My Life and Stories

When I Was Your Age...Madison!
To My Granddaughters...

I've watched you grow up...eight beautiful girls!  I think I know you pretty well...but perhaps not as well as I should.  But here is a question...How well do you know me?  Like you, I grew up with two loving grandmothers, but I really didn't know what they were like when they were young.  Where did they go to school?  What kind of music did they like?  What were their hobbies and other favorite things?  Who were their friends?  I sure wish I knew!

So...I got this great idea...I will tell each of you what I was like when I was your age. are the oldest, the first grandchild.  We were so excited to be grandparents!  I cannot believe you will be in high school this fall.  Yikes!

Madison in 2012

When I was Madison's Age...

I was born in 1955.  It was a VERY good year!  Disneyland opened for the very first time that long ago summer.  Now you know why I love Disneyland so very much...and why I will never get too old to have fun! 

Eighth and Ninth Grades...
This is a picture from my ninth grade yearbook.  Not my best hair!  When I was in the eighth and ninth grades I loved to write and enter speech and poetry contests...I was pretty good.  I learned to sew and made all my own school clothes.  In ninth grade I was on the yearbook staff and wrote for the school newspaper.

I wore my hair long and in a "flip" like Marlo Thomas in "That Girl,"a TV series that I liked a lot.  Sometimes the boys would tease me and call me "Marlo."  I didn't like being teased...but there are worse things in life than being compared to a pretty actress.  My big dream back then, was to go to BYU, major in Drama...and be a stage actress.

You know how much you love your ipod?  I loved my transistor radio.  I had an wasn't stereo...and sometimes I would put it under my pillow and listen to my favorite station...KCPX...all night long. (They hadn't invented ipod pillows yet)  Sometimes in the middle of the night I would get a station playing the Wolfman Jack show...but that was only when the weather was clear.  My favorite group when I was in junior high was...

The Monkees!  Yay!
The Monkees were THE boy band of my day...before NSYNC or New Kids on the Block...or the Jonas Brothers.  I also listened to Sonny and Cher and The Rolling Stones...the Stones have been around since the Stone Age...pun not intended. =D

Beauty and Fashion...

Twiggy was the Super Model when I was your age.  She wore the cutest clothes, but was so skinny that she was controversial.  Here she is on the cover of Seventeen Magazine.  I adored Seventeen, but I couldn't afford I went to the library to read it.  Sometimes for kicks and giggles I would go down to the basement of the library and read the back issues from the decade before and laugh at the outdated styles.
Our dresses were either very, very short or long "Granny Dresses."  If you were lucky, you could afford a pair of...Go Go Boots!  The coolest boots ever!  I wasn't lucky enough to own a pair, but I did get some fishnet stockings...which we held up with garter belts since panty hose hadn't been invented yet.  I wasn't "allowed" to wear makeup, but I was sneaky and bought some of this...
...with my babysitting money (25 cents per hour of torture).  When my mother caught me with it...I told her I needed the brush to get the tangles out of my eyelashes. I once had very long eyelashes like you and your sisters.  Later I bought...

...Great Lash Mascara...the best mascara in the world...and I still use it to this day.  But my eyelashes are no longer so long or full as they used to be.

You have blowdryers, curling irons and crimper/straighteners to style your hair.  I had this portable hair dryer with a bonnet to put on over my took forever to dry.  Sometimes I would iron my hair like the hippie girls to make it stick straight.  But it was a losing battle.

An Exciting Era...
The late 60's was an exciting time to be alive.  Everything was progessing so swiftly...the modern age was upon us!  I was so intrigued by the thought of space travel.  I watched the rockets as they were launched into space...and I was glued to the radio in my parents' car on the day that Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.  I have always loved science fiction...I admit I am a bit of a nerd...and the most handsome man in the world to me at the time was...

Captain Kirk!
It tickles my funny bone to see how science today is gradually creating the scientific wonders found on Star Trek...especially communicators.  Cell phones!  Who would have thought it? One day...if you are very, very will quit losing your Ipod Touch and may even have a cell phone of your own. 

The Impossible Dream...
In ninth grade I wrote a poem about the moon landing for Americanism Week and won first place!  It's pretty cheesy...but cut me some slack...I was only 14 when I wrote it.

