Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Morning Memory: Death of my Childhood

So as I mentioned we went to Jackson Hole on Wednesday. In order to get to Jackson Hole one must pass through Idaho Falls. (okay, okay . . . there are other ways to get there . . . work with me here) For those of you who don't know, I lived in Idaho Falls from the age of 2 to the age of 14. Moving away still ranks pretty highly on the list of Lacey's Most Traumatic Experiences.

Except for about 12 hours my senior year of high school, I had not been back since we left. That was 13 years ago. That means that as of this year more time has passed since we left IF than we spent living there. CRAZY!!!!!

It was kind of fun to drive through town and see what's changed. Luke got quite the kick out of the awesome giant Indian head. Sadly, he really didn't get a very good view of the falls, which normally look like this. Those rocks in the center of the picture? Not visible, as the falls are only a few feet high right now. On the other hand, I very much remember the flooding in 1996 when there were essentially no falls at all and benches 20 feet back from the bank of the river were completely under water . . . well, except for the top couple of inches. That was an interesting year. I shall have to attempt to dig up the pictures mom took sometime. This year is seriously nothing comparatively speaking. (side note: how far can helicopters fly on one tank of gas? 'Cause if they could get from IF to Luna . . . )

You know how when you're dreaming you'll be in a place that's simultaneously completely familiar and completely foreign? That was pretty much what it was like. It's been so long that except for the super familiar places everything looked like I should recognize it but I kind of didn't. Seriously, it was trippy. I even had to pinch myself a couple of times to make sure I wasn't dreaming - it felt that surreal. In fact, I'm still not convinced I didn't imagine that part of the day . . . and I kind of wish I had. (more on that later)

So it was a day filled with trips down memory lane. First, the good ones:

SQUARE ICE CREAM IN SWAN VALLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, for those of you not in on the awesome, there is a store. No, let me back up. There is a tiny little think-about-blinking-and-you'll-miss-it-town called Swan Valley not to far away from IF. In that town there is a little tiny gas station/convenience store called the Swan Valley Commissary. (okay, okay, technically it has been changed to the Rainey Creek Country Store. But that? Is a dumb name, and soooooooooooooooooo not the place where I had my first square ice cream, so the Commissary it is and the Commissary it shall be forever and ever amen. So there.) And at the Commissary they have fabulous ice cream flavors (no lame vanilla or strawberry here!) and super fabulous square ice cream scoops. This place is so legendary in fact, that when YW go to girls' camp (the church owns a camp in the area that a bunch of stakes use every summer. And it is another awesome place . . . story for another day) it is common knowledge that you take a few bucks with you because we're stopping for square ice cream on the way back home. So there I was, 12 years old (because my parents would NEVER stop for ice cream on the way to Aunt Loretta's . . . LAME!), haven't showered for . . . well, a few days, as this awesome camp came with running water, flushing toilets, and showers - seriously, best camp ever - first ever nights spent away from home, having had a pretty great week and ending it with the best ice cream ever made. It. Was. Epic. I kid you not, this ice cream is legendary. So when dad called on Monday asking if we wanted to come and he mentioned we'd stop in Swan Valley . . . well, it was pretty much a no brainer that we'd be going. I'd have taken multiple pictures from multiple angles of the awesome, but as I also mentioned a couple of days ago - battery issues. Blargh.

So I hand mom my camera and tell her it's ready to go . . . and she asks "so what do I do?" Ummmmm . . . take the picture? "But how? Do I push the button or what?"

I couldn't face palm with ice cre-awesome in my hand, so I silently forgave all the Disney guests I mentally mocked back in the day who felt like they needed to explain to me how to use their cameras when I took pictures for them. Apparently, they are not self-explani-obvious to everyone.

Just to review kids - my grandfather? Has a smart phone. My mom? Can't figure out the camera I bought 4 years ago. My head? A splode.

Anyway . . . SQUARE ICE CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and I suppose I can forgive the lack of zooming in . . . especially since mom's camera has no zoom to speak of)

That, my friends, is my old standby of huckleberry on top, licorice on bottom. An amazing combo if I do say so myself.

Just call me Arorangi, the Maori Warrior Princess . . . the rest of the tribal tattoos will come later. :-)

Also - at the bottom of the cone they put a Whopper(tm) to prevent drips. I'd totally forgotten - best surprise EVER!

Oh . . . guess I spoiled that surprise for all of you (since you're totally going to drive straight to Swan Valley as soon as you're done reading) . . . ummmmmm . . . SPOILER ALERT?

In other delicious news, we also went to The Sandwich Tree, home of the BEST sandwiches in the WORLD. Seriously. Apparently Ashli was recently talking about making the 3 hour drive to IF just to get some Sandwich Tree. I totally would have gone too. It was great - the place has hardly changed at all. Still a tired looking little hole in the wall type place that is so good it was our meal every Christmas Eve for years. YUM!!

Of course, as evidenced by the Commisary's epically stupid name change, the more things change the more obnoxious it is. In the varying degrees of sad changes department:

~ Waremart, the super cool grocery store of my childhood, is long gone. So sad. This store had a 25-foot long 2-tiered soda fountain where one could refill one's 2-liter pop bottles . . . with TWENTY-FIVE FEET OF FLAVORS TO CHOOSE FROM!!!!! As far as I was concerned, this was the best place on earth. As my dad put it Wednesday, it's not hard to entertain little kids. I say? Not when that much soda is involved, it isn't!

~ North Forty, the super cool mini-golf course with the name that never made sense to me - gone. It was seriously the greatest course too . . . Old West themed and lots of fun . . . although the only hole I remember is Boot Hill. You had to hit your ball over a little hill littered with . . . wait for it . . . cowboy boots!! So. Much. Fun.

~ We drove past my old elementary school. When I was in 3rd or 4th grade we planted a tree outside the school for our principal who was moving to a new school the next year. Then - it was a couple of feet tall. Now? It's, like, a . . . tree. A full grown, tall . . . TREE!!!! When did that happen?!?!?!?!?!?! Great merciful crap, I'm getting old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~ Speaking of driving past old places . . . and also speaking of trees (and this will be most appreciated by those who also remember this) THE TREE IS GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OUR TREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE WILLOW TREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE BACKYARD TREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, a little backstory for those not cool enough to know me when I was a kid: the last few years we lived in IF we lived in a cute little house in what was once upon a time the poshest place in town (called Bel Aire - I kid you not) but was sinking in to slummy-ness when we lived there and is decidedly the wrong side of town now. But like I said, it was a cute little house, and it had a GINORMOUS willow tree in the back yard. You could see this tree (and pick it out) from three and four blocks away. The house didn't get super hot very often because by the time it got that hot outside the tree was shading it. (don't get me wrong - it still got hot . . . but there was a noticeable difference between the shadiest parts of the house and the less shaded) There were a few squirrel nests in it every year, and we'd always hear or see squirrels chasing each other around the yard - the best was when they went around and around the trunk of the tree which was easily ten feet or more around. The branches were so long that some of them touched the ground and we'd get in trouble all the time for pulling them down because we'd been swinging Tarzan style on them. Then a year or so before we moved dad put up a rope swing and then we got in trouble for killing the grass beneath it by dragging our feet to stop. It was kind of funny, mom would keep putting grass seed in that patch and banning us from the swing for a week or so, and then as soon as we were allowed to swing again those little shoots of baby grass had no chance. So there we are getting close to the house and I'm all excited to see it and then we pass it - and I almost didn't recognize the place!

