Thursday, October 20, 2011

BINGHAM MY HOME TOWN

My Home Town
By Salvador Chinky Aguayo  Page 22 in Copperfield Remembered by Eldon Bray
back -Dinkeyville  center-Terrace Heights  bottom-Copperfield 
How I envy all of you.  You can go back whenever you have a mind to and visit the town that you grew up in.  You can go back to the place of your roots and visit the old school house you learned to read and write in.  You can look at that old building which may look old a dilapidated but it is the where the memories will come rushing back to you just by standing there and looking.  Your memories can go back to the good teachers you had and maybe to some bad ones.  You will remember the friends you had while going to this school – the first girl you had a crush or maybe the first girl that had a crush on you.  You can walk around on the streets of the town and remember the stores that used to be there before the new building were put in their place after the old ones were demolished.  Just standing there in the street you can remember the parades o the 4th of July, the fireworks, and the races with the quarters and dimes as prizes. 
Copperfield School
Yes, I envy all of you that can go back to your home town and sharpen memories of day gone by, because I have only my memories to reflect on.  The town I spent my youth in is gone.  There is no remnant of the town to sharpen my mind---nothing to focus on and bring in to sharper remembrance those long-gone days.  No brick is left of the old school house where I studied for six years.  The very street I walked on is no more.  No old-timer sits on his front porch chatting with any one passing by about the old days.  There is no porch, there is no house, and the old-timer has moved twenty or a thousand miles away.
The copper mine that used to be the cause for our existence in the city had growing pains and swallowed up everything within its grasp.  Homes, buildings, streets, and all the signs of vibrant life that had kept the mine operating are gone.  All that is left is in the minds of thousands of others like myself that remember the wonderful days of living in the melting pot of Races and Nationalities of all descriptions.  The cultures of dozens of peoples merging into an army of workers intent on extracting a living—the way of life—from Mother Earth. 

