Cedar City High School Class of 1960 Blog

Grand Summers

img6 I just returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon with my sister Judie, and my brother Reid. We met on August Tenth, our mother’s birthday. It was a beautiful day; we reminisced about mom as we found the wildflowers she loved so much – Indian paintbrush, blue bells, yellow and white daisies lined the sides of the road, adding so much  
color to accent the beauty of the desert. We enjoyed a short sprinkling of rain that dampen the dry earth. We rolled down the windows to inhale the familiar smell of wet earth, pine trees and sagebrush. I don’t think there is a better smell on this earth.  img7
img8 The canyon was beautiful and we sat for a long time taking in its grandeur. Reid has spent years reading about the area, and is very knowledgeable.  He pointed out places and happenings I didn’t know about. He shared humorous, and tragic stories, which lent interest to the trip. It was a perfect, perfect day.

I have since been prompted to write my memories of working at Grand, so my children and grandchildren will know of that magical time and place.

One of my earliest memories is that of hearing the sound of the steam engines bringing in tourists from around the world to visit the Utah Parks; watching stylish people on the beautiful lawn surrounding the Cedar City depot.  The stewards were imgA
imgB among the guests, dressed in starched white uniforms and attended to the needs of the travelers.  Every day during the summer for as long as I lived at 161 west 200 north I enjoyed these events.My home was nestled in the middle of it ALL…. The Utah Parks Commissary
Building was directly across the street from our house, kitty-corner across the street was The Union Pacific Train Depot, and the El Escalante hotel was only a half block east of us.

The big hotel “El Escalante” faced Main Street. Lilac bushes lined the sidewalks, hiding the big shaded lawn behind the hotel. Those lawns were like a private park for the tourists, and since it was so close to us, we would occasionally play there.  Whenever we walked the whole block to town, we passed the north side of the hotel. The basement windows were often open and we could look down into the busy kitchen. The clanking sounds of big metal trays and pans could be heard before we reached the windows. Big billows of steam
poured out, carrying the luscious aroma of the baking and cooking going on inside.  The fire escape ladder hung above the side walk, and we never ever walked under it. Our superstitious old aunts told us that if we did, bad luck would follow. We turned the corner at the front of the hotel and
we were uptown!

It wasn’t just the tourist season in the summer that supported the hotel.  The hotel was busy year round with conventions and special events.  Shriners marched together down 200 North, in front of our house, wearing their funny
red hats with gold tassels. The Lions wore purple hats with gold braid.  The Elks, and Eagles always looked to be having fun, even if they didn’t wear a hat. img15
img18 I was only 15 years old, but looked five years older. Mother came home one day and told me, “There is an opening to work at the Grand Canyon Inn, It’s yours if you want it.”  Mom had been down to visit our neighbors, the Jones’.  Mr. Jones, who did the hiring for The Parks, asked mother if one of her daughters wanted a job. It was close to the end of the season and some employees had quit early.  I didn’t want to leave home, but with my love of adventure and knowing I would only be

away a month and a half, I hurriedly packed. Early the next morning, filled with excitement and trepidation, I climbed in the cab of the big Utah Parks commissary truck.  After stops at Zion and Kanab we arrived at the Grand Canyon Inn, where I was assigned to work as a cabin maid.


Every day before work, we enjoyed a 5:00 a.m. breakfast in the cafeteria.  I was surprised when I was told that I could order anything on the menu. This was a real treat because we very seldom ate out.  If we were not at the cafeteria prior to 5:30, we didn’t get to eat until noon.  All of our meals were free, but after a while I missed Mom’s pancakes, served with caramel syrup, fresh fruit, and cooked cereal with raisins and cream.

