Monday, May 31, 2010

Memory Day

John Allen Bagley

The outlaws arrived about midday and tied their horses at the hitching rank across the street from the bank. Montpelier, Idaho was a sleepy little town in 1896, but Butch Cassidy and his pals didn't attract a lot of attention until just before closing time.

Cashier Gray was standing on the steps of the bank talking with a friend when Butch pulled a gun and ushered the surprised banker inside, where they forced the pay teller and a young female stenographer against the wall. One of the gang leaned across the writing desk and trained guns on them while Cassidy swept the money into a gunny sack, nonchalantly walked across the street, got on his horse and rode casually out of town. His men gave him a few minutes, and fled in different directions.

Pandemonium erupted as the alarm spread. Attorney John Bagley gave chase with a gun, first on a bicycle and then on his horse. Later a posse took up the chase. John Bagley appeared for the state in prosecuting several of the gang after they were caught in Jackson Hole. Butch got away.

Hawley Bagley

John's son Hawley got away, too. He was just five years old when the circus paraded past his house, which The Montpelier Examiner described this way:

The elegant residence of Attorney General John Bagley and his cultured eastern wife Nina Valve (she was from Iowa) is the largest and most pretentious home in the entire Bear Lake County, containing as it does twenty-one rooms. Three stories and an attic are all lighted by electricity and heated by furnaces. All through the home modern science has been brought to play in producing the best sanitarian domestic effects. A leading feature is the attic which has been designated a children's romp room and sanctum. The walls are covered with paintings and chalk drawings of more than ordinary merit.

The romp room didn't have the allure of the elephants that day in 1904. Hawley followed them to the circus grounds and watched the midgets, giants and acrobats set up the tents. A photographer snapped his picture for the newspaper before his alarmed mother Nina found him and hauled him away from the seduction of the big top.

Hawley's mother died a year later, ten days after his sixth birthday.

Adelila Hogensen

Hawley was in high school when he fell in love with an older woman. Ad was two years ahead of him, but they debated on the high school team together and traveled around to the debates in a horse-pulled sleigh. They wrote for the yearbook staff and kept writing—love letters.

Gerald Hawley Bagley

Jiggs was their second son. He said, "My folks were always in deep trouble with money. We did any old thing to make ends meet. One summer we went up to Mount Olympus and picked worms. The owner of a huge dew-berry patch came down through the neighborhoods in a truck to pick kids up. We had to bring a bucket, a hat and a pair of gloves. We'd pick great big, three-inch green worms until our buckets were full, and then go over and dump them on a fire of burning oil. We did that all day and earned two dollars. Then they'd take us home in the truck."

June Lundgren

Junie looked through the closet for her sister's new plaid taffeta Christmas skirt. Rosie would never even know that she'd borrowed it. It was the depression, and Junie usually wore hand-me-downs from her four older sisters, but she wanted something different for the party. She was going with Jiggs. Her hair was curled, her lipstick was red, and her stocking seams were straight when she got out the iron to touch up the skirt. She had to be careful because taffeta melts.

Junie wore her old gray skirt that night, and was gone when Rosie discovered the hole in her new skirt. It was in the exact shape of an iron.

Jiggs and June got married on April Fool's Day, 1946.


And then I was born.

"Our lives are so important to us that we tend to think the story begins with our birth. Yet that is not so. We are the continuation of someone else's story."

Today I'm remembering the beginning of my story.


~Write the first chapter of your life story. Who were the main characters before you were born?


Christie said...

I love how they called John's wife that Eastern woman - and she was from Iowa! Hilarious.

Awesome story, awesome beginnings. Glad to have these genes alive in my babies!

Diane L said...

What a rich heritage! My husband's grandpa came from Bear Lake, and went to school in Montpelier during the winters.

(You don't look a day older than your picture there...well, maybe a day older, but I could sure tell it was you.)

mama jo said...

loved those stories...and i love how it ended when you were born!!! were you an only child?

Kay Dennison said...

And such a lil' cutie you were!! And still are!!!

kenju said...

You are just the BEST story teller!! and I love that photo of you!

Since I was adopted, I know nothing of my birth parent's ancestors. Kind of a shame, I guess.