Saturday, August 25, 2012


Learning to Fish the Hard way
  Eugene Halverson
Fishing the Uinta’s

By Eugene
Norman Steel and Keith Webb on Donkey Lake, Boulder Mountain
Lightning and thunder was just showing us what it could do.  It was beautiful and scary.  We were well above “Timber-Line” sleeping under the only tree around.  We had our camp in the rocks just above the lake but our sleeping quarters was under a lonely tree. When it was time for bed we walked about 80 yards up the mountain, it was a wonderful spot, fairly level with some pine needles and cones to sleep on.  We had been sleeping here for at least a week and loved it.  A storm was coming tonight so we went to bed early; we had already eaten supper and were tired.  We watched the rain-clouds move in.  We had already made sure our plastic tarp was tied to the tree on one side and rocked down on the other.  Our bags were now warm and cozy.  Normally, we watched the stars, but tonight we would have the most beautiful lightning display.  We had seen the dark clouds coming we knew we were going to have rain and may be a little lightning but.  Never before or since had we ever witnessed a storm like it.  The lightning was striking cloud to cloud, big flashes of light and thunder just a second away.  Well cloud to cloud is normally safe, but we were camping on Rainbow Lake at 11,400 feet and we were in those clouds.   We did not have to look above the tarp but out the side and below it. 
Keith Webb   Norman Steel 
We had both experienced lightning storms in the High County before and knew it was not good to be under a lone tree but neither one of us was about to move.  Where would we go anyway?   Well the storm passed and the sun was out in the morning.
Keith and I worked for Kennecott Copper Corp. and we were on strike.  If you can’t work you just had the time to go fishing.  Keith and I could never even think about getting vacation time to go and these strikes were a great time.  We always were the best of friends and fished all over the State and many places in Idaho.  We were only 18 years old when Keith, Norman Steele and I were fishing every body of water in the Lost River Range and the Lemhi Range.  There were the Big and Little Lost Creeks and later the Pahsimerot River that emptied into the Salmon River.  Here is where I got blamed for breaking Norms bottle of wine.  He tells me he still has not forgiven me but it did follow me out the door in town.  Wine was hard to come by if you are under age. We caught some trout but mostly Dolly Varden trout.  I did hook on to either a salmon or something else that took my whole outfit.  We did fish the Salmon River at Challis with little success.  Up to Stanley where we found the remains of lots of dead Salmon that had died after depositing their eggs.  We hit here and there on the way home, a long wonderful trip.
Keith Webb---David Thorne rafting and fishing
We were talking about this and the old times.  When he told me he sure would like to go to Rainbow Lake, the one at the head of the Uinta River.  I had never heard of it.  Someone somewhere had told him about five and six pound Book Trout, what the heck, our wives were tired of us being under foot, so off we went.  We arrived at the trail head on the Uinta River about ten o-clock that morning.  Our pack-racks were loaded at home with just the barest essentials, a sack of pancake flour, sugar, salt, bacon and Maple extract for syrup and sleeping bags.  Neither one weighed 35 pounds.  It was a long way, 20 miles to the first lake and that wasn’t Rainbow.  The trail wasn’t really that steep.  After about 16 miles up Keith lost me and called for me to hurry up.  When I showed up I had a hat full of Wild Strawberries, they were all over and all along the trail but I was afraid they would not be there to pick at the first lake.  Well soon after this there was stream just full of small cut-throats.  I told him it was supper-time, catch us some fish and I’ll get the fire going.  We must have eaten twenty of them, with biscuits topped with strawberries.  What a life.  The next morning we arrived at the Kidney Lakes (I think that was its name) where we caught some more fish for breakfast.  We fished a while because they were really biting.
Donkey Lake
There was a cabin here.  I think it was built either by the Forest Service or the Ranchers when they packed the camper in here.  It was too far to bring fishermen here and return in one day.  I don’t think it was locked but we were not interested in it.  In a couple of miles we came to another small good fishing lake but from the way the mountains formed we knew that we were about there.
Rainbow Lake was a beautiful Lake sitting in big rock basin.  The water was clear and deep, no vegetation, nothing.  There was nothing on the banks there to produce feed, so there had to be shrimp and hellgrammites or something like that in the lake.   The only thing growing was a small weather beaten tree and some brush in the fold of a canyon.  This was where we made our camp to sleep in.  We made our cooking camp just above the lake.  The fire-pit was already made and rocks to site and eat from, all the comforts of home but the fire wood was far away and at times windy, but it was our home for the next ten days. 
It took a while to learn how to fish the stupid lake.  It was deep; it was rocky to walk around.  During the day the brooks seems to go to the bottom where only metal lures work, I hate lures.  Big wooly worms on ten foot of two pound test leader worked mornings and evenings.  But even then the woolies only worked if you jiggled them or trolled them slow.  It was fun but a pain.  We explored and fished here and there and I liked that.  There was no grass and no Picas or Martins or for that matter, very little wild life.
Fishing with Norman Steel and Keith Webb--Dad's 36 Ford
Rainbow really was slow fishing; I believe the big ones had eaten the smaller one long before we got there.  They were at the end of the cycle; they were eating themselves out of house and home.  Then there were some really cold winters and being 11,400 feet, who knows how cold the temperature dipped to.  If the lake wasn’t so deep the ice cover and the cold would have killed them long ago.  Some of the Brookies we caught had two years of eggs, and one had three sets of eggs still in them; they would probably die next spring if they didn’t get rid of them.  That was why they were so fat.  The big heads told us that they were really old.     And I liked the smaller ones on the lakes below us.  The biggest we caught were about four pounds and I know there were bigger ones that that in there.  The biggest cut-throats were maybe three pounds and they were more fun to catch, they were in better shape and really wild. 
Keith and Norm
Ten days later here comes a troop of scouts without leaders, I never did know even if they had a leader.  As soon as they spotted us up they came.  We are lost and we haven’t eaten anything in two days, they cried.  Okay, but I need wood and off they went.  They ate us out of house and home.  All the pancake four was eaten up.  What syrup was left they drank it.  The big fish we were going to take home for show soon disappeared but we were glad to pawn them off on them, we were wondering what to do with them.  Neither Keith or I wanted  to eat them or take them home, but the kids surely loved them. 
We had lots of wood leftover so Keith burned his sleeping bag and pack-rack and everything he had.  And down the trail we went.  It was dark or almost dark when we got to the car.  We got to the famous “Frontier” restaurant  in Roosevelt and tanked up.  Then we had a long old drive home.  We came from home in the dark and left here in the dark.  It wasn’t easy but I still remember it as a wonderful trip.  

