Friday, December 11, 2009

Ah, Gee, Ain't It Grand?

The summers of 1966 and 1967, I worked at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. When conversing with Limes through comments, I mentioned that these were some of the best times of my life. She said she wanted to hear more about this. It got me digging around in my dusty photo box and mind.

The first summer I was hired as a cabin maid for the astounding sum of $.74 an hour - plus tips. Oh, and we got dorm rooms and food too. The second summer I worked as a waittress in the dining room and the Soda Fountain. One of the famous people I served was Gregory Peck.  I have to admit that the memories all merge together in my head as to what happened which summer, but these are the highlights:

Water fights between the boys and girls dorms -

outings to the other resorts and Las Vegas -

singing the tour buses away - we all had to be moderately talented as one of the requirements was to put on shows at night for the guests - (is it starting to remind you of Dirty Dancing?) one of my numbers was "I'm The Greatest Star" from Funny Girl -

hanging out with crazy roommates who couldn't decide if we should go smoke with the wild girl from Omaha, or go door to door teaching from the scriptures which were sometimes tucked neatly under our arms -

We all tried to form summer romances -

One of the strangest experiences of my teen-age life occured when these two men rode up to the lodge mid-season in a car that looked something like this:

Hank and Joe were hired as cooks and they worked hard and mostly kept to themselves. Joe was a little friendlier than Hank and I used to hang out with him on breaks and watch him smoke his Camel cigarettes. He was roguishly intriguing, especially to a naive girl from Salt Lake City. When he mentioned he might be selling his Chevrolet, my ears stood up. I was already fascinated by funky old things and this certainly was that. I agreed to go on a test drive after work.

My roommates thought I was crazy, but I really wanted that car so I drove all around the canyon with him. The interior of the car was shredded and there was a big hole in the floor. We joked that I could put my foot through it and scoot along to increase speed. After we got back to the dorms, I told Joe I couldn't buy his car. During the drive, I had become vaguely disturbed about something I couldn't put my finger on. Perhaps it was the smokey smell in the car and all my Sunday School warnings. I was also nervous about spending my hard-earned tip money.

Shortly after this, Hank and Joe left suddenly in the middle of the night and two weeks later, someone read in the paper that Hank had murdered Joe with a shotgun after a drunken fight.


  1. Oh, you executed that quickly! Thank you! I've read it twice. I'm envious about a couple of things. First, the job. Second, that you still have all the real pics. So, you were at Kellerman's (Dirty Dancing resort) in the desert. Did you carry watermelons under your arms two at a time?

    It must have been tremendously worldly for a Sugarhouse girl, but you don't seem to have been shy or fearful about jumping into the bigger world.

    Hank and Joe fascinate, don't they? I'd like to know what their story is all about.

    My daughter is cautious and trained in martial arts and no one takes advantage of her. We prepared her for the world that way. I was rather naive, like you describing getting in the car with those men. Nothing terrible ever happened to me at the hands of strangers, but I'd be embarrassed to admit some of my leaps of faith that could have landed me in a real problem.

    And seeing something in the pictures has made me want to pop another word from my times in Salt Lake City ~ I'm sure you'll know this word, too. Did you wear Adlers? I've only ever heard the word in Salt Lake, but I see them here on your blog

    Great post, Kass. I thank you.

  2. Limes - How could you have read that so fast. I had it in draft until just a second ago because I couldn't get the blasted pictures to go where I wanted them to go. I need to get iPhoto or something.

    I don't know what Adlers are...

    Going to my Granddaughters' dance recital now. Later,

  3. I hope the recital was GRAND!

    It's funny ~ I just had an inkling to check out your blog and there you WERE - having completed your post only minutes before. I was really kind of jammed at the end of the workday and couldn't engage in much time, but I was drawn to look, and there you were.

    Hmmmmm ~ Adlers. They were socks. A girl HAD to wear Adlers if she was anyone. I don't recall what made them special - maybe nothing. But, boy howdy, I made a strong argument for Adlers, even if I had to have fewer, laundered more frequently. I wonder if that was only the THING at Valley Junior High in Murray? {I can still sing the school song, and I danced at many 3:00 p.m. dances where "they" tapped rulers/yardsticks between our midsections). By the way, when I landed in Surf City, USA, directly from my home in Taylorsville, Utah, the Adlers were quickly ditched. Beach kids wore tennies and NO socks.

  4. Sounds like a great time was had by all. Enjoyed reading the post but I sure would like to know more about Hank and Joe. You are very blessed to have made it out of the car. We all need a little recklessness in our youth so we'll have something to remember when we are older.

  5. Wow K I think I recognize some of the folks in your photos from Grand Canyon. I wish I could see enlargements just to be sure :-) Reading about your summers of '66 and '67 makes me realize how comparatively boring things were 'back home' though a few from our group did escape in '67 to Haight Ashbury so we could see real hippies.

    Glad you escaped that close call with the cooks and that you actually escaped the hometown burg for a couple of seasons too.

  6. The need to escape is creeping back.


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