Brigham Young University
English 667 Fall 1994
I never had a home town. By the time I reached my early twenties I had only attended one slumber party and seldom been invited to a birthday party. I’d never been to a wedding or a funeral. I’d never participated in a town-sponsored parade. I couldn’t name anyone who had known me for over five years who wasn’t a relative. I felt like a kite without a string. To explain this phenomenon I need only say that my father was an officer in the United States Navy and my childhood memories were of quick arrivals and even quicker departures. I can’t complain about my youth. It was filled with an abundance of wonderful opportunities. But one thing it didn’t have was a place called home.
When I met and married a native Utahn, I had difficulty comprehending a life without moving. In fact, the first eight years of our marriage saw us moving some five times. I couldn’t seem to feel settled. Finally in desperation my husband plunked us down in the small rural community of Riverton and said, “Stay here.” And we did. Riverton was our home for nearly twelve years. I began to understand for the first time, what it meant to be part of a community, to have neighbors and long time friends. I sunk down roots and felt the joy of sharing life with other people.
Riverton was a good place and the people there schooled me in the art of hometown living. But as with most good things, changes began to take their toll on our little rural community and within two or three years the population soared. My husband and I felt restless and anxious to escape the crowds. We started looking for a large parcel of land out on the south side of
, a place to finish raising our own kids and to welcome our future grandchildren. Nothing seemed to click for us. Weeks turned to months and we still struggled to find just the right place. Utah Lake
Our real estate agent was beginning to lose hope and in final desperation told us of a place in
called Springdell. Our initial reaction was negative. We didn’t even want to look at canyon property because we had set our minds on a farm. However, I had about a half hour to kill one afternoon and wandered up the canyon to Springdell. Provo Canyon
I can’t begin to describe the feelings I had when I drove up the hill to the two lots listed for sale. I had an overwhelming sense that this was home. Whether it was the tree lined lane, or the absolutely breathless view of
, or the feeling of peace and quiet that permeated the area, I don’t know but I was instantly attracted to the place. Being a person of strong religious conviction I feel it was a spiritual witness. Mt. Timp
I called my husband later that day and told him about the lots and asked him to drive by on his way home from work. I gave no indication of my own feelings about the place. I wanted his honest appraisal of Springdell. That night I asked him if he had gotten a chance to go into the canyon. Without a moments hesitation he said, “That’s where we’re going to live.” He had sensed it too. Our story didn’t end there. Coincidence after coincidence occurred to indelibly mark in our minds the fact that Springdell was a place we could call home. It was only after we finally moved in on July 15, 1994, that I began to really reflect upon what it meant to be part of the Springdell community. I felt a warmth and comfort, contentment beyond words, as I settled into my new home.
When I began searching for a topic on which to do my term project for Folklore it seemed as natural as breathing to select Springdell. I couldn’t have understood then the great benefit this project would be for myself and for my neighbors. We so often go complacently about our lives without stopping to really look at what we’re doing. This project gave me the opportunity to really investigate my new neighborhood and to develop an intimacy with some of my neighbors. It enriched my experience with the Dell and gave me a deeper appreciation for this wonderful place.
Springdell is unique in that it is a closed community of twenty six homes. By closed, I mean that there will be little or no future development of land around the Dell. We are an oasis in the wilderness area of
. There are currently two or three other small communities in the Canyon but they are same distance away. The common experiences of the families that live here provide a wealth of folk traditions and lore. Despite that fact that nearly fifty percent of the people now living in the Dell have moved there in the last five years, there is an overwhelming sense of continuity and tradition. New residents are quickly acclimated to standard activities such as leaf day, spring cleanup, Halloween parties, Christmas pageants, etc. Everyone is expected to participate. Provo Canyon
As members of the community work together, older residents share stories of the past. Just recently I participated in the annual fall Leaf Day and while raking the leaves that had accumulated in the pond, Kathy Patten showed me the hand prints, signatures and poems, written in the concrete -chronicles of former years and former residents. Our home will be the sight for the annual Christmas party and several new residents are involved with planning and performing the Christmas pageant.
Activities, stories, anecdotes, and social interaction between young and old alike, are evidence that folklore is alive and thriving in the Dell. We seldom get together without someone talking about the cougar or the pond or skunks or night games or the marvelous seasonal changes in the surrounding mountains. These narratives serve to tie us all together and give us a sense of community.
As I began to organize my project I felt that I wanted a broad base of experiences and attitudes. I selected all different ages, both sexes, some newer residents and some long time members of the community. I wanted to gather stories from some of the people who had been raised in this community (Mark Warner, Tom Buss, Kathy Patten) and also speak with young people who had only been in Springdell for a few years or months (Eric Higginson, George Collins, Ryan Fisk). I knew that I absolutely had to interview Helen Cragun. She is a veritable library of Springdell folklore and I had already spent many an afternoon on her front porch hearing stories of former years in the Dell. I wanted to get the perspective of the current President of the Board of Directors (Cardell Jacobson). I wanted a representative group from the lower Dell and some from the upper Dell so I could see if there were differences in their perception of the community.
I selected sixteen informants and immediately realized that my selection of these specific individuals already colored my project. Since most of these stories are personal narratives, they reflect the feelings of the individual informant. If I had interviewed someone else I would have probably gotten entirely different stories or at least a different slant on the stories they had in common.
However, I was pleased when I began hearing common themes and motifs among my informants. Residents who had been here longer than a year were very familiar with the traditional activities. These activities and the stories associated with them, serve to pull newer residents into the Dell community. They build a collective identity and create a sense of belonging. Members of the Dell are asked to volunteer their services to maintain the grounds and equipment. As we work together we transfer the lore of the Dell. Older residents tell of other winters when the snow was piled high or when they skated on the pond or went sledding on Nob hill. Several months ago, when the
area experienced an intense wind storm called a micro burst, there was substantial damage to some of the trees in the Dell. As we all gathered to pick up debris and remove branches, there was an exchange of stories about former storms, information about when this or that tree had been planted, a discussion of who lived in the homes during that time, and some of the experiences children had while playing there in former years. This event will in turn become a part of our folklore and on a future day someone will tell about the great wind of 1994 and how we all gathered to clear the limbs and pull the pine tree out of the Christensen’s front porch. Provo
I wrote a letter to each of my informants and explained a little about my project and what I wanted to accomplish. I called them about a week later and set up an appointment. All the interviews took place in my home with the exception of Helen Cragun. Helen was working as our district representative for the election and couldn’t leave her home in the event someone needed to register to vote.
I had prepared a list of questions but I soon set most of these aside and just talked with my informants. However, I often asked the following questions:
What do you like best about Springdell?
What led you to move into the Dell?
Have you heard any stories about the Dell?
Have you heard any stories about the animals, or the natural environment, or have you had any experiences with either of these?
Do you think of Springdell as your home?
When my interviews were completed I had over nine and a half hours of tape. My first task was to listen to all the interviews again and search for common motifs and stories. Nearly every informant spoke of the pond, the animals, yearly activities, night games, and traditions and childhood memories they had heard about or experienced. I transferred these stories to another tape and reduced my interview time to two and a half hours.
I then had this tape transcribed. When my transcription was returned I had nearly ninety pages of single spaced material. I was almost overwhelmed. I spent the next three days editing the transcription. I decided to select representative stories. I deleted much of my own dialogue and tried to pull out segments from the informants that were large enough to stand on their own. This brought the number of pages down to about sixty. There were some really good stories that I hated to cut from my collection but they didn’t really fit into any of the themes or ideas I found in other stories. These I deleted and tried to focus upon four main areas: 1)A Sense of Community 2) Traditions and Childhood Memories 3) Natural Environment and Wildlife 4) Spiritual and Emotional. The last of these subjects suffered the most from my editing. So many informants talked about Springdell “feeling” right or being moved by some spiritual force to settle here but these were bits and pieces from our conversation and I couldn’t lift them out of context without having too much of myself in the picture. I now had about forty pages of collected stones and I liked what I was finding. My first section dealt with feelings about community living and feeling a part of a community. Marilyn Howard spoke of “the large variety of people, that there was such a span of personalities here, different walks of life, different thoughts... all looking at it from different perspectives.” So many of my informants mentioned the same quality. We are not a homogeneous group of people. We are as diverse in character as any community but still manage to get along. Most of the women spoke of security and peaceful seclusion. Laurinda expressed it as a “family feeling” where we all created a safe haven for our children. Barbara Jones expressed a similar feeling. “I love to see the kids out playing, and the little kids and the big kids together and I just feel here that people really care about each other, and they really care about their families.” The notion of cooperative living cropped up again and again. Cardell Jacobson had a vision of this kind of community years before moving to Springdell. Working together for the common good is a very important element of Dell living. However, some suggested that such communal living had its drawbacks. Mark Warner mentioned “there were still people that were a little bit shady that lived in Springdell...it wasn’t a perfect world” (8) but even he concedes that it was and is “like one big family”.