Norm and Gene 
Provo River; I fished the Lower Provo where it was swift and dangerous.  It seemed to boil as it tumbled over and around hundreds of huge boulders.  I liked to put my fly just ahead or behind one of the large boulder above me.  You fished up-stream and watched the line for any deviation.  You never felt the fish even when he had it in his mouth.  It was a watching and sensing game.  I almost always used a Captain Fly, black with white wings, supposedly imitating a hellgrammite.  This was Nymph fishing, a weighted fly on a short leader and line.  No fancy whipping the fly back and forth in the air, every forward cast returning to another part of the river.  The river and my line had my full attention I was in Heaven with not a care in the world.  Above me the Bridal Veil Falls cascaded down from the top of the mountain, a creek that splashed and splashed again to the next set of cliffs.  The Veil was the small drops or spray that floated on down the mountain.
I was not the only fisherman who thought he was the best, I had lots of competition.  “Nymph” fishing is still my favorite.  But old Nick Dokus from Bingham was the best with “Streamers”.  I knew his style and always caught fish but it was just too much work.  Streamers were supposed to imitate minnows and you had to work downstream and jerk the streamer upstream toward you.   Then there were the “Dry Fly” people who came at sundown to fish the slower water.  I did  it but it  was also too much work.
Lee and Gene at Hobble Creek
Provo City maintained a couple of parks, complete with picnic areas and playgrounds, but our favorite was “Wild Wood” at the junction where the road and Aspin Groove Creek emptied into the Provo, just below Vivian Park.  It was a stopping place of some of my Bingham friends who also had cabins there.  The fun thing about Wild Wood was the treasures that a little old man built and maintained.  There were separate cages for chipmunks and squirrels with running wheels, we loved to watch them exercise.  Water mysteriously spouted from all kinds of contraptions.  We all had ideas where and how the water ever got there and he would never tell.  And of course he sold all the food, ice cream and goodies that my kids loved.     
Just below the “Falls” and across the river was a “Gondola” for a price you would be lifted to a dining place sitting on a cliff near the top of the “Falls”.  Of course they sold us many trinkets and goodies.  A metal bridge spanned the river to the Heber Creeper Railroad tracks and train.  Somehow or other great snow slides began to fall, right over the Falls and down on to the Gondola Lift and even blocking the river.  The bridge and the Lift disappeared with the snow slides are just memories now.  The scenic ride up the canyon is also a thing of memories. A two lane road from the mouth of the canyon to the Dam was right next to the river.  Now you seldom see the river,  UDOT has screwed up the canyon with concrete barriers, flenses and tunnels trying to build a freeway where none should be built. What a shame.

