...not middle-aged housewives.'s comforting to know that there is a little piece of Alpine history with my name on it.

I hope you have enjoyed this trip through the past.
Where do your treasured memories lie?

Note:  Before I start on my Father's school days stories I wanted to repost my story on the old Alpine School that both my father and I attended. The first four photos were taken from the book "Alpine Yestedays" by Jennie Adams Wilde, one of Grandma Zetta's oldest and dearest friends.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Telephobia...A Love/Hate Affair!

I Hate Telephones!
I don't know just when it happened.  One day I was a  care-free kid chatting with my BFF Charlotte, who was in the hospital recovering from pneumonia...then all of a was like I couldn't summon up the courage to make a phone call.  Not all phone calls filled me with anxiety...I could call my grandmas or phone home for a ride.   My self-diagnosis (I also hate doctors) has proclaimed it a severe case of "Telephobia."  Family and well-meaning friends are baffled by this...they think I should just snap out it. One friend, a Captain in my DUP group, assigned me to be a Reminder Caller for meetings.  She assured me it would be a helpful cure for my problem.  After a full day spent staring at the phone with sweating palms and a stomach painfully knotted...I finally made the calls... pathetically grateful for every answering machine that picked up!  I refused to accept any more such assignments.  Please tell me I am not alone in this!

Skyline 6-4758...
That was our telephone number when we moved to American Fork in the early 60's.  Remember when Ma Bell was a monopoly and we didn't even own our telephones?  The phone company sent a guy to install a telephone...that probably looked like this one...

Colors?  We had a choice of black...or black!

...or this one on the left. 

The Party Line...
I still remember the day I discovered we were on a party line.  I was blissfully chatting away about "who knows what" when a shrill voice broke into our conversation.  "Get off the phone!" she demanded.  "I have to make an important call!"  All I knew about party lines I learned from "The Andy Griffith Show." Were we living in Mayberry now?  It sure wasn't Aunt Bea on the line.  One day to get even I picked up the phone when she was busy gossiping about something or other. "Blah, blah, blah!" I mocked...assuming she was just some stranger.  "Shirley Devey!" she squawked, "Get off the phone right now or I'm telling your mother!"   Yikes!  I dropped the phone and hid.  I don't know if this was the inciting incident for my Telephobia...but it certainly didn't help matters.

The Princess Phone...
My friend Carrie had a pink princess phone.  She also had her own room with white shag carpeting, canopy bed and white French Provincial vanity with matching seat.  I shared a room with a little sister who sucked her fingers and wet the bed.  No princess bedrooms in our house!  To be fair...Carrie was generous with her toys and we spent many happy hours prank calling cute boys in our fourth grade class.  I still remember Robbie's number...SK 6-4757.  It was almost my number, which is why I haven't forgotten. Of course...when it was my turn to call, the boy's mother picked up the phone and chastised me.  "Nice girls don't call boys!" she informed me.  Could this be the reason I hate phones?
I don't know.

Phones and Me Today...My Quirks
After many cell-phone free years, George finally convinced me  I needed to have one...for emergencies.  It would have to be an the "End of the World"... for me to make more than one call a month.  I have used it once or call him.  My Blackberry is mostly used for email and reading Facebook.  I once mentioned to a friend that Blackberries should only be used to make jam....or maybe pie.

My Quirks and Unwritten rules:
  • I use my answering machine to "Screen Calls" from names and numbers I don't recognize.
  • Any phone call to our house will only be answered by me...because the other members of the household can't hear a ringing phone...even if it's right next to them! Sheesh!
  • I never answer Toll-Free Number calls...or political "Robo Calls."
  • I won't accept any Church calling that requires me to make phone calls...emails are okay, but texting gives me a headache.
  • If a friend says "call me back"...I will.
  • If a stranger or someone I don't care for says "call me back"...I most likely won't.
  • If you text me...I may not see it for a few days because my phone is in my purse in the car.
  • I always enjoy talking to my family...but I seldom call just to chat.
  • I don't know anyone's current phone number...not even the one on my own mobile.
In Conclusion...
This is my sad, sad story...of an illness that has no known cure or support groups.  There is no telethon to raise money for my operators are standing by.  I can never pick up the phone when the announcer says "Be one of the next 10 callers and get an extra Snuggie for your dog...just add additional postage and handling."