Lower Copperfield
Every few years I go back to that giant hole in the ground just so I can guess as to where the town used to be but when I do I envy you even more.  All I can see with my eyes is a big scar on the earth.  Only when I close my eyes and think back to those carefree days of my youth can I remember Bingham Canyon as it was. 
Where was my house               Page 22 Copperfield Remembered    by Eldon Bray
Now just where was it—the place I grew up?  Not only was my house gone but the whole neighborhood and even the entire towns were no longer there.  I feel like a homeless vagabond with no place to call his own.
The view from the lip of the huge open-pit copper mine offered few clues to the previous existence of the Terrace Height, of Copperfield, or indeed, any part of the town of Bingham with its miles of streets and hundreds of homes.  They were all gone—either mined out or covered with waste dumps by the Utah Copper mine.  The site of my old home must now be occupied by a space up in the air hundreds above one of the mine levels along which huge haulage trucks now bustled. 
Melting pot of Races and Nationalities and cultures
By Eugene
4th of July Copperfield
It’s hard to explain the pain I experienced when I first parked and looked at what they did to my home and town.  We shed tears of pain as each one of our friends disappeared one by one.  People in our Capitalistic system are never considered.  In the “Dog-eat-Dog” world of today money is everything and people lives are worth nothing at all.  I never heard a sorry or thank you, just go.   As a family was forced out his house it was demolished.  One at a time until all the people was gone.  The Restaurants, Bars, Drug Stores, Schools, City Hall, followed suit.  We had lived under or near and put up with the noise, smoke and dust for a hundred years and now were not wanted.  Where-o-Where did all my playmates go?
The mountains outside the pit were beautiful, some of the canyons still ran water.  I still remember the trails I walked and when to pick the flowers and berries and where to find the birds or animals.  Now our so-called-good neighbor has closed off the whole mountain Range.  Forty miles of signs and fences, what are they doing up there to be so afraid of discovery.  The old Utah Copper and us got along quite well before the
English Mining Giants moved it away.   
There used to be a town there,
With trestles, trains and play;
We climbed up to our homes there,
“Till giants moved it away
By Violet Boyce
Brigadoon appears every one hundred years in Old Scotland, as it comes through the mist people are singing and dancing.  Our people lived in Bingham a hundred years and disappeared in a cloud of dust and smoke.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could make a deal with God to bring Bingham back like the Scotts did in Brigadoon? 
Mining Companies separated their workers into ethnic or racial camps.  They lived where they told them to live. They had no choice live there or quit.  A family of Mexicans or Japanese would not be allowed to live in Copperfield.  We had a Jap Camp, a Greek Camp, and Mexicans in Dinkey Ville, the Austrians and Slavs lived in Highland Boy, and Swedes and Finns in Carr Fork.  Most of the Greeks quit and opened up grocery stores and boarding houses in Frog Town and Copperfield.  There were also Greek bakery and candy stores.  Swedes had stores in Carr Fork.  The Austrians and Slaves had stores in Highland boy.  Of course with twenty or so nationalities all of them had their own stores too.  In Company Store times, workers were paid in script and only redeemable in the company store.  They had their workers caught between a rock and a hard spot.
Paul 2nd row striped shirt
The melting-pot of peoples brought the smell of food that made your mouth water with delight but there were some that gagged you.  Carr Fork smelled of fish soaking in pots weeks before Christmas time.  Nobody liked the smell of a freshly killed goat or lamb either or cleaning of the intestines.  But when the cooking began the whole town was licking their lips.  We all got It was wonderful time to live.  “Bo hunk Christmas was really something to be invited to but you had to be important or live in Highland Boy.  Just how many people can a family feed?  I know there were lambs cooked outdoors on grills and probably many other meats as well.  Things were cooked as they did in the old country.  Lutefisk was a traditional Christmas dinner it is a rather strong tasting fish.  The way to separate the Swedes from the rest of the world is a lutefisk dinner.  I loved it.   
The Greeks ran herds of goats in the mountains.  A pig, a sheep or a goat would be slowly roasting and turning on a spit all day long.  Greeks were famous for their cooking and their parties.  It paid to have friends in all the camps.
Frog Town's Greek  stores
Sweden and Finland was very dark in the winter, almost totally dark at Christmas, a very depressing time. So, they celebrated Christmas for a whole month, starting with “St. Lucia’s Day the 13th of December when the prettiest of all the pretty girls would go from house to house singing carols and serving coffee and cakes.  Christmas Eve found them honoring the dead with a wreath.  Christmas day was in Church, but the next half a month was a time of fun and merriment and ended on St. Knut’s Day on the 13th of January. 
We lived during the “Great Depression”, and a time of sickness, Dad was out of work for two years.  So, we did what we could to have a normal Christmas.  Our tree came from forest just back of our house.  We made strings out of pop-corn and colored paper, no lights but lots of icicles.  These were hard times very few presents but our stockings were filled. 
Telegraph high left Jap Camp center 
Perhaps the most characteristic feature of Scandinavian life is the sauna.  They had public bath houses in all of the mining camps.  There is still one or what's left of it in Scofield.  Water was thrown on rocks that had been heated so they were red hot, thus creating some steam along with the dry heat.  Then they beat their skin gently with switches, and this was followed by a jump in the snow or a cold shower.  I remember roasting until I had enough, running naked to the dock and jumping into a Lake.  Four or five times.
When we finally moved from Telegraph to West Jordan we were not welcome.  I lived there for two years before someone stopped to talk to me, it was Marv Jensen what a wonderful neighbor.
Highland Boy Restaurant and Bar 
We were “Wild and Rowdy”, we were from Bingham, and “Brigham Young”, said there was blight on our souls.  Old West Jordan founders believed every word Brigham said, if they come from the mountains, keep an eye on your daughters.  Do not allow them in your home.   The Politicians sent Sheriffs up, time and time again.  Even after Prohibition had passed into history, they were still breaking family casks full of wine.  I remember when Bingham’s Mayor was call to SLC about problems in our town.  Joe Dispenza answered one blow-hard with a chuckle, “Yep, we gamble, we drink and we even have “Whore House”, and SLC is their biggest customers.  Our city is clean, no crime and no discrimination.  We had a crazy old coot in Copperfield.  He was always doing things that made him different but it would have been great to know him better.  He was “Joe Berger.  The old whiskered gentleman loved to make us jump.  I remember my brother went in his store to buy a piece of candy, “The Greeks have candy, what are you doing here”, he asked?  I thought you were supposed to have the best candy, he spit in the spittoon, smiled and was happy.  He gave me fifty cents for a porcupine.  That was big money back then.  He made a big show when he cooked rattlesnakes for friends, It smelled good and I would have loved to have a taste.  He had the first camper I had ever seen but I never heard where he ever went with it. 
I kept seeing these ski trails going up Bear Gulch toward Queen and then up the ridge where he had built a ski jump, boy that was neat.  A couple of tries showed me that it was just an accident waiting to happen.  It was Doctor Frazier preparing himself to go with the Byrd Expedition to the Antarctic.  But, how in the world could he go up-hill on a pair of skies?  I loved to read about him in the newspaper.  Later he was running the Colorado River with Dr. Inglesby and Frank Swain from Bingham.
Carr Fork
Then there was “Chicago Charley” who always looked and acted like a nut, probably did more for the war effort than ay one in Town.  He shamed people into buy war-bonds.  The Victory Flag Society” honored him for all the work he did.  They send weekly letters to all of Bingham’s service men and gathered hundreds of pictures for the Societies picture book, what a treasure.
I seemed like for every occasion or crises new leaders stepped forward to carry the burden, I have always been proud  to be a “Binghamite”.

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