Center Stage: Childhood recreation

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Bob Huff grew up in Upton, Wyoming. Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community.  It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.

Palmer hill was about a mile north of our house in Upton. In the winter, it was a very popular place to ski or sled. The hill was timbered with yellow pine and cedar trees. It had a rather steep slope.

Back then there was not television, computers, cellphones, electronic media or other things we have today.  We had to make our own entertainment. There was baseball, card games, board games, bowling and other things you did to stay busy. In the winter, skiing and sledding at Palmer hill was a favorite pastime.

Wier Sheldon and Ray Douglas operated a saw mill on the crest of Palmer hill. The refuse from their sawmill operation provided wood for our fires. We also used deadfall from the trees of the area for the fires. Sometimes it took a lot of fuel when there were several of us that had fires.

We generally packed a lunch when we went to Palmer hill. My lunch sometimes required to be cooked over an open fire. If I had wieners, potatoes and marshmallows, they all had to be cooked. I would cut a willow to roast the wieners and marshmallows over the fire. The fire created mud when it melted snow.  I coated the raw potatoes with this mud and put them in the fire for baking. After the potatoes were partly done or done, I would peel the mud off and eat the potatoes. At that age, anything that was edible, I ate it, if it did not eat me first!

There was no lift at Palmer hill. That meant that when you skied or sledded down the hill, you had to walk back up the hill. Apparently that was attractive because many of us stayed there until dark many days. After dark, skiing or sledding was a dangerous proposition, but we did it several times. On a warm day and a lot of traffic, the track would get extremely fast and dangerous. At that time, it was necessary to create new trails for safety’s sake.

When walking home, my Levis were frozen stiff. At every step the frozen legs of the Levis, when rubbed together, played a tune. After a fun-filled day, I was a happy camper — frozen Levis and all.

At the bottom of Palmer hill was what was known as Hopper flat and the Chicago Burlington and Quincy railroad reservoir. That area must have been a favorite hunting area of Native Americans. I found many Indian artifacts in that area.

In the summertime, the reservoir was a good place to swim. My friends and I would ride my horse, Dime, there a lot of days to take a cool dip. We only had the same swim suits that we were born with.

By |Apr. 10, 2015|

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