There, there!  Don't weep for me.  Use one of these adorable polk-dot tissues to dry your tears.   On a more serious note...they may not have telephones in Heaven per se, but God doesn't have a party line.  I can call Him any unlimited talk and text required.

Have a Lovely Day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Provident Living...72 Hour Kits!

Am I an Ant or a Grasshopper?
Most everyone is familiar with the Aesop's Fable of  "The Ant and the Grasshopper" where the grasshopper had fun and played the summer away while the ants worked dilligently to put away food for the cold winter months to come.  When winter came...he was left out in the cold, unprepared.  It's hard to imagine during times of peace and plenty that a cold winter of hardship and disaster could be lurking just down the road.  The recent tornados, earth quakes, and a bad economy have been an eye opener to many people and have inspired them to get to prepare for hard times ahead.  Cindy's post today at Rick-Rack and Gingham really made me think.  You should visit her blog...she's a true "Country Woman."

72 Hour Kits...
Natalie's 72 Hour Kit
This 72 Hour Kit is one I found on Pinterest. It belongs to Natalie at Endless Crafting, and is one of the best kits I have seen.  She has kits for each member of her family and a binder with important documents.  After I "pinned" this, my husband set me up a shelf unit just like this in the little utility room at the back of my pantry.  Yesterday was spent updating the food and clothing in our individual backpacks and taking inventory of our long term food storage.

My 72 Hour Kit...

As you can 72 hour kit is still a work in progress.  I haven't yet made a binder for our documents. My kit includes individual backpacks of extra clothing, water, first aid supplies and emergency food and snacks for my husband and myself. (I still need to account for my adult daughter and sister who live with us...the cast of characters is ever changing =D)  There is a large duffle with emergency supplies... flashlights, radio, backpacker stove, cooking supplies...the list is very long.  Another backpack holds freeze-dried entrees...enough for almost a week...but there is enough food in our individual packs to hold us for at least 72 hours.  I still need to add cash to my kits...small bills and change

Other evacuation items include a tent, ground covers, sleeping bags, camping pillows and a 5 gallon bucket with a portable toilet seat.  We also have pets that need to be taken into consideration.  We have put together a kit for our dog, Daisy.  But our cats may need to be left in the home...and that may be a difficult situation...keeping them safely contained.  What we can take with us, also depends upon the conditions we will be facing and the time allowed to evacuate.  If we are given little notice, then we may only be able to grab our backpacks.

If you are interested in getting more prepared with an evacuation kit, but don't know how to get started, FEMA has instructions here PDF for FEMA Family Emergency Kits.  Like they say, "It's never to late to prepare until it is."

If you have anything you would like to share on this topic, please leave a comment.
I need all the help I can get. =D

Monday, April 9, 2012

Provident Living...Lavender Liquid Hand Soap!

Lavender...Clean Smelling and Calming
I Heart Pinterest...
I get a great deal of satisfaction when I actually make something from an idea I pinned on Pinterest.  I actually made a Board for things I have accomplished.  It's been a lot of fun to learn how to make my own laundry soaps and household cleaners.  It's amazing how many useful tips and tutorials are available on Pinterest.  This week I was able to make my own liquid hand was incredibly easy!

The "Pin"
I found the tutorial for making liquid hand soap on a blog called Savvy Housekeeping.  Since she has done such a good job, please visit her blog for the instructions.  I will tell you that I used...
...1 bar of Yardley English Lavender soap...$1
1 Tablespoon of Glycerin...less than $4 per bottle
10 cups of water

Gifts for the church ladies I visit each month.
As the soap mixture was cooling, I added a few drops of lavender essential oil and a few drops of food coloring.  I think they turned out nice.  I was able to make four gifts, refill two bottles of my own and still have enough left to refill another bottle.  So be sure to visit Savvy Housekeeping for more details.

A Birthday Gift Made With Love...
Zetta's Aprons Nesting Dolls!

This past weekend was my birthday.  It was doubly perfect...the weather was beautiful and my family showed me so much love and caring.  I was especially touched by the darling nesting dolls that my youngest daughter, Sascha, painted for me.  They are like anime girls...each wearing a colorful apron.  Sascha has so much talent and a quirky sense of fun...I never know what she will do next.  It's what I love about her! 