The Impossible Dream

On alien soil lie the prints
Of strangers from a planet far.
A dream fulfilled since first mankind
Hitched his wagon to a star.

In silence tense, a world awaits,
And counts each second ticking by.
Rockets burst!  The glowing flame
Lights the early morning sky.

The missle gleaming in the sun,
Soon swallowed up among the clouds,
Leaves a wisp of smokey trail
For the watchful, earth-bound crowds.

The mighty "Eagle" landed
On a vast and barren sea.
Neil Armstrong took mankinds' first step
On the Base of Tranquility.

Gone now, but something left behind
Remains to tell the story.
Planted firm in lunar soil,
Stand proud and free "Old Glory."

Well, Madison...
That was me in a nutshell.  I could probably tell you more...and I would love to share stories with you sometime.  I wish you lived closer so we could spend more time together.  I love you and...

Love, Grandma Shirley

New Picture...American Fork Junior High

Added February 29, 2012


When I Was Your Age...McKenzie & Macy!

The two little beauties above are McKenzie and Macy.  Kenzie is in the fifth grade and Macy is in third. (2012)

Harrington Elementary...

In third, fourth and fifth grades, I attended Harrington Elementary in American Fork, Utah.  "Old Hairy Legs" we called it.  I liked going to school there...the teachers and principal were nice.  Mr. Durrant, my fourth grade teacher, was the nicest man in the world.  We (the girls) cried on the last day of school, we loved him so much.

Fifth Grade...

This is me in fifth grade.  My favorite subject was writing and I loved to write stories.  Reading and vocabulary were also things I was very good at.  I once called a little girl who was teasing me "obnoxious and abhorrent."  I was sometimes bored when the work was too easy.  My teacher, probably to give me something to do, would have me read aloud to the class whatever book we were on, like "Where the Red Fern Grows."

I was a champion jacks my mind!

Two of the most popular games at Harrington were tether ball and foursquare.  I wasn't the best at any sport...but I held my own at recess!  Another reason why Mr. Johnson had to keep me busy was...

I was totally crazy about him!
I spent a lot of my time doodling bat symbols on my papers.  It was such a cheesy show!  What was I thinking?  When I was wasn't drooling over Bruce Wayne, I was at my friend Carrie's house for 4-H and dancing to...
...The Beatles!

I wanted to be British so bad that I faked an English accent and pretended I was an exchange student.  This only annoyed my!  Carrie had all their albums...and a real stereo console in her living room.  We hadn't had a working record player for some time.  One day, my friends and I performed a lip-sync to "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" for our classmates.

Third Grade...

This is my fourth grade picture.  I couldn't find any of my third grade ones...even after a day spent digging through many dusty boxes of photos and keepsakes.  I hope they turn up some day.

We moved from Alpine to American Fork the year I started third grade.  After a long summer playing outside in the sun, my skin was as dark and pretty as yours, Macy.  On the first day of school..I had my hair in braids that day...a little girl asked me if I was an Indian. Since I do have some Native American blood...I told her I was.  I spent my first day at a new school being popular for the first time in my life...I enjoyed being so exotic and interesting.  Too bad it didn't last. =D 

Favorite Books...
All-time Favorites...Little House on the Prairie
I was always in the highest reading group and had been reading chapter books since second grade...where my favorite series was...
...The Boxcar Children

I loved the idea of children fending for themselves and living in a train car.  For the longest time I wanted a caboose for a playhouse.  In third grade I discovered...

...Classics Illustrated. 
These comic books made the great books of literature fun to read.  My favorites were "Oliver Twist" and "The Time Machine."  In third grade I got the brilliant idea to write a script for a third grade production of Oliver Twist...too bad Mrs. Mortensen wouldn't cooperate with my scheme.  I had it all written and cast too!

A Sad Day in November...

John F. Kennedy was President of the United States.  When I saw him on television, I thought he was the most handsome man.  I knew nothing about politics...but I liked him very much.