For those in the know - the fence by the back door has been moved up parallel to the front of the house, the fence on the other side has been redone (and expanded to include by the side of the garage) the fence between the house and garage is gone, all the flower beds are gone (mom really had a problem with that one), the shutters are gone (which makes the house look really weird), there's a mailbox in the front yard now, and THE WILLOW TREE IS GONE!!!!!!!!! Seriously - google map it. There's a street view. 1210 Johnson Street. I'll wait. Doesn't it look weird? Doesn't the whole right side of the picture look off and bland and EMPTY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

So mom and I are seriously in mourning for the tree and my oh-so-sensitive father says something about what's the deal, it's probably been gone for years. And proceeds to not get it when I say no, it was there yesterday, and as far as I'm concerned I'm not sure how we missed the evil tree removers because they couldn't have finished the job more than five minutes before we showed up! Seriously, there I was wondering if the swing would still be there - it never occurred to me that the whole tree might be gone! Who does that?!

And what about the squirrels?!?! Where did they go? Did they have to move to the (smaller, not nearly so pleasant) willow tree next door? The willow tree in the back yard of the meth house? (well, it was when we left - not when we moved in, and I'm not sure now, but in my mind it will always be the meth house. Or possibly the crack house, all we knew for sure was that there were unsavory characters doing unsavory things over there) My poor squirrels - we always kind of thought of them as pets. Pets we couldn't actually, you know, pet, but still. And now they're crack addicted little squirrels. Poor things. How can those evil tree removing . . . tree removers . . . sleep at night knowing they caused the addiction of the poor crack squirrels?!?!?!

Seriously, the highlight of any day (in every place we lived in IF) was watching the squirrels running around . . . so happily. So cheerful. Such a pick-me-up. And they don't even HAVE squirrels in Utah!! At least, not in any of the places I've lived - haven't seen one since we moved. :-( My poor, poor squirrels.

In slightly cheerier news, the two apartments we lived in haven't changed much. And how's this for crazy? The second apartment is in the same spot in the fourplex that Luke and I are in now, except that one was #1 and we're in #4. What are the odds?! (okay, okay, they're one in four, I know. It was a rhetorical question. Shut up.)

Also - the Candy Man is still there!! At least it looked like he is . . .

So. The Candy Man. Has a name. And I even know it. But he will always be the Candy Man.

You see, in our first ward (whilst in the 2 apartments) there was a guy (an old, grandfatherly guy whom everyone knew and trusted and had no reason not to, I feel obligated to add) who would slip a piece of candy into the hand of a child who shook his hand. Sometimes there would seriously be a line of kids waiting to shake this guys hand after church . . . which is kinda funny as I think about it now. Anyway, it was always those pink wintergreen mints - you know? - and to this day I cannot see, smell, taste, or even think of them without thinking of this guy.

Theirs was always the last house we went to on Halloween. They always gave out these cute little candy trains - a pack of gum, a life saver roll, a little box of raisins, . . . and a few other things I have forgotten . . . glued together to make a train. They were really cute. And we always went last so they wouldn't get crushed by the infinitesimal amount of candy in our baby bags. (okay, that was probably an exaggeration. I think those bags have continued to shrink in my mind.) It was the best stop of the night because we'd usually get a handful of tootsie rolls or something in addition to the train - mega score! :-)

I think my parents got quite a kick out of the fact that I remembered who's house it was . . . probably mostly because my answer was "The Candy Man!" and it took me another moment or two to remember his actual name.

So I suppose the trip, while sad, was not entirely sad. But Arthur Miller could still totally write himself a great sequel based on my day.

P. ost S. cript
Totally feeling this song this week.


  1. The only thing I recognized in the google map picture is the garage that held my stuff. Weird. And I seriously don't remember a tree in your backyard. But, then, I didn't do a whole lot of hanging out at your house that summer...

  2. That square ice cream seriously is that good. and now I want some.

    And there are squirrels everywhere in Logan. I've seen them in about every park in town and everywhere up on campus.

  3. I KNOW I've had that ice cream before, but it's not conjuring up any significant memories. Clearly I need to revisit.

  4. I had my first taste of that square ice cream on a date when I was Ricks. And that was always the one stop your uncle ben would let us make when we went that direction.

    Now I am wondering how to swing a drive up that way...

    And there are squirrels all over down here as well

  5. Best sandwiches in the world? Why didn't you tell me you visited Earl?

  6. It's very close, but I would choose these over Earl . . . believe it or not . . .