May 2015

Know It Or Repeat It

Utah’s State Historic Preservation Officer and Director of the Division of State History/Utah State Historical Society, Brad Westwood, presented “What Part History Plays in Utah’s Future” in April.

With degrees in American Studies and Historic Preservation, Brad has been engaged in applied history and the management of historical resources for over thirty-five years. He is always looking for places that need preserving, and ways to make history more understandable and accessible to the public.

Brad has asked us to complete a survey to help him do that. (bradwestwood@utah.gov or Utah State Historical Society, 300 S. Rio Grande Street, 84101, telephone: 801-245-7226). He is personable and listening to his amusing stories is a good way to spend an hour. He wants to spread the information he has garnered. Speaking to a group that you think might like to hear him would please him. Contact him and let’s be the state that keeps our history on the front burner.

—Lauren Florence, MD


How We Got to Now:
Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

Flo Wineriter recommends this book in which Steven Johnson looks at innovations over centuries and some surprising unintended consequences that have affected who and where we are today. Connections are made between seemingly unrelated events and discoveries. For example would you think that pendulum clocks would be a trigger to the industrial revolution? This book accompanies a six-part PBS television series.


President’s Report

Guns and Violence

When it comes to guns, I have a split personality, as I suspect many of us do, in that I don’t believe in banning guns, or anything else for that matter. But I also don’t believe in the unrestricted ownership of whatever firearm you want.

Several years ago, in contemplation of some part time security employment, I obtained a concealed carry permit. The requirements for this permit, in my opinion, are grossly inadequate, consisting of a class with no test, application and picture taking. Whereas, I feel that anyone wishing to carry in any way should pass a written test regarding safety and the laws. They should also be required to show the ability to safely load their weapon, fire it at a target, unload it and stow it away. Plus I think it would be a good idea to require this of all weapons purchases. You have to do this for a driver’s license, why not for deadly weapons.

But as I think about all that I have say about this subject, I see that it is one that may need to be dealt with in more than one average message of mine. So excuse me if I have to “cut it off” and finish it next month.

Anyway, in my case, this somewhat moderate view, this split personality comes from having “Guns and Ammo” as a significant thread in my life. It runs from my childhood days through my years in the Air Force up to today. I would like to talk about parts of that thread a little and it might be mildly entertaining to read about me as a delinquent causing trouble in the Bear Lake Idaho region.

I grew up in an LDS family that fished and hunted quite a bit, as did our relatives in southern Idaho. It is there, (Paris, Idaho) that I experienced some “Huck Fin” like adventures and some delinquent behavior that can make you cringe in hindsight.

When I was 7 to 11, in the mid 1950’s, I spent a few weeks each summer at my uncle’s farm in southern Idaho, where my Tomboy cousin and myself would roam the “bottoms” (as we called the area around the north end of the lake) having lots of fun with homemade sling shots and our pockets filled with penny candy and fireworks. It’s true, at that age, I was having the time of my life blowing stuff up with firecrackers and M-80s, at the Paris dump and anywhere we found something worthy of destruction.

I was always there for the 4th of July and in the mid 1950’s fireworks of all kinds could still be purchased, even by children, in Idaho and Wyoming. Cherry bombs, Roman candles and fountains that make today’s junk fireworks look pretty crappy. But what I really loved were the M-80s, those little dynamite like pieces of destruction. And I always bought a whole box of a hundred and forty four and my cousin had her box as well. As a pre-teen it was total bliss to have such an arsenal. Plus I always brought some home to wow my Utah friends and continue the mayhem.

But we were schooled pretty well about safety by watching our older brothers and parents. Plus, strange as it seems, blowing something up with an M-80 is loud and you can SEE what it would do to your fingers. So we always knew that if you had a problem, drop it and start over. Later in life when I attended United States Air Force Munitions and Weapons Technical School, explosives safety instruction had an adage “With explosives, no do-overs or second chances.” A bit obvious but always wise to be mindful of.

The one thing we did though that makes me cringe a little even now is the thought of the times when we snuck my uncle’s over and under gun out and took it down to the dumps to shoot at the rats. If you don’t know what an over and under gun is, it is both a shot gun (.410G) under and a 22 cal. Rifle on top. Both of them single shot. It was what they used at the farm for unwanted guests like skunks and other animal thieves that frequent a rural farm in the 1950’s. As an 8 to 10 year old it does make me cringe a bit, but it is where I first became a good shot. With rats, you just kind of follow them around with your sites for a bit, then when they stop to look around, BAM! Sorry, hope nobody has too much sympathy for rats.

Well, that’s about enough about my childhood for now, so I will cut it off here. Next month I will finish by writing about police shootings, which is where my split personality on the subjects is most apparent.

So bye for now and I hope to see you next week at our general meeting. I’ll bring the cookies.

—Robert Lane
President, HoU


Joni Mitchell

JoniMitchellI was a freshman at the University of Utah living in the dormitories on campus in the 1968-69 school year. One evening I was bored and wandered into the Student Union Building. It became apparent that there was going to be a concert or something so I hung around to check it out. The event turned out to be one of the most delightful evenings in my life.

The folk singer Joni Mitchell performed. She was the archetype of the upcoming “make love not war, flower children” of the 60s movement that didn’t come early to Utah. She was shy and unassuming between songs, but when she sang it was totally amazing. She was alone on stage sitting on a 3-legged stool with her acoustic guitar and a microphone. When she sang she swayed to the music and giggled at her own lyrics and shook her head to make her long blonde hair wave. She was absolutely delightful and yes I guess she charmed this young man. I am smiling now as I remember the experience.

Recently there was a piece in the Salt Lake Tribune noting that her personal affairs were being attended to by a long time friend. A Google search turns up all sorts of “issues” that are being ranted and raved by Paparazzi-esque websites; cancer, mental illness, etc. Her official website, jonimitchell.com notes that she is suffering health issues but wishes to keep these issues private. I wish her the best and hope that she is not suffering.

—Wayne Wilson

 

Big Yellow Taxi

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot SPOT

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ‘em

Don’t it always seem to go,
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Hey farmer, farmer
Put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But LEAVE me the birds and the bees
Please!

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Come and took away my old man

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

I said
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot