About Jimbo G

Retired engineer having fun with music and video creation on my iMac.

A PIECE OR TWO OF WYOMING HISTORY

After one year of getting organized after our move to the new house there are still many boxes to check out, or should I say to clean out and perhaps toss away. Always a hard decision to keep or toss.  Trying to toss more these days!

So when cleaning out a box of old memories, high school stuff, etc. I ran across an old yellowed newspaper from the Wyoming State Journal, published in Lander, Wyo. on July 1, 1948. I was living in Riverton by then, but still had interest in what was happening in Lander. The traditional pioneer celebration was always July 4  so the paper was filled with stories from the pioneer days. I was attracted to an article about an interview with Father Roberts, the pioneer Rector of the Episcopal Mission. He came to the area in 1883 and was 95 at the time of the interview.  Two very fascinating questions were asked of him and his deep knowledge, especially of the Arapahoe and Shoshone history, gathered over more than 65 years of service, was of great interest to me.  You may know that with the help of Sandra DelMonte whose father-in-law, Harold DelMonte collected a complete history of Chief Washakie that  provided the narration for a DVD I made telling the story of his life using art work by a famous western artist.  Father Roberts was close to Chief Washakie and to members of the Arapahoe tribe. He tells of  a part of their history as passed down by the tidal elders. 

The story of the origination of the Arapahoe in North America was provided in the interview.  As passed down the generations, the Arapahoes said they made the long journey over the frozen water linking Asia with North America and then worked their way south to the plains of America. They said they were persecuted in Asia by barbarians and to save their lives they made the long journey across the Bearing Sea.  They called their home the New Land. An interesting footnote is that the Arapahoe indicate that their name was not Arapahoe, a name given to them by other Native Americans related to a special “tattoo” the men of the tribe gave to themselves using a sharp animal bone to open the skin on their chest and then rubbing in some charcoal. Ouch!!

Another tidbit of the interview with Father Roberts involved his personal meeting with Sacajawea who spent her last years with the Shoshone people. This meeting seems to confirm the claim that she is buried near Fort Washakie. By the way, Chief Washakie told Father Roberts his real name was too hard to pronounce for the army officers of his time so he changed it to Washakie to accommodate them. (See DVD Cover Photo below)

All in all I found the article on the interview with Father Roberts to be fascinating as I am always interested in the history of Fremont County and the surrounding area, the area of my growing up.  All a part of the wonderful history of Wyoming!

Catch UP


IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I POSTED.  SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED IN MY LIFE SINCE THE START OF THIS WONDERFUL YEAR. AFTER A LONG TIME ALONE I MET AND MARRIED THE WONDERFUL PERSON OF MY DREAMS. WE HAVE BEEN BUSY MAKING A NEW HOME AND A NEW LIFE. TO START A NEW LIFE AT MY AGE IS A BLESSING FROM GOD WITHOUT A DOUBT. I AN SO GRATEFUL AND PEACEFUL. AS EACH DAY BEGINS WE FIND NEW HAPPINESS AND SOMETHING ELSE TO BE THANKFUL FOR. 

A RECENT TRIP TO THE TETONS SERVED TO REINFORCE THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S CREATIONS. THE WET YEAR THERE ONLY SERVED TO MAKE IT EVER MORE SPECTACULAR. STREAMS OF PURE WATER FLOWED DOWN FROM THE PEAKS TO THE RIVER BELOW AND THE WILD FLOWERS WERE IN BLOOM WHERE EVER WE LOOKED. A COUPLE OF PHOTOS ARE INCLUDED IN THIS POST TO SHARE THE WONDERS OF NATURE THAT IS WYOMING AT ITS FINEST. I HOPE WILL ENJOY THESE PHOTOS. I DO PLAN TO START POSTING AGAIN AND TO SHARE STORIES OF WILD AND WONDERFUL WYOMING.

A PERSONAL JOURNEY (AND A CHALLENGE!)

USUALLY I AVOID MAKING THIS BLOG INTO SOMETHING TOO PERSONAL, BUT I FEEL THE NEED TO PASS ON A CHALLENGE TO MY READERS TO CONSIDER TAKING A HARD LOOK AT THE WAY WE ARE LIVING OUR LIVES AS I HAVE DONE. MAYBE IT IS TIME TO MAKE CHANGES NEEDED TO BETTER OUR JOURNEY THROUGH THE UPS AND DOWNS OF LIFE.  IS IT TIME TO MAKE CHOICES IN THE WAY WE LIVE TO IMROVE OUR TIME ON THIS EARTH? 

WELL ABOUT 18 MONTHS AGO I DECIDED IT WAS TIME TO CHANGE MY DIET AND EXERCISE PROGRAMS TO REINFORCE THE FACT THAT I WAS SO BLESSED TO BE HEALTHY WITH ONLY MINOR ISSUES SUCH AS POOR HEARING. SO I EMBARKED ON  A NEW PATH BY CHANGING MY EATING HABITS, YES, HABITS THAT INCLUDED TOO MUCH SUGAR AND TOO MANY CARBS. SO BY EATING NUTS, BERRIES, LEAN MEAT AND GREEN STUFF I LOST 30 LBS. BACK TO MY WEIGHT IN HIGH SCHOOL. ALL WELL AND GOOD BUT NOT ENOUGH.

THE NEXT PART OF MY JOURNEY CAME ABOUT BECAUSE MY TWO SONS WERE EMBARKED ON CREATING A LIFE CHANGING, COACHING PROGRAM TO ASSIST ANYONE WHO WANTS TO IMPROVE THEIR LIFE, THEIR HEALTH, AND TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS WHATEVER THEY MAY BE. THEIR ONLINE PROGRAM RECENTLY HAD ITS DEBUT AS A WONDERFUL WEBSITE ACCESSIBLE TO ANYONE WHO HAS THE WILL TO CHANGE THEIR LIFE IN THE WAY THEY LONG FOR. THE WEBSITE (mindsharenetwork.com) INCLUDES SEVERAL CHOICES IN PROGRAMS THAT WILL MAKE THE CHANGES IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU CHOOSE, CHANGES TO HELP YOU REACH THE GOAL YOU SET FOR YOURSELF. CHOICES SUCH AS “LIFE ON PURPOSE”, “CAREER ON PURPOSE”, AND THE ONE I CHOSE, “HEALTHY LIFE ON PURPOSE”.  SO FOLLOWING THE STEPS SO CAREFULLY LAID OUT IN THE WEBSITE I PLEDGED TO MYSELF I WOULD WORKOUT THREE TIMES A WEEK WITH A TRAINER, WOULD CONTINUE TO WALK WITH THE DOG EVERYDAY AND TO WORK EACH DAY ON MY GOLF SKILLS. IT HAS BEEN A REWARDING JOURNEY SO FAR AND WITH CONTINUED EFFORT AND WILL, I PLAN TO REACH MY GOALS. THE JOURNEY IS, OF COURSE, THE REAL JOY  OF SUCH A PROGRAM AND TRYING EVERYDAY TO LIVE IN THE NOW, TO MAKE EACH DAY A SPECIAL DAY IS REALLY WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT.

SO, I CHALLENGE EACH OF YOU TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE WEBSITE AND TO CONSIDER WAYS TO LIVE A BETTER LIFE, A LIFE ON PURPOSE!! MY BEST WISHES TO EACH OF YOU.  

CASTLE ON THE HILL (Fantasy and Romance in Three Volumes)

 

THOUGHT I WOULD REPOST THIS AS IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE FIRST INTRODUCING MY PHANTASY SERIES A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO PS THESE BOOKS CARRY MY PEN NAME, JAMES RICHARD 

The Castle on the Hill Series of action, fantasy and romance ebooks are now up and available on all the tablets, Kindle, iBooks (for iPad), Nook, Kobo and the originals on Smashwords for easy download to any tablet. The story of the  Royal Family of the Kingdom of Zando is told in three generations of princes and princesses as they fight to defend their kingdom and its magnificent Castle on the Hill from the evil Kings of nearby kingdoms who would conquer their beloved Zando and subjugate its people.  Magic, sorcery, creatures all combine to create stories of heroic deeds and romance as the generations pass.  Wholesome reads for all ages.  Download a book today (Book One Adriana, Book Two Alland and Book Three Samari) and get started enjoying the world of magic. Thanks for your support and please leave a review for each book.

THANKS SO MUCH AND HAPPY READING!!!!  P.S. JUST $2.99 FOR EACH BOOKPage_1Page_1 2Page_1 3

TIE DRIVE AND TIE HACKS (RAILROAD THAT IS)

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 6.30.01 PMIN THE SUMMER OF 1927, 700,000 HAND HEWN, LODGEPOLE PINE RAILROAD TIES WERE FLOATED NEARLY 100 MILES DOWN THE WIND RIVER TO THE WYOMING TIE AND TIMBER COMPANY PROCESSING AND TREATMENT PLANT IN RIVERTON. IN ALL, OVER THE 33 YEARS THE PLANT WAS OPERATED, SOME 10 MILLION TIES WERE DELIVERED BY THE SWEAT AND SOMETIMES BLOOD OF A HARDY BUNCH OF MEN WHO BATTLED THE ELEMENTS AND THE RIVER TO CUT, SHAPE AND DELIVER THE CROSS-TIES TO THE CHICAGO AND NORTHWESTERN RAILROAD.  

IT ALL BEGAN WITH THE EXTENDING OF THE RAILROAD FROM CASPER TO RIVERTON AND LANDER, MAKING THE UNDERTAKING POSSIBLE. IN FACT THE RAILROAD HAD MUCH TO DO WITH THE LAND RUSH BEGINNING OF THE TOWN OF RIVERTON IN 1906 WHEN THE RAILROAD WAS EXTENDED. FOLLOWING THE LEAD OF OTHER AREAS IN WYOMING WHERE CUTTING AND SHAPING TIES WAS A BUSINESS, EVEN IN THE LATE 1800S, THE BUSINESS OF PROVIDING TIES TO THE RAILROAD CUT FROM THE FOREST AREAS NEAR DUBOIS BEGAN IN 1914. THE BUSINESS OF PROVIDING CROSS-TIES EMPLOYED MANY MAN, BOTH IN DUBOIS AND RIVERTON. THE SAGA OF THE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE TASK OF CUTTING AND TRANSPORTING THE STAGGERING NUMBER OF TIES NEEDED IS A TALE OF OVERCOMING THE ODDS, NEVER SAYING IT CAN NOT BE DONE, AND A TESTAMENT TO THE ABILITY OF STRONG MEN TO GET THE JOB DONE AT ALL COSTS.

A SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE WHOLE PROCESS STARTS WITH THE LOGGING OPERATION. ARMED WITH A BROADAX STRONG MEN ENTERED A STAND OF LODGEPOLE PINE PREVIOUSLY MARKED FOR CUTTING BY THE FOREST SERVICE. AFTER CUTTING DOWN THE TREE, THE LIMBS WERE REMOVED AND THE LOG WAS CUT INTO 8 FT. LENGTHS. THE ROUGH SHAPE OF THE TIE WAS THEN HACKED INTO THE 8 FT. LOG, SOON TO BE A TIE, WITH THE LOGGER’S  AXE. A SKILLFUL TIE HACK COULD PRODUCE 15-30 TIES FOR WHICH HE WAS PAID 10 CENTS A TIE IN THE BEGINNING. LATER THE WAGES IMPROVED AND UP TO  $9 A DAY COULD BE MADE IF YOU WERE STRONG ENOUGH AND SKILLED WITH YOUR AXE.  TIES WERE THEN STACKED AND DRAGGED AWAY TO BE STORED UNTIL TIME TO TRY TO TRANSPORT THEM TO THE RIVERTON PLANT.

A NOVEL WAY TO MOVING THE PILES OF CUT TIES DOWN THE STEEP CANYON ABOVE THE WARM SPRING TO THE WIND RIVER WAS TO PUT THEM IN A WOODEN FLUME AND FINALLY DROP THEM IN THE RIVER. IN SPITE OF BEING TOLD IT COULD NOT BE DONE, THE WOODEN FLUME WAS CONSTRUCTED THROUGH THE IMPOSSIBLE TERRAIN OF THE WARM SPRINGS CANYON AFTER TWO YEARS OF DIFFICULT CONSTRUCTION WITH THE MANPOWER OF MANY AND A COST OF ABOUT $100.000, A MONUMENTAL SUM IN 1928. MORE THAN HALF A MILLION TIES WERE SENT DOWN THE FLUME AT SPEEDS UP TO 50 MILES AN HOUR IN THE OPENING YEAR OF THE FLUME (SEE THE PHOTO). 

THE STORY DOES NOT END THERE. ONCE THE ROUGH TIES FELL INTO THE WIND RIVER A WHOLE NEW STORY BEGAN. HOW DO YOU FLOAT THOUSANDS OF TIES DOWN A RIVER WHICH IS ONLY NEAR FLOOD STAGE FOR A SHORT TIME IN THE EARLY SUMMER?  LOG JAMS WERE A DAILY HAPPENING. IT WAS THE JOB OF ANOTHER GROUP OF YOUNG MEN TO GUIDE THE TIES DOWN THE RIVER, SOMETIMES REQUIRING BLASTING TO BREAK UP A JAM. EXPENSIVE HOBNAIL BOOTS (ABOUT $19 IN THE 30’S IMPORTED FROM SWEDEN) WERE A REQUIREMENT FOR THE RIVER RATS AS NEARLY 100 MEN WERE REQUIRED TO KEEP THE TIES MOVING DOWN THE WIND RIVER. THE RIVER RATS BECAME SKILLED AT WALKING THE TIES TO GET TO A JAM AND OFTEN SPENT MOST OF THE DAY IN THE RIVER TRYING TO PUSH AND PULL THE TIES INTO THE FLOW. A TOUGH AND CHALLENGING JOB FOR THE $4.50 PER DAY (GOOD PAY IN THE 30S FOR SURE).  BEAT UP BY THE TIES, SOAKING WET AND TOTALLY SPENT AT THE END OF THE DAY, THIS JOB WAS NOT FOR THE WEAK OR LAZY. FINALLY THE ROUGH TIES ENDED UP AT THE TREATING PLANT IN RIVERTON AND WERE TRANSPORTED AWAY AS NEEDED BY THE RAILROAD.  TODAY WITH ALL OF OUR POWER EQUIPMENT AND MODERN TRANSPORTATION METHODS, IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT LESS THAN 100 YEARS AGO, MILLIONS OF TIES WERE “HAND CUT”  MOVED DOWN A RIVER BY THE MUSCLE POWER OF HARD WORKING MEN.  THIS PART OF THE TIE DRIVE IS WHERE OUR FATHERS (AT LEAST AS FAR AS WE KNOW, BEING VERY YOUNG AT THE TIME) ENTER THE PICTURE. I HAVE A VAGUE RECOLLECTION OF MY FATHER COMPLAINING ABOUT THE COST OF HOBNAIL BOOTS AND ALSO ABOUT ALL THE ACHING MUSCLES AND JOINTS AFTER A DAY SPENT AS A RIVER RAT.

OUR UNCLE MARK GOODMAN WAS INVOLVED IN SEVERAL PHASES OF THE TIE DRIVE AND IN HIS LATER YEARS WROTE A BOOK ABOUT THE TIE DRIVE THAT IS THE SOURCE OF MUCH OF THIS BLOG. STOP IN DUBOIS AT THE WIND RIVER HISTORICAL CENTER NEXT TIME YOU ARE UP THAT WAY. MARK’S BOOK IS NOT AVAILABLE NOW, BUT YOU CAN TAKE A LOOK AT IT THERE ALONG WITH MANY DISPLAYS ABOUT THE TIE DRIVES. CLEARLY THE TIE DRIVE WAS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE HISTORY OF FREMONT COUNTY AS IT PROVIDED WORK FOR MANY MEN IN THE DAYS WHEN JOBS WERE NOT EASY TO FIND. REFERENCES TO MARK’S BOOK CAN BE FOUND AT THE END OF THIS BLOG. WHILE IT ALL SEEMS A BIT ROMANTIC NOW, IT WAS BACKBREAKING, DANGEROUS WORK AND SERVED TO KEEP A RAILROAD RUNNING BEFORE TRUCKING AND MODERN SAW MILLS WERE DEVELOPED.  THE PHOTOS INCLUDED ARE FROM MARK’S BOOK. THE TIE HACKS, MEN WHO WORKED ON THE TIE DRIVE, HAVE BEEN HONORED WITH A MEMORIAL (SEE PHOTO ABOVE) JUST ABOVE DUBOIS ON THE ROAD TO TOGW0TEE PASS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ MARK’S BOOK, A PDF FILE IS ATTACHED TO THIS BLOG.Broadax to Tracks  

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 10.53.05 AM (1)Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 10.52.32 AMScreen Shot 2016-07-01 at 10.51.37 AM

THIS BLOG WAS PUT TOGETHER BY A JOINT EFFORT WITH MY COUSIN, CLARKE GOODMAN.  WE SHARE MANY OF THE HISTORIES OF OUR FATHERS WHO WERE VERY CLOSE, ESPECIALLY IN THEIR DAYS AS YOUNG MEN SEEKING TO FIND THEIR WAY THROUGH LIFE.

TIN CUP, WYOMING ( A PLACE OF MYSTERY AND BROKEN DREAMS)

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 1.37.05 PMTHE AREA OF WYOMING SHOWN IN THE MAP (B) IS A WINDBLOWN, FLAT TOPPED PART OF THE GRANITE MOUNTAINS. WHILE APPEARING TO BE JUST A MOUNTAIN OF ROCK AND A DESOLATE PLACE WITH FEW TREES TO BREAK UP THE DESOLATION. IT HAS BEEN A PLACE THAT ATTRACTED MANY SEEKERS OF GOLD, PRECIOUS STONES, RARE EARTHS AND EVEN THE MOTHER LODE OF URANIUM IN THE DAYS WHEN THE GREAT URANIUM BOOM WAS GOING FULL BLAST. LONG AN AREA OF INTEREST TO PROSPECTORS, ENTREPRENEURS AND ROCK HOUNDS, TIN CUP STILL SEEMS A PLACE OF MYSTERY. THERE ARE THOSE WHO TO THIS DAY BELIEVE IT IS A PLACE WHERE FORTUNES CAN BE MADE.

YOUR AUTHOR AND CO AUTHOR OF THIS POST, COUSIN CLARKE GOODMAN, EACH HAD ONLY ONE OR TWO VISITS TO THE AREA OVER THE YEARS. MY LAST CHANCE TO VISIT WAS MANY YEARS AGO WHEN EVERYONE WHO HAD A GEIGER COUNTER WAS OUT PROSPECTING FOR URANIUM. WHEN WE ARRIVED AT THE TOP OF THE FLAT AREA AT TIN CUP THE EVIDENCE OF THE HARD ROCK MINES WAS SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE AREA. MANY SHAFTS HAD BEEN DRIVEN INTO THE GRANITE IN SEARCH OF THE ELUSIVE VEIN OF GOLD. AMONG THE SHAFTS WAS THE GOODMAN MINE.