Though most of the narratives in the first section could not be considered folk stories they are nonetheless important in establishing an attitude. The real evidence of Springdell’s folklore and traditions comes in the living and not in the spoken word. These narratives are merely expressions of a belief in community and family. Almost everyone spoke of the pervasive neighborliness- the sharing of children, rides, cups of sugar, etc. This sharing is part of the living tradition of the Dell. Other traditions are tremendously important to Springdell. Helen Cragun describes the yearly events that took place during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Many of these continue even today. Despite the fact that nearly fifty percent of the Dell has moved here within the last five years, almost without exception the residents want to maintain the traditional parties. Georgia Buss continues to play the roles of Mary Poppins and The Stick Witch to a whole new generation of children thus providing continuity between young and old. Many of the young people who were raised in the Dell tell of early childhood experiences such as winning the Miss Springdell pageant or sleeping out during the summer. Even the newer children have participated in “night games” during the cool summer evenings. George Collins reflects on how this integrated him into the community. Nights games are the gathering of children in the lower Dell to play the traditional childhood games of kick the can, hide and go seek, etc. No one can remember when this started. Night games have just always been a part of summer activities. Nearly every adult expressed their love of hearing the children out playing on summer evenings. Perhaps this all hearkens back to an era when many of us participated in such games. Mark Warner was raised in the Dell and is now about to move into a new home in the upper Dell. He is married and has two children. Tom Buss was also raised in the Dell. He is now married and he and his wife and daughter live in the lower Dell. These two young fathers told a number of childhood memories. Mark tells of youthful pranks and misadventures. While they are fairly specific to Mark’s life they nonetheless represent a kind of carefree attitude the children feel in the Dell. Tom speaks of how “tight” all the children used to be. He feels that this same closeness can be recaptured for his daughter and others in the Dell as they participate in night games and other planned and unplanned activities.
Traditional activities provide Springdellites with an opportunity to socialize and strengthen the ties between neighbors. They provide continuity between generations and serve to solidify the community. Our family has only lived here for six months but my children already feel involved. They are invited to play in night games, or to go sledding, or to hike the mountains. I never feel apprehensive about where they are or what they’re doing because Springdell is so isolated and everyone knows everyone else. I know that even if I can’t see my boys that someone is keeping an eye on them. I’m so pleased that they’ve been able to participate in the traditional planned and unplanned activities in the Dell as it has made them feel very much at home.
Animal stories are frequently told by residents in the Dell. The most common wildlife characters are cougars, skunks, deer, raccoons, and moose. I believe we use these stories to strengthen the feeling of being in the wilderness. Nearly all the informants value nature and I don’t recall anyone complaining of the intrusions made by animals. Everyone and anyone who lives in the Dell has had experiences with animals and most of us exchange these stories on a frequent basis. These stories serve to reinforce our interdependence and independence. We feel protected from any real danger because we live close together but we are very isolated from city life and civilization. In Section C, my informants share many of their favorite animals tales. Even Ryan Fisk, who has lived here only six months, shares his experience with a deer and her fawn. Kathy Patten tells of her youthful experiences in the hills and on the
. She wonders why her mother was never really concerned when they were gone all day but many of the mothers in the Dell allow their children to roam freely about the area. The greatest fear for most mothers is the danger posed by fast moving traffic on the highway. The cliffs, falls, river, pond, and wildlife are never really frightening. Most children play together and there seems to be safety in numbers. Nearly everyone in the Dell has a healthy respect for nature but seldom have I ever heard an expression of fear. I believe the stories about wildlife also serve to set us apart from the city dwellers. Most parents feel that city living and its dangers are far more threatening than the local wildlife or geography. Provo River
Animals also provide the Dell residents with humor. Bev Davis is wonderful at capturing our human frailties in the face of mother nature. Her stories “Bobcat” , “Raccoons” , and “Our Deer Neighbors” all have a wonderful twist of irony. Somehow the wildlife manages to bewilder and bemuse us all. I especially enjoy her observation that once the deer become your neighbors you just can’t think of shooting them. “They came up and looked right up into the bedroom window, and that was kind of the ending point for my husband going out and hunting deer, because all of a sudden they were your neighbors, and it’s not so nice to hunt your neighbors. Although some people do that. (laugh) Hunt their neighbors, that is”. Bev’s little bit of irony at the end of this narrative speaks clearly the feeling of many Dell residents. We have much more to fear from men than we do from the animals.
As part of Section C I also discuss the pond. Everyone in the Dell loves the pond. It is not only an aesthetic addition to Springdell’s environment it is the center of most summer activities. The pond is shallow enough to pose little threat to children and yet deep enough to be fun. The rope swing that sends the children flying across the water is like something out of Huckleberry Finn. There are probably few of us who haven’t wanted to swing across the swimming hole and let go with a holler. Children in the Dell get to live this fantasy. Helen Cragun speaks of swimming in the pond as a means for children to be “christened as belonging”. Whether the swinger is a resident or just a visitor, the pond and its swing holds an enchanting fascination. Every single informant mentioned the pond as one of the best features of the Dell.
The final few narratives in this Section talk of the feeling of security one feels within the Dell. The homes are nestled between the mountains. Some informants spoke of them cuddling the homes like a mother cuddling her child. The gate is the metaphorical castle wall. Helen tells of how protected she feels when she comes within the Springdell gate. She gives further support to this notion by relating the experience of her young nephew . Even though he was not a resident of the Dell, he could sense the security of the picket fence and the gate.
As I mentioned before, the feelings expressed by residents about the spiritual and emotional influence of the Dell are possibly the most difficult to find but not because they’re not there. As is often the case it is difficult to put spiritual experiences into words. I have previously mentioned my husband and I felt spiritually led to Springdell. Laurinda Ogden echoes this same feeling. “Everything that led up to our finally purchasing this home, I felt was totally direct by the Lord.” Kathy Christensen and her mother Barbara Jones expressed the same sentiment. Many of the informants spoke of intimations or feelings that motivated them to come here. Some of the homes were acquired under miraculous conditions and circumstances seemed too coincidental to be mere fate. This attitude is really a reflection of the strong LDS ethic that permeates the Springdell community. Of the twenty-six families that live here all are members of the LDS faith some less active in the church than others. LDS church doctrine emphasizes strong families, the importance of tradition, a love for God’s creations, and the need to seek divine guidance. These same attitudes prevail the Dell. While we are a collection of disparate individuals we have much the same value center. For this reason, the residents of the Dell don’t mind sharing their testimonies with each other. Marilyn knows that when she speaks of spiritual healing that neighbors will understand and relate to her feelings. When Kathy is brought to tears as she reflects upon her feelings about finally moving into the Dell others will appreciate her emotion as genuine. When George Collins reflects on the kind of young man he might have become if he hadn’t moved into the Dell, it reinforces our notion of the Dell as a place of moral and spiritual integrity. One can almost hear a resounding “We are in the world but not of it.”
As I evaluate the worth of this project I recognize the danger of using Springdell as a representative community. In many ways it is unique. However, I think it is possible to see many of the same forces at play in other communities. While a larger town might not have as many traditional activities, it can nonetheless create a spirit of community through town days, cultural events, and community projects. Some towns replace night games with little league and town leagues. Springdellites are not the only people who feel connected to their neighbors. Block parties, neighborhood garage sales, the popularity of city parks, all speak of a human need to belong to a larger group. I feel at home in the mountains but there are others who love to hear the sound of waves crashing on a rocky shoreline, or to see the long expanse of a mid-western horizon, or the sunsets on the desert cliffs of
. Each of us seems to have an inner sense of home. My mother felt positively claustrophobic when she came to visit my home nestled against the mountain. She needs a wide horizon. Arizona
Hopefully this project will make us all take a closer look at how “place” influences our lives. We need to become more involved with each other, to come out of our houses and play a few “night games” again, to volunteer, to attend, to share in the experience of living.
I’ve come to the end of my project feeling somewhat dissatisfied. First of all I feel as though I am introducing others to an old friend---someone they can never really appreciate. In another sense, I fear that I may be divulging too much and solicit too much interest in a community that prefers to remain “our little secret.” My greatest frustrations come from not being able to truly capture the feeling of Springdell. It is a wonderful combination of fun, adventure, independence, and community. I”m so grateful that at long last I have found a place called “home”.
Brief History of Springdell
Springdell is a small community of twenty-six homes nestled between Mount Timpanogos and
. It is located about two miles up Squaw Peak Provo Canyon Highway on the south side of the road. Across the street runs the . One block away is Canyon Glen Park and a half mile away is Provo River Bridal Veil Falls. In the late 1800’s one of the wealthy businessmen in , Fred W. Taylor, purchased the property which now houses the Springdell community. His original intent was to use the land as a summer camping area. He interested several of his friends in the land and in 1904 a number of doctors and merchants from the Provo area incorporated the property. Provo
Springdell is one of the oldest Planned Unit Developments in the
. These original owners considered the Dell a summer oasis. The train from United States to Hebert passed through the area so that residents were able to get milk and mail during their summer camping. The original tract of land was approximately 90 acres and was known as Toll Gate Flats because the toll gate for the toll road was located in what is now the west end of Springdell. In 1948, year round residences began to be built. Some of these homes have been owned for three generations Provo
The residents are members of an association that owns common property with voting rights apportioned according to the number of shares owned by each resident. There are rules and standards of conduct governing the buying and selling of property, the maintenance of common areas, safety standards, and restrictions against soliciting and animals. All the residents participate in fall and spring clean-up and in numerous other annual events.
One of the most dominant features in the Dell is the large pond. Located in what is called the lower Dell, it is a special attraction to younger residents. In the center area of the lower Dell is a large grassy play area with a fireplace and picnic tables. The common picnic grounds are often used for social functions and can be reserved by Dell members. This is also the gathering place of young people who participate in “night games.”
About fifteen years ago, a road was built to gain access to the area above the lower Dell. This area is now known as the upper Dell. There are currently eight homes in the upper Dell. The upper Dell road also leads to a large storage area, common garden area, baseball diamond, tennis courts, and still farther up a dirt road, to a stable area. The twenty-six families that live in the Dell are all members of the LDS church---some more active than others. They come from every career and walk of life. There are some of rather substantial means and others who live on a maintenance income. Several of the homes are rented residences but the majority are owned by the occupants. Differing opinions and attitudes sometimes cause conflicts but these are generally resolved amicably.
