Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Alpine Days...Primary Parade!

The Flintstone Car...
I've told the story recently about the Flintstone car my dad made us for the Alpine Days parade the year that I was seven.  It was a very kind thing for him to do.  He knew how important the parade was to me and how much I wanted to be in it. 

It was just a little small-town parade...a parade that began in 1947 when the Alpine LDS Ward needed a fund-raiser to reshingle the church.  The church ladies (Relief Society) were in charge of the bazaar and the Primary (children's organization) took over the miniature parade. 

My Parade Story...
The Primary President's name was Rose and she was an imposing woman.  When she stood at the podium in the chapel of the old Purple Church, squirming Primary children had best sit still and pay attention.

That day, however, she didn't even have to clap her hands for order, all the sunburned and freckled little faces were looking up at her with anticipation.  For that was the day when she would make the class assignments for the Alpine Day miniature parade and announce the names of the King and Queen.  The lucky boy and girl would get to wear fancy crowns and ride on a special float.

The boys feigned indifference, but the hearts of the little girls beat faster.  My own heart was in my throat.  Would this be the year?  I hoped with all my being to be chosen to ride on the float.  Maybe I would even get a pretty new dress if I were Queen.

I looked into the eyes of Sister Rose and willed her to call my name.  I can't remember who they chose, but it wasn't me.  I wished I was as pretty as my next door neighbor, Janae, who had blonde hair and shiny shoes.  I'm not sure if she were Queen at that time, but I remember the special float being parked in their yard.  I was pretty let down to be passed over again...and I probably didn't hide my disappointment well!

Rhythm Band...
Row by row, the children were dismissed to go to class.  Upstairs, in a stuffy corner classroom, the teacher desperately tried to keep order while a helper passed out an assortment of rhythm instruments.  Bored noisemakers...inevitably equals chaos!

Immediately the too-small room was filled with the clanging of triangles and clopping of wooden blocks to the accompaniment of pie tin tambourines and scratchy sandpaper blocks.  Like squawking hens running around the chicken yard, we were out of control.

Walked and Walked and Walked...
When she finally got us settled down, the harried teacher attempted to teach us the words to a song about pioneer children.  "Pioneer children sang as they walked, and walked, and walked and walked.  Pioneer children sang as they walked, and walked, and walked and walked."

It must have been the last straw for that poor woman when I raised my hand in the middle of the song.  "Those pioneer children sure did a lot of walking, Teacher!" I remarked brightly.  I remember spending the rest of Primary out in the hall, to the annoyance of Sister Rose.  Served her right for not picking me to be Queen.

Our Very Own Float...
If you look can see my two little sisters in the wagon.

So that was how I finally got to be the Queen of my own float...even if I had to share the honors with Mike, Patti, and Sandy.  Using a rusty old wagon and a lot of ingenuity, Daddy fashioned a remarkable likeness of Fred Flinstone's car.  The wheels were formed from round ice cream cartons.

There would be just enough room in the wagons for the little sisters.  While Daddy put the float together, Mom got out the ancient black sewing machine and sewed Fred and Wilma costumes for Mike and me.  I will never forget my parent's kindness that summer...making my little dream come true.

Little Rhea in Lehi Primary Parade.

I think my mom really understood how I felt about the parade...but I never knew how much until I saw this picture after her death. 

"It's Good to be Queen!"

Note: The first three photos are from the book "Alpine Yesterdays" by Jennie Adams Wild.  My youngest sister, Lisa made the "Miss Spirit of Primary" memory book page.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Highway 89...Big Rock Candy Mountain!

U.S. 89...Utah's Route 66
Greetings from Utah!  I was on the Internet looking for some old postcard images of Route 66.  I found such a wealth of vintage kitsch and vacation tradition!  Having a father who loved to drive us long distances in an old station wagon...I am quite familiar with stretches of the iconic highway.  But I also remember road trips along another great road...U.S. 89, which enters the top of the state of Utah at Bear Lake and exits near Lake Powell at the bottom.

My Way is the Highway...
 Highway 89 is the backbone of the follows the Wasatch Mountains and meanders here and there like a river.  Utah's major cities and dozens of cozy small towns are found along this road.  Pioneers blazed the trail and outlaws haunted it...does the name Butch Cassidy sound familiar?  I love the stories found along Old 89 and I can't wait to share them with you...adding them to my Vintage Vacations series...which I began with our trips to Yellowstone.

Big Rock Candy Mountain...
You may...or may familiar with the 1950s recording of the folksong "Big Rock Candy Mountain" by Burl Ives.  Believe it or's an actual place, located along Highway 89 near Marysvale, Utah.  I love to collect vintage postcards of places I've been, as a way to illustrate my memories.  This postcard shows the "tourist trap" as I remember it.

Did the Name Inspire the Song...or Vice Versa?
According to this informative brochure, printed by the owners of the attraction, the "Big Rock Candy Mountain" song was composed by Harry McClintock...also known as "Haywire Mac" when he was a brakeman on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, which parallels the Sevier River across the road from the Big Rock Candy Mountain.  Another source states that shortly after the release of the song in 1928, some local a joke...placed a sign at the base of the colorful mountain naming it "Big Rock Candy Mountain."  They also placed a sign next to a nearby spring proclaiming it to be "Lemonade Springs."  The names stuck.

Song Excerpt...
           In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
          There's a land that's fair and bright
          Where the handouts grow on bushes,
          And you sleep out ev'ry night.
          Where the box-cars all are empty,
          And the sun shines every day,
          On the birds and the bees,
          And the cigarette trees,
          And the lemonade springs,
          Where the blue bird sings,
          In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

Have you been there?
Image from Roadside America

I remember two trips to Big Rock Candy Mountain.  The first was when I was a child on one of my father's "Sunday Drives."  The mountain was very pretty to look at...formed of volcanic rock in various shades of yellow. orange, red and white.  But the attraction was pretty much your basic "tourist trap."  The Souvenir Store sold the same souvenirs found all over the West, but you could buy postcards of the mountain and copies of  Burl Ives' record.  My favorite things were bags of candy that looked like real rocks.  But my siblings were most intrigued by the moth-eaten coyote they kept in a cage out back.  We found the "Lemonade Spring" to be kind of milky looking with whitish mud...but we loved it all!

The Devey Family on one of our outings.

The Honeymoon...
Newlyweds George and Shirley November 1975
George and I were married November 13, 1975.  We didn't have a lot of money, but we loved to explore the natural wonders of our state.  So we took our honeymoon on Highway 89 en route to the Grand Canyon.  We stopped in many interesting spots and scenic overlooks.  One of the places we visited guessed it...Big Rock Candy Mountain.  Here is what we found in 1975...

Where is the Souvenir Store and scruffy coyote?
What is there now?  According to an article on Wikipedia, an RV resort called Candy Mountain Resort now resides at the base of the old mountain.  You can find a lot more fun facts by clicking on the Wikipedia link.  If you find yourself in the Mountain West, take a detour down Highway 89.  I have a few more fun stories about Old 89 to tell at a later date.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Preserving Family Traditions...Grandma's Cookies!

Their Signature Cookies...
When I think about my two grandmothers, I remember what they taught me, how much they loved me...and cookies!  Grandma Zetta and Grandma Patta each had a cookie recipe that was her "signature" cookie.  What is your cookie?  What will your grandchildren remember about you?  Mine will probably see a bag of "Golden Oreos," and think of me fondly.  What they won't realize is that I switched to Golden Oreos when I became too lazy to brush my teeth after eating the classic chocolate ones.

This week I located the recipes (or a reasonable facsimile) for my grandmothers' cookies.  I baked them, photographed them for posterity...and now I wish to share them with you.

Zetta's Cookies...
My first memories of eating at Grandma Zetta's house are confusing.  I know that it was the late 50s or early 60s, so why did it feel like I had gone back to Ma Ingall's kitchen?  In those days, Grandma Zetta still used a coal stove to cook with and heat water.  My father says Grandma was a good cook, but I remember that most of her rolls were burned on the bottom when she took them out of the old iron stove.  Remember Sunday chicken dinners at Grandma's?  I sure do.  Just as Mom and Dad were loading us into the car to drive to Alpine, the phone would ring.  It was Grandma.  "Tad, since you're coming up, could you stop at the KFC and pick up a bucket of chicken?"

Grandma Zetta was a practical woman...the queen of the "use it up, make it do" club.  Life during the Great Depression taught her to be frugal.  When I slept over, our meals would feature left-overs from the day before...and the day before that.  When Grandma and Grandpa got tired of the carrot and jell-o salad...did she throw it out?  No, ma'am!  She gave it to us.  "Rhea, I brought over some carrot and jell-o gave Mel gas.  Do you think your kids will eat it?"  Bless her heart...she meant well...but we seldom got to sample her cooking on the first go-round.  It wouldn't have been so bad, but she did it with her cookies as well.

Chocolate Walnut Cookies...
Grandma Zetta's chocolate walnut cookies were two of my favorite food-groups...chocolate and walnuts.  Once in a very great while we went to visit her on the day the cookies came out of the oven...electric by now...and I was in heaven!  The little brown bear by the plate was found in Zetta's cupboard...there is a matching sugar and creamer.

The Recipe
(makes 2 dozen depending on how much dough you consume...)
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter. (mine was salted so I omitted adding salt)
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup walnuts coarsely chopped.
Preheat oven to 370 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment, or leave ungreased.

Beat together butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until well-combined.  Add dry ingredients, stirring until just combined, then add the walnuts.  Will be thick and chocolatey like brownies.

Using a cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, make sure there is at least 2" space between the cookies on the sheet.  Bake on center rack until puffed, but still shiny...10 to 11 minutes.  No longer...I burned the second batch.  Frost when cool with your favorite chocolate frosting and sprinkle with walnuts.  Feed them to your grandchildren sometime in the first week after baking...but they won't last the first day.

Patta's Cookies...
When I wrote about Grandma Patta at Christmas, I mentioned that I truly believed that she was Santa's Helper.  One of the reasons was that she always smelled like gingerbread.  Patta's specialty was gingerbread cake and molasses cookies.  I wish I could say that Grandma Patta was a brilliant cook...but alas!  I would often spend a week at a time with her and I can honestly say that she knew how to cook less than a dozen different items.  For lunch we would get the TV trays out and watch "The Price is Right" while dipping toast triangles into eggs sunnyside up!  Loved it!  For snacks she made me tomato slices dusted with sugar.

She wasn't much of cook, but I loved her and anything she made for me.  She kept her cake and cookies in the I always preferred my gingerbread's cold at the North Pole, right?

Grandma Patta was a doll collector.  She had a special room filled with cabinets displaying her dolls.  The little girl on the right is from her collection.  She made all the clothes for her dolls and many for her granddaughters' dolls.
A few years ago I found this recipe and made copies for all my sisters.  I lost it soon after, but by some miracle...and a lot of digging...I was able to find it again.  I like to believe that my dear Grandmothers are smiling down at me and are pleased with their granddaughter's somewhat awkward attempts to share her memories of them.  Speaking of granddaughters...

Madisons Gift...
A Mother's Day giftie from my sweet 14 year-old Madison.
She knows how much I love red and white she made this little dish in ceramics class.
Could it be any cuter?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hobbit Garden!

Fairy Gardens and Pinterest...
I've been seeing a lot of Fairy Gardens on Pinterest and thought to myself  "I need to make one of those!"  Then my lazy self whispered back..."Too much work...besides, you have one already.  Remember the Hobbit Gardens you used to make?"
With the new Hobbit movie coming out in December, the dear little Hobbity creatures have been in my mind. 

I was a big fan of The Lord of the Rings.  I once turned all of my flower beds into Hobbit gardens...with Hobbit-sized everything.  One was "Bilbo's Tea Party" and another was called "Short Cut to Mushrooms."  "The Hill" garden had a miniature picket fence, a three-foot tall scarecrow guarding the miniature corn and sunflowers that grew inside the fence.  I wish I had taken pictures.

Tabletop Hobbit Garden...
It's been more than ten years since I made the little Hobbit garden.  It sat on a table in the hall.  Over the years, the moss has faded, but at least it's still in one piece.  I don't have much luck with living house I'm I am grateful for the invention of realistic silk flowers!  A birdhouse will have to make do for "Bag End."  But at least the door is round!

My poor little "Party Business" sign has seen better days.  Couldn't find a Middle Earth font...oh, well!  I'm sure it will discourage the Sackville-Bagginses from entering.

The dear little toad in the corner of the yard still waits for Bilbo's return.  Bilbo has gone to the Party Tree to supervise party preparations.  When the fireworks start...Toad will pop back into his hole.