THE GOODMAN MINE DATES BACK TO THE 1920’S WHEN OUR GRANDFATHER, AFTER SOME UNSUCCESSFUL SPECULATION IN OIL AND COAL MINING, DETERMINED TO MAKE HIS FORTUNE IN THE GOLD FIELDS OF GRANITE MOUNTAIN. THE MINE PROVIDED SEVERAL SUMMERS OF “EMPLOYMENT” FOR OUR FATHERS AND THEIR BROTHERS. IT WAS NOT EASY WORK, DRILLING HOLES FOR THE DYNAMITE CHARGES, BLASTING AND MUCKING OUT THE BROKEN ROCK, A BUCKET AT A TIME BY HOISTING IT UP THE SHAFT TO DUMP IN THE WASTE PILE. IT WAS BACK-BREAKING WORK TO BE SURE. SOME OF THE SHAFTS WENT DOWN INTO THE GRANITE AT LEAST 30 FEET OR SO. CLARKE’S FATHER SPENT THE MOST TIME ON THE MOUNTAIN. HE WAS SINGLE AND ABLE TO SPEND MORE TIME AT THE MINE THAN HIS MARRIED BROTHERS. THERE WAS A SOD CABIN AT THE MINE WHERE HE FREQUENTLY STAYED. HE BECAME CONVINCED THAT THERE WAS GOLD IN THOSE HILLS.  IN 1943, HE MARRIED AND HE AND HIS NEW BRIDE, DORIS, SPENT ONE SUMMER AT TIN CUP. IN 1944 THEY HAD THEIR FIRST CHILD AND THE NEW FAMILY PRECLUDED DEVOTING ANY MORE TIME TO THE MINE AT TIN CUP. ABOUT THIS TIME OUR GRANDFATHER LEFT WYOMING AND STARTED A SUCCESSFUL STRAWBERRY FARM IN WASHINGTON STATE.  HIS SPECULATION IN OIL, GOLD AND COAL HAD COME TO AN END.  WHILE CLARKE AND DORIS RAISED A FAMILY OF SIX CHILDREN, CLARKE STILL FREQUENTLY TALKED OF TIN CUP AND HIS CONVICTION THAT THERE WAS PROFITABLE ORE ON GRANITE MOUNTAIN. WHEN CLARKE AND DORIS’S CHILDREN WERE GROWN AND CLARKE RETIRED, HE AND HIS WIFE RETURNED TO WYOMING AND STARTED A COMPANY, GEMCO (GOODMAN MINING AND EXPLORATION COMPANY). IN THE EARLY 1980’S THE COMPANY FILED CLAIMS AT TIN CUP WHERE THE ORIGINAL GOODMAN MINE HAD BEEN. FOR A FEW YEARS, CLARKE AND DORIS LIVED IN A TRAILER THEY HAD MOVED TO TIN CUP. CLARK’S LAST ACTIVITY AT TIN CUP WAS IN 1986. HE PASSED AWAY IN 1987, STILL A FIRM BELIEVER IN THE PROFITABILITY OF THE GOODMAN MINES ON GRANITE MOUNTAIN. TO OUR KNOWLEDGE THE ELUSIVE VEIN OF GOLD WAS NOT TO BE FOUND. IN THE WORD’S OF A GOODMAN BROTHER, OUR UNCLE MARK, ” … MORE MONEY WAS POURED INTO THE HOLE THAN WAS EVER TAKEN OUT.”

CURRENT ACCOUNTS OF THE AREA (SEE LINKAT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG) BOAST OF MANY KINDS OF PRECIOUS AND SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES AVAILABLE IN GREAT ABUNDANCE IN THE AREA.  GEOLOGIC STUDIES OF THE AREA INDICATE THAT THE TIN CUP AREA WAS ONCE THE HIGHEST PLACE IN THE GRANITE MOUNTAINS AND THEREFORE SHOULD BE THE SOURCE OF THE VARIOUS MINERALS AND GEMS, PERHAPS CARRIED BY WATER OVER THE EONS. WHILE ALL OF THIS IS SOMEWHAT SORTED OUT, THE SENSE OF MYSTERY STILL SEEMS TO SURROUND THE AREA AND MANY LONG FOR A MORE THOROUGH INVESTIGATION OF THE POTENTIAL OF TIN CUP. CLARKE DISCOVERED UNDEVELOPED SOURCES OF RARE EARTHS IN THE AREA DURING HIS PROSPECTING DAYS. SO LIKE SO MANY AREAS OF WYOMING, THE MYSTERIES CONTINUE, AND FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE AREA IS  AWAITING DISCOVERIES BY PROSPECTORS OR ENTREPRENEURS OF THE FUTURE. WYOMING IS STILL A FRONTIER IS SO MANY WAYS, A PLACE WAITING FOR SOME NEW BOOM TIME, PERHAPS JUST AROUND THE CORNER ONCE AGAIN.

LINK OF INTEREST: tinkup.blogspot.com 

THIS POST WAS THE JOINT EFFORT OF THE USUAL AUTHOR, JIM GOODMAN AND HIS COUSIN, CLARKE GOODMAN WHO PROVIDED MUCH OF THE DETAILS OF HIS FATHER AND MOTHER’S INVOLVEMENT IN TIN CUP AND ITS HISTORY. YOUR AUTHOR THANKS HIS COUSIN FOR HIS VALUABLE INPUT.

A MOTHER’S DAY TRIBUTE

IMG_0970THE TIME WAS THE SPRING OF 1929 AND THE YOUNG WOMAN PICTURED WAS GRADUATING FROM KANSAS UNIVERSITY IN LAWRENCE, KANSAS. HER NAME WAS IRENE BRASFIELD AND SHE GREW UP IN THE SMALL TOWN OF GARDEN CITY NEAR KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI. SHE CAME FROM A LARGE FAMILY WHOSE FATHER WAS A BANKER. SHE WAS A GIFTED WOMEN WHO COULD PLAY CHOPIN ON THE PIANO AND WAS TRAINED TO TEACH GEOGRAPHY TO EIGHTH-GRADE STUDENTS.

SHE WAS A TOUGH AND INDEPENDENT WOMAN WHO CHOOSE TO LEAVE HER FAMILY FAR BEHIND AND HEAD FOR THE FRONTIER STATE OF WYOMING TO TAKE A JOB AS A TEACHER IN A TWO-ROOM SCHOOL HOUSE NEAR RIVERTON AT ARAPAHOE.

I AM STILL AMAZED AT THE BRAVERY OF A SOMEWHAT PRIVILEGED YOUNG WOMEN CHOOSING TO LEAVE HER FAMILY BEHIND AND HEAD TO THE UNKNOWN THAT THE FRONTIER OF WYOMING WAS IN THOSE DAYS, NOT TOO LONG AFTER THE FOUNDING OF THE TOWN OF RIVERTON.  DIRT STREETS AND BOARD SIDEWALKS WERE THE USUAL FOR SMALL-TOWN WYOMING IN THE 1920’S. IT MUST HAVE BEEN A SHOCK TO HER TO LEAVE  DEVELOPED MISSOURI AND GET OFF THE TRAIN IN RIVERTON AND HEAD OUT TO ARAPAHOE TO THE TWO-ROOM SCHOOL. 

FORTUNATELY FOR ME (OR YOU WOULD NOT BE READING THIS BLOG) MY UNCLE, JOHN GOODMAN, WAS IN CHARGE OF THE TWO-ROOM SCHOOL AT THAT TIME. HE INTRODUCED IRENE TO MY FATHER, RICHARD GOODMAN AND AS THEY SAY, THE REST IS HISTORY.

MY MOTHER NEEDED TO BE A STONG AND TOUGH WOMAN MANY TIMES IN HER LIFE. TEACHING 8TH GRADERS IN NOT EASY, ESPECIALLY IN TIMES WHEN OTHER TEACHERS HAD MANY PROBLEMS WITH ROUDY KIDS. SHE NEVER HAD DIFFICULTY WITH DISCIPLINE AND I CAN TELL YOU FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE SHE COULD WITHER ANYONE WITH A STARE FROM THOSE LUMINOUS EYES. THERE WERE MANY PROBLEMS WITH MY FATHER’S ILLNESS AND LATER WITH HER OWN MEDICAL CONDITIONS WHICH WERE BROUGHT ABOUT BECAUSE SHE HAD CONTRACTED RHEUMATIC FEVER AS A CHILD WHICH DAMAGED HER HEART. THE ISSUES WITH HER HEART MADE HER LAST FEW YEARS INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT. SHE HAD TO HAVE AN ARTIFICIAL HEART VALVE INSERTED AS A RESULT. AFTER A BLOOD CLOT IN HER LEG WHICH BECAME GANGRENOUS SHE WAS AIR-LIFTED TO DENVER AND HAD TO HAVE HER LEG REMOVED JUST BELOW THE KNEE. SHE REFUSED TO GIVE UP TEACHING AND RETURNED TO THE CLASSROOM.  ONE DAY AFTER SCHOOL WAS OUT SHE WAS ERASING THE BLACKBOARD TO PREPARE FOR ANOTHER DAY WHEN HER HEART VALVE PLUGGED AND SHE PASSED AWAY. SADLY SHE HAD NOT REACHED HER 65TH BIRTHDAY AND HER PLANNED RETIREMENT NEVER OCCURRED. 

SO ON THIS MOTHER’S DAY I MISS MY TOUGH MOTHER. SHE WAS A TRUE WYOMING PIONEER, IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD. I THANK HER FOR INSTILLING IN HER CHILDREN THE WILL TO SUCCEED, OUR OWN TOUGHNESS PERHAPS, WHICH SERVED US WELL AS WE MADE OUR JOURNEY THROUGH OUR OWN LIVES. LIVES WHICH BROUGHT THEIR OWN SHARE OF TRIALS AS WITH ALL OF US.  HONOR YOUR MOTHER ON THIS MOTHER’S DAY AND REMEMBER WITH JOY ALL THOSE INCREDIBLE THINGS SHE DID FOR YOU EACH DAY. 

 

GOING HOME

THERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT “GOING HOME”.  THE FEELINGS THAT WE EXPERIENCE DRIVING BACK TO OUR HOME TOWN ARE HARD TO DESCRIBE, BUT CLEARLY WE FEEL SOME CALMNESS A SENSE OF BEING IN THE RIGHT PLACE WHEN WE PULL INTO THAT FAMILIAR MAIN STREET. IN MY CASE I STILL FEEL THOSE FEELINGS AFTER SO MANY YEARS AWAY FROM THE PLACE WHERE I “GREW UP”.  MY HIGH SCHOOL DAYS IN RIVERTON WERE SOME OF THE BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE.  THE SEVERAL POSTS IN THIS BLOG ARE TESTAMENT TO THOSE TIMES AND TO THE EXPERIENCES OF THOSE TIMES WHEN MY CLASSMATES AND I ENJOYED THE FREEDOM TO TRY EVERY SPORTING EVENT, MUSICAL EVENT, SCHOOL PLAYS, ETC, ETC. OUR SMALL HIGH SCHOOL PROVIDED US THE OPPORTUNITY TO BROADEN OUR HORIZONS, TO TRY  OUR HAND AT ANY AREA OF INTEREST WE MIIGHT CHOSE. I AM GRATEFUL FOR THOSE DAYS. 