My mother, Signe (Beth) Halverson cooking fish at Provo River
I caught more and bigger fish on the Provo River than any river in Colorado, Wyoming, or Montana.  I came here most days off as well as a quick drive after work.  We always put the big ones back to catch another day.  Once there was an 18 pounder near Vivian Park.  A beautiful fish, he was caught several times that I knew of,  then one day he was gone, some greedy bugger took him and we missed him.   

We had many close encounters with rattle snakes, big ones. I killed a few but in time I let them go unless they came into the playgrounds.  One day I had to stretch over a big log.  When I landed I was right in the coils of a very big rattler and my foot was dragging it along, I didn’t know that he was dead, lucky me I thought.  The next day at work I told Nester Swens about it.  He fell off his chair laughing.  He said he put him there to scare me, it did.
It was 1936-37, I can remember sitting on the bank up Hobble Creek looking and dreaming.  “Shall we catch him”, she said?  I jumped; I thought I was all alone.  I looked up to see who it was.  She was as old as Grandma and I instantly liked her, she was nice.  I am your Aunt Mary (Aunt Mary Halvorsen Peterson—Double Cousins).  She sent me off for a grasshopper or a worm would do while she looked for a hook and string.  The hook was a safety pin and the pole was a long willow and off we went.  We were pals and I’ll always remember her.  The fish were too smart for us but it opened a whole new life for me.  I felt loved and happy.  I will always remember her.  There were other Halversons and Petersons there but I had no idea who they were.  She was the only one who came to talk to me to the others I was invisible.  I was sent away from home to live with Grandma Halverson and I was alone and lonely and lost.    
When I came home I told mother about Aunt Mary and fishing, one day Dad gave a telescope steel fishing pole with a reel.  I learned how to tie hooks on leader with sinkers to keep the bait down and I was actually catching fish.  We camped on Diamond Creek that emptied into the Strawberry River.  The more I fished the better I got. 
When Dad went to Grandmas he would drop Lee aged 10 and I age 12 on the banks of Utah Lake in the morning and pick us up before dark.  There we fished with a long Cane pole with a six foot string and worm.  We usually caught 10 to 20 catfish and we had put in a gunny sack.  They were still alive when we dumped them in a wash tub.  Next morning we pulled their skins off and mother cooked them for supper. 
One day Leon Miller showed me what his dad had caught on the Provo River with spinners, so I 
bought some and fished with them.  One day while fish with bait on Schofield Reservoir with dad in a boat, I watched a man Dry fly fishing in the evening and he really put a show on for us.  So, I spent a lot of money and tried that.  I watched people in boats catching fish, so I bought a boat and Lee bought the motor.  We fished Deer Creek and Strawberry with it, trolled all day with pop-gear or flatfish, with a 20 fish limit we were bring powder-boxes full of fish home for mother to bottle.  We did catch some big ones and we caught many but it seemed like I was still looking.  Soon we were down to Fish Lake and had no idea how to catch the big mackinaws.  

Add caption
So, up to the Lodge we went, of course we bought everything the man said we needed except for the leader, he laid a 30 pound leader on the table and I bought the 15 pound one.  I already had the paddle-boards with copper-line on it.  The next morning we was out a daylight waiting for two old men from Richfield who were experts.  We watched them with binoculars for hours and they did not like it one bit.  The trouble was we were camped near each other in the same campgrounds.  The next couple of days I lost two big ones and they laughed at us.  I had to go back and ask the man in the lodge for the 30 lb. leader; of course he said I told you so.  The next morning I hooked a big one, Lee had the net, he looked at the fish and then the net, the fish was much too big and the net was way too small.  Shall I net him head first or tail first, he asked.  That’s your problem, don’t lose him.  Well he was almost three feet long and we never weighed him. 
The last time I used the boards was in Shoshone Lake with my daughter, Diane. We took the canoe across Lewis Lake up the river to Shoshone Lake and were blown across to the far side of the lake to a primitive beach.  There were lots of bears then and when everything got quite we knew we had company.  Our food was pulled high in the trees and we were never bothered.  The fishing was too good, it didn’t matter what I put on or how fast I dropped the line a small Mackinaw would have It.  So, I fished for the Brown Trout with fly and bubble.  I had some big ones hooked but I lost all the monsters and turned the others loose.  On the way down the channel we stopped and fished where the fast water hit the slower water at a sharp bend near a big rock, there were some monsters there too. 

Before we learned to fly fish, we fished with minnows off the Charleston Bridge every spring.  The big Browns were running up the River on a feeding frenzy.  Both Keith and I had caught a few nice ones.  If the minnow didn’t sink fast enough a stupid sea-gull would have it.  As I reeled him in from the sky, I grabbed him and he bit me.  Lee wasn’t happy so he walked down to the river and started slapping the water to get rid of his minnow.  On about the third slap a big seven pound Rainbow took it and about drowned Lee before he got him in.   

Keith Webb's salmon
I put the boat and the canoe away about this time and did nothing but “Nymph” fishing.  Most of the best fishermen were from Bingham and they shared what they knew about the different skills but never about a favorite hole.  We had carpools going to the Provo after work.  I took my family to all the rivers and lakes in Colorado for a while.  Wyoming had some great lakes but they did not like the fish hogs from Utah and I could not blame them.  Montana had the best rivers and they guarded them but the faster rivers were on Forest land so I had no problem. 
Boyd Forman, Keith Web and I always fished the Blackfoot River near Soda Springs when it opened in June.  The fishing was slow but each one of us were catching a few some big some small.  I began watching a young boy about 13 or 14 years old, every fish he pulled out was a big one and in every hole, so I asked him what he was using.  It was a large hook with a skinny yellow and brown body with brown hackle.  “Will you sell me one”?  “I only have a couple, “NO”.  “How about $5.00 for one”?   Then I went looking for Boyd and Keith.  I was catching one big one after another.  I told them I was just a better fisherman than them and ignored them.  Then they cornered me and had to fess up.  Idaho had some real good rivers and did quite well on the Snake, Grey and Salt Rivers. 
But by now the Madison River was calling me back to Montana and into West Yellowstone and only a mile or two to where the Madison River exited the Park.  I always caught and released lots of big Browns but the six and seven pounders always got away.  Some broke my line going down stream and others went up stream too fast for me to keep up. 
David's Blue Gill and Large Mouth Bass from stream entering Utah Lake
I think my family like Flaming Gorge in Utah.  Brownie Lake was my son, David’s favorite place.  He didn’t care much for the lake; Carter Creek above or below Brownie was where he fished.   It seems like we always had a coffee pot and a frying pan hot and cooking.  He left the Rainbows in the water but always brought back the Brook and Cutthroat Trout.  We ate what he caught, six inch long or sixteen.  I ate the small ones David ate big ones.  I would rather watch him fish than fish myself; he got to be an excellent fisherman.  Now I watch my grand-kids and love that too  

I went to Mirror Lake with my grandson, Jake.  I took a frying pan to cook our fish, and got skunked.  It was like a circus, too many people.  So, went over to Butter Fly Lake.  It was crowded and hard to find a place to fish.  Some were catching them on “Power Bait”.  Those poor hatchery fish never knew what a fly was and I definitely was not going throw garbage at them.  I took Jake up to “Moose Horn Lake” and there were very few people up there and it was quite pleasant.  Jake was off like a flash.  I decided that I wanted to stay as long as Jake was happy.  So I gathered up a lunch and walked to the far side.  Jake took a walk up the side of “Mount Baldy”.  When he came back we ate and fished a little.  The lake had some kind of large high-bred trout of some kind.  They were hitting spinners but neither one of us wanted to walk back to the car to get them. But we left the area happy and hope to come again.    
Cut Throat Trout from Carter Creek 
The trucks finally stopped the “Fed’s” had built the dykes, filled it with water and stocked Willard Bay with fish.  It was a show piece the newspapers and the radio let everyone know it was there.  Bud Patrick and I got there just before noon; we tossed Dare Devils, Flat Fish, spinners and even bait.  We figured it was to late in the day, trout didn’t bite to good at noon time either so we began gathering up our stuff and was just leaving when I notice a fishermen pulling in a bass.  Before he had landed it his partner was bringing in another one.  Well, we started fishing by them, first one side and then the other, with no luck at all.  They would look at us and grin.  Soon they had their limit, 10 or 20, I can’t remember.  Cornered them as they went to leave, “What are you losing”, I asked?  “A purple Plastic Night Crawler’” and off they went laughing.  I asked the clerk in a Sporting Goods Store in Brigham City and he looked at me like I was some kind of a nut.  He couldn’t help me, so he hollered to the manager, “We got any Purple Night Crawlers”?  Of course everybody in the store laughed at us.  We had to settle for some brown ones and we were soon back at Willard again.  Nothing again, so we started to leave.  Guess who was fishing in our old spot, the two Alabama Boys; they were catching a second limit. Pat sat on a rock but I sat next to them.  Every time they would cast, I would cast, they would let it drop, and they would set the hook and have a Bass.  Setting to hook at the same time netted me nothing.  He began laughing at me, “What are you using now”.  “A Brown Plastic Night Crawler”.  The Bass had shredded their purple ones, yet they would not sell me one.  “You had better take those browns things home, they will last you the rest of your life”. 
David   Diane canoeing on Brownie Lake
Well, our Fish and Game put Wiper Bass in Willard and ruined the croppy fishing and the Large Mouths are gone too. I could sit in a chair and fill a 5 gallon bucket with croppy the banks were lined with fishermen and their families.  The Park Service loves the boaters and does their best to send the fishermen away.  As soon as it gets cold and the boaters leave, the place looks deserted.  The Manager can now sit on his duff in State furnished house for the winter.  I know why the park service is loosing money but they don’t have a clue.
I caught Bass in Utah Lake through to Ice with Dare Devils.  I caught some with Flat Fish when the lake frozen in the “hot Pools” at Saratoga, even David had caught one in a stream feeding in to the lake.  But it was more like an accident with lures; I wanted to get the feel, to know when I had a Bass messing with my lure. 
Lake Powell had opened up, so I bit the bullet and spent a few thousand dollars and off I went.  Ben McAllister went with me.  He always came with his “water dogs” salamanders.  It was nothing to catching three pound Large Mouths (Black Bass) but I was beginning to get the hang of fishing with the plastic worms and grubs.  I was getting the hits, I lost more than I boated.  So, I bought a few more hundred dollars for heavier poles, reels and line.  Most of the big boys were using spinner baits, deep diving lures but I had finally got the knack with the plastic worms, tubes, jigs etc. I had boxes of these, lots of hard earned money, and then there was hundreds of dollars for the gas.  But it was worth every cent.  We always came home with coolers full of Bass and Croppy.   
Diane    David  sailing on Great Salt Lake
Then one day the “Stupid Utah Fish and Game against the wishes of all the Bass Clubs, Arizona F&G and the Feds. Put strippers in Lake Powell and ruined it for the bass and croppy fisherman.  They grew and soon averaged 28 to 32 inches long and they were good eating for a while but soon died off.  When the shad came back we had cycles off good and bad years until they were all eaten again.    The fish were now skinny and not worth eating.  The only fish that thrived was the carp.  It looked like you could walk them across the lake.  I hung on to my boat for a while then gave it away.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


