My nephew had to do a school report recently and decided to do his presentation on his grandpa. His main source of information ended up being a book I did in 2006 about my dad’s childhood. This was the first history type book that I did which with a non-traditional look. No white pages with lots of text and a few photos. I enlisted the help of my niece Kimberli to do some illustrations. She was just starting her artistic training and she tried to do a different style than she was really comfortable so the quality of the drawings is inconsistent but the illustrations still add to the book. It was a learning experience for both of us.
One of my main goals with this project was to make it a more approachable history to read for all ages. And I think that it was at least partly successful with that since Jacob was able to use it for his school report. Now he knows something more about his grandpa that he can probably relate to in more ways. My dad had a kind of interesting childhood growing up in the days of prohibition in a suburb of Chicago.
While I’m sure I would do somethings differently if I was starting this project today, I still think it is a pretty good example of what can be done when you don’t have tons of information or lots of photos. I’m hoping that it will inspire someone in how they can tell one of their family’s stories.
One summer, when I was growing up in Ogden, Utah, we drove up Little Cottonwood Canyon and visited the Archives there. I wanted to do that again to celebrate my 50th year but for security reasons they no longer have tours. So I had to settle for a virtual tour through a couple of videos I found on-line.
Granite Mountain Records Vault, Part 1 – FamilySearch Genealogy Records
Granite Mountain Records Vault, Part 2 – FamilySearch Genealogy Records
I don’t remember much from my visit as a child, just vague images of a cool place deep inside the mountain and the photos we took. Can you believe that I wore such short dresses back then. Or even that I chose to wear a dress when I didn’t have to.
We took a drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon to see if we could get a photo of the entrance similar to the one above from my childhood but it wasn’t possible. The road to the parking lot was blocked by a security gate and the entrance is part way up the side of the canyon so you can only see a bit of one of the tunnels from the road. I wasn’t surprised but I hoped for a better outcome.
me with my family looking up Little Cottonwood Canyon
Have you ever been to the archives? My husband grew up in the Salt Lake Valley and he has never been to the vault.
Sugar, Sugar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I remember the song “Sugar, Sugar” (1969 – Archies) from when we lived in Ogden. The main memory that comes to mind is the record of the song that came on the back of a cereal box. This was the only record we got this way and I all the other records in the house were my parents, not us kid’s. Well we played it over and over so much that my mom helped the record into the garbage can. The other memory is having the radio on and some one saying something about sugar, sugar and then the song “Sugar, Sugar” came on the radio. My memory says it was the first time I had heard the song and I thought it was so funny to say the words and then have a song with those words come on the radio.
So to celebrate my 50th year I got on the internet on Monday and found a recording of the song “Sugar, Sugar” and listened to it a few times. The really cool thing is that on Friday I was eating lunch in Hagerman’s Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Salt Lake when what to my surprise “Sugar, Sugar” comes on over the speaker system. I don’t know when the last time I heard it on the radio but it was a sweet little serendipity for my 50 for 50.
This week I went to the library and checked out a Peanuts book. I thought there would be more to choose from but it seems the Peanuts are now “classic.” Does that make me a classic too? I checked out “You’ve Come A Long Way, Charlie Brown.” I have one specific memory of a Peanuts Cookbook that we got from the library while we were living in Seattle. We tried to make some lemon suckers but we burned them and they tasted awful. We decided to go around the neighborhood and entice other kids to eat our suckers by pretending that they tasted good.
I really enjoyed reading “You’ve Come A Long Way, Charlie Brown.” Snoopy is my favorite. But I am most struck by the creativity of Charles Schulz in the sheer volume of work he did with Peanuts and his insight into their world.
Today I did my second thing to celebrate my 50th year. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to choose to do this week but as I looked at my idea list, the second thing I had listed way sugar cane fields and cane spiders. Behind our house in Hawaii was a big sugar cane field. And before they could harvest the sugar cane they have to burn the fields. And when they burn the field these big hairy spiders come out and would get in our yard and in our play house. I had a vague idea of trying to find some actual sugar cane to eat but then I got some inspiration. How about finding a tarantula and hold it!
I don’t have an actual phobia of spiders but I do have some fear issues with them. If I’m alone I can deal with a spider in the house but it is hard. If Bill is home I always have him come and take care of a spider. The worst though is my spider dreams. From time to time I have a very vivid dream of a spider in my bed with me. I wake up (sort of) and have to turn on the lights and pull back all the covers and make sure their is no spider. I can’t see at all well without glasses or contacts and so I usually in list Bill to help me, tell him to check very carefully. About this time I finish waking up and realize it was just a dream and there is no spider or spiders to be found. Finally the light goes back out and we drift back to sleep.
So this afternoon Bill wanted to run an errand and we used his phone to see if there was a pet store in the area. We found one just three miles down the road that sounded like a possibility. We found Living Safari to be a very interesting pet store. They have lots of lizards, snakes and other reptiles. Eventually we were directed to their tarantulas and I explained to a very helpful employee what I wanted to do. She pick their most docile variety, a rose-hair from South America. She said that it was important to not move while I was hold the tarantula and if she (the tarantula) moved quickly not to panic and drop her or she might be killed by the impact. But she was a perfect tarantula and she hardly moved around at all which I really appreciated. Bill to photos and I’ll get them posted very soon. While I chatted with the employee learning lots of things about tarantulas.
I don’t know if the experience will change my feelings about spiders but I’m glad I did it. It wasn’t too scary and It was fun to do something very different to celebrate my 50th year.