Every year a five member Board of Directors is elected by the shareholders. This Board serves to determine financial expenditures and policy changes. They work with other volunteers within the community to complete projects and organize activities. It is an often unrecognized voluntary service and countless hours of time are donated by these elected board members. It is considered a requisite for living in this community that at some time or another everyone should take an opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors.
TOM BUSS---Tom was born in 1967 and one year later his parents moved into the Dell. He is the only resident who married another Springdell resident. His wife Lori’s family owns a home just two doors down from his parent’s home. He and Lori are caretakers of this home for Lori’s family. They have a daughter, McKenzie, and are expecting another child in February of 1995. Tom is currently attending BYU and is a Business major. He also works for a carpet cleaning company. He is a man of large stature but very pleasant disposition. He is always willing to work and is often found at the wheel of Springdell’s snow plow. He would like to stay in the Dell but doesn’t know whether he will be able to afford a home here. Lori and Tom’s wedding reception was a big Springdell affair.
KATHY CHRISTENSEN---Kathy and her husband Kerry moved into the Dell about one and a half years ago. She was born in
in 1959. She has four children. Her husband is a professional yodeler and travels extensively. She appreciates the closeness of good neighbors and the fact that her mother, younger sister, and her younger married sister and her family, live just three homes away. She lived in Salt Lake City Florida prior to moving back to . She has worked on the activity and recreation committee this last year and has helped plan many of the traditional activities in the Dell. She has a degree in nursing but currently stays home and teaches three of her children in home school. Utah
GEORGE COLLINS---George was born in
, in 1977. He is the second of five children born to John and Denise Collins. Their family moved into the upper Dell about four years ago. George is a senior at Provo, Utah . He loves motorbiking, four wheeling, boating and nearly all kinds of outdoor recreation. He is a giant among his peers--already 6 ft. 8 in. and still growing. Despite his extreme height he is a relatively quiet and gentle young man. He has lots of friends and is often seen surrounded by a group of admiring young ladies. He has a delightful sense of humor and a winning smile. Orem High School
HELEN CRAGUN–Helen is a delightful grandma who is currently the oldest resident of Springdell---although she refuses to divulge her real age. She was born in Spanish Fork and raised in
Utah and . She married Frank Cragun. Helen worked as a school teacher for a number of years. She comes from a family of educators. She and her husband moved into the Dell in 1946. Their daughter Anne was born while they lived here. Anne is their only child. Helen’s husband passed away a number of years ago but she has remained in the home where they spent many happy years. She always felt that the Dell brought her the necessary security and support for the task of raising her daughter. Helen is an avid student of Springdell history. She has researched the county archives to find out vital information. She has worked on the Springdell Board for a number of years and was very influential in negotiating with the State Transportation Department when plans for the new highway through the canyon were in their preliminary stages. She may well have been the person who saved portions of the Dell from being condemned and destroyed. With her deep love for Springdell and her prodigious knowledge of the Dell’s folklore, Helen could easily be considered “the Mother of the Dell”. Idaho
BEV DAVIS--If there is a resident comedian in the Dell it has to be Bev Davis. Bev was born on August 24,1950 in
. She came to Madison, Wisconsin in 1969 as a student. Here she met and married Richard Davis. They are the parents of six children. Her husband owned an excavating and sewer company and it was through work that he did for the Dell that they acquired a lot in the upper Dell. They built their home fifteen years ago. When they first moved into the upper Dell, they lived in rather primitive conditions as so many of the utilities and even the road was yet to be built. They were also heirs to an Upper and Lower Dell attitude that was at one time pervasive in the community. As the number of residents in the Upper Dell has increased, the influence of those families has served to pull the two areas closer together. Bev has served a number of times on the Board of Directors, including a current stint as secretary. Certainly one of the most delightful qualities of Bev is her wonderful sense of humor and her ability to cut through pretense and get to the substance of an issue. Utah
RYAN FISK--Ryan was born in 1980 in
. He is the oldest son of Bonnie and Jeff Fisk. The Fisks have six children. Jeff and Bonnie built a home in the upper Dell during the winter of 1993-94 and finally moved in June of 1994. Ryan is a bright and inquisitive young man who loves the outdoors and exploring. He is filled with stories about encounters with snakes, coyotes, and other assorted animals. He lived in Provo, Utah California for a number of years before his family returned to . Ryan didn’t like the social atmosphere of Utah . He speaks of encounters with gangs and neighborhood toughs in California . He is happy to be in California . Ryan attends half day at Utah and then has home school for half day. He has been home schooled for several years. Someday he wants to live in Canyon View Middle School . Alaska
ERIC HIGGINSON---Eric is twelve years old and attends
. He was born in Pleasant Grove and has lived most of his life in Canyon View Middle School . His family moved into the Dell about three years ago. His father owns several large tracts of land, including one near Scofield Reservoir. Eric would like to someday settle out in the woods but he has a strong pull towards the social atmosphere of the city. He likes to play with friends and feels that he would miss them if he lived too far away from civilization. He is the only son of a family of six children and the third oldest child. Utah
MARILYN HOWARD--Marilyn was born in
in 1950. She lived for thirty-four years in Tucson, Arizona . During this time she married, and struggled to raise three children. Her marriage ended in divorce. Some time later she met Andy Howard. They were subsequently married and moved to Tucson . They lived in Florida for ten years. About a year and a half ago they moved into Pat and Phil Bryson’s home in the lower Dell. They are renting while Phil Bryson is serving as Mission President in Florida . They love the Dell and are hoping to find a home that they can purchase before the Bryson’s return. I wasn’t surprised when during our interview I discovered that Marilyn was part Indian. She has a deep reverence for things natural. She’s an advocate of homeopathic healing, and is very conscious of eating right and being physically fit. She is a vivacious, social, sensitive woman who is a consummate neighbor to those around her. She is deeply spiritual and sees the Lord’s hand moving in her life. Czechoslovakia
CARDELL JACOBSON--Cardell was born in 1941 and raised in
. He served a mission for the LDS church in South Salt Lake County Illinois and then returned to to study at BYU. He has an undergraduate degree from BYU and a Masters and PhD. in Sociology from the Utah . He taught at the University of North Carolina University of Wisconsin for seven years, in for four years, and then returned to BYU about fourteen years ago, where he is currently a professor of Social Psychology. He and his wife Roseanne lived in Michigan until about three years ago when they built a home in the lower Dell. They are the parents of four children. Cardell is currently serving as President of the Board of Directors for the Dell. He has held this position for a number of years. He was drawn to the Dell by his deep love of the natural environment. He loves to fish and hike. This last year he has become slightly disillusioned about the Dell. Working so closely with the organization has brought him into conflict with some residents but he has attempted to smooth ruffled feathers and to take all opinions into consideration as he functions in his office. Long hours of volunteer service mixed with the sometimes ungrateful demeanor of residents has frustrated him. However, for the most part he loves the people and character of the Dell. He often waxes philosophic and has a deeply perceptive character. Orem
BARBARA JONES--Barbara was born in November of 1937 in
. She has been married twice--to her first husband for thirteen years and to her second for ten years. She has eight children, the youngest of which is currently serving a mission in Salt Lake City, Utah . She worked for a number of years in the Australia . Barbara bought a lot in the upper Dell about one and a half years ago---it is the lot my family currently lives on. She recognized the inherent difficulty of building on such a steeply sloping lot and subsequently sold it and purchased a home in the lower Dell. The home was very old and needed a great deal of work. She and her family have been working on the renovation since she moved in a year ago. Barbara’s daughter, Kathy Christensen, lives three houses away. She also has her daughter Jenny living with her. Jenny is a young single, attending school and working. Another daughter and her family, are currently living with Barbara while they relocate to this area from St. George. Barbara works as a secretary for Intermountain Health Care. She is a very quiet, sensitive, kindly woman. She is deeply committed to her family LDS Church Office Building
JILL NIELSON–I originally requested an interview with Jill’s sister Mindi but both sisters came up to share experiences with me. Unfortunately, poor recording almost completely excluded Mindi’s stories from our interview. I was able to pick up Jill’s voice and preserved some of her stones. Jill was born August 12,1977. She is the sixth of the eight children born to Jeri and Keith Nielson. She has never known any other home but Springdell. Currently a senior at
, she is active in track and loves to hike and bike. Jill was grounds keeper last summer and did a beautiful job keeping the Dell green and groomed. Orem High School
KEITH NIELSON–Born in 1944, in
Monticello, , Keith came to BYU and subsequently married his high school sweetheart, Jeri They have eight children. Keith works at BYU as a systems manager. Jeri and Keith moved into the Dell in 1970. Keith has served numerous times on the Board of Directors and is the local Jack of All Trades. He loves the natural environment and at one time wanted to be a forest ranger but didn’t feel that forestry was compatible with a healthy family life. He is always working on some project for the young people in the Dell. He’s built rafts, swings, a sledding hill, etc., in an effort to give the kids some good clean recreational activities. Quiet and soft spoken he is nonetheless a sociable man who is always willing to help on Springdell projects. One of his greatest pleasures is the long hikes he takes with his children in the mountains around Springdell. Utah
OGDEN--Laurinda was born 1113153 in Salt Lake City, but she was raised in . Other then a brief four year mission with her family in Brigham City, Utah New Zealand, she has always lived in . She and her husband Paul have seven children. Laurinda attended BYU, majoring in Dramatic Arts. She is a dancer, singer, and loves performing. She met her husband while performing at Sundance Summer Theater and it was there that she developed a deep love for Utah . The Provo Canyon moved into the Dell in June of 1994. They had previously lived in Ogdens . They had been interested in Springdell for about four years but the home that they really liked was very expensive and seemed out of their financial reach. The home was owned by Elder Sterling W. Sills’ son and had stood unoccupied for some time. It is in the upper Dell. When Elder Sills died, the family decided to try to rid themselves of the home as quickly as possible and they were about to put it up for auction but at the last minute they struck a deal with their friends the Riverton, Utah . Laurinda is a deeply spiritual person and she and her husband are very active in the LDS church. Ogdens
KATHY PATTEN--Kathy is one of the earliest residents now living in the Dell. Her family was one of the original stockholders in 1904--Fred Taylor was her great-grandfather. Her home has been handed down from one generation to the next until she bought it some time ago. Even though she is single she feels the need to retain the home as part of a family tradition. She thinks the home is really too large for just her younger sister, brother, and herself to live in. Kathy was born in
, in 1957. She spent most of her early childhood in the Dell. She graduated from BYU and works as a Medical Technologist. Kathy has a strong sense of tradition and even though she feels she will someday sell the family home, she is nonetheless aware of the powerful influence the Dell has played in the lives of her family. Her sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, and extended family all share in family get-togethers at her home. Kathy is a pragmatist with a romantic bent. Provo
MARK WARNER-Mark was born in
and spent nearly all of his life in Springdell. His family has owned three different homes in the Dell and Mark is currently building a home in the upper Dell. He and his wife Serena have two children. They plan on officially moving into the Dell in the middle of December 1994. Mark’s new home tells much about him. It is a classic log home with a real old world, country look. Mark loves the mountains and told one captivating story after another when we met for an interview. His father was the LDS bishop for a number of years and his family was very involved with both church and Springdell activities. His father also served a number of years as President of the Board of Directors for Springdell. His parents divorced several years ago and Serena and he became caretakers of his father’s home for a while. He loves the Dell and hopes to raise his family in the same wonderful atmosphere he enjoyed as a child. Utah Valley Hospital
A Sense of Community
Marilyn Howard --- (Responding to question: “What do you think is the best characteristic of Springdell?) Marilyn is a very expressive woman with a dramatic flair (see biographical information). She is not shy about her feelings. I selected this particular narrative because it reflects a feeling many of the informants expressed in some sense or another. The words “paradise”. “oasis” “storybook” “fairytale”, “idyllic”, often cropped up in my interviews. It seems to be a common factor among residents to think of Springdell in terms of something separate from the world of common communities.
Marilyn: There was something so storybook-like about Springdell. Something that you always think about that would be a wonderful situation to be in, but you never see it in real life. A wonderful little close-knit community, a little park in the center, a little pond where kids have so much fun, and the kind of fun where they’re not at risk for their lives. And people working together, the idea. The first thing she told us about (Pat Bryson) was all the fun things like leaf day, where they get all the leaves together, and everybody works together on that, and all the other, I guess spring clean up, or whatever, and all the things that people did together here, and yet she also told us of the large variety of people, that there was such a span of personalities here, different walks of life, different thoughts, and even though most of us had the same faith here, all looking at it from different perspectives, and so it was a really nice combination. But besides that, there’s something so storybook about the way the trees are set, and the way everyone’s homes look, and the mountains cuddling it on each side, and for me particularly, the mountains speak to me. They have a spirit that make my heart weep. I’m just so joyful every morning when I wake and every night I go to sleep. But before I got here, they just made me feel like I had extended to some 40 ft giant, or something. It just sort of blew me up, and I thought, ‘Oh, I ‘ve got to get back to that. I’ve got to be there. I want to live there so that I can feel that marvelous feeling.
Laurinda Ogden– Laurinda was relating her reasons for moving into the Dell. As one of several new members of the community, her comments reflect something of the initial response individuals feel toward this community. Laurinda beautifully expresses the feelings many mothers share about the Dell.
Laurinda: It is a very safe and protected environment for their children. The things that I discovered after living here have made me realize it would have added to all of our reasons for moving if I’d known before, but they just seem to be added bonuses. The pond, the cement pond, my little children just could play for hours and hours, and get on the raft or get on their raft that we brought with us, and they’d put their swimming suits on in the morning and take off down to the pond, and play and get out, play in the sand pile or swing on the swings and get back in the pond, swing on the rope. It’s just like a whole different world. They stay at the pond or head up the hills, come home for lunch and head back down. It’s very much a family feeling that the children feel as comfortable in their friends homes in the dell as they do in our own home, and everyone’s welcome. You know that if they have been gone for hours and didn’t come home for lunch they had it somewhere else, and the same thing happens if they bring their friends to your house.
Cardell Jacobson– Cardell is a student of sociological phenomenon. I thought it was intriguing that he had envisioned a community like Springdell many years before he moved here. I first heard this story from his wife Roseanne. My husband and I had gone out to dinner with the Jacobsons some weeks before this interview and we were speaking about my project. Roseanne suggested to Cardell that his feelings about Springdell might reflect his earlier vision of a community. I asked Cardell to relate these feelings.
Cardell: When we lived in
Milwaukee, of course, is a major metropolitan area--Central City was about 700,000 at that time, and the whole metropolitan area is about 1.5 million-- so it’s a major metropolitan area. And I’m not sure how I came upon the idea that some of it may have had to do with--they were doing urban renewal, and they were knocking down the old housing, and in one section they built a new housing unit. Only instead of being apartment buildings or new high rises, whatever, they were ranch style homes, and they were all in this one little neighborhood that was sort of isolated. And so I thought, ‘Well, why not have members of the Church in our ward there, help each other build houses so that when Jack Vogel needed a new roof, we’d all just pitch in and help him with his roof, and when Otis Weiger needed a furnace changed out or a new water heater put in, or whatever, that whoever had the expertise would help him. And then when he had some of his services that he would give to someone else, and so it would be a small group of members of the Church, and my envision of it was that we would have a commons area in the middle, and we’d all have our plots around the area, and outside we would help each other. Even said then we’d have a wide variety of ages, family types and so on, so that we could have an extended community there and help each other. And when I saw Springdell and I drove in, that wasn’t my initial reaction to the place. My initial reaction to this was this is an idyllic, beautiful little place and that it would be fun to live there. And then only later did I realize this meets pretty close to what I had envisioned in Milwaukee . But that was an urban community, whereas this is a rural area. Milwaukee
Barbara Jones-- Barbara has a very close family. Her feelings about Springdell arise out of her attitudes towards a “cooperative community.” While very much like Cardell Jacobson’s community vision, she captures something of a historical feel. She sees Springdell as capturing a way of life that has nearly disappeared from American culture.
Barbara: I really like this kind of community. My older son did his master’s on co-ops. In fact we had looked for property in the Draper area, around that way we were looking for a piece of land to actually start our own, but it didn’t materialize, and we just always liked Springdell. I think it has a lot of maybe what you’d call old fashioned values which we liked.
Gail: What are some of those?
Barbara: Children grow up with a neighborhood feeling. And you still see it some places, but you don’t see it as much, where kids actually play together and do things together, and where there’s a feeling of community. I love the canyon feeling. And I can’t describe it. I’m not good at describing feelings, but I really liked Springdell and the good people here--and the mixture of people here. I think it’s all really, really good that way. Simplicity. There just seems to be a different feeling, and I think it’s because people with similar feelings and tastes gravitate here, and so people aren’t so different. They want the same thing when they come here. It was great for us because it’s an easy neighborhood to be new in. You could move somewhere else and it would be a long time before you really feel a part. I guess the best thing for me, it’s not really an experience, is seeing how perfect it has been for Jenny, and somehow I knew it before I bought the house, that it would be the best place. And it has been. It’s just been kind of erases all the memories of not having a place for her. It gives her a home. Springdell and the people here seem to hold to more the values of family, community. There doesn’t seem to be the fast pace. Of course, most of us can’t get television (laugh). Some of us can’t get television up here. But it seems to draw out the best in kids. I just feel like it steps back into a time where maybe before we lost all that. Not completely, but it feels that way to me, being older. I mean, I grew up with kids playing kick the can at night. I haven’t seen that in practically my whole life of raising my kids until I came here. This is what we did, and kids played and had fun together. And you have a feeling of community. You didn’t just stay in your little houses. I like that. I love to see the kids out playing, and the little kids and the big kids together, and I just feel here that people really care about each other, and they really care about their families, and that’s the kind of life I want.
Helen Cragun--- Helen has seen countless families come and go in the Dell. It is significant that despite all the changes she still feels that the people are the most important characteristic in the community. Perhaps this is because Helen herself is a very social person. However, Helen feels that there is great tolerance by the residents toward differing opinions and persuasions.
Helen: In a simplified way, I’d say that it’s the people. It’s been the people that have been up here. There have been people of very many different walks of life, and different positions have come--different groups of people, but they always left you alone, they didn’t get into your business, but if you needed anything, they were there. You could depend on them to be there to help you. If you need a ride to town, we didn’t always have two cars up here per family, and anyone would take anyone to town. And you always knew that you could call on anyone, be it a big emergency or little one, they were always there. That was one thing that used to be very much evident in the Dell.
Mark Warner---As indicated in Mark’s biographical information, he was raised in the Dell and is familiar with the former “golden era” of Dell history. There was a time when there were large numbers of children and a more secluded atmosphere to
--during the 1960’s and 1970’s. There were so many informants who spoke of Springdell’s wonderful idyllic qualities that I was pleased to get a slightly more realistic view from Mark. Springdale
Mark: It’s interesting, because when I get together with these olds friends and talk about it, and everybody has really good memories from their childhood, at least I hope most people do, but there were still people that were a little bit shady that lived in Springdell, and I remember my brother’s stereo got stolen out of his car, and it wasn’t a perfect world. I don’t think it every will be. So when people paint this perfect picture, that’s not what it was, but there was a great deal of community togetherness, like one big family. It was just fantastic.
Keith Nielson---Knowing Keith’s personality one can understand his appreciation of Springdell’s privacy. He loves the peace and quiet of the mountains but he also recognizes the need to raise a family in a community environment. He was relating how he finally came to settle in Springdell and he expressed these feelings about not only the privacy by the sense of community.
Keith: We immediately put some earnest money down on the house, and then started doing investigation of if our kids had good play mates, is this a good place to raise kids, and the more we looked into it, the more initial reaction was confirmed, and it is a great place to raise kids-- play well all ages play really well all together, and play these old games I played when growing up. It’s our own little oasis away from
, but yet it’s close and we have the city close by, but when we come home from work it’s just kind of like going into another world. It’s a nice private place to live. Provo
Childhood Memories & Traditions
Helen Cragun--- Because of Helen’s educational background she was anxious to be very specific to my subject and repeatedly asked if she was providing me with what I wanted. I could have listened to Helen all afternoon and it would have been easy to focus just on her stories alone. She is rich with the folklore of the Dell and is a fascinating storyteller. One other characteristic seems pertinent here--Helen loves the Dell. It is such an integral part of her character that the Dell is almost like another one of her children. I asked Helen to tell me about some of the traditional Dell activities. Some of these activities are still carried on, while others have slowly faded into history. Helen’s account of Springdell’s annual events was probably the most comprehensive, which is why I chose it from among many to describe Springdell’s traditions.
Helen: We started about in the spring, and they always had an Easter egg hunt. This isn’t at the beginning when it was here, but it got when there were more people here that lived year around to make more children desiring help. And first of all we had Easter, and that was an Easter egg hunt. And the general theory of that was that Mary Poppins would come with her umbrella and everything, and take the little children up to the end of the dell by Cox’s. And she would tell them a story while the big children would take the eggs which we’d all donate boiled eggs, and the big children would hide them, and then signal the little children to come down and get the eggs. I can’t remember whether they just took their eggs and were happy with them, I don’t think they had any other refreshments or anything, just each his own eggs, and heard the story that Mary Poppins told them.
was Mary Poppins. And she still has the shoes, the umbrella and the skirt. She did it this year, and of course Anne (Helen’s daughter)had to bring her girls up, or sent them with Loren (Anne’s husband), because she couldn’t come. But they were here. And then the next one we had was in preparation, as I think the next one was the 24th of July. They always figured the parade in Georgia took care of the Fourth of July. And the 24th of July they would plan a parade. Previous to that they’d have a Miss Springdell contest, and it was quite official. They had judges, and they had performances, talent show and dress up, and do the best they can, and someone would decide on Miss Springdell. I don’t think they set an age limit, but it would be younger ones. Maybe 10, around that age. But they did not set a limit on it. I guess the big ones could have done it if they wanted to, but Miss Springdell and she had two attendants. And they would officiate and lead the parade on the 24th of July. One year we were lucky, we had somebody affiliated with someone up here that had an open, little tiny red car, and they got to ride in that. And then Dave Buss had built a little mechanized car that looked a little bit like a golf cart, and that was generally the one that they got to ride in. And carrying over from that, I noticed that Tom has some kind of a little car for his little girl now, that I don’t think it’s the same one. But the parade would be fun. They would go around the dell. They’d have music, they would have everything. They’d go around and round the dell, I don‘t know how many times, until they got worn out. And then the parade would just naturally come back. One year they went on with it after the parade, though, they had sports and gave badges for the different races and climbing up the poles, all kinds of things, and that was 24th of July. And the next thing would be August, for the getting money for Halloween, and then it would be Christmas. And Christmas they usually did very nice things. I would say a little high class for up here. They would almost always have a program. They’d always have the story of the Bible that would tell about the birth of Christ. Miss Springdell had the honor of being Mary in the pageant for Christmas, whether it was a big pageant or a little one, she was always Mary. If a baby was available, the real live baby got to be the baby Jesus, and always someone read the story, and generally for quite a few years it was Keith Winkler, because he had such a deep voice, and it was so impressive. And the children were respectful, they would get their costumes, and Joseph and all the wise men, and then after that, of course, they sang songs and just normal Christmas carols and things like that. And always had refreshments. The youth committee would decide what they got to eat, and the parents would make it for them. The carnival was an interesting thing. Many people quite complimented the children on that. There was a time before videos were so popular, they haven’t been around too long, but the children liked to have a party on Halloween, so it grew that they decided to rent a film to have a picture show on Halloween, and then they got to worry all summer long about which film they were going to see, where they were going to go to show it, and it was fun. But in about, I guess that was the time that they would have a carnival in the commons area of the dell. And they would have such things as people painting faces on the children, they’d have clothing or garage sale type of thing. They would have cookies. They would have rides on these bungee cords that go back and forth, and they’d put them up there. They would have fortune telling. And they would have all kinds of things to eat, and I remember one year I made scones. I stayed on the porch here and fried scones all afternoon, and they made enough money. Oh, they made between $40-50, and then it would take about all of that to rent the film and projector, and have the party. And then of course after the committee would choose it, with the help of the adults, and then they’d go some place, decide where they’d have the party, and then they’d go there and eat their treats and watch the movie. Provo
Tom Buss: The stories of Mary Poppins and the Stick Witch are common Springdell folklore. I chose Tom Buss’s explanation of these two characters because his mother, Georgia Buss, is the resident who plays these two roles. This tradition began years ago and
has continued to play these characters even into 1994. Her grand-daughter, Mckenzie, participated in this year’s Easter tradition. Georgia
Tom: She plays a couple of roles. During Easter Mary Poppins gathers up all the children, and she’ll take them down the lane, we call it the lane, it’s down by Cox’s and Nielson’s, and then she has a bag and she’ll have the kids reach into it and pull out an object. And it could be a little tinsel, or these wooden eggs from
, and then she’ll tell a story, something like that, and then whatever object the kid pulls out then she’ll tell them a story about that. Meanwhile, all the parents are hiding eggs furiously out in the outer Dell, and then the kids run out and get their eggs. Russia
And during leaf day the stick witch--she dresses up like an old witch and gathers the kids up and then they go around and pick up the trash, sticks, and then they build a big bonfire in the fire place and burn them.
Jill Nielson. During my interview with Mindi and Jill, Mindi told of Jill’s winning Miss Springdell. This was an annual event held just prior to the 24th of July celebration (see #1 B). Jill was hesitant to tell the story but Mindi persuaded her to tell of her winning Miss Springdell.
Jill: When I was about six years old I remember I wore a red dress and I sang a little song about a puppy dog, and they thought I was cute. It used to be big, like one year we had a crown and we’d all dress up, and the pageant consisted of doing a talent and later on they’d ask us questions and stuff. But one year we just had a really fancy sports car that drove the Miss Springdell around.
George Collins : As a relative newcomer to the Dell I was curious to hear if George had participated in any of the traditional activities in the Dell. While he was familiar with Spring Cleanup and Fall Leaf Day, his most vivid experiences had come through what is called “night games.” This is the informal gathering of all the children in the Dell on summer evenings to play the standard neighborhood games--kick the can, British bulldog, hide-n-go-seek, etc. This has been carried on for generations of children. All children participate no matter what the age. George reflects on how effective “night games” are in making children feel a part of the community.
George: When I first moved in, I think our family just jumped right into things. Everybody in our family used to be really shy. We moved up here, and there wasn’t a lot of kids. The kids that were here were really nice to us, like the first day we got here they welcomed us to night games and everything else they did, and so we jumped right in. They had football, soccer, baseball, volleyball every single day after school. And our parents would get kind of mad, but we’d come home at 5:00 muddy and everything from playing soccer, and they didn’t know where we were.
I think the funniest thing was night games, though, because we had a couple of kids in the neighborhood that had been here all their life and they’d know all the places to hide. One kid was a third degree black belt, and he was kind of considering himself like a ninja, so we’d hang around him and he’d always try and climb trees. The first night of night games it seemed like there was so many people out there, and that was so neat because at night in the mountains it was cooler than the city, about 20 degrees, so it was real nice for playing. And it’s just like running around and everybody chasing you at night, and you don’t know where everything is, it was really cool.
Mark Warner: Mark had a veritable treasure of childhood memories from the Dell. I have selected just a few of these to indicate the unplanned activities that occurred in Springdell. Obviously, the young boys in Springdell were normal boys full of fun and ready for mischief. Mark alludes to a Mr. Cox in the first experience. Mr. Cox was one of the earliest residents in the Dell. His home is located at the end of the lane in the lower Dell. Sam Western was one of the young boys who lived in the Dell--a close friend to Mark.
Mark: One day he (Mr. Cox) put up a swing. It was a disc about 18 inches in diameter, and it had just a hole in it with a rope, and the rope went way up to a tree, and he put it up there where the hill comes down near the highway, and the hill was so steep that it was just perfect, because you could climb up the hill and get on the swing and swing way out over the highway, and then way back up and stand on the hill. Well, that wasn’t enough. So we had to make these big mud balls, and then whenever a big truck would come, we’d swing out and throw the mud balls and make this big “boom” on the side of the semi. I can’t believe I’m confessing to this. But I was pretty young at the time and my older brother and
’s older brother, Philip, they were the ones that got to throw them anyway. We had to make them. They called us the mudball crew, build these mudballs and then they’d get them on the semi. And the adults, I remember my Dad came back from a stockholders meeting or something, and he said, “Well, they’ve got to take that swing down. It just gets too close to the wires,” and the adults were concerned because the swing was going too close to the telephone lines, and nobody had any idea what was really going on up there. Marshall
Another time Sam Western and I, in one of our mischief fits--they have that little garage that backs up right against where the highway used to go. Remember that fence? And you could literally open the window and spit on the cars as they went by, and I’m sure we tried that. That wasn’t exciting enough, so we started getting cups of water and throwing it on the cars as they went by. I’ve changed quite a bit. I don’t do this kind of thing anymore. Anyway, we were young and foolish. But Sam’s parents were very strict, and that kind of thing just was not tolerated. And I wasn’t the instigator, but I certainly trying... We were up there throwing these cups of water on the cars as they went by and a couple of times we’d hear them honk. Most of the time they just didn’t know what happened. They thought it was somebody’s sprinklers. And so we got bored with that, and picked up the whole bucket and dumped it on the car as it went by. And it was in the middle of the summer. Anyway, it was a police car. We had no idea. It was a police car, and it didn’t have lights on the top, but it had the light on the side. So, I don’t know if we heard a siren go off, or what, but we knew something was wrong, because this car whipped around and came right into Springdell. Well we ran downstairs and hid under their car. And I remember I was laying under the car, and this police car comes up, and the policeman comes up and knocks on the door, and then we hear this blood-curdling scream, you know, “Sam where are you?” It was Sam’s mom. And Sam laid under the car for a minute, and I remember him crawling up, and I just thought, “Oh, no. I’m staying here,” and I stayed there. And he didn’t give it away. He didn’t tell on me. I was really amazed. And I laid there for about 30 minutes. And finally the police man left, and he went inside to get his whooping, and I went home. And then after the policeman, and I guess his mom got the truth that I had helped, and I remember walking home an hour or two after, and I opened the door, and my mother said,”Mark, have you been throwing water on cars?” (laugh) Just like that. And that’s all she said. My mom, she never had a real knack for discipline. My dad was the big discipliner in our house.
Tom Buss: I am including this bit of memorabilia because it reflects the idea that not all activities in the “golden age” of the Dell were planned. The children did many spontaneous activities but just as the “night games” bring the current group of young people together, so did sleeping out and playing in the pond provide a unifying influence on children of former generations. Tom speaks of Kyle Patten who is the younger brother of Kathy Patten--one of the other informants. Kyle still lives in the Dell with his older sister.
Tom: The earliest I remember, have you talked to Kyle Patten? Kyle and I ended up meeting in the sand pile, and ever since then we’ve always been pretty good friends, and there was like when we were real young there was a click of us, the Mollett’s lived in the Bryson home, and then the Western’s lived where Debbie Hill is, and then the Pattens, and there was a lot of kids in the Warners, in the Winklers, all had really big families. And so every age group there was about 5 or 6 kids at each age level, so everybody had a really big, it didn’t matter, ages, who you ran with. It didn’t matter up here, but usually there was about 5 kids the same age you’d go through school with. Well, it was kind of before we really got T.V. up here when I was growing up, and so TV wasn’t really big. A few people had it, but it wasn’t really, not everybody was hooked up to the system, and no one watched a lot of TV. And so a lot of activities the kids went outside. It’s not like today. The kids were really tight. We did a lot of activities, like they would do, before video tapes came along, Springdell would do a carnival and they would have scones and apple dunking contests to raise money for the Halloween movie. They’d get a big movie projector and we’d try to get Disney, but I remember it was a couple hundred dollars, and so we did stuff like that, and all summer long almost every night you could see a kid out there sleeping outside in the dell. And I remember one night where there was probably 20 kids sleeping out, and it was just the thing to do during the summer, we’d always sleep out either on the island or just in the play area, and then we’d play night games, which would be like steal the bacon, follow the judge the court, hide and seek and all that stuff. So the kids were really tight. We’d do a lot of water fights during the summer with the ponds, and dunking the girls, and then they’d retaliate, and that was fun.
Natural Environment and Wildlife
Ryan Fisk: Ryan is a very good storyteller. He tells of many experiences he had in
. Ryan has only lived in the Dell for three months (see biographical information) which makes it difficult for him to relate to some of the traditions and common Springdell folklore. He has, however, a rich repertoire of animal stories. This experience naturally grew out of a discussion of what he liked to do around Springdell. California
Gail: You build forts?
Ryan: Well, I’ve tried behind the Warner’s house. I’ve tried making them just out of logs. When I went there, there was a deer there with a baby, and I started getting into watching that instead of building a fort, so I never got to doing that. But as soon as I find a good place that no one’s ever been, a hidden place, I want to build a fort.
Gail: A deer and her baby?
Ryan: Yeah. There were tall trees, and I was trying to make a path to this place that was long and went through a lot of stuff, so if someone was following me they’d get lost. So I went in there, and the place I chose to build my fort there was these matted down pieces of ground where it’s all cleaned off, and I looked around. I’ve seen places like that and there were deer. I looked up and like 11 feet away there was a mother deer, just frozen, looking at me and a baby just curled up. I could hardly see because it was little. And then she got up and ran, and the baby started squealing.
Gail: Did you ever go back to see if it was still there?
Ryan: A lot of times. And after awhile they started sleeping closer to the entrance into these woods, so when I came in it would just take off.
Eric Higginson: It was a warm, inviting fall day, when Eric was scheduled to come to my home for an interview. At the allotted hour I saw him scurrying up the hill with a large group of neighborhood youth. They were on a hike up to Nob Hill. I told him that I wouldn’t take too much time if he would willingly come and keep his appointment. This was a mistake. I could get little more than one syllable answers from Eric as he was very anxious to get back to his hike. He did give me some biographical information and then answered a few questions about animals he had seen in the Dell. Sometimes what isn’t said is just as important as what is said. He didn’t have time for me because he rather be doing the two things he loves to do--hiking and being with friends. Stories about cougar sightings abound in Springdell folklore. Everyone mentioned whether they had seen a cougar or not. Skunks are also a common topic of conversation.
Gail: Now tell me, have you seen any animals around here?
Eric: Yeah, we saw a mountain lion a year ago and two years ago we saw three mountain lions.
Gail: Three mountain lions. Does that ever scare you going into the mountains?
Eric: Well, if I’m just like walking or hiking all by myself, it sometimes does, but if I’m with other people, it’s not very scary.
Gail: What other animals do you see?
Eric: Skunks. We opened our door one morning at 6:30, there was a skunk right there. Wow, scoot back.
Kathy Patten: This story told by Kathy Patten, illustrates what I believe to be an important characteristic of the mothers in the Dell. There are reported sightings of cougars, rattlesnakes, and bobcats and yet the parents allow their children to roam rather freely around the surrounding hills. There are treacherous areas with rather dangerous cliffs but very few children have gotten into trouble hiking. Kathy suggests that her mother knew what was going on but accepted and encouraged exploration. She also implies that the young people seemed to have a common sense knowledge of the dangers and stayed away from compromising situations. This open exploration policy is evident even today.
Kathy: We used to go all day up the hill, over the river, we would go down the river in tubes, we would hike up on Timp. Mom must have known what we were doing, but I don’t know how she knew, because we were gone for a long, long time. We didn’t pull a lot over on Mom. She knew what we were doing most of the time, but I don’t know how she would let us go for that long. We would tube down the river. We would tube from the dam all the way down, sometimes, to Bridal Veil, which I don’t know if people do it now or not. I think it was maybe considered dangerous then, but we knew when not to go and what not to do. And there were times when people would die in the river, and we would say, of course we were kids and no one would listen to us, but we would say, “O.K., if you look here, that’s where that body will be,” and sure enough, eventually they’d go look there and that’s where the body would be.
Experiences with skunks provide humor among Dell residents. Everyone seems to have a skunk story but Kathy’s has become somewhat of a legend among residents--at least among the long-time residents. Kathy tells this story with a liberal sprinkling of laughter and good nature. She never reflects a distaste for skunks, only an aversion to having them in the house.
Kathy: We’ve had skunks. We had a skunk spray in the house one year (laugh). Well it was years ago, we were building the house, and Dad decided he wanted to do it all himself. So what he did was cut the back half off of the house, and he built up the back two levels of the house, and then several years later he did the front part of the house. And so this was in the years in between and we had the new wall on the double level, and the old wall sitting about 2 ft.. .6 inches from it, or a foot from it. So there was this little space in between these two walls, and for some reason the skunks were living in there. As long as they stayed there that was O.K. But Dad was in the hospital, happened to be having a stomach operation, and we were all sitting there on family night, Monday night one night, discussing Dad and discussing what we needed to all do for the week in the living room, and in walks this skunk, just stands in the middle of the room. (laugh) And my Mom said to my oldest brother, “Russell, do something.” Russell said, “I’m not going to do anything. It can stand there as long as it wants.” So pretty soon it looked us all over and it wandered off. It wandered in between those two walls. And I guess Mom at that point, she had known there were animals around, she knew there were skunks around, but that just kind of upset her a little. (laugh) And so she decided it was time to get the animals out. So, she got Mr. Warner, who then lived next door in HIGGINS’s, and he was the bishop, and he lived next door. So Dad wasn’t home, so she got him to come over and they chased this skunk underneath the stairway. The skunk got down, of course, on the very first tread, and just sat there and looked at everybody. And they were trying to coax it out. And they decided that if they got it out, what would they do with it? We have live traps now that we take care of these things with, and we weren’t that smart. So, they coaxed and coaxed for hours--hours under that staircase. And then they finally coaxed it into this big cardboard box with plastic, and they finally coaxed it into there, and Mr. Warner, “Got it, I got it,” and up he got to run out, and his legs are now asleep, because he’s been crouched down by the stairs for 2 hours, and he dropped the box. The skunk got out and sprayed all over the house, sprayed all over the living room and Mr. Warner picked up the skunk and went to the front room. I remember he just opened the front room door and threw the skunk as far as he could throw it. (laugh) I think it landed in the pond, I’m not sure. And it was winter, mid-winter, and we just slept with every window, every door wide open for about a month. You can’t do anything, you know, at that point. It was a linoleum floor right there, so the spray didn’t hit hardly anything that was material, that it could not be wiped up. But that scent will stay in any material around, and so the next day I had my trumpet out, I had been practicing, and so I closed the lid and went to band, and opened the lid, with all of that velvet inside. Oh my gosh, I’m not playing this trumpet, you know. (laugh) And the same thing with wool coats, after awhile you stop smelling it, so we got our wool coat out, and off we’d go, and pretty soon you’d open your locker and think, “Oh my gosh!”