1860’s Pioneer Stories Told by Emily Moss Forsyth
Emily was Born 8 March 1854 Died 27 October 1930
Written by Mary E. Forsyth
Submitted by Mildred A. Mercer, Tooele, Utah 1959
Buying Beads
One day (about 1860) some Indians were camped at Lake Point.  Several playmates and myself went to visit them.  We went to a tent where a squaw was sewing beads on moccasins and we thought how fun it would be if we could have some beads.  The Indian man told us to bring some potatoes and he would give us some beads.  So, we all went to our homes and asked our parents for some potatoes and they gave us what they could spare, about a half a bushel.  We lugged them to the tent and the Indian took them inside and when we wanted the beads he laughed and said no and told us to run home.  We were so disappointed and frightened that we did run home and did not go back there again.
Sheep Herding             
I had a little girl friend named Mary Ann Hepworth, who had to take her turn in herding her father’s sheep.  She wanted me to go with her.  And my mother would allow me to go, Mary’s mother would lend me an old pair of shoes for I seldom had any of my own.  We always took  our dinner for the sheep must be kept away all day. 
One day Mary Ann decided we would have a treat.  She knew where there was a hen’s nest with one egg in it, so she took this one egg along.  We made a fire and cooked our potatoes, then when they were about done we decided to boil the egg with them.  When we were ready to eat, Mary cracked the egg in half, and what do you think was inside it?  A little cooked chicken was inside it, so we had no treat.

Boiling Salt on the Shores of the Great Salt Lake
Many are the days my girl friends, the Griffith girls, and I have spent on the Lake shore boiling salt.  Brother Griffith and my father each had a broiler not far apart.  We used to go early in the morning and carry the Lake water in buckets to the boiler until it was full.  Then gather the Grease Wood and make a fire under the broiler.  It had to boil to get done.  If we played to much, which we often did, it would be dark before it was done.  We used to bathe in the lake; we did not have bathing  suits but were a long way from anyone so suits did not count.  We had to gather the brush and one would pile it high while another would tromped it. We were barefooted and used to have scratched feet and legs, but we were happy.  At night when Brother Griffith was there with his wagon we would ride home in the moon-light singing “Barbara Ellen”. 

“Barbara Ellen”
In Scarlet Town, where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwellin'
Made every youth cry well-a-day
Her name was Barbara Ellen.
All in the merry month of May
When green buds they were swellin',
Young Jeremy Grove on his deathbed lay
For love of Barbara Ellen.
He sent his man unto her then,
To the town where she was dwellin'.
"You must come to my master dear,
If your name be Barbara Ellen,
For death is printed on his face
And o'er his heart is stealin'.
Then haste away to comfort him,
“O lovely Barbara Ellen."

The salt was taken to Salt Lake City and sold.  My father worked in Salt Lake so we children had to boil most of the salt.