THIS JOURNEY INTO THE PAST IS PROMPTED BY THE INVITATION TO RETURN THIS SUMMER TO RIVERTON FOR OUR CLASS REUNION. BY NOW IF YOU HAVE READ THESE BLOG POSTS YOU KNOW THAT MY CLASS GRADUATED A VERY LONG TIME AGO, BUT THE MEMORIES OF THOSE TIMES STILL SEEM VERY REAL IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT MANY MORE OF THOSE CLOSE FRIENDS HAVE PASSED AWAY.  IT WILL BE SPECIAL TO REJOIN THOSE THAT CAN ATTEND THIS SUMMER AND TO  SHARE AGAIN THOSE WONDERFUL HIGH SCHOOL DAYS.  

RECENTLY I PUT TOGETHER A MUSICAL PIECE USING THE SYTH PROGRAMS IN MY iMAC.  WITH APOLOGIES TO DVORAK WHO WROTE THE ORIGINAL MUSIC AS A PART OF HIS NEW WORLD SYMPHONY, I WILL INCLUDE THIS PIECE AS A WAY TO LOOK FORWARD TO “GOING HOME”, THE NAME OF A POPULAR PIECE DERIVED FROM DVORAK’S ORIGINAL THEME. SO HERE IS “GOING HOME”, MY TAKEOFF ON THE WONDERFUL MELODY THAT INSPIRES ALL OF US TO WANT TO “GO HOME”. HOPE YOU ENJOY IT AND PERHAPS IT WILL BRING SOME MEMORIES OF YOUR “HOME” AS WELL. 

 

 

SOUTH PASS (A STORIED HISTORY)

NOT FAR FROM LANDER, WHERE I SPENT MY BOYHOOD, IS SOUTH PASS. DISCOVERED  BY THE MOUNTAIN MEN IN THE EARLY 1800’S, IT BECAME THE HIGHWAY, SO TO SPEAK, FOR THE THOUSANDS OF PIONEERS THAT CROSSED THE PLAINS HEADED WEST. SOUTH PASS WAS THE WAY AROUND THE IMPOSING WIND RIVER MOUNTAINS.  IT WAS NO EASY CLIMB UP THE LONG TRAIL TO THE SUMMIT AND INVOLVED CROSSING SEVERAL STREAMS. MANY STORIES CAN BE TOLD OF THE COUNTLESS PIONEERS THAT CLIMBED UP THE LONG HILL TO THE SUMMIT OF SOUTH PASS.  I WILL WRITE A SHORT POST ABOUT ONE TRAGIC AND YET TRIUMPHANT  STORY  ABOUT A GROUP OF IMMIGRANT PIONEERS, MOST FROM ENGLAND AND SCANDINAVIA WHO WERE TRYING TO GET TO SALT LAKE TO JOIN THE MORMAN SETTLEMENTS.  

THE YEAR WAS 1857 WHEN TWO GROUPS OF PIONEERS GATHERED IN IOWA AT THE END OF THE RAILROAD TO BEGIN THEIR LONG JOURNEY OVERLAND TO SALT LAKE. IT WAS LATE IN THE SUMMER TO ATTEMPT SUCH A JOURNEY, BUT THE 1000 OR SO PEOPLE HAD NO PLACE TO STAY OVER A LONG WINTER, SO AGAINST THE ADVICE OF THE SEASONED GUIDES THE TWO GROUPS, THE WILLEY AND MARTIN COMPANIES, BEGIN TO PUSH THEIR TWO-WHEELED HANDCARTS ACROSS THE PLAINS. SUPPLIES WERE CARRIED IN A FEW WAGONS AND SOME LIVESTOCK TRAVELLED ALONG WITH THE PIONEERS. TROUBLE BEGAN NOT LONG AFTER THE PLAINS TURNED INTO THE MORE DIFFICULT TERRAIN IN WHAT IS NOW NEBRASKA AND WYOMING. A BAD STORM SPOOKED CATTLE AND THEY STAMPEDED AWAY AND SCATTERED. HAVING NO WAY TO PULL THE WAGONS, THE SUPPLIES REMAINING WERE LOADED ON THE HANDCARTS ADDING TO THE DIFFICULT TASK OF PUSHING THEM.  SICKNESS AND MEAGER RATIONS TOOK A TOLL AS WELL. 

IT SEEMED WAY TOO SOON, BUT SUDDENLY IT WAS OCTOBER AND THE NIGHTS WERE COLD AND STORMS CONTINUED.  AS THE WILLEY COMPANY APPROACHED NEAR TO SOUTH PASS, HAVING MADE A VERY DIFFICULT CROSSING OF THE PLATTE RIVER, NO SMALL STREAM, THE WEATHER TURNED VERY BAD. AS TEMPERATURES DROPPED, THE SNOW BEGAN TO FALL AND PILED UP TO AS MUCH AS TWO FEET WITH DEEPER DRIFTS. THERE WAS NO CHOICE BUT TO TRY TO WEATHER THE STORM BY STOPPING, AND NOT MAKING  ANY ATTEMPT TO CLIMB UP SOUTH PASS. BY THIS TIME MANY WERE SUFFERING AND THE DEATH TOLL CLIMBED QUICKLY TO MORE THAN 100.  THE STORIES OF THE BRAVERY OF SO MANY WHO SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES SO THAT OTHERS HAD A CHANCE TO LIVE ARE RECORDED IN THE PERSONAL DIARIES OF THE SURVIVORS AND IN THE HISTORY OF THE MORMON CHURCH. FINALLY THE TWO COMPANIES WERE RESCUED BY MANY WHO CAME WITH WAGONS, FOOD AND CLOTHING FOR THE BELEAGUERED  IMMIGRANTS. THE CLIMB UP SOUTH PASS WAS STILL AHEAD AND WAS A FINAL HURDLE FOR THE WEAKENED IMMIGRANTS. THE SURVIVAL OF SO MANY IS A STORY OF TRIUMPH OVER SEEMINGLY INSURMOUNTABLE ODDS AND IS AN INSPIRATION TO THOSE GENERATIONS THAT FOLLOWED.

