The lodge at Zion Canyon closed after Labor Day. We were all sent home.
Back in Cedar I prepared to return to School. Before school started Fred Adams asked me and my cousin Phyllis Buhannan to dress up in formals and ride in a parade in St. George for Dixie Roundup, representing the College. That was fun. Then he asked us if we would go to Salt Lake to a Travel and Recreation show dressed in Shakespearean Costumes to promote the Festival. That was a blast. Our Job was to roam around all over the building and hand out literature about the Festival. I wore my Mid Summers Night Dream costume and Phyllis wore a costume made for Queen Elizabeth.
As the school year started I had been elected as Vice President of the Drama Club. Phyllis Davis was the President. Fred Adams was the Faculty adviser. We had meetings every week and planed all kinds of activities. We had a Weird Foods party, the idea being that since most of us were from small Utah towns we had not been exposed to much of the worlds cuisine. So everyone was supposed to bring something that they liked but that no one else had eaten. There were some rules you could not bring dog of cat food and it had to be eatable. It was lots of fun to see what everyone would come up with. One year I brought Porcupine Balls and another year I brought a pie with a hamburger crust with a rice filling. Not too weird but at least they were good.
One of the plays we did that year was ‘The Fantasticks”. Fred asked me to be his assistant director. I sat in on the auditions and kept the directors book with all the notes and stage directions. I loved being so closely involved. Then in the Spring we again did ‘A Mid Summers Night Dream’. Once again I was cast as Helena. It was so good to be in a play again. This time we took the play to the University of Utah. We put on the production for a Matinee and a evening performance. At one point in the play I had a short speech that I delivered as I sat at the front edge of the stage. As I was saying my part I noticed that Marice Abravanel, the conductor of the Utah Symphony, was sitting right there in the front row. Wow! a real celebrity. That was so cool.
How was school going? School? was I actually going to school? Oh yes, I did have classes. I tried to take a French class. What a disaster. I did try. I really tried. But I barely understood the elements of English and trying to learn another language was not to be. I was heavily invested into Drama Classes. But I was beginning to feel that I had no focus and I did not see any light at the end of the tunnel. I could not see where this schooling was going to get me. I had come to realize that I did not have the fire needed to be a working actress. I really wanted more than anything to be married and have a bunch of kids. That seemed to be a goal that did not seem to getting anywhere. Tauna was having the same feelings but we pressed on. Tauna was more into athletics than I was. She was in a water aerobics class. I took a swimming class and finally did a real dive from a diving board. I took a dance class and discovered that I really had two left feet.
By the first part of the year I had decided that I would apply to go back to Zion at the beginning of the summer. Tauna and I both got our applications in. Then we heard the news that the Lodge at Zion had burned down. Workers were doing some remodeling and repair work and a fire started and because of the remoteness of the lodge and since the building was made out of logs it burned to the ground. I was really sad it was a beautiful building. I think it had been built in the thirties. I had many wonderful memories of time spent with my family at that lodge and the big lawn in front. For several summers my Dads company would hold a summer picnic on the lawn in front of the Zion lodge. It felt like a part of my childhood had been destroyed. But we soon learned that the Union Pacific would rebuild and there would be jobs for the next summer.
As the end of the quarter approached the school had an Awards Ceremony. I got it into my head that I should be awarded the best actress award. When the nominations were put out I wasn’t even nominated. I was really hurt. My friend Phyllis Davis was given the award. I was really surprised she barely had three lines in one play. I knew than that if I really wanted to pursue acting I was in for a load of heart ache. I didn’t think I was strong enough.
School was over and The Summer of 1966 was about to begin. Hurray!
After school ended in the Spring I didn’t know what I was going to do. One of my friends from College was Phyllis Davis. She was a year older than me and she was also tall like me. She helped me get a job at a local laundry. I spent all day ironing and folding sheets. That was hard work, hot and hard. I lasted about a month. Then I got a job at JC Penny’s as a clerk. That was kind of fun but I really was out of my comfort zone. I think I was good with the customers but I was not very smart. I had not auditioned for Festival and by this time Festival was using more actors from out of State than locals. I got a job tending the children of one of the costumers. I would ride my bike to her house and spend all day with the kids. I would do house work and fix their meals. She only needed me for part of the Summer so then I was out of employment again. I decided to apply at the Parks again. This time I was sent to Zions National Park. I was excited because Tauna was working there also. I once again was a cabin maid. One of the good things about being a cabin maid was once your work was done you were done for the day. By this time my Brother Doug was home from his mission and he also was working at Zions. He had a job in the kitchen. I finally got my chance to climb Lady Mountain. One day after I had finished my work Doug and I climbed up Lady Mountain and we got back in time for dinner.
Another great thing about Zions at that time there was a swimming pool as part of the Lodge. Guests of the Lodge could go swimming and employees could use the pool if there were not too many guests. But the bad thing about the pool is that it was not heated so the water depended on the sun to provide the heat. The only problem was that because the pool was at the bottom of a canyon the sun only hit the pool for just a few hours a day. By four o’clock the shadows of the surrounding mountains were creeping across the lawn and the pool was in a shadow and out of any direct sunlight. The pool never was very warm and by the time I was through work it would already be in the shade and kind of a cold swim. But kids being kids a quick dip was always welcome.
The employees were once again required to sing the buses away twice a day. We also put on variety shows for the guests. I was able be involved in these and it was lots of fun. I also got to substitute for a waitress once in a while. That was good because then you got tips. Cabin Maids got tips sometimes but Waitresses got tips every night. We also held Sacrament Meeting every Sunday and guests as well as employees were welcome. If we had to work that day we could take off for the time to go to Church. It only lasted about one hour. But it was very grounding to have that consistency to look forward to.
Zion Lodge was about two miles from the entrance of the park. Just outside the park was the small town of Springdale. They had a real grocery store and several motels and restaurants. Since we did not have access to a car if we wanted to get there we had to either walk or hitch hike. We did that a few times but not very often. Tauna was a waitress and I was a cabin maid so our work schedules were a lot different. But we still hung out together when we could. We also met other kids from all over the country. It was fun getting to know kids from other states many who had never heard of a Mormon. I came to realize that it really is a responsibility to set an example of who you were and what you stand for.
I loved working at Zions it was a great summer job. I was able to save enough money to pay for my tuition the next quarter.
Next College 1965 – 66.
After they closed the Lodge at Grand Canyon I came back to Cedar City and got ready to enroll in the College of Southern Utah. Enrolling was very different then. The teachers would all be sitting around the Gym at tables and you would go from table to table and collect IBM cards that had holes punched in them for each class you wanted and then turn them all into the registrar. Much like High School there were certain classes you had to take in order to graduate. English, some sort of Math, some sort of Science, Social Studies, History, and Humanities and classes to point to your major. I had earned enough over the summer to help pay my tuition. Mom and Dad helped with the rest. I still lived at home so I had no room and board expenses. I honestly do not remember what I did for spending money. I don’t remember having a job or getting any babysitting jobs. I guess if I needed money I had to beg from my parents.
College was so different from High School. Classes were usually held two or three times a week so often you would have several hours between classes. This left lots of time to spend in the library studying or in my case because I did not really think I needed to study I spent most of my free time hanging around the Auditorium. There were clubs to join and Sororities to pledge. I signed up to pledge and was invited to several Sororities but when it came to being invited once again the only invitation that came was from the Sorority that only had about three members and was about to be shut down. I didn’t join, I started going to the Drama Club and it was there that I found the friends that I would have the rest of my time in College. One of the girls I met was Tauna Lyman, she was from Monticello, a small town in Eastern Utah. Her older sister had played the part of Cleopatra the first summer I was in Shakespeare. She had also played the part of Lady Macbeth. I thought she was a wonderful actress. Tauna was not really interested in acting but she found friends in the Drama Club and I don’t know why but we just became very good friends. Another difference that I thought was wonderful was girls did not have to wear dresses to school. We could wear pants.
I took every drama class I could fit into my schedule. I signed up to help with every production. I was given a part in the play ‘The Ladies in Apt. 409′. I had a small part. I really loved being part of a play. At Christmas time the Drama Club would decorate the Auditorium with about ten different Christmas Trees. Each one decorated to a different theme. It was a lot of work but really fun and exciting to see them come together. We would scavenge around town and come up with all kinds of stuff to use on our trees. They were beautiful. I believe they truly lived up to the name Hall of Enchanted Trees. It was a gift to the community. The elementary would bring classes to see the trees. It was fun to be there and talk to the kids.
I had the opportunity to work in the costume shop. Eventually I was able to get a paid position in the costume shop so that helped with my spending money. My social life picked up too. For the first time in my life I was being asked out on dates. Most of the time however we traveled in a pack. Tauna and I and several other girls and boys socialized. We went to movies and other school activities. In other words I had finally found a world were I felt like I fit and was accepted. My regrets about those College years was that I really did not work harder at academics. I think I was not really very focused on learning. If I were to give my Grand kids any advice it would be to take school seriously. It is hard to go back.
At this point in our family, Doug was on a mission in Australia, Kathryn was married to James Jensen and already had a baby girl, Richard was in ninth grade and Sandra was engaged to Max Lewis whom she met at Utah State University. They planned to be married right after Christmas in the St. George Temple. Hers was the first wedding reception held in our new ward house. Kathy’s little girl was just learning to walk and she was toddling all over the gym floor. The floor was so shiny and new she would keep slipping and falling. She would lay down on the floor and pet it. She kept us all very entertained.
More College memories next time
Finally out of High School. Fred Adams the founder of The Utah Shakespearean Festival was in our ward and he came up to me one Sunday and asked me if I was going to try out for Festival. I said “I didn’t think I had a chance.” He said, “I want you to.” So he told me when auditions were and I showed up. I don’t remember much about the process but it took a couple of days and then the lists were posted. I was given the part of Helena in ‘A Mid Summers Night Dream” and a walk on part in something else, I really can’t remember. At this point in the Festival’s history we only did three plays and they rotated through the week. The Festival only lasted through the month of July. So we played “Dream” maybe two maybe three times a week. The shows were dark on Sunday and we didn’t do matinees. At that time the whole set had to be built and taken down at the end of the season. Now they have a permanent stage fashioned after the Old Globe Theater in England. When I wasn’t rehearsing I was helping sew costumes and baking tarts. I was still involved in the Green shows the nights I wasn’t performing. It was a wonderful summer.
Fred Adams was starting to hold auditions all over the country and he brought in Directors from other Universities. Festival was on the edge of Greatness. A large majority of the actors were amateurs from the Cedar City area but a few were from other places. Now very few of the actors are amateurs. I don’t know which is better. It certainly makes it more professional and brings more wide attention. A few years ago the Festival won a Tony Award for small regional theaters. That helps attract more gifted professionals.
After Festival I had decided I wanted to go to College. But school did not start until the end of September. So I had two months with nothing to do. I applied at the Union Pacific for a job at one of the National Parks and a couple of days later they called and offered me a job as a cabin maid at the Grand Canyon North Rim. I was to leave in two days and they would take me down on the delivery truck. (Fancy). So I was off.
This was the first time I had ever been away from home for any real length of time. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is like a very small community. You get to know almost every one. There is a definite class system. Some jobs have more prestige than others, and again I was on the out side looking in. I had just had a “starring role” in the Shakespeare Festival and here I was making beds and cleaning toilets. The bell boys and waitresses ruled. The cabin maids and linen boys did not. We were the bottom of the rung. There were several kids there from Cedar City that I knew. Some older than me and some my age I had gone to school with most of my life. Two times a day all the employees would gather in front of the Lodge and do what they called a sing away. The tour buses would all be parked and as the tours loaded the employees would sing to them and invite them to come back and hope they had a good visit. I wish I could remember the words to the song it was really fun.
At nights the employees would put on a show for the tourists. Some nights the Rangers would present some interesting things about the park and other nights the Employees would put on a variety show. I would get up and recite a poem from “Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass” “Jabberwocky”. Other nights we would have a movie, usually a really old black and white movie. It seems like it was always Nelson Eddie and Jeannette MacDonald. I can’t watch these movies still without thinking about the Grand Canyon.
The only access we had to the outside world was mail or pay telephone. Some kids had radios but the reception was very poor. News papers were sold at the curio shop but I did not worry about reading the paper. I would call home a few times and I wrote letters. I had been there several weeks without a letter from my folks and I was getting pretty homesick. One day I was walking back to the dorm after mail call and no letter I was feeling pretty down. I looked up and saw a couple getting out of a car across the street and then I realized it was Mom and Dad. They had driven from Cedar just to see me. I was so happy to see them. They brought me sugar cookies with orange icing. We spent the rest of the day together and I showed them my room and all my favorite spots. Then Dad told me that he had been released as Bishop. He had been a Bishop for nine years, half my life. That was really weird. After they left I felt like I could make it the rest of the summer.
I had a spot that I could be alone and read sitting on a rock on the rim of the canyon. Watching the birds flying into and out of the canyon. Listening to the trees and watching as the sun and the clouds changed the the color of the canyon. Then the sun setting and the changing colors of the sky. I grew to love that place.
Next time it is on to COLLEGE.
I just remembered a couple of things about High School that I wanted to get down. When I was a Junior I entered a speech and story telling contest. I won an excellent rating but I did not get to go to the State contest. So when I was a Senior I entered it again and this time I got a Superior rating and was invited to go to the State Contest held a the Brigham Young University Campus. My Drama teacher told me that no one else from our school was going so if I wanted to go I would have to find a way to get there myself. I talked my Dad into taking me. So off we went and he dropped me off and I spent the day by myself. At the award ceremony I was awarded an honorable mention. Kind of a let down. In retrospect I think my drama teacher did not really care if I did well. He was the choir teacher and did not really want to be doing drama stuff. But we had an excellent choir.
High School Graduation 1964 was an exciting time. We did not have caps and gowns I made my graduation dress. I felt very grown up. My class was the first to graduate from the new High School.
I have heard some people say that High School was the best time of their lives. I really would not go back there. I always felt like an outsider, even though I tried to get involved with things to be “in” with the “in crowd”. I was never asked to any of the school dances. The only school dances I went to were Sadie Hawkins Day dances. That was when the girls chased the boys. That kind of says a lot about the rest of my life. I have always kind of felt like I was the one doing the chasing. Not only boys but life.
Fast forward to 1999 and I finaly caught what I have been chasing all my life and that would be Mr. James L. Hoag. But more about that much later.