Moon-light on a Bush
When I was a little girl between twelve and fourteen, I went to visit my sister who lived at Blackrock, the Church farm.  I went there to help her because she was ill with an infected breast.  One day a friend called to see her and told her to get some onions and make a poultice and put it on it.  It was late in the afternoon and several miles from E.T. City (Ezra Taft Benson City) where the onions could be obtained.  Her husband would not go because he did not think it necessary to get them for her. So I offered to go because I did not like her to suffer so.  She let me go telling me to hurry and she promised  to send her husband to me.  I set out, I ran most of the way to Sister Yate’s.  she gave me some bread and butter to eat while she fixed the onions for me.  Then she told me to hurry because it would be dark before I got back anyway.  So I hurried but it was such a long way that darkness came upon me soon after I started out.  It was a long lonely road with few travelers.  The moon came up,   but I was close to the mountains so I was in the shadows.  I was not afraid until I was going around a hill which was not far from the house.  I happened to glace up and look 
ahead of me and what I saw looked like a large animal near the road.  I stood still.  I could not go back, it was too far.  And there was no other way to get to the house.  So I must pass the thing.  I decided the best thing to do was run, so away I went.  As I passed it I looked over my shoulder and saw that it was only the moon shining on a bush.  I was so frightened and exhausted that when I reached the porch I fell into a faint.  My sister was very sorry that her husband would not go to meet me.  He was too big a coward.  The onions gave her relief.  I decided that I would always remember the story of “Harry and the Guide Post”.  When you are frightened at seeing something just walk right past it.    

 The night was dark, the sun was hid Beneath the mountain gray, And not a single star appeared To shoot a silver ray.
 Across the heath the owlet flew, And screamed along the blast; And onward, with a quickened step, Benighted Harry passed.
 Now, in thickest darkness plunged, He groped his way to find; And now, he thought he saw beyond, A form of horrid kind.
 In deadly white it upward rose, Of cloak and mantle bare, And held its naked arms across, To catch him by the hair.    Poor Harry felt his blood run cold, 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


How to Catch a Leprechaun
by Marcie Cahoon 

One day in early March I was really bored with doing my everyday chores. My mom came in my room with my coat and told me it was time to get ready for school.  So I pulled on my big, brown boots, my purple hat, my huge blue coat, and my make up to put on in the car.  Every thirteen-year-old girl needs too put on her make up before she goes anywhere!
 Anyway, I walked outside in no hurry to go to school.  You see There was a big annual ALeprechaun Hunt@ at my school ever since I could remember.  Most little kids looked forward to March 17th at O=Nsync Middle School in Ireland. Not me though! I couldn=t stand wearing green or looking for a stupid leprechaun that didn=t exist (so I thought)!
 This all changed later that day. I headed for the Lucky Forest where my class was supposed to look for Lance the Lucky Leprechaun! As soon as I got to the Lucky Forest,   my teacher,  Mr. Miller,  handed me a big sticky jar of sweet honey. He told me leprechauns love honey!
Then I went out to search for this stupid unreal leprechaun.  I had so many negative thoughts running through my head. Like, ALeprechauns aren=t real!@  AWhy do they have us do Kindergarten Stuff in 7th Grade?@  AI mean, a stupid Leprechaun hunt?  Get real!@  Those were just a few of my thoughts that morning.
AWhat do you mean, >Leprechauns aren’t real=?@ a squeaky voice said from right behind me.  At first I thought maybe it could be Matt, the joker of my class, but the voice was much too high to be his.  As I turned around, my hands were trembling.  The tiny voice spoke again, AWhy do you and everyone try to catch us?@
I realized then that it probably was a leprechaun!  I was almost around when he jumped on the honey bottle.  I nearly wet my pants!
He was about two feet tall and very chubby.  He took the honey bottle and was lapping it up as if it were water.  AYum-sky!@ he said.
AAre you a real le-le-le-leprechaun?@  I mumbled.  He nodded.
I just remembered what Mr. Miller told me about catching a leprechaun.  I decided to catch him and get all the gold.  I jumped him from behind.  He wiggled out of my hands.  AStop!@  I ordered.  AI promise I will hit you on the head with this honey bottle!@  He stopped and pointed to his left.  I looked and couldn=t see anything but trees.  Then I noticed a purple bucket of gold.
ATake it!@, he said, Abut don=t hurt me.@  I knew that the gold would turn into snakes if I didn=t catch him, so I thought up a plan.  ALet=s shake on it,@ I said.
AOkay,@ he replied.  He came over to me and I shook his little hand then grabbed him.  Now I had caught him!  Suddenly he disappeared.
In his place was a little note that read:
I ran home as fast as I could.  I opened the door and to my surprise, everything I have ever wanted was there.  I was so happy!
And I lived happily ever after!