November 22, 1963 was a normal school day.  When we went for lunch, all was well.  After lunch, I entered the school room.  The cute boy, Jon, sat at his desk listening to his transistor radio surrounded by a bunch of kids.  The substitute teacher was writing on the board..."Lyndon Baines Johnson."  Something was very wrong.  The teacher then informed us that President Kennedy had been killed.  The news was everywhere.  It seemed like the whole world was turned upside down.

The sight of the pretty widow and her two little children was so sad it made me cry.

This was a little of my life when I was your age.  I had many more adventures...some real, some imaginary. When you are my age, Mckenzie and Macy, what stories will you tell?

I love you,
Grandma Shirley

Post Script:  Just a day or two after this was posted...the news came out that Davy Jones had died from a heart attack.  How sad to lose a childhood hero. 

When I Was Your Age...Alena & Mailey!

Kindergarten Cousins...
Two sweet little girls in their Easter finery...Alena and  Mailey.  (2012)  Kindergarten!  The word means "garden of children" in German.  And there couldn't be two prettier flowers.  I couldn't wait to turn five and go to school with the older kids on my street.  You are just starting out on an exciting adventure in the Great Big World.  There is so much to see and so much to learn.  What was kindergarten like when I was your age?  Let's find out.


I couldn't find my kindergarten pictures, but I remember wearing a little red cardigan sweater on picture day.  The picture on the left was taken when I was five years old.  The little boy is my brother Mike, and the little girl is Patti.

The Old Alpine School and Gymnasium

This was my school in Alpine, Utah.  Alpine was a very small town when I was a little girl...maybe 500 or so people.  But it was nestled against the mountains and was very pretty with lots of little farms and orchards. My daddy also went to this school.  He lived in Fort Canyon and when he started kindergarten he rode a horse to school!  No school bus for little Tad!

A Kindergarten Day...

The Pledge of Allegience

My teacher was Miss Greenwood.  She also taught first grade.  Our school had only four classrooms so they split the younger kids. Kindergarten came in the morning and first grade in the afternoon.  When the bell rang, we lined up in front of the flag pole and followed our teacher inside.  The first thing we did was say the prayer and recite the Pledge of Allegience.  Even then we were taught to respect our flag.

We learned to count and do our ABCs.  There wasn't any pre-school then, so most of us learned these things in kindergarten.  See the funny wooden shoe?  That was how we learned to tie our shoelaces.  Kindergarten was much simpler then.  After our lesson we played with toys...the playhouse in the corner was the most popular thing for both the girls and the boys.  After the toys were put away...

...we all gathered around our teacher sitting in a circle on the floor while she read us a story.  My favorite was Peter Pan.  At some point we could hear the clank of bottles.  One of the lunch ladies would come in bringing the milk for snack time.

Nice cold bottles of milk!

In those days, school milk came in little bottles with a straw.  I have always loved school, I could never seem to get enough of it...sometimes I would drink 3 containers with my lunch.  Our snack was usually graham crackers.  After snack time came...

...Nap Time!

We spread out our mats and lay down for a little rest.  This was the hardest part of the day for me.  I was a wiggly worm!  I don't know how long we were supposed to lay there, but it seemed like hours!  I just couldn't hold still that long.  Miss Greenwood would watch for the least wiggly child...and that child would be chosen to be the "Wake-up Fairy."  The wake-up fairy was given a magic wand and he or she would touch each child on the head with the wand and say "wake-up."  I dearly wanted to be the wake-up fairy...but since I was so wiggly I only got to do it once!



Out in the school yard we had a merry-go-round.  We held on tight and spun around and around until we were dizzy!  Our old school yard was paved in asphalt which was crumbly and full of gravel.  If I ever took a tumble off the merry-go-round I would spend some time in the school nurse's office having gravel picked out of my scraped knees.  Another fun...but dangerous...playground item was...

..."Tricky Bars"

Also known as a Jungle Gym...we spent many recesses hanging upside down on the highest bars.  We wore dresses to school in those we had to hold onto our skirts with one hand sure to wear clean underwear!  I had a pair of...
...culottes that I wore on "Tricky Bars" days.  No one was going to sing "I see London, I see France..." when I hung upside down.   There were swings....of course...and a weedy old tennis court, used mostly for rollerskating.  There was no padding under played at your own risk.

