2nd East, Memoirs of a Mormon Girl Raised in Dog Town
I grew up in the original part of town. Some call it dog town. I call it home. Second East caught the breeze of autumn on the north and the echoes of summer’s baseball diamonds on the south. Our little red brick house grew my stories. In fact, my story began with the official announcement of my birth on August 2, 1974.
Thrilled to finally have a baby sister after four brothers, big sister Wendy knocked on every single door of our neighbors’ homes announcing my arrival. From that moment, my stories seemed to follow; they grabbed hold of 2nd East and soaked up the memories, and I saved them for later.
Family. The nine of us under one roof and in one pew on Sundays. Kim, Cleve, Chris, Wendy, Michael, Amyanne, and Heather. We called him Jake. He was our dad. He worked as a social worker for the State of Utah and at least two to three other jobs to keep food on the table and to pay the bills. Mom stayed home with us. She baked bread, mashed potatoes, overcooked grandpa’s beef, and loved us. Dad loved a good church meeting; mom would rather stay home and read the newspaper. Like a magnet dad was drawn to God, faith and service. He did the temple work for his kindred dead, fanatically. Mom would holler as he left the house, “you go take care of the dead. I’ll stay here and care for the living.” Known as “Aunt Janet” by many she cooked big meals, filled every seat at her table and listened endlessly.
We grew up on Sunday Sermons, Bill Kringlen baseball, delivering newspapers, and camping at the “S” curve campground.
The seasons came and went and we grew and out grew our memories and our hand me downs. But we never out grew 2nd East.
The Street. The seventies were a great time to be a kid. And the Seventies on Second East were sensational.
To some it is just a street- 200 East. It follows the grid pattern. It’s between 100 and 300 East. But to me- it housed all of my adventures. Mom and dad moved to Cedar City in the late 60’s with two small boys in tote. But following the birth of their third son Chris, they bought their first home on 2nd East and didn’t leave for thirty years. It was to this home to which they brought their final four.
I walked to school on this road, rode my bike from its top to its bottom, delivered newspapers to its residents, played cops and robbers, and in fifth grade it became my roller rink. Along the way, I made friends. Some stayed and others left, but the street was the constant. Gravel used to line the black top of Second East until one day the big truck came with its black tar and men in neon jackets. A blanket of pavement covered the gravel. To my young eyes, it was a mystery. No more rocks to throw at mean dogs, or big brothers. Thankfully, they did not take the ditch.
We raced our boats all summer in that ditch. The boats came in all shapes, sizes and textures. Most notable and delicious was the popsicle stick which had most recently been sucked and chewed for its flavor. This “boat” provided for the best aerodynamics- smooth and straight. The random tree branch always provided the element of surprise or sheer luck. My personal favorite was the “trash boat.” Which was just that- trash. The races began in early June and ended in late September when the air changed and the irrigation water quit running. The dirty ditch water mesmerized us as it took our boats through its rapids and spit them out on the other side. A simple game, a competition, a memory.
Our neighbors became our grandparents and that left us with more than our fair share. I can still remember their names, their stories, and if they took the Salt Lake Tribune or the Deseret News. Dad trained us as newspaper deliverers early on in life. The income added a few coins to our family’s budget. Our Neighbors were the finest people in town. Ike, Betty, Peggy, Cordyn, Ida, George, Daisy, Hugh, Henry, Syd, Alta, and that's just the beginning.
When I ran out of paper money for Cowley Drug, I would make the neighbor rounds "visiting". They never turned me away, offering apples, cookies and pudding pops. But the best part of my visits were the stories. Their stories became my stories. Their stories became 2nd East.