Bev Davis : Bev gave me a series of wonderful stories about the wildlife in the Dell. Richard and Bev built their home fifteen years ago in the upper Dell (see biographical information). They were the first residents in this new area and had frequent encounters with the wildlife. Bev’s delightful sense of humor comes through in these stories.
Bev: We had a lot of animals up here. And we’ve had a number of experiences with those. During the period of time that we had a number of chickens, I don’t think we had any geese right then, we had one of these, what’s it called? They’re some kind of a chicken, and I can’t think what it’s called. It makes a real wild, cackly noise, and it has these little polka dot feathers, black and white polka dot feathers. It’s not a plain old chicken, it’s more of a wild bird, but we never had very many plain old chickens, we always had these odd things. And we had one of those, and the chickens were being killed off by something, the other birds, and one day this bird was out there screaming its head off, just screaming and screaming and screaming. And Richard looked out, and it was on that pole, some kind of a pole--must have been a tree. And there was this bobcat out there chasing these animals, and this one would scream and scream and scream and get his attention away from the slower ones, and they would kind of get away, and then he would chase that one, and he was setting the animal crazy. But the bird couldn’t handle the stress and left, went down the canyon. And we eventually shot the bobcat, because it kept hanging around the lot. We had a girl working for us as a secretary with our business. She was looking out the back window, and Richard had fixed a gun up in the top closet so that if this thing came close to the house we could get it, because he said a wild animal will not come close to the house where children and people are moving out and about unless there was either something wrong with it, or it was old, or it had babies close by, and in any of those situations it would be dangerous for little kids to be by. Well, she’s looking out this window, and she’s talking, “There’s a this or that,” she names off different animals, and I can’t remember the name she said, but when she hit lion, I thought, “Lion?” “There’s a lion in your back yard.” “A lion in our back yard?” And I get up and I run to the window, and there’s this bobcat. And it’s stunning how big a it’s alive and moving. When they’re dead and stuffed they look like big house cats. But when they ‘re alive and moving, they look like more of a wild cat, which is what they are, but they do look more like that. And I said, “Oh that’s the bobcat.” And it goes running across my yard, and I go running upstairs for the gun. And she kind of followed. We went out, and it was sitting. And we tried to shoot it. Well, every time I shot it, the thing was 10 feet away before I got close to it, because I don’t know how to shoot decently. So finally she took the gun, and the thing was around by our little shed area, kind of in the woods, and it just sat there. And I got a camera, she had the gun, and I kept moving closer and closer with the camera, and she kept shooting it with the gun, and it just sat there. And we thought, “This is a really weird animal. It’s not moving. It just sits there.”
Gail: Maybe it knew what a good shot you were.
Bev: I don’t know. Richard said maybe it was afraid to move because you were missing it and it thought, “Maybe I’ll just stay there. These fools are shooting all around me.” And she said she could see in the site thing that all of a sudden it was going and then she got it. And we kind of got within 5 feet, looked at it, “Looks dead,” and left. And waited until Richard got home, because we didn’t want to get close and find out it was playing possum or something. We had ducks in here. Richard had bought $200 or $300 worth of really exotic and elaborate type ducks. Whistling ducks and wood ducks, and all these pretty little ducks to go on the ponds on the side of the house, and they were kind of disappearing. And we had a couple of plain old run of the mill ducks, the white ducks, that are just sturdier things. And he knew something was killing them, but he wasn’t quite sure what. And every once in awhile you could hear something lumbering around the house, but it would be dark and you couldn’t see what it was. So finally he got so he had his gun, he was sitting there in the chair, waiting for this thing to show up. I think he waited about 2 nights, and this big raccoon showed up. Actually he waited the two nights after it killed off all the expensive ducks. It would go down and kill the ducks down at what was Sill’s house, where
’s are, and then it would come back to ours. And one morning we went out and there were all these headless ducks. It doesn’t kill to eat, it just rips their heads off. It’s just a mass murder. Really. The skunks kill to eat, but the Raccoons kill because they just like to kill, I guess. Because all these headless ducks were, ooh, terrible. And the one duck that was left there kept wanting to leave, and I’d bring it back and it was almost shaking. It knew, “Oh, I’m going to die, I’m going to die.” And this one night he (Richard) waited up and he got it, and he stuffed it (the raccoon), and it was over 40 lbs. And the man that stuffed it said he’d never seen one that big. Ogden
One year I kept thinking my kids were eating my fruit. I had it on the back porch, to can, and I’d go out every day and there’d be a bite out of this one and a bite out of that one, and a bite out of this one. And it looked like little mouths. And I’d say, “Why don’t you just eat a whole peach, or a whole pear? Why do you keep biting different ones and scattering them all,” and that’s the kind of things kids would do, and then I found out it was the raccoons that would come up and have little parties every night and eat my fruit.
Andy saw cougars in, I think It was the Bolick house, in their garage about a year or two ago. There were one or two young cougars and their mother, or something, I can’t remember all the details of it. Other than that, not a lot of wild animals. The one year there was a lot of snow and really a lot of cold weather, we had a deer. We put out hay to feed it. Well, it slept in it, and then it would go on about its business, and we had a lot of deer. A lot more deer than what we have now. It used to come around, in fact, those were our welcome wagon, this deer couple. They came up and looked right up into the bedroom window, and that was kind of the ending point for my husband going out and hunting deer, because all of a sudden they were your neighbors, and it’s not so nice to hunt your neighbors. Although some people do that. (laugh) Hunt their neighbors, that is.
Keith Nielson: Of all the residents in the Dell, there is probably none more qualified to talk about the wildlife than Keith Nielson. As an amateur tracker he has spent hour upon hour in the hills and mountains surrounding the Dell in search of wildlife. Keith is a reflective man of few words. His words come with short pauses and quick staccatos. When he speaks about nature he becomes animated. As mentioned in his biographical information, he at one time wanted to be a forest ranger.
Keith: One thing I’ll talk about awhile while I’m thinking about it, was a little bit about animals that I’ve seen in the Dell. The Dell has been a great place to have a variety of animals--seen coyotes here in the Dell, we’ve had bobcat chasing one of the neighbor’s chickens around the Dell for quite awhile. I’ve seen a badger in the Dell, several moose--one in my backyard and one out in the Dell. A number of rattlesnakes. I killed one down by the basketball standard, we killed one by the sand box and one down by the Cox’s that I can think of. If they come right in the Dell we’ll kill them, but I’ve seen them by the springs, away from the Dell, and didn’t pursue getting rid of them, or over by the river I ‘ve seen them, and no need to kill them unless they come in the Dell. We’ve had two moose that come right into our back yard around our garage, around our house, and back out toward Cox’s, and took some pictures of them when they were doing that. I’ve had a deer on my trampoline-- across my tramp, fell down because it had a hard time getting across. I’ve had an elk in my garden, and last year I had a mountain lion in my back yard, behind my garage and then underneath the fence and across the cement fence and jumped down the 12 ft wall and crossed the road. And there were two mountain lions over by Karen’s and they entered the little summer house that Stan Cox made up there. And I’ve spent a little time tracking them--every time it would snow up by nob hill, fresh mountain lion tracks, I tracked them just to see what they were doing. Tracking through these rocks over here beyond Nob, I could see where they would have laid down there and kind of had a view of the area. We had an old cat that was--named
, and it was in pretty bad shape, kind of a mangy cat. It wasn’t a very good looking cat, it didn’t seem like it was all healthy. It was kind of a pet, and needed to be hauled off, but no one wanted to haul off another neighbor’s cat. I think we have a really high degree of tolerance for other people’s property here and their pets and things. That cat just was here and here, and all of a sudden it kind of disappeared. The neighbors said, well--other cats disappeared the same time, and I was reading the National Geopraphic where they did an autopsy on one of the mountain lions they had to kill there in their development, and it was full of quite a few domestic cats, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it had gotten some of the cats around here, particularly Garfield and a couple of others I think. Garfield
Helen Cragun: Helen loves the Dell. It is such an integral part of her character that the Dell is almost like another member of her family. One of the most predominant features of the Dell is the cement pond. At one time it was an actual natural pond but over the years, residents of the Dell have built a rock wall and cemented in the sides and bottom of the pond. Many of the residents wrote their names in the wet cement and they can still be seen when the pond is empty. As has been mentioned in several other narratives, the pond is the center of many summer activities for the children. There have been some winters when the pond has been groomed for skating but this is a time consuming labor and isn’t always done. Helen had some of the most interesting stories about the pond and also tells some of the history behind its attraction for children.
Helen: When I first came out, I don’t remember the children playing in the pond and getting wet. It was rather the thing if you had any company come up, you had to expect that the first trip up somebody would fall in the pond, practically on purpose, and you always kept extra clothing, old clothing, so you could send them home in hand me downs or something, so that they could be christened as belonging. They could then come up without being afraid they’re going to fall in, because they’d already done it. But when we got so many children, there were 11 over here (motions to various homes in the DelI), 11 over here, and they got more children, then they began playing in the pond, and somebody, the boys built a raft. The boys did it themselves. And they built a raft. And the children really enjoyed that raft. That’s what got them playing in the water more. And on the side by the road, there was a huge, big tree. And it had a limb that came out just right for the big rope up there to swing out over the pond. And that rope was the most fun. It would swing from where they drain the pond, you know they built it wider out there with cement, when they capped all around the pond, they made it wider there so the children could have a place to run and swing out on the rope. It would go clear out to the island. Oh, it was a big rope.
One of my experiences, I went out one day and my niece lived over here, and her cousin the same age, were down and Anne (her daughter) was one year old. And I went out to find where she was. She was with the big girls, and she was sitting on the knot flying out over the pond--one year old--over the island. I sat down but she got back. Really they spent a lot of time doing that. Of course, then they started failing in the pond, and I guess they started playing in it.
In this story Helen attempts to explain the feeling many Dell members have about the protective character of the mountains. It is another common feature of many stories especially those told by the women.
Helen: There is a geographical thing about Springdell. It’s nestled down in a little circle. It’s surrounded by the mountains. When you look any direction from your house, you will see the mountains. They seemed to enclose us. And then going back into the history, the way back history of Springdell, it has historical value for other people who have come here and felt the water was a leading factor in bringing Indians to stop by here to have water as they went down. The fact that there was water here, we were enclosed by mountains, and trees, and nature played a big important part in that. I feel that geographically the surrounding as you feel a little, everything more or less closed out. Then when you built the gate and the fence, we did have a fence, a picket fence, but that closed us in, and to come through that gate, I can only tell my own experiences when I always would go away and come home, particularly when I was teaching school, and was here with just Anne (her daughter) and me, I’d come through that gate and I was home. I didn’t have to get into my house to be home. I was home. And although I’ve had to go out at night, one of the hard deciding factors is that you’ve got to go out of the gate to go some place. It makes you feel that you’re protected. There’s a protected feeling when you go through the gate to get in to where you’re going. And I have felt that.
Helen Cragun: Helen wanted to illustrate the feeling of protection and security a person feels when they come into the Dell. She chose this story because she wanted to show how even a little child can sense that comfort. She has repeated this story to other members of her family upon various occasions.
Helen: I had a little five year old nephew who was brought out from Washington, DC. His parents left him with me for 2 weeks while they tried to find a home in
. The first day that little boy was left here--he made no problem of his parents leaving--but the first day he was here he would not go off my lot. He’d go to the end of the driveway and stand there. So I took him down to the sand pile and playground, and mainly he liked the trees. He could climb the trees. And then I had to get the bell out and let him know which sound meant for him to come home. About the third day I had to make a rule that he could go anywhere he wanted, but he couldn’t go outside of the picket fence. He just could not go outside of the picket fence. So we got in the car to go to California , he was in the back seat of the car. And as we went out of the gate, he looked back and he said, “Oh, Auntie Helen, when can I get back inside those pickets?” I guess that little boy had never been able to go out of the yard in the city, and the freedom that he must have felt, and yet the security of that picket fence. Provo
Spiritual and Emotional
Laurinda Ogden: The women I interviewed frequently spoke of some guiding force bringing them to the Dell. Some called it an unlikely coincidence and others were opening spiritual in their reflections. Laurinda spoke on several occasions about the influence of the spirit in her family’s decision to move into the Dell. Laurinda is very active in the LDS church, as are her husband and children. She believes in miracles and spiritual manifestations. She felt free discussing this subject with me because we have spoken of such manifestations upon other occasions. I too am an active member of the LDS church and have felt spiritual guidance in moving to Springdell. The home where Laurinda now lives was owned by the family of Sterling W. Sill--a prominent leader in the LDS church. When she speaks of the previous owner she is speaking of Sterling W. Sill’s daughter-in-law. She speaks of the father-in-law dying--Sterling W. Sill died in the spring of 1994.
Laurinda: Everything that led up to our finally purchasing this home, I felt was totally directed by the Lord, and we knew it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t His will, and if everything fell through at the last minute, that would be fine, too, because I still have turned everything over to Him. So, I’m not uneasy, and I feel totally at home, and I felt help once we moved here. I felt an urgency to know who everyone was, and started learning names as quickly as I could. And so for me personally, I feel very much at home. Paul loves it. He was the big push to me for his sense that he had to be here, and I think he fell in love with it even before I did. So many doors opened that made it possible to purchase that home. It was way out of our price range, twice what we could afford, and besides the price dropping, being able to get a loan, it all happened almost miraculously. The loan was held by a bank in Salt Lake, and when Paul went to research that, he found out that the manager of the bank is the husband of my good friend, and so many things happened that just walked us through one step at a time, everything that we thought would totally be closed, and that too many of these things just kept opening, and the fact that the price dropped, and the very next day it was going to go on the auction, and we were just really fortunate. And the change of heart of the owner when she finally realized that she’d much rather have us own it than have it go to auction or have anyone else own it. She kept saying also that her father-in-law had died and at his funeral she hugged me when I came through the line, and she said, “You have no idea how good I’ve felt about this. I know this is supposed to be .” So we just had one confirmation after another that we were supposed to move to Springdell and we were supposed to have this home.
Marilyn Howard; Marilyn often expressed deeply personal feelings during her interview. She is an intensely spiritual person--a member of the LDS church–and a strong believer in spiritual manifestations. She is an avid follower of natural folk healing methods and believes that the whole body is profoundly influenced by thought and spirit. She feels that the natural world has a spirit and that we must be in tune with it in order to remain healthy and strong. This may be due to her Indian background (see biographical information) but in reality she was never raised around a Native American culture. She intimated that this might be a genetic trait passed down through her bloodline. Here she speaks not just of Springdell but of
in general. She frequently attended BYU Education Week--a seminar of spiritual instruction sponsored by the LDS church–which is held on the BYU campus in Provo . Provo, Utah
Marilyn: To me it feels like a core, natural thing. It’s all the way to the center of my soul. When I used to come up here to go to Education Week, and walk on, (tears)--l can hardly speak of it-- walk on Brigham Young’s campus, I don’t care if people think I’m crazy. I’ll say the words, the spirit of those mountains spoke to me and hugged me. And people can say, but I felt it, that’s why I moved back here. I never felt so at home and wanted and loved from the earth
Marilyn was speaking about some of the struggles she had undergone in her life. She had been divorced about ten years before and it had left some emotional scarring. She was still working through many of these problems when she moved to the Dell. She is very happy in her second marriage. Her husband, Andy, is also of Indian descent and she feels that they share a common spiritual union. She has one daughter currently living at home--Julie is sixteen--and another daughter who attends BYU and lives nearby. Marilyn feels that the healing influence of the Dell has touched all of her family. As mentioned earlier, Marilyn is very active in the LDS church and firmly believes in God and Jesus Christ. She is convinced that miracles occur and that God manifests Himself to man through the spirit and through the earth.
Marilyn: I have never felt such a spiritually healing place. And I personally know that healing comes through Christ and through repentance. I know that. But I also feel that the Lord can pass on other healing to you through his earth that he’s given us, and specific areas. I really feel it, stronger than I can express. I don’t even know how to express it, but I knew when I got here that I was getting better, it was all right. And every day I feel so much better emotionally and spiritually, and Andy does, too. And so does Julie. We talk about this in the family. And it’s like every day we feel like we’re growing inside, healing more, and becoming more in touch with ourselves.
George Collins: One of my prepared questions was, “What do you find appealing about Springdell?” I was surprised by George’s response. George is only seventeen years old and is a fairly typical teenager. He loves fast cars, fast four wheelers, fast jet skis, etc. etc. (See biographical information). That he had spent some time reflecting on his feelings about the Dell was pleasing to me. It is difficult to convey in this brief excerpt from our interview what I interpreted as a belief by George that Springdell has had a great influence for good in his life. He expressed in no uncertain terms how much he loved it here and how much he felt a part of the community. George refers to “the orchard” in this narrative. His family owned a tract of land in
that included an orchard. His family was at one time contemplating building a home on that parcel of land. Orem
George: The last couple of days I’ve just been thinking what my life would be like if we had moved into the orchard, and it’s really hard, because I’ve made a lot of friends here. Some of them moved away and I’m still really good friends with a lot of them, and I can see myself as what I would have turned out to be if I had stayed in the neighborhood that we were going to live in, and it’s the kind of kids I make fun of now.
Kathy Christensen: I asked Kathy to tell me how she first became interested in Springdell and what led her to settle here. As indicated in her biographical information, Kathy’s husband, Kerry, is a professional yodeler and travels all over the country to appear in folk festivals and resort communities. He frequently must leave Kathy and her four children at home. I sensed that Kathy feels protected and secure in Springdell. She indicated to me that she didn’t want to live in the upper Dell or on either end of the lower Dell. She wanted to live right in the middle so she could be surrounded by people. She and her husband had just moved to
Utah from . She had been hoping to find something in Springdell for nearly four years--even prior to her leaving Florida she had been in contact with one of the residents who was selling a home in the lower Dell. When her current home finally became available she felt it was Providential. As she shared the following experience she became very emotional and I could tell that she was deeply touched by this experience. Florida
Kathy: We did end up here finally, and I remember the morning. Kerry was out of town, of course, when we moved. I was still in school, my last semester, just so stressed, and we had to move.
Gail: You were trying to get a nursing degree?
Kathy: Right. And I remember we were moving out from the trailers over at BYU, which was so tiny, our new house seemed like a mansion compared. But I remember the first morning after we moved our stuff and we woke up in that house. I have this picture in my mind that will never go away, standing at that front window. There was a tree there, one that the storm (the micro burst of 1994) blew down. It was a little blossoming plum tree, or something. And it was all pink. And there were little hummingbirds and bees. It was May. And I remember just standing there at that window thinking, “I’m here. I actually moved into this place.” It was just an incredible feeling. I’m still choked up. I’m amazed, I am, but I can just remember those feelings so clearly.