This was Kindergarten 1960...
When school was over, I would walk home with my friends or just dawdle along by myself.  Sometimes I would stop by Grandma Zetta's house to see if she had any cookies.  Sometimes she did, but most of the time she would shoo me out the door and tell me to "get on home!"  I was never in any hurry to "get on home."  There were too many things to explore on the way!  I hope you are having fun in your kindergarten classes.  I am so proud of my two smart girls...Alena and Mailey!

Grandma Shirley

My Favorite Little Golden Book
I learned to read from this book!


When I Was Your Age...Marley, Vivienne & McKinley!

Marley, Vivienne & McKinley...2012
The Preschool Years!
The preschool years can be tough...I mean, who really can remember that far back?  Fortunately I do have some memories of my life as a small girl.  When I am older and cannot remember what I had for breakfast, I will probably be able to recall even more!

Little Shirley...
Here I am at McKinley's age.

Mike and Shirley
I am not sure how old I am here...3 or 4.
Mike was 18 months younger.

Our little family lived upstairs in this pretty house.
It is still there on 100 East in American Fork, Utah.

When I was 3 or 4, we moved from Alpine to American Fork.  We lived just a few houses north of Main Street on First East, the main road north to Alpine.  It was a very nice house and we rented the upstairs apartment.  I thought it was a scary house, though.  Every night I could hear the noises from the neighbors' television coming up through the floor.  It sounded shaky and the voices were grumbly.  One night I woke up to see an owl perched on the window sill...inside my room!

My Wheels...

I had a little tricycle similar to this one.  If my mom and dad knew how much trouble I could get into...maybe they would have had second thoughts about giving me one.  Oh, the freedom of the open road...a ticket to ride!  Once I figured out that there was a great big world just around the corner...I set off to explore it.   We lived near Main that's where I would go.

That's my corner...just past the Phillips 66 sign!

I never crossed the highway...There was a traffic light on that corner, but I couldn't remember if red was "Stop" or "Go" so I stayed on the north side of Main.

I visited Briggs Drugs and the Bakery.

One day...I was riding west on Main Street.  It was way past my naptime and I would get very cranky when I got tired.  I got off my little trike and took a nap on the sidewalk in front of the drugstore.  A very nice homeless man (Mom called him a dirty hobo) carried me into the store and somehow called my mother...he did ask for $5 ransom...but I don't recall if he got it or not.

At Harrington School, the nice secretary gave me a candy bar and called my mother.

I visited City Hall...I don't recall if I spoke to His Honor the Mayor.
I remember a nice policeman, though. =D

It was definitely a safer and simpler world back in the late 1950's.  I'm sure my mother didn't mean to get so caught up in her soap operas.  She would have gotten in a lot of trouble today for not watching me better.  I think that after the hobo incident I no longer had wheels and freedom!

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Mickey Mouse Club!
Even though it was in black and memories are in Technicolor!

I loved the opening music and the trumpet fanfare and especially the part where they tossed Mickey up in the air.  After the Mouseketeers came on...I lost interest.  Jimmy, the leader, was terrifying to look at.  He had too many teeth!  By the way...I was also scared of Liberace...and his teeth!

Miracle Whip...

...and Wonder Bread! 
My favorite snack was slices of bread spread with Miracle Whip.
I ate this while watching...

...The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
I didn't understand most of it...but I liked his friend Maynard...he later became Gilligan!

A Few More Memories...
I have a few more little memories of that time and that house...especially my mother telling me that I couldn't play in the irrigation water on the lawn of the Presbyterian Church next door.  She told me that I would catch "polio." She also wouldn't let me play in the snow on the lawn...because it was full of nuclear fall-out.  When I saw "yellow snow" I thought it was radioactive!  She didn't have to make up excuses...just say "NO!" 

I know you are pretty young right now...and maybe you won't understand all I've written today...but hopefully someday you will!  Have fun being little girls!  I sure did!

Grandma Shirley


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.


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:  The first four photos were taken from the book "Alpine Yestedays" by Jennie Adams Wilde, one of Grandma Zetta's oldest and dearest friends.


The 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.

No comments: