Ghosts of Eldo Past


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I was a skinny 11-year-old girl going from store to store in downtown El Dorado Springs looking for work. Being tall, I could pass for thirteen but they had a way of asking my age first thing, so I had to admit to being only eleven.  I was usually told they’d had kids thirteen years old but never eleven.  No employment was found.  Not even at the drugstore I loved so much with its amazing smells,  paddle fans, ice cream, and comic books.

Later, when I was old enough, I did find employment at the 4-Corner Diner.  Then I could buy the black and white saddle oxfords, can-cans for underneath my dresses, even those hideous hoops that were in style.  How on earth did we manage to sit down!  I seem to remember that they went out of style pretty quickly.

The three-story school building that we attended had concrete steps and I don’t recall ever using a handrail – or even if we had any.  I just zipped up and down them, no problem, and never stumbled.  Now I would have a hard time with them even with a handrail.

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Santa’s Sad Saga


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I ran into Santa recently and we had a nice chat over cookies and milk.  He was considering  new career choices and asked me what I’d do if I were him.

I quickly told him that I’d get a different job.  Well, maybe not, the way unemployment is right now, but it’d be  worth a try.  I’d at least stop having white put on my traveling suit.  Those chimneys turn it into read and soot!  I’d also stretch gift delivery time into a lot longer than one evening! It must really tire out the reindeer to travel so far in one night, and who can afford to pay overtime anyway?

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Bridges Well Built

Wayne's covered bridge

A little boy named Wayne Baker, along with a few other children, were told by one of their teachers that they “weren’t worth wasting her time on.” So she didn’t.

Eventually Wayne went to Oakland,California to find work and landed there the day before Pearl Harbor was bombed. He found work at a shipyard where he gained priceless knowledge in cutting and welding. Wayne was later drafted and after Continue reading

Flutes, Woodpeckers, and Bob


 My husband has decided that he wants to learn to play the flute.   I feel fortunate that he chose a relatively quiet instrument.  During early marriage, he decided to learn the guitar, but was too busy with work and family so gave that up.  Now in “later marriage” we’re back to learning music again.  Thank goodness he has his man cave.  I can close the door.  Maybe lock it if need be! Continue reading

Lloyd Baker, Centenarian Surveyor and Singer

Born in Afton, Wyoming in 1911, he was raised on a farm south of Etna and graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1940 with a degree in civil engineering.

With very primitive tools, Lloyd performed his first survey in Cokeville, Wyoming, about 75 miles down the road from Etna, the town he settled in when he “came home.” The loop within those few miles took him from coast to coast working as a surveyor.IMG_9727 Lloyd Baker age 106

Wyoming was calling him home, however, and he returned to Etna in 1974.  After obtaining his license, he established Lloyd B. Baker and Associates which continues to this day, now with  Astech GPS, Traverse PC, and Visual Cadd software.  He told me he could find any point he needs to on his 4-wheeler with tracks, under the four feet of snow we usually get during the winters. Lloyd continued working until past the age of 106.  He said he didn’t see any reason not to!

Baker loved to dance and especially loved to sing.  He entertained at two rest homes in the valley on Sunday evenings. He could still mostly remember fifty songs.  One of those, “A Nest, The West, and You, Dear,” he sang for me, which was a delight. 

Cheyenne Frontier Days was a highlight for him this past summer.  It was the first time he had attended and had the delightful privilege of being photographed with ten beautiful Rodeo Queens! 

Lloyd had always been an advocate of taking care of your body.  He believed our bodies were meant to last a thousand years and if we give it what it needs for nourishment and don’t give it junk that is not nourishing, we’ll be fine.  He relayed to me that he had arthritis once but it was interfering with his work, so he quit drinking milk, starting using real butter instead of margarine (which he feels is plastic) and stopped taking his vitamins.  It wasn’t long before he felt fine.  Lloyd ate a little meat, had a bit of “sweets” after each meal – always carried Peanut M & M’s in his pocket,  consumed no chlorinated or fluoridated water, no bleached flour in anything, and was a believer that proper elimination is a must.  He also used no soap.

Lloyd had five children,  17 grandchildren, over 40 great grandchildren, a couple of great, great,-grandchildren. 

The last time I saw him I asked, “ What are some of the benefits of being a 107?” He quickly replied, “Everyone treats you better.  After 100 you get treated a lot better.”

Lloyd left us on July 9th, 2018.  He’s probably already surveying the heavenly clouds!


© Copyright 2013 Life in the Loony Lane | June Johnston. All Rights Reserved
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Speaking of Love


February is the month when you will find the florist’s shops overflowing with roses.  Floriography was a method used by Victorians to send messages to others without uttering a word – thus the roses became symbolic of love, especially for Valentine’s Day.

There are several other flowers or plants that suggest love as well.  Lovegrass is a very beautiful perennial with ornamental, wispy plumes. Its Greek name is eragrostis:  eros meaning love and agrostis meaning grass.   It’s also used as fodder for livestock. Continue reading

Fly, Turkey, Fly!

The first Thanksgiving in this country has many variations including what was for dinner. (Hint: it wasn’t beef.) They had whatever they could get their hands on which included different kinds of birds, deer, and crops they had grown. The cornucopia, also called the horn-of-plenty, is a symbol of those crops.
The origin of the turkey as the preferred bird for the meal is also debatable but the story I like best is that in the 1950’s the Saturday Evening Post ran a Thanksgiving cover (painted by Norman Rockwell) of a family around the dinner table with a scrumptious turkey as the main dish. It caught on like wildfire!
We all strive for the perfect
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Sunday Morning Breakfast

Sunday Morning Breakfast.

I love small towns!  It’s just that simple.

We have been blessed to go to breakfast with some very special friends on Sunday mornings at Tootsie’s in Thayne, Wyoming for several years now and I am ever more aware of just what a gift that is.   They are wonderful people.

I also enjoy the camaraderie of the other breakfast guests in the restaurant.  Friends may wave at each other across the room, call out a greeting, or just smile – but it’s special.  Some may stop for a minute Continue reading

Crazy Woman Creek – The Story of a Heartbroken Woman

Twelve miles from Buffalo, Wyoming, you can step back in time and feel the presence of a woman gone mad.  Wyoming has never been an easy place to live – you have to really want to be here, but at the beginning – when this wonderful chunk of real estate was not yet a territory – things were much more difficult. 

There are a number of stories as to how the name Crazy Woman Creek, Crazy Woman Canyon, and Crazy Woman Battlefield, came to be – the name alone conjures up visions of horror

One of the most valid stories seems to be that during the era when whites traded Indians for their furs, a misunderstanding led to some Indians scalping a white man right in front of his bride (also white). Her blood-curdling cry was so horrifying that the Indians were afraid of harming her.

She, no doubt, had the same dream most of us have – a future- with her husband, children, a warm, loving home, only to have it shattered right in front of her eyes.  In a split-second, all of that was taken from her.

She wandered the hills alone the rest of her life, never finding her sanity again.  Often she was sighted and fed by various mountain men, only to disappear once more.  One kindly gentleman built her a cabin and she was eventually found dead there, apparently of starvation, years later. 

If you listen carefully, while winding your way through that hauntingly beautiful canyon, you may hear the maniacal cry of a distraught, heart-broken woman.  The wind gently whispers its sad secrets as the creek ripples through the canyon, leaving history in its droplets. Such tragedy in the shadow of the beautiful Big Horn Mountains is beyond sad.


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