MY PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT IN THIS STORY WAS THE CREATION OF A DVD CALLED “CAUGHT IN THE STORM” USING THE WONDERFUL ART OF JULIE ROGERS, A PROMINENT PAINTER OF THE MORMON PIONEERS. I HAVE INCLUDED ONE OF HER PAINTINGS OF THE TWO SISTERS THAT SURVIVED THE  JOURNEY IN SPITE OF THE SICKNESS OF ONE REQUIRING THE OTHER TO PUSH THE HANDCART ALONE OVER THE MANY, DIFFICULT MILES. IT HAS BEEN AN INSPIRATION TO ME AND I TOOK THE LIBERTY TO ADD A CAPION. PERHAPS YOU WILL BE INSPIRED AS I AM BY THE  COURAGE  OF THESE PIONEERS WHO LIKE SO MANY OTHERS CAME TO THE WEST AND MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR THOSE OF US WHO CAME MUCH LATER TO LIVE AND PROSPER.Poster

REMEMBERING THOSE SUMMER DAYS OF CHILDHOOD FREEDOM

MAYBE IT IS THE APPROACH OF SPRING HERE IN ST GEORGE, UT, OR MAYBE JUST SOME FOND MEMORIES THAT CREEP INTO ONE’S THOUGHTS SOMETIME, BUT TODAY I SEEM TO BE REMEMBERING THOSE CAREFREE DAYS OF SUMMER AS A BOY OF 10 LIVING IN LANDER. PERHAPS IT IS A LONGING FOR SOME OF THE FEELING OF FREEDOM TO JUST BE A BOY EXPERIENCING SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY.  FOR WHATEVER REASON MY THOUGHTS RETURNED TO MEMORIES OF RIDING A BIKE UP TOWARDS THE HIGH MOUNTAINS WITH MY 12 YEAR OLD FRIEND AND HIS DOG TO SPEND THE DAY EXPLORING THE CREEKS AND MEADOWS AND FISHING FOR THE BROWN TROUT THAT WERE HIDING UNDER THE BANKS OF HORNECKER CREEK. WE WERE FREE TO FOLLOW THE CREEK AS IT FLOWED TO THE RIVER AND FREE TO EXPLORE WHEREVER WE WISHED. EVEN THOUGH WWII WAS RAGING IT SEEMED FAR AWAY TO US. PERHAPS MORE REAL TO MY FRIEND WHOSE FATHER WAS SERVING IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC. 

THIS FEELING OF LONGING FOR THE FREEDOM OF THOSE DAYS PROMPTED ME TO WRITE THE STORY OF OUR ADVENTURES AND THOSE OF MY FRIEND’S DOG, WHO WAS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND ONE LATE AFTERNOON WHEN WE DECIDED IT WAS TIME TO RETURN DOWN THE DUSTY ROAD BACK TO TOWN AND OUR HOMES. I WROTE THE STORY OF THE BOY’S AND THE DOG’S ADVENTURES SOME TIME AGO AND CALLED IT “TWO BOYS AND A DOG”.  A PHOTO OF THE POPO AGIE RIVER TAKEN BY MY COUSIN MALCOLM BOORAM (SADLY NOW PASSED AWAY) IS ON THE COVER TO ILLUSTRATE THE BEAUTIFUL SCENERY WE HAD THE PRIVILEGE  OF VIRTUALLY LIVING IN DURING THOSE SUMMER DAYS. I WILL ALWAYS CHERISH THOSE DAYS AND THE LESSONS LEARNED, RELIANCE, PERSEVERANCE, APPRECIATION FOR THE LAND, THE STREAMS AND FOR THE WILDLIFE OF THE AREA.  PERHAPS YOU WOULD ENJOY READING ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE A BOY IN THOSE DAYS, A TIME WHEN THE COUNTRY WAS STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE A TERRIBLE WAR, RATIONING AND MANY OTHER SACRIFICES, INCLUDING THE LOSS OF THEIR LOVED ONESTwo boys collage. WE WERE CLEARLY PRIVILEGED TO HAVE THE FREEDOM TO ENJOY OUR BOYHOOD. I WILL ALWAYS BE THANKFUL FOR THOSE TIMES AND FOR THE LESSONS LEARNED WHILE JUST BEING A BOY.

P.S.  THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE ON KINDLE, iPAD, NOOK, ETC.