                                      The End

Monday, August 13, 2012


Dawn Katherine Burrows Payne 
23 October 2005
Dear Gene
Blue-berrying -- Dawn--Alan & Margaret Mayor 
I cannot thank you enough for all the trouble you have taken in reuniting me with the Burrows side of my family.   I had to smile to myself that son, John(Houghton)had received a negative response from the family he spoke to in England.  My own father’s reply when I questioned him was “they are dead”, leave them in peace”.  But I was not at peace.  I needed to know.  Fortunately, with dad being the youngest child, and knowing roughly the number of children born into the family, I counted back 2 years per child, allowing for a couple that did not survive, and came to an approximate date of marriage for William Burrows to Alice Rudin.  Fortunately, I hit it spot on.

Gladys & Ernest Burrows
I knew very little about them.  As I have told you.  William died when my father was very small, so Dad did not have any stories to relate about him.  All I know is that the family came to live in Woodend Fillongrley after their marriage and William worked in Arley Colliery, as did most of the men in Crossways Cottages.  The Burrows family lived in the end one, number 31.  Dad was born there in the front bedroom, as was I .  in the same bed in fact.  The cottages were all joined with common backyard (known as the Causeway).  Beyond the “Causeway” were fields as far as the eye could see and the front of the cottages more farm land and a narrow lane with much older cottages and a small chapel.  Woodend was and still is part of the Parish of Fillongley and this one was the one I attended as a small child.
Crossways Cottage

Life in Crossways Cottages must have been noisy and busy.  All the men engaged in the same work at the colliery, all of similar ages and all with large families.  The women were constantly washing, scrubbing and giving birth.  My one clear memory of “Number 31was the smell of steamy bleach.  Gran was spotless.  Her pot lid shone like silver and hung on the kitchen wall, her coal range gleamed like black satin.  Her front  parlor had pictures of “ her boys” hung around the walls.  What happened to them?  I do not know, I wish I did?  For one who never had money to spend on frippery, to me as a child, her parlor was full of countless little treasures.  Tins with pretty ladies on them. An old print of a returning crippled soldier hobbling down a lane toward his wife and child waiting at the cottage  gate.  I was quite privileged to be allowed to explore the parlor.  My Aunt Gladys’s family which was quite large visited rarely and when they did apparently Grandma Burrows used to cover the legs of her dining table and chairs with old stockings so that tiny swinging feet did not scratch them. 

Kath and her Posy Bonnet 
According to some, Grandma was a hard lady.  Perhaps life had forced her to be that way. 
She never held back in expressing her opinions and in the most colorful of terms.  I heard the  story that on one occasion she physically attracted the coalman who had inadvertently tipped a sack of coal on a litter of kittens in the coal shed.  Despite this side of her nature,  it was always Mrs. Burrows you called in your hour of need.  She was who was there to aid them with their sick and dying.  I’ve been told by various people that no-one could layout the dead like Alice Burrows. 
To support her large family, she had also worked at the colliery.  First in chopping kindling, then working in the Office Staff Canteen.  She also cleaned at the Local Public House.  During the war she also supplemented her income by making rag rugs, using old sugar sacks that she boiled and bleached and any old clothing beyond repair.  I used to watch her doing this and she would let me sort the colors.  I think most of the houses in Fillongley had a rag rug made my Grandma Burrows.  I know we did. 

Dad giving me away
Life must have got a little easier after her children started to work.  Harold and Walter both worked in the colliery.  Thomas became a butcher and William a baker.  Both had their shops in Fillongley at one time.  My father, determined not to be sent to work down the Pit, put himself into an apprenticeship and used to cycle 15 miles each way to his place of work as a tinsmith.  The girls all married.  I do not remember Cicely at all, but Gladys in Nuneaton with her large family and my favorite, Aunt Alice lived in Leicester.  She eventually had a curtain and haberdashery shop just off the market square.  I loved to visit her there.  A box would be put behind to huge wooden counter so that I could watch her measuring fabrics, faces and trimmings, and in the back of the shop I would watch fascinated as she pounded away  on an old treadle sewing machine, making aprons, antimacassars and cushion covers. Etc.  when I go into craft shops today, as I often do, I still get that buzz of excitement I felt there.  I remember being bridesmaid to Alice’s daughter, Kath and can still remember the smell of the silk and tulle dress with the little posy bonnet, all of which were made by Aunty Alice.  (photo enclosed)

Heather Parish Church
Alice and my father each shared their mother’s all-embracing passion for life nothing was ever half measure.  Wherever Dad was, he filled the room.  People either loved him or hated him, but they could never ignore him.  He worked as a Union Representative, he even joined the Nazi Party until he realized what they were really up to then quickly got out of it.  He could not be drafted into the Army because of arm injuries he had received in a car accident, so he served his time in the Home Guard.  He would laughing tell you that he was the only one without a uniform hat because they could not get one to fit him.  Life was never without embarrassment with my father.  Several times he ran afoul of the law with silly pranks.  One was driving his motor-cycle while sitting backwards on it through the village, just to prove he could.  Another was when he attempted to solve a dispute between two village youths who were fighting, by arranging a proper boxing match on the bowling green behind the village pub.  This he did with out getting a license to hold such a match, and secondly, the local men were making bets on the outcome of it.


