Monday, August 15, 2016

Yerington Monday: First Friends


The YHS Class of 1966 had it 50-Year Class Reunion Saturday August 13, 2016 at the Pioneer Crossing in Yerington.  We all had a wonderful time and renewed old friendships.  This was a speech that I read to our class and at their request I am posting it for all of them.

First Friends

We peaked at each other from behind our mother’s skirts;
And played tinker toys on bare floors while watching cowboy shows on TV
We compared our marble and bottle cap collections and traded
baseball cards

When we could no longer hold still, we played hide and seek, kick the can, and red rover.  Jumping on our bikes we raced each other and played follow the leader, who often lead us in the into a cloud of fog behind the mosquito truck.
As the street lights came on, we reluctantly dragged home, tired but hating to leave our first friends and begging our mother’s to let them stay for supper or overnight.

On the playground we met up with our first friends.  We shimmied across the monkey bars, and teetered on the the sawhorses
We jumped hopscotch squares and knelt in the dirt at circles of marbles
We slammed each other down at the tetherball pole and chased the boys and girls of our affection at recess
We learned to wait our turn as we stood in line for games, lunch and to going back to class.

After school and during the summer, the boys joined Little League and Mighty Might Boxing and the girls became the fans and cheerleaders.
We joined Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H
We took Square & Ballroom dance lessons (yes, even the boys)
We were awed by fireworks as we swatted away mosquitos.

As we grew and our friendships also grew and our activities changed.
We were beginning to fall in love with love.
It became the subject of every locker room and pool hall conversation.
Every song on the radio, every dance and prom promoted love.  Even sports promoted love, as boys showed off for the girls and the girls swarmed over the boys.  

Our friendships solidified as we shared confidences and hurts over our latest love interest.  We dragged Main Street on weekends looking for love.  We waited at John’s Cafe hoping love would walk in the door and sit at our booth.  We snuck out to Perk’s Slough, Lake Lahontan and Wilson Canyon to party and make out with our love.  If we needed a make out place, we needed only to drive out to the cemetery, Anaconda lookout, or go to the Sagebrush Drive In.  And if we had no transportation, the Yerington Movie theater balcony would do just fine.

We further solidified our first friendships while pantomiming the Beatles in assembly, marching in the drill team or band behind cows and elephants at the Nevada Day parades in our white Oxfords. We joined the after school clubs that were to promote our future: Future Teachers, Future Homemakers, Future Farmers, Medical Arts,, etc, etc, etc.  And despite all this activity we would still get bored.  Our first friends were our best resource at those time as we talked, complained, gossiped, and schemed on how to pull off pranks.  
We shared our dreams and fears about the future. We were shocked into the reality of the world ahead of us with JFK’s assassination and MLK’s freedom marches.  Our boyfriends and brothers were required to register with the draft for the Vietnam War.   Our first friendships had grown, but now we had to make major decisions about our lives the would separate us.   Ahead lied marriage, college, work and military service.  We were about to be scattered and separated.  

We all went on to our separate lives. Most had children, many had careers.  We had many relationships, some good, some not so good.  Each experienced their own life crises - illness, divorce, wayward children, career disappointment, loss of parents and our own old age over the years.  And through it all, many kept their first friendships going, while others, because of distance, could not.

Over the years, we had many friendships. But now, over sixty years later, we peak at our first friends again, not from behind our mothers aprons but at our 50-year class reunion. We realized how much we have all change, but despite age, distance and life's wear and tear, something has remained constant.  Our first friendships have weathered the test of time and they are still standing. Yes, first friends are the best friends and now after all this time, I have come to realize that first friends are also forever friends. Happy 50-years, Class of 1966!

By Chere L Brown, August 13, 2016, Yerington, NV

Monday, August 8, 2016

Yerington Monday: Fences of Old

Fences Of Old

“Fences are the beginning and the end of the open range.” -Pandion

Faded outlines in the desert, barely discernible now, the earliest fences in Nevada were built of sagebrush, stone, or juniper. Toward them Native Nevadans on the hunt spooked the antelope, half the hunting party hooting and hollering, while the other half shot the animals from behind these makeshift corrals.  Sometimes the fences led the antelope into ravines or over small cliffs where the entire herd was trapped and the largest taken for meat.  Few native fences survive:  weather, animals, and man have tumbled even the stone fences to the ground.

The settlers used fences not to drive animals to death, but to nurture them - horses, cattle, and sheep - by confining them to areas where food and water were available.  No longer communally shared the open range was divided into private property by fences.

Ranchers in the 1880’s hired Chinese labor to build their fences;  these had holes augured in juniper posts for wire to pass through.  

Later, manufacturers devised barbed wire to string between the posts.  Straight post material was scarce in the desert, so fences were built of whatever was handy, even bristlecone pine, oldest of trees.  Wagon loads of trees were brought down from the mountains to build corrals and loading chutes, and where the Iron Horse ventured, fences were often constructed of abandoned railroad ties.  In the arid Nevada soil, many early ranch fences - bleached by the elements, tilted in the wind, square nails testifying to their 19th century origin - are still standing, and standing firmly, throughout rural sections of the Silver State

More recently, the post hole digger has been replaced by the small pile-driver.  Steel now marches across the desert, a loss of the picturesque to the functional.  And with the growth of cities, homeowners mark their property lines and ensure privacy with fences, both decorative and utilitarian.  Perhaps, some day, even steel posts and chain link fences will be nostalgic reminders of the past as invisible shields of laser beams or magnetic force fields keep the herds on the range and screen out pollution and unwanted noises for city dwellers.

(Source: Nevada, November/December 1979)
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