Bilbo's Eleventy-First Birthday...
Bilbo is in fine form tonight.  He's wearing his best vest with his shiniest brass buttons.  He is very vain, you know.  Right now he is rehearsing for his big speech and finale.  "...Eleventy-one years is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable Hobbits. I don't know half of you as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you as well as you deserve."  I am sure he meant it as a compliment.  One could probably say the same about fellow bloggers...LOL!

Time to go back to Pinterest and collect more ideas for things I am too lazy to make.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Summer Holiday Decor...Patriotic!

Red, White and Blue Days...
Summertime to me is made up of Red, White, and Blue Days...Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Pioneer Day.  Pioneer Day is also known as "Days of '47" to commemorate the arrival of Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley.  The date was July 24, 1847.  Pioneer Day is filled with parades, picnics and...of course...FIREWORKS!  In my childhood it was as much a part of my heritage as the Fourth of July.  I am here today because my pioneer grandparents made the long, and often dangerous journey to this Utah...this Deseret I call home.  Deseret means "honey bee" and many of the symbols of our state incorporate beehives.  The Mormon Pioneers were known to be an industrious people.

Patriotic Theme Projects...

An arrangement I made some years back.
The firecrackers are wooden dowels.

Closeup of detail.  Simple wood shapes and postcard image.

Lady Liberty rag doll and a new garland.

Detail of Garland.
I used a striped Christmas paper and postcard navy rick-rack. 
The "American" bunting is a repeated graphic I found online.

A wonderfully faded tray I found for 50 cents at D.I. thrift store.
The USA magnets are game pieces in bottlecaps.

Some hallway decor...ignore the woman in the mirror!
The card holder has vintage patriotic postcards and old photos
from American Fork's parades...which are also in July!

My Patriotic House!
It will never be "Divided..."
I've made one for each holiday so far this is Halloween!

Front Detail.

Back Detail...forgive the glare.
Again I used Christmas paper for the stripes.
The stars on the roof were torn in strips and modge-podged.

A Cute Mother's Day Project...

This year I decided to make little Mother's Day gifts for my daughters and daughters-in-love (I've seen this phrase around the blogosphere).  This is another batch of homemade hand soap.  This time I made Orange Almond.

Closeup of tag...little orange canning jars.
I hope they liked them...I added gift cards as well to some favorite stores.

I also found time to torment Kitty Luna with a big bow.
I hope your Mother's Day was as lovely as mine was!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

More Time Wasters!

The Dog Ate My Homework...
When all else fails...blame it on the dog!  I am still procrastinating.  My pioneer ancestor report is due Thursday at 1:30 p.m.  Yesterday, I sat down and got a good portion of it written.  What discourages me the most, is that history seems to favor men.  Poor Grandma Sarah!  In all of my research, I found only one sentence that mentions her as a person rather than a statistic.  My story of her will be taken from what I could glean from her father's history and her husband's history.  She was too busy living in the, washing, raising chickens and children.  I know she was there that hard winter when they camped at the base of a rocky hill and people were living in dug outs and wagon boxes.  She was there when spring came and the rattlesnakes woke up and invaded their beds and cupboards.  Somewhere between 300 and 500 snakes...depending on the account...were killed that first night.  No one was I know Sarah wasn't bitten. 

Sarah was married to a jolly, popular man who loved to fish and play his fiddle for dances.  What did Sarah do?  She nagged the jolly man! In Grandpa Harrison's papers was found this single notation..."April 9, 1873 she got up jawing me because I spit on the floor and would not milk the cows."  One sentence!  Do you see now why I'm playing on my blog and taking pictures of Daisy Dog instead of finishing her story?  I'm still stuck on the rattlesnake adventure.  I couldn't even find a picture of her...just her headstone!  It's a very nice one...but I would like to know what she looked like.  Do I resemble her in any way?  When did she go from being Sarah to being "Sally?"  Was that Harrison's pet name for her?  Did she call him Harry?  These are questions that I have to wait until I meet her in Heaven to ask.

 Please Remember Me...
Sarah Shoemaker Fugate was Grandma Zetta's grandmother.  Zetta wrote a history of her jolly grandfather Harrison Perry Fugate for the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, but never got around to writing about Sarah.  It only takes a few generations before no one remembers what you were like.  I am making a promise to both my grandmothers that they will not be forgotten.  And I pray that my precious granddaughters remember me and how much I loved them.

Be sure and get a good picture taken...your decendants will need it!