Where in Disneyland?
This one is probably pretty easy.
I didn't get a guess on the last picture...

The figurehead is located in Fowler's Cove...where the sailing vessel Columbia docks.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

When I Was Your Age...We Played Outside!

What do you do in the Summertime?
"Oh, what do you do in the summertime,
When all the world is green?
Do you fish in a stream
Or lazily dream
On the banks as the clouds go by?
Is that what you do?  So do I."

The lyrics are from a Primary song we sang as children. The song mentions other peaceful activities, like swimming and swinging...outdoor activities that filled those endless summer days.  I miss seeing children play outside the way we did when the world was a little safer.  Kids today seem to have their schedules filled with team sports and organized play dates...or they spend a lot of time indoors.  I found some pictures on Google to illustrate some of the ways I played as a child.

Playing Outside...
Flying Kites...

A sure sign that spring was in the air was when Burgess Mercantile would put out a selection of kites.  Such a simple...inexpensive way to have fun!  I used to feel breathless and giddy, craning my neck to look up at my kite in the was almost as if I could fly! 

Yesterday was a very windy day!  My sister and I took a little walk in her new neighborhood to the playground.  Some children were having a wonderful time flying homemade kites...made from string tied to Walmart bags!  They actually flew...not very high, but I was so impressed!  They used their imaginations and what they had on hand.  That's how we used to play! 

Mud Pies...

Toys were simpler back then...just add imagination!  Or in our case...just add water!  Making mud pies was one of our favorite activities.  We gathered up our tools...bottle lids, doll dishes, mom's good spoons.  Then we scoured the yard for flowers and pretty rocks to decorate our little mud cakes.  Even the neighborhood boys would join in.  Their job was to secure the "currency" used to  purchase the finished products.  We used the leaves of Chinese Elm trees...they were the only "legal tender" we would accept.  Fortunately...the trees grew like weeds along the ditches and fence lines.

"Oh, what do you do in the summertime,
When all the world is green?
Do you march in parades,
Or drink lemonades,
Or count all the stars in the sky?
Is that what you do?  So do I."

Kool Aid Stands...

When a kid needed some pocket money...for the movies or for when the carnival came to was so easy to set up a Kool Aid stand.   Picture this...a couple of little kids with a card table and a crayon lettered sign offering liquid refreshment for a mere 5 cents a cup.  Then you notice that the little kid's arm is clean, but red or purple stained up to his elbows...from mixing the Kool Aid "by hand."  You smile and give the well-meaning youngster a nickle and he pours you a taste later, pucker up!  There's no sugar in that punch...Kool Aid only came unsweetened!  He forgot to sneak the sugar from mom's kitchen.

If our moms wouldn't let us have a Kool Aid stand, we would scour the ditchbanks and the weeds on the side of the road for empty pop bottles.  Each one was worth 3 cents at Burgess Merc. and a couple of bottles would net us a small bag of penny candy to it was a very good summer!

...Do you march in parades?
The Flintstones...
My brother, Mike and I as Fred and Wilma.

Every year on the first weekend in August the town of Alpine, Utah celebrates Alpine Days.  When I was a little girl the parade was a big deal...I'll write more about it in another post.  One year my dad made us the best float ever!  It was a Flintstones car built around our old red wagon.  Mike and I were Fred and Wilma.  Our two little sisters, Patti and Sandy fit neatly into the back of the wagon. (If the picture looks a little face was scratched out, so I had to add in a new one!)

...Or count all the stars in the sky?
One summer evening when my dad was working on the Flintstone car, I came outside to watch.  It was a very clear night and the sky was full of stars.  We laid on a blanket looking up at the night sky...that was when my dad showed me all the constellations and told me their names.  Before that night I never realized that the stars made pictures.  Once I learned about the vastness of space, it never ceased to fill me with wonder...just as a blue sky tumbling with whipped cream clouds fills me with dreams.
When I hear that little Primary song I see in my mind vintage illustrations of children at play.  And...invariably...they are playing outside!
It's cold outside today...summertime, please come soon!

Where in Disneyland...?

Wendy of Wendy's Creative Connection got the right answer to the last picture.  It was a detail on Snow White's ride.