The colouring book field trip

In the style of Harper Lee, partial fictional writing and myths from the eyes of a child as matter-of-fact and calling parents by their first name.

Bountiful, Utah was the first settlement in Utah, which was actually Mexico in 1847. Everyone in America was descended from The Blonde Southern Egyptian Pioneers called Nephites. Someday I would see the pyramids and fit right in. Every line in a rock was a bathtub ring from ancient Lake Bonneville. Beehives were probably everywhere and women teased their large curls tall in the shape of them. At school, the class got to eat raw honey from a honeycomb once, wax and all. In 4th grade, I paid attention to state history.

In winter, God had sent His chosen people from Egypt to Navaboo, Illinoise, then to The Desert wrongly spelled “Deseret” with their Laminites in tow. They got more Shoshone Indian Lamanites as servants once they arrived in Bountiful even though it was against Mexican Law to own another person. We would look for arrowheads and other treasures but only ever found spearheads at our granperent’s place. Vie and Mil Weston, lived on Blackfoot land along the Snake River.

I tried the waterskiing once behind Grampa Weston’s yellow and white boat, but mostly fell into the river that tasted like diesel and algae. I worried about Gillman and Bullsnakes who would chase you in the water to bite for No Damn Good Reason. I spent the rest of that trip with hives and calamine lotion in Grandma Vie’s guest bed reading the same Life magazine from 1955. 

A blonde wood vanity sat across the room with a dark pink lipstick message from Auntie Carla to Auntie Hannah “Love you and Many Kisses! XOXO'” -Carla 1958″. Someday I was going to write on my teenage mirror a lipstick message frozen in time.

I wondered if it was the Shoshone who painted the giant white “B” on the hill above our house. Or maybe it was teenagers from Bountiful High. We begged our mom, Phyllis, to go to Rocket Park often. “Phyllis, we’ull pack our own san’wichizes and pop too to go to thuh moun’an!” “No pop! We’ll bring KoolAid in the Tupperware and Tupperware cups.” Phyllis said. Phyllis hated her boyish name. They used to call her “Phil” for short in college and inscribed it on a wooden ZTA (Zeta Tau Alpha) paddle she would threaten us with if we were bad. Her parents decided on “Phillis Ingrid” because of Samsonite luggage. Her monogram would have been “JAP” during World War II if they had given her a really feminine name like “Janet Ann” Pearson. Instead, the stylish white hardcase luggage set had a brass “PIP” tag and Barbie and her clothes were never allowed into the accordion-like makeup case.  We went up to the B once after a trip to Rocket Park and could see where Lake Bonneville used to be-clear up the sides of the Wasatch. Maybe it was good fishin’ then but God drained it before the pioneers came. The Piute Indians used to eat cattails and other Indians ate and wore bison and probably wooly mammoths too. We climbed to the base of the B to say we had touched it. It just looked like reflective street paint on dirt, so we left.

That Spring I was so excited for the Temple field trip. Everyone talked about it feverishly for weeks and finally, that warm day came.

The yellow bus arrived at 9 AM to take grade 4 to the big Temple in Salt Lake City. I had questions about my paper form asking the number of my Ward. I couldn’t fill out the form because I went to Bountiful Community Church for Infidels. My teacher, Miss Button’s face turned white. “I’m sorry, you cannot attend.” Miss Birch, the teacher’s assistant would stay with me in the classroom and so could colour and everything.

Human plumbing is odd. Tears come out our eyes but mine started with a big lump in my throat. I looked away out the windows to the bus about to leave without me.

I cried on my desk in my arms as the sound of the bus engine clottered away. When my arm got too snotty, I went to the girl’s and got some pink powder soap, water and thin brown paper towels. Those towels fell apart pretty quick.

I took my time colouring beautiful ballerinas in the silent room. Miss Birch busied herself with reading in the back. I must have had lunch but I don’t remember. I got to go home early to not face the returning bus.

I expect I didn’t learn much that day..


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