img1B Each morning we met at the linen house to get our assignments for the day.  Then we loaded the clean bed linens and towels along with our cleaning supplies into big wooden carts (they were very heavy and the ground was uneven and rocky between the cabins), so I soon developed muscles. It took
three times back to the linen house to unload the dirty linen and reload the cart to finish my cabins. I used to wonder how they could wash all those sheets. In those day all laundry had to be line dried.  I then envisioned hundreds of clothes lines and white sheets billowing in the breeze.  When I inquired I found out that all of the clean linens were delivered and the dirty linens picked up from the Lodge and Inn every day, and driven in a large truck to a  laundry owned by  Union Pacific /Utah Parks Company, eighty miles away in the little town of Kanab, Utah. It was the closest town of any size. This laundry provided many of the town’s people with employment. I think they did the laundry for all the parks and hotels in Southern Utah. 
We worked in pairs and cleaned about 15 cabins a day. I liked to work fast and race the clock, as well as the other maids. We sang and laughed most of the day. If my partner and I finished early we had to help the slower maids until all the cabins were done.
Some of the maids would work fast and then take a nap in their last cabin before they cleaned it. Of course I would never do that. Ha Ha! If everyone worked hard we often finished by noon and had the rest of the day off.  We were always paid for an 8 hour shift. I think the wage was about .35 cents an hour plus room and board.
I made friends quickly and was never homesick, I was having too much fun. The employees that worked there were young people from all over the country, not just locals. The “Parks” always looked to hire employees with musical talent and then encouraged them to put their talents to good use.
A group of guys formed a small dance band with piano, saxophone, string bass and drums. I loved to hear them practicing in the afternoon, their music floating through the trees. It was a happy time, a peaceful time, a quiet time.
Time was mine to do what I wanted after work, and on my weekly day off.
I had plenty of time to explore the canyon and walk the trails. There was a trail called the “Rim Trail” that went from the Inn to the lodge.  That was one of my favorite walks. It had several out cropping’s of rocks that allowed us to walk right out to the edge and look down.
In the evening after closing, we all helped to clear the tables and move the chairs to the sides of the large dining room, making room for us to dance until our 11:00 pm curfew.
If you didn’t know how to dance you soon learned. There were some really good teachers, and when you are taught by the same teacher it was easy to dance with each other. There was not much else to do but dance and sing, although we often played baseball and football until dark.
Occasionally, we were able to finagle the chef to give us food, and then we had weenie roasts over a fire, or watermelon busts at the baseball field.   On other evenings we gathered around the piano, and had a “Sing a Long”. Our pianist could play any song by ear … he would take our requests.  Singing wasn’t my talent but others could harmonize together and it was fun for me to listen. img22
img25EMPLOYEE’S CABIN AT GRAND CANYON INN We had some hilarious times doing impromptu pantomime, which was my talent.  Our living conditions were very primitive! All of the unmarried employees that worked for the inn lived in wooden shacks behind the cafeteria.  They reminded me of slave houses.  Each house had two separate rooms, one on each end.
We slept four girls to each room. There was no bathroom or running water inside the cabin so we had to walk into the forest area, where there was a public restroom, this, for the help and the campers alike.  The public restroom had two showers, two pay toilets, and one free toilet which was seldom free.  We were quick at climbing under, doing our job and climbing back under the stalls. This inconvenience was the only complaint I had.
img26 There was a small cabin converted into a wash house that tourists and all park employees used.  Inside was one old wringer washer with a rinse tub, an ironing board, and a few
indoor clothes lines.  The windows were removed so the clothes could dry.  We also used outdoor lines where we hung up our clothes, using wooden clothes pins.  Washing
took the better part of the day and we gathered there and visited while we washed and ironed. Sometimes we had to wait for hours to get to use the washer. This inconvenience was the only complaint I had.

There were only two places to eat, the Inn cafeteria, or the fancy dining room at the lodge.  Most of the park guest ate at the dining room, while we workers enjoyed the cafeteria.

The “Standard” service station Boys worked at the service station about
a mile away.   Sometimes at night, after closing they washed out the bay in the garage and hosted a dance where we danced to music on the radio. They also came to our
dances at the Inn.

The Forest Rangers that patrolled the park strutted, with an air of authority, but were lots of fun when you got to know them. One day, they invited me to watch them rappel down the canyon. It was interesting to watch them bouncing off the side of the mountain, when they came back up they looked at me and asked. “Do you want to do it”?  Sure! I said.

They looked at each other in surprise. “You are the only girl we know that would even want to try”.  When it came to going over the edge I was actually quite frightened, but they reassuringly said “Go ahead we won’t let anything happen to you”.  Carefully I descended off the edge and inched my way down. Soon I got the hang of it and was swinging from rock to rock. It was exhilarating and I didn’t want to stop. After they told me how to ascend I leaned back and effortlessly walked back up to the top. Unlike today, rappelling was not a common sport but a rare experience. I am proud to say I was the first girl the rangers allowed to rappel over the edge of the Grand Canyon.  
The Wranglers, who were the guides that took the tourists by mule to Roaring Springs or to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon, were my favorites. They ranged from old to young. Uncle Ernie (the only name I ever heard him called) was the oldest and quite crippled up, but he sure knew the mules.
One evening at dinner a Wrangler I had never seen before sat at my table.  He was fun and we talked and laughed while we ate.  After he finished eating, he walked out onto the front porch and pulled a small white pouch of tobacco out of his shirt pocket and sprinkled tobacco into a little white rectangle of paper, and with his teeth
pulled the gold string to close the pouch, then put it back in his pocket. With his fingers he rolled his assemblage into a small
cylinder, licked one edge of the paper, twisted one end of it and put the untwisted end in his mouth and with a match, lit his roll-your-own cigarette.  He then made an unforgettable sound….. First he whistled through his teeth, then the exact sound of the mule’s hee haw came out, followed by the click of his tongue, and then the sound that comes out of the mules other end. Totally astonished I mimicked the sounds of the mule he had just made.  He spun around and saw that it was me and burst into laughter so hard he choked on his cigarette. Our friendship was born right then and there. We sought out each other’s company at every opportunity and became “sidekicks” as they called us. I grew up riding horses so we had a lot in common. I practiced the mule sound and could do it perfectly.
My children used to beg “momma make the sound of the mules”, and they learned to do it too. I used to wonder what Fargo would think if he knew his mule sound had been passed from generation to generation. If he had known he would have just laughed real hard. I liked to hear him laugh, there was no holding it back.

