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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Memories: Pioneer Day, A State Holiday on July 24th in Salt Lake City

It wasn't easy getting back in the swing of blogging. So much has changed in social media, such as formatting (both Blogger, and WordPress that I can't figure out anymore), that I was online for two days, way too long, mainly trying to figure out which of my two gmails links to this blog. I should never have deleted the first one, because I had to recover it to get my blog back. 

Somehow, though I don't remember how, I got it back. Finally, I can get into both accounts. I think I can comment on most blogs.

I don't know what to do about Google+. I really don't need it to blog, though I do know how to click the button that sends my post to it. So, I'll see what happens (sigh). At least I can do Facebook.

I've been thinking about what to post. 

This has always been a personal blog, and still is. After all, I am a writer of memoirs, one of which has been published. If I never get another one published, I'm satisfied.

But I still enjoy writing about my memories, and am trying to write about my spiritual experiences for family and close friends. Other memories I'll share on my blog. I'll also sometimes write about what's happening in my life now, which may often take me into the past....

As with this post. 

I'm into nostalgia. I think this happens especially at my age.  

Since I was born in 1940, I have plenty of material...and memories....such as.... 
(photos and information below, unless otherwise noted, are from Wikipedia).

Pioneer Day in Salt Lake City

This morning, July 24th, when my daughter reminded me that it's Pioneer Day in Utah, I remembered the parades.

It never rained on a Pioneer Day parade in my youth.

Right now in Virginia where I live, there's a downpour. But it isn't raining in Salt Lake Valley. Zero percent chance of precipitation there, and the temperature will rise to 94. THAT'S the desert where I grew up. 

A desert the first "saints" of the westward trek gazed at on July 24, 1847. A desert with good, rich soil wherever sagebrush grew, and sagebrush was all over the valley. There were tall grasses, and trees and bushes that grew along all the streams that flowed from the mountains to the Jordan River and the Great Salt Lake. 

The Great Salt Lake

On July 24, 1847 (exactly 167 years ago) Brigham Young and a company of Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, where the Latter-day Saints settled after being forced from Nauvoo, Illinois and other locations in the eastern United States

Pulling handcarts or driving wagons with oxen or horses, thousands of pioneers carried a firm commitment to America's belief in freedom of religion as they made the trek across the plains to a vast desert landscape that became known as the Utah Territory.

According to Days of '47 Inc., "This trek of the early Utah pioneers exemplifies the courage, foresight, and faith that continue to inspire modern-day pioneers. By remembering those remarkable 1847 pioneers and all those who followed, The Days of '47 seeks to make their accomplishments and hardships live today through a variety of activities and celebrations each year. We believe the example of past and present pioneers' courage is a beacon to the world." 
Re-enactment of Mormon Pioneers 
in the 1912 Pioneer Day Parade 
at Liberty Park, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The parade was first held on July 24, 1849. It was then known as the "Pioneer Days Parade" up until 1931. From 1931 to 1946 the parade was known as the "Covered Wagon Days Parade." Since 1947 the parade has been known by its current name.
LDS [Latter-day Saint aka Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aka Mormon] Church wards and stakes, businesses, and community groups have always sponsored floats in the parade. Recently, the parade has become more inclusive, with other churches participating and celebrating their own Utah pioneers. 

Last Living Pioneer Who Crossed the Plains... From the beginning, the pioneers who arrived in the valley before 1869 were honored with a dinner each July 24th. The last living pioneer who was honored died 1 January 1968. Her name was Hilda Anderson Erickson, and she was 108 years old at her death. 
And now, through the wonder of the Internet, I meet Hilda. This is her house that was built in 1915 by her son. It's still standing at 247 West Main Street in Grantsville, Utah. It's significant not architecturally but by association with Hilda. Born in Sweden in 1859, she came to Utah 19 years after Brigham Young and the first company of pioneers arrived. She was seven years old, and eventually became "the last living pioneer" of about 80,000 who came to Utah before the railroad. 

Hilda Anderson Erickson, Mormon Midwife (photo from Utah History to Go)

I wonder: How many parades did she see? Colorful, exciting, magical parades.
As a child, I always loved the clowns that sprinted down Main Street, tossing candy to the crowd. I don't remember ever catching some candy. So sad. But Daddy always took me and my little sister to the store afterwards to buy some fireworks.
Those were the days....fireworks after 9:30 p.m. at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City where my younger sister and eventually younger brother would also ride the merry-go-round and ferris wheel, my two (tame) favorites.

This picture from the Salt Lake City Weekly looks exactly like the fireworks of long-ago that I remember.

Ah, sometimes I do miss my hometown. But at least I can see its past through amazing technology that I never even dreamed of in my youth.

What memories do you have of your hometown?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Glad to Be Back

I thought I had quit blogging forever, but I kept thinking about old friends. 

Those of you who know me know that at my age (74) I am still full-time caregiver of my disabled daughter Jen, and that my time and energy are limited. So I'm not specifying how often I'll post, but when I do I'll also visit anyone who comments.

I have occasionally during the past six months stopped by friends' blogs, sometimes commenting, sometimes just reading the post, and will continue to do this. You all write such interesting things. Many of you have published wonderful books that I've read. I feel honored to know you!

Hi from Me and Jen