After the birth of my sister, he was the only man in England with a half moustache, ashe was obliged to shave half of it off because of a bet with another local man whose wife had managed to produce a son.  This had been the object of the bet-a-son.  My poor sister had to live the first couple of years of her life known as Billy Burrows.
Dad was always getting a group of 10 or more of the local children, me included and hiking them over the fields.  He knew Fillongley like the back of his hand.  The brooks that had the most sticklebacks, the names of all the wild flowers, the trees, the birds, and where they nested (you were only allowed to look, never touch), where to find chestnuts, hazel nuts, cob nuts, wild strawberries.  In fact on one occasion my mother was amazed to find a small local lad at the door asking if Mr. Burrows could come out to play.

Coventry Cathedral
Life was never dull with my father.  He could be unreasonable, opinionated, obstinate, but always loving.  Whether these are Burrows traits or Rudin traits, I do not know but I am thankful for them.  They have opened my eyes to a world that is full of magic and color.  Another thing my father taught me was the need to prove the basis of my argument, and argue we did frequently.  Once to prove a point I show him that according to my encyclopedia was right.  His response, “They’ve printed it wrong”.   You could never expect Dad to back down.  The only person I ever witnessed who was able to do this was his mother, Alice. 

On one occasion when I was about 8 I ran away from home.  My mother had given the last sweet to my sister and I was upset.  So, up to Grandma Burrows I go.  Now this was about a mile away.  My parents must have been frantic.  By the time they had searched the neighborhood  and finally thought of Crossway Cottages, I was all snuggled up with Gran in the front bedroom.  When the knock came at the door, Gran opened the bedroom window , told Dad  they should have more…………sense and clear off till morning.   My Champion.  Dad meekly trudged off and I was returned the next day with a mild ticking off.
Bluebell Woods

Dad always found causes like raffles to help some unfortunate girl who had found herself in a predicament, or dictating letters that I had to write supporting the character of one of his workmates who had run into a spot of bother.  Even after he retired he took under his wing two male neighbors.  Getting their coal in, lighting their fires, fetching their newspapers and bread, setting and playing dominoes with them.  Once they passed away, Dad seemed to go into a decline.  My wonderful sister, Jenny supported my mother in his care and there were many difficult years for her and my mother who may I say, must be one woman I admire most in all the world.
I had gone over to the UK to be there for Mum and Dads Diamond Wedding.  Although Dad was not well, he was aware of the day, and joined in the celebration.  I came back to New Zealand knowing that he was getting worse and six weeks after getting back here my sister phoned to say that she thought I should be there.  Six hours after the call I was on my way. 
Fillongley Village
Dad was in a hospital in Nuneaton he seemed alert, so much so that he recited a list of all the people who lived in Woodend, Crossways Cottages and the number of the house that each of them lived in.  Cousin Pauline, Aunty Gladys’s was an attendant at the hospital so she visited him frequently too.  As sick as he was, he would hold the floor, relating all the goings on in the ward and making us all laugh.  But he wanted to go home to Fillongley.  The doctors were against it , but as usual Dad persisted.  So, he went home.  

With the magnificent help of all the services put in place by the British Health System, Dad was able to spend the next couple of weeks in his own home surrounded by family, to be part of the everyday life that went on there.  He was content when he finally passed over, he was far from alone.

Fillongley Parish Church
Mind you, Dad still had a joke up his sleeve.  He failed to appear for his own funeral at the expected time.  They had to bring him from the funeral in Bedworth to his home in Fillongley, and then to the Fillongley Church.  We were all in a dilemma and kept pacing up and down the path looking out for him.  When he finally arrived nearly an hour late, we discovered that there had been a gas explosion in a road in Bedworth and that they had to make a detour around Nuneaton that would also taken him past Crossways Cottages into Fillongley and naturally, past them again on the way back from the Church to the crematorium in Nuneaton.  Typical.
I feel privileged to have been part of this family.  Ordinary folk living ordinary lives, but facing extraordinary obstacles with fortitude and good humor.  It has stood me in good stead for my own life, which I will not go into right now.  It would be to much to digest right now.

Kindest regards to all our Burrows descendants in the USA
Cousin Dawn