Fargo was handsome with wavy black hair tall and lean in build. He could run a jack rabbit down, and in cowboy boots to boot.  Jack Rabbits are very fast for those of you who didn’t know, and he made it look easy. I tried to do it and couldn’t get close to the pesky things.

Fargo Graham, was the most immaculate cowboy I ever knew. On his day off he would get up before day light to make sure he had the use of the washer, so he could wash and iron his clothes. He made sure his jeans had a perfect crease down the front.

tried to iron his shirts once and he took over because it wasn’t good enough. He wouldn’t live in the bunkhouse with the rest of the wranglers
because he thought it was too dirty.
He owned a small silver trailer that he lived in and pulled from place to place.  Where ever his work took him.  He cleaned it from top to bottom every day.  He also had a FARGO truck that was made in Canada. I didn’t even know that there was such a truck until I met him.

I made several trips with him on mules to rescue broken down hikers. On my day off I often went with him on his daily “Mule Trips” I always rode a mule named “Little Gin”.

During the winter he worked at a “Dude Ranch” in Southern Arizona. He
also traveled the rodeo circuit.
I couldn’t wait to get back to Grand, for my second year at the Inn.  I arrived with the first group of employees, who came in early to open the cabins at the Lodge and Inn. There was still snow on the ground. img35
Soon all of my friends returned. It was a Grand Reunion.  Canyon Life resumed as if we had never left.  When Fargo rode over on his horse Kit, I didn’t know which one I was happiest to see, the horse or Fargo. We still had our nightly dances. The boy who taught us all how to dance the summer before asked me if I would be his partner and perform in a show at the Lodge.

I was excited about that because I do like to perform, it’s in my blood. Whenever we had free time, we practiced a Jitterbug routine until we had it perfect. He was a real entertainer (He reminded me of Donald O’Connor).

I had a bad experience – I was attacked by a man who worked in the kitchen of the Inn. I was walking to my cabin in the dark when he grabbed me.  I fought him and broke away, but he chased after me and tackled me to the ground.  My screaming brought help quickly.  I was lucky!  I was saved, by some boys from Milford, before any real harm was done.  I never saw him again. He was taken into custody and shipped out before the hour was up.  Something inside me had warned me to stay away from him. He didn’t socialize and was offish to everyone, but was overly nice to me.  I was shaken up over the incident, but soon put it behind me because I was surrounded by good and caring people. I made friends with the Milford boys who rescued me. Milford, a small railroad town just 52 miles northwest of Cedar. I didn’t know it at the time, but mother had just accepted a teaching job in Milford.  When I joined Mom and my little sister Judie there in January, I was reacquainted with those young men who had come to my aide. We are still friends today.

Once in a while on our day off, we would hitch a ride to Kanab, and swim in the pool at Perry lodge.  This lodge was well known because movie stars stayed there while on location filming westerns. You never knew if you would run on to someone famous.
Kanab was actually known as “little Hollywood”.  We went there to swim, eat good food and shop. When we were ready to go back we walked to the Standard service station and hoped the attendant would find us a ride with someone going to Grand.  The Standard boys never let us down.  In those days no one pumped their own gas.  Attendants did it for you. They also washed your windows checked your oil and tires Service was a way of life and you found it everywhere; and everyone took it for granted … until it was gone.
I miss It! Men tipping their hats, rushing ahead to open a door and standing when you entered a room. A smile was all the pay they received and I had plenty of those.

Church was held in the lodge on Sunday. It was a non-denominational
service.  Father Valine, a Catholic priest came several times a summer to care for the catholic mass and confessions. We liked him to come he was a friend to all.
The LDS church held a short sacrament meeting. It was usually conducted by the young men who worked at the park. The ministers who lived in neighboring towns took turns coming. There was always some kind of worship service for the tourist and employees. (My sister tells me that when she was there four years later they
had hired a young pastor and his wife to work at the canyon at other jobs, but were also expected to meet the ecclesiastical needs of the employees).

It was a long summer, three and a half months.  I was home sick and was anxious to get home.

The next year Larry Crawford, was our manager. One morning shortly after we arrived he appeared at the linen house.  He ask me to come with him.  I thought I was in trouble, but he surprised me when he appointed me to run the little store where the post office was located, and where camping supplies were sold.  They were both located inside the Inn.

This is was a big responsibility and I didn’t feel confident because I lacked experience for such a job.  Thinking I was older than my years, he assured me I would do fine.   I begged him to let me go back to the carefree life of a cabin maid.  After a few weeks and many mistakes, he was finally convinced. I think the  following experience helped persuade him….. A man from Texas, with a heavy accent, came into the store, and asked for some “ten packs”, thinking he was wanting some sanitary products, I went back to the back of the store wrapped up a box of Tampax and gave it to him.  I was puzzled when he shook the box and muttered something about “sure hope they work.”  About an hour later the angry man came in with the open box, slammed it on the counter and said, “Good hell lady I wanted tent pegs not Tampax”.  Mr. Crawford was standing there and heard the whole thing, along with the employees who were waiting in line for dinner.
Everyone was laughing, I was mortified because in that day you didn’t even show a sanitary product on the shelf.  They were wrapped up in brown paper and tied with a string before they were taken to the counter to be purchased.  You would never even show them, let alone talk about them. It was considered crude and improper. Again I pled with Larry not to make me work there another day (I could fill a whole page of silly embarrassing mistakes).  He told me I couldn’t go back to the cabins to work, but after talking with his wife, Karen, they decided to have me tend their baby son Kevin.  His wife would then run the store and post office. This was great for me because I love babies, and the Crawford’s were fun people to be around.  Another bonus was that they moved me, and my roommates, into a tourist cabin.  The cabin had a heater, shower and toilet.
 Wow!  We were living in luxury, no more nightly runs to the John. One day, Fargo came over to the Inn to visit me.  I put baby Kevin in the back of his truck.  He was just old enough to pull himself up and walk around holding on to the edges of the truck bed. It made a perfect play pen.  It was safe and clean and Kevin loved it and I enjoyed Fargo’s company.   One day I made a bed in the back of the truck, and he took his nap. Fargo had to leave to get ready for our night out and started his truck up. I got out and he left …. then I remember Kevin was still asleep in the back.  The roads were very bumpy and I was afraid Kevin would bounce out.  I ran across the forest hoping to get in front of Fargo before he turned onto the main road.
I sprinted like I was in a race for my life, all the time praying Kevin would be safe.  I arrived at the road just as the truck pulled up. I rushed to look in the back, where I found Kevin was still sound asleep. I never let anything like that happened again.  He seldom left my arms.  Mom came out to see me one weekend and brought my little sister Judie, and my brother Reid.  I was so surprised when they walked through the door.  I squealed with delight. I didn’t know they were coming – there was no way to let me know. I had fun showing them my favorite places and friends. We stayed up late talking and catching up on all the news from home.
The Next day, we drove out to the lookout points and stopped for a
picnic.  While we were eating,
deer came right up to the table looking for food.  My family thought Kevin was adorable and didn’t mind me bringing him along. I was sad when they left.
We had a new chef that summer. He was so stingy, he wouldn’t give us even a crust of bread for our after hour parties.  Besides being stingy, he was a big grouch, and so was his wife.  We called them Mr. and Mrs. Grouchy.
imgB All of the chefs in the past had given us left over treats, and even ordered extra food so we could have a few parties.
None of us liked him or his wife. She hogged the wash house and chased us out till she was through and wouldn’t even let us iron while she washed. She filled all the clothes lines with her clothes and was unwilling to remove them after they were dry.  “I will take them down when I’m da- good and ready “she barked, just to be mean.

One day, I needed to hang up some of Kevin’s clothes and the whole line was full of her husband’s white jockey shorts, sixteen pairs. I counted them.  I draped Kevin’s clothes over some pine boughs to dry, then I took him in for his nap.  When I was changing his diaper a bunch of little hard round stools rolled out and fell on to the floor.  I picked them up with toilet paper.  Suddenly, a feeling of naughtiness completely consumed me. I found myself outside under the chef’s underwear, placing one small round droplet of poo in each pair of the clean white under briefs, my roommate, Lydia, following behind me, smacked the crotch together so the spoils couldn’t roll out. We were laughing so hard, our tummies ached.

Now of course there were repercussion for the naughty act, but it wasn’t what I expected it to be.  Any time after that, the chef generously gave us marshmallows, hot dogs or watermelons without our even asking. In fact on the day his wife washed, he was the one who suggested we have a party.  He never told anyone about what he found in his underwear!

Eating, working, playing, and watching over each other, you become like a big family and it hurts to say farewell; at least that’s how it was for me.  Yet, there was the excitement of returning home and seeing childhood friends and starting school – it made a good balance.


It was 1960, the summer after I graduated, that I found out the
Crawford’s were not coming back to manage the inn.  Mr. Crawford had been made the manager of the lodge at Zion (a nice promotion for him).  I decided to work at the Lodge instead of the Inn.

The lodge was a whole different environment. There was a large dorm for the girls and a large dorm for the boys. 

The dorms were nice, with a large recreation room, including a piano, fire place, and comfortable couches on which to lounge or to visit or entertain guests.
There was a dorm mother to watch over all the girls. Strict rules were posted – no boys allowed in the sleeping quarters. I didn’t ever think of ruining my reputation or losing my job for doing such a thing.  Boys respected us, and more importantly we respected ourselves. I never heard of anyone breaking the rules.

The lodge catered to the wealthy tourists, so everything was first class.  The grounds were immaculate, as well as the lodge and cabins.  Employees wore uniforms and were well groomed.

The big yellow tour buses arrived and departed three or four times a day. When the bus driver or “gear jammers” as we called them honked the horn three times, that was the signal to the employees that it was time for a “Sing a Way.”  Everyone left their work stations and gathered at the flag pole in front of the Lodge where the “Dudes” were boarding their busses You would hear them singing along the paths from the cabins,
through the dining room and lodge, in the curio and gift shop, smoke shop, bar and soda fountain.  The bell hops and kitchen help came too. It was another impressive,
unexpected and friendly show for the guests.



img13 img14

The employee’s talents were used to put on “Evening Shows”. These were scripted and used year after year.  A program director was hired specifically for these shows. Auditions were held early in the summer, to assign lead parts and
specialty acts.  It was a real honor if you were chosen. I was cast as the villainess in a notorious melodrama. All of the other employees were expected (encouraged) to participate in group numbers.

The shows were performed in the big room that was located up a short flight of stairs, above the main lobby.  It had a small stage with no backstage area to change, or to
enter or exit from. We had to do all that in the breeze way between the lodge and the soda fountain.

Every night, the room was packed with tourists and employees alike, to
witness the Shenanigans.  People on the Union Pacific sponsored tours were promised live entertainment at each Park, so we had to have a different show for each day of the week.
There was a Variety Show with an MC.
Sometimes the guests would participate.
In that show my partner and I did a comical spoof depicting different dances – Waltz, Charleston, Square Dance and Jitterbug.
We wore costumes, used props, danced the Jitter Bug obnoxiously, chewed bubble gum, and then popped each other’s bubble at the end of the dance.
In “The Review”, waitresses, bellhops, and cabin maids performed in full uniform, each group sang and acted a humorous number about the trials of their jobs. The waitresses marched with their large trays held high in
one hand.   They entered through the audience, as if they had just left their jobs to perform and then returned to work.
The melodrama had a hero and heroine, villain and villainess (I played the part of the villainess).  The show was cleverly written, based on a cowboy and Indian theme, and was done in pantomime. The accompanist on the piano, made the whole show, he had a song for
every character and a sound for every movement on the stage. It was kind of corny and fun, and I’ve used this skit many times over the years.  After the shows were over the chairs were removed, and the dance started with live music for everyone.  Employees were encouraged to dance with the Dudes. The lodge dances were very nice and somewhat romantic, as the large veranda overlooking the canyon was adjacent to the dance floor and you could continue dancing out under the stars.
Whenever I hear “Moonlight in Vermont”, “See You in September”, or “Unforgettable”, my memories float back to dancing at Grand on the veranda.


My position at the Lodge was working in the curio store. A uniform wasn’t required while working in there, but I did have to dress up. Most of the time I wore a summer dress and sandals.  Being friendly by nature, made this position one of sheer pleasure. 
I visited with customers, and arranged the display cases that showed off the beautiful handcrafted Indian jewelry, made by the Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi Indians of the southwest.  It was very expensive and I dreamed of someday owning some of it, but being a poor high school girl, it wasn’t feasible at that time in my life.  I did sell a lot of it to the wealthy tourists, and I realized that I had a great talent for sales. I was very successful in this job, and was asked to pick out the jewelry and rugs that the Indians brought in to sell.  They brought in their beautiful hand-woven blankets, made from the wool of the sheep that they raised.
The rugs were rolled up, and when they were unrolled, the jewelry inside was revealed, which they proudly displayed for us to buy.  It was their livelihood an art that had been passed on for generation after generation, for thousands of years. 
These people wore their native Navajo dress, and the whole family would come when they made the trip to sell to us. I got to know several of them by name, and looked forward to them coming, which was about three times during the summer. I still love this jewelry and my husband knowing this has spoiled me with a nice collection.


Gift from my Husband

My daughters inherited my love of the silver and turquoise, and now my granddaughters have started thei
r own collections.



img29 The evenings could get real cold, and so it was practical to bring fall sweaters and warm things to wear, but the anytime could be desert hot.  There was a special flat rock hanging over the canyon edge that we would climb onto to bath in the sun.  It became known as “sun tan rock.”

It was the tradition at the lodge to have a mock Christmas celebration among the employees.  On the 25th of July we woke up to Christmas music and cheerful greetings of “Merry Christmas.”  The celebration lasted all day.  We put decorations on a pine tree that grew in front of the dorm, and decorated the rooms. That night we lit candles, and sang Christmas Carroll’s in the dark. The pageantry only lasted the one day and then we were back to summer fun – water fights and pranks at the dorms.

Word would leak out that the boys were going on a panty raid during the night, so everyone hid their underwear under their mattresses.  About 2:00 am the boys stormed through the dorm, yelling panty raid, and were so mad when they couldn’t find even one pair. A girl sent home for a pair of her grandmas giant sized undies, and the next time they raided we left the pair of big panties in a drawer. We all laughed so hard. The boys hung them on the flag pole in front of the boys’ dorm.

The cabins at the lodge were deluxe; made of log and rock, many of them were so close to the canyon edge that you could look through the big windows, and see into the deep canyon. They had fire places, and the bell hops carried in the wood and started the fires. These guys really worked hard carrying
bags, delivering food, and watching out for the many dignitaries that came. Some of the famous came incognito.
The gear jammers had weekly runs to Grand and stayed overnight. My sister Gaylynn, worked at Zion, and we used the gear jammers to deliver packages, letters, and personal messages back and forth. Most of the messages were written on the back of the Union Pacific

placemats, from the dining tables. Sometimes the message read “I’m sending this letter to you with… so and so… Do you think he is cute?  Send a message back with him so I can have an excuse to talk to him.  “I went out on a few dates with some of the guys that Gaylynn set me up with, but I didn’t like any of them. I had a boy I liked at home, but I still went out with Fargo.  I didn’t see him every day like I did at the Inn.  My dance partner worked at Bryce Canyon, so I didn’t dance on the night show either, but I still performed in the melodrama.

I had great roommates.  One of them was a girl that moved to Cedar City, our senior year. We were really different, but soon became great friends.  Our other roommate was two years older and was planning for her wedding in the fall.

We all bonded, and became fast friends. The Kingston Trio and folk music was popular, and some of the guys who played guitar and banjo would come and play for the dorm.  We would sit on the porch of the dorm, and sing.  My favorite was “They Call the Wind Mariah”.  You could hear us singing all over the canyon.  It was a good summer, I met a lot of interesting people from all over the world.

The highlight of the summer was hiking across the canyon from the north rim to the south rim, and setting a record for the fastest time. There were four of us girls that decided to go, and we planned ahead for the day. We didn’t want to carry anything, so we took a pillow case, cut holes for our head and arms then folded it up at the bottom, and sewed pockets to hold our supplies, which consisted of a pair of socks, a change of underwear, small bar of soap, a tiny bottle of shampoo, a wash cloth, toothbrush, and lipstick.  In another pocket were candy bars for energy, two sandwiches, band aids, and a giant garbage bag we could use if it rained or we got cold.  The plastic would supposedly hold in our body heat. We wore a pair of cutoff jeans, and white canvas tennis shoes. Slinging an old medal canteen across our shoulders, we were ready to go.

Before we left, we made a pledge that if one of us couldn’t make it, and had to stop, we would leave them behind, and the rest of us would go ahead and find someone to help the laggard. Fargo was always going down, leading a mule, to pick up a hiker who couldn’t make it. We met at the Kaibab trail head, and left at exactly 1:00pm, after we

had finished a morning shift at work.  That way, we only had to miss a half day of work, as the next day was our day off.

Going down was easy, we almost ran all the way. We didn’t stop to rest once. We only passed two hikers going up, on our

imgD1 way down. Everything was smooth sailing, until we heard some rattling in the brush and thought it could be rattle snake, so we ran faster. We were amazed at how fast we made it down to the bottom.  We were happy to walk on level ground again, and arrived at Phantom Ranch, which was a small rock house, with a rock swimming pool.  A care taker stayed there to man the emergency phone.

We were hot and sweaty, and ready for a swim. We were the only people there, so we took off our shoes, socks, shorts, and pillowcase tops, and swam in our undies. It felt great, and we were soon refreshed. We
decided not to spend the night there like we had originally planned to do, so we ate one of our sandwiches and filled our canteens.
By then the sun was low in the sky and with new found energy, we started our assent up the trail to the South rim. The trail was

getting steeper now, and it was almost dark, when suddenly a boy appeared out of nowhere.  We were the only ones on the trail, so we were really surprised. He was
friendly, and we found out that he walked down to measure the depth of the Colorado River once a week.
He preferred to walk back at night to avoid the heat of the day, and knew the trail well. He offered to guide us up with his flash light, until we stopped for the night. To tell the truth, once it was dark the canyon became spooky, and the thought of sleeping in our garbage bags on the side of the trail fast lost its appeal.

None of us had thought to bring a flash light, so we went on, driven mostly by fear. It was a hard climb, I thought I was the only one who wanted to stop.  Remembering our pledge to leave the one who couldn’t keep up behind, I staggered on up the trail, following the small beam of light, not knowing if there were dangerous drop offs or rattle snakes coiled ready and waiting to strike. 
The most frightening thought of all was the big cougars, who hunted at night and were known to live in the canyon. Hoping to stay on safe ground, 
imfswitch I humbly followed the light and trudged on through the night.  We rounded a switch back, and was about to start up another steep grade, when I resigned myself to being the one to be left behind, and laid down on the hard ground, not caring that sharp rocks poked into me.  I was too exhausted to move. I was surprise when the other girls also fell down onto the trail beside me, all of us too tired to even talk.  I don’t know how long we laid there, but the guide didn’t leave us, he just watched over us while we slept.
The canyon was still dark when we picked ourselves up, and staggered on up the narrow trail of switchbacks. We stopped a few more times and rested, as it was an arduous physical climb. It was dawn and the rising sun fill the sky full of pastel colors in every shade.  Watching the sun rise over the canyon is a sight to behold.
The canyon was in its full glory when we finally came to the end of the trail.  We had made it. I had walked across the canyon, then a sad thought came to me – I had lost the opportunity to see all of it by walking

at night, and rushing.  Past some beautiful views. Then a realistic positive thought came – we had a real adventure, and who knows if we hadn’t done it that way we may not have made it at all.  We were so unprepared. 
The south rim is not at all like the north rim, it is like a little community, and the view of the canyon was not as majestic. We found a rest room, freshened up, and washed our aching feet in the sink. We put on a clean pair of socks and our worn out dirty shoes.  Breakfast was tasty, and we sipped a cup of hot chocolate while we debated a dilemma.  We had plenty of time to explore, but we were all too sore and tired, and the plane we reserved to fly us back to the north rim wouldn’t be leaving for ten hours. So, we decided to go to the airport, and get some rest there. The pilot said he could fly us back right away, so we boarded the plane and he flew us over the whole canyon. It was fun to pick out familiar and favorite spots from the air.  He actually flew down 
into the canyon in some parts. The lane ride was a good way of looking at the canyon I loved. He landed the plane outside of the park entrance in a meadow, a few miles from the Kaibab lodge. img38
The morning wind came and it was cold, so we put on our garbage bags, and started to walk to the road which was some distance away.  We were very stiff now, and the walk to the

road was a feat in itself.   We stood by the road in the middle of nowhere, hoping someone would offer us a ride back, but who would pick up four haggard girls wearing garbage
bags?  No one.
I had an idea, I took off my bag and laid down by the side of the road, the other girls hid in the grass. The next car to come drove by, stopped and came back to check on me.  It was a lovely older couple, and when they heard our plight they took mercy on us and were glad to drive us back to the dorm. They wanted to know all about our adventure, and listened in awe. We thanked them graciously. A shower and bed never felt so good. When the alarm sounded the next morning, all four of us girls cried in agony.  We couldn’t walk, every muscle in our bodies went into spasms. The manager got word, and came to our room where we received a scolding for being so stupid, and for taking chances with our safety. We all had to
miss work that day, and hobbled in pain for a week.

My life was changing I was excited to start college and focus on a career. Fall was in the air when the employees all gathered at the lodge for the traditional “Kiss a Way” before they loaded on the buses to take them home.  I liked working at the lodge but I LOVED working at the inn.” I said good bye to the canyon and left not realizing I was not just leaving for the summer but leaving A WAY OF LIFE that was lost forever.

It was a long time before I returned and when I did.  Gone were the dances, shows and all of the activities that created interaction between the employees and the tourists. The tour buses were long gone and the dress codes for the employees were nonexistent. The wonderful smelling tobacco shop went with the era 

of affluence even the canoe that took the first explorers down the Colorado River lost its place of prominence on the covered walkway between the curio shop and soda fountain. They who managed the national parks after Union Pacific turned it into an experience of strictly nature, they wanted people to just appreciate the nature and the beauty of this natural creation.  Nothing can ever change that…. it is still one of my favorite places …but I think back and remember when everything was so clean and polished there were small lawns to mow, music played thought the trees, the employees sang and the organ played the “Grand Canyon suite” for those who were dinning and gazing out the big windows.


It has taken me 55 years to write “my Grand Canyon story”. Many names I have forgotten, but you that I talk about have remained with me for over a half century. My memories come back to life as I write. I think the only way to write what’s in my heart is to THANK those who created the “sentimental journey” I’m on.

My many friends I danced and laughed with, thanks for teaching me how to dance. We walked to the lodge in the rain under the big umbrella they used to keep the tourists dry. We danced and sang “Singing in the Rain”, all the way pretending we were Debbie Reynolds, and Gene Kelly. After the show was over, the mechanic at the garage gave us a ride back to the inn, in the antique touring bus they used for dignitaries.   It was a convertible, and we sat in the very back seat pretended we were famous movie stars, and the trees were our fans. We waved and blew kisses at them. We entertained a lot of people with our impromptu acts, but most of all we entertained ourselves.  It was fun to be so-o-o silly.  Lydia Harrison, Maureen Adams. Doris Oakerlund, and Linda Wheelwright, were my unforgettable roommates.  Each one of them impacted my life in a meaningful way. Our friendships have lasted through the years.  We shared our fears and dreams of the future, and our wedding days.

Ronald Simpkins, ask me to play on the boy’s football team, because they didn’t have enough boys and they were playing the lodge team. My team mates watched out for me and made sure I didn’t get hurt. We won. Ron called a play where he faked a handoff, then secretly
slipped the ball to me, and I ran it in for the winning touchdown. No one was expecting the girl to do it. Probably no one else remembers, but I do.  Ron, received more tips than any other bell hop.
Thank you Fargo, for not exploiting my innocence and always treating me like a lady. The horse rides you took me on, where we watched the deer and elk cautiously creep out of the trees to drink at the mountain watering hole. We rode

home in the dusk, and the sunsets would fill the whole sky, making it look like it was on fire.  It was a perfect ending of a day.  I could never

ever forget going down into the canyon with you for the first time, the trail was so narrow, I was afraid “little Gin” might stumble and we would fall to the bottom.  I would peer over the edge, and it tickled my tummy. The other trips, I relaxed and
img43 enjoyed the views. My favorite trip, was when we rode the mules down and it rained, the water poured over the cliffs creating water falls, which fell thousands of feet turning the cliffs into vibrant colors of orange,
and pink.

Very few people ever get to see this spectacular sight, for it only last for a few minutes. You created the opportunity for me to get to know the many moods of the canyon. When we went to Roaring Springs, you carved our names in the trunk of a quaking aspen tree, and I found if twenty years later. You are a part of the canyon to me.

I loved the Crawford’s.  For believing in me and trusting me to care for Kevin, their most precious possession. When I quit at the store, he never made me feel like I had failed, but both Larry and Karen continued to teach me, and I felt confident helping in the store when they needed me. When I said goodbye I cried sad tears.  I would miss Kevin and his happy little face, I wouldn’t see his first steps or watch him grow.

Sometimes in life we need special people, and you wonder how you can grow to love them so much in such a short time. You know from the beginning of your friendship you will be required to say goodbye.  I think that is why you make each day together a cherished time.

Change is inevitable, people grow old and then they die.  Buildings deteriorate and fall down, but God’s beautiful creation’s last forever.  Grand Canyon, will always be a wonder of the world. When you go Grand think of me, for a part of me is there. Your grandfather, my father, strung the first power lines to the north Rim of Grand Canyon. My older sisters Barbara and Reveau worked there before me, and my sister Judie worked there after me.  Your pioneer ancestors settled that part of the country and were some of the very first to witness its splendor.

“When the pale moon beams,

I’ll see grand in my dreams

When evening shadows fall.”


img1C1                                 NOTES OF INTERESTimg1D2

I goggled my old friends and found that Linda Wheelwright raised her family in Phoenix and was a nurse. Fargo Graham became well known in the movie business, and furnished horses for over 144 western movies, played bit parts, and lives in Wilcox Arizona.  Ron Simpkins raised his family in Reno, Nevada, owns an accounting firm, and he and his wife Helen are world travelers (he tips the workers very well).  I don’t know anything about the Crawford’s or Kevin.

All gone … tourist trains quit running into Cedar City in 1972.  In that same year, Union Pacific donated all of its properties to the Department of the Interior, and separated itself from the Utah National Parks.  They gave the hotel El Escalante to the city, and it was used as a boy’s dorm for a few years.

One day I went home to Cedar City to visit momma, and found that they had torn down the old historic hotel.  I was sad, it felt like an old friend had died.

Momma died in 1984, and the house I grew up in was moved to the valley west of Cedar City.  When I go home to see my old home town, I go the cemetery to do my visiting.  Nothing is the same, but the mountains, me I am home


I want to thank my sister, Judie Sherratt for formatting the photograghs into my writings and for encouraging me to tell my stories. She is my best friend.



  1. Carolee, Thank you so much. This is inspiring, beautiful, emotional and informative. I love it and I have such warm memories of you. I send my love and blessings. Lory Misel

    Comment by Lory Misel — 03/24/2015 @ 9:50 PM | Reply

  2. Dear Carolee, I have read every word you have written, and enjoyed every picture you have shared. Thank you so much for this incredible experience! Until having shared your great memories, I thought Bonnie, Chad, and I had the best summers possible working at Drug Center! Wow, you have done a remarkable job of compiling and writing these great adventures. Have you thought of publishing? Seriously, it is wonderful, and you should consider it. Sincerely, Cynthia Williams Dunaway

    Comment by Cynthia W. Dunaway — 04/19/2015 @ 4:45 PM | Reply

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