Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Brothel Studies

Lecture Series, Garden Park Clubhouse

It was all meant to be.

Dee gave a second lecture in his series called Treasures of the Oquirrh Mountains. Tales from ghost towns that used to line Bingham Canyon fascinated folks who now live in view of Bingham Copper Mine, the giant that swallowed those towns house by house and left just one case in point: Copperton, Utah.

South Jordan's Historian

The architecture of that little burg was the inspiration for Garden Park, our own community. Dee talked about arts and craft, knee braces, and porticoes, and then threw out a teaser for lecture number three: "Bingham Canyon had 36 bars, 18 brothels, and dozens of stories. Come back in April!" I knew the first two lectures had filled his time, and that he still had lots of research to do for the third one—he really didn't have any stories ... yet.

Garden Park Clubhouse

After the lecture Dee shook a bunch of hands and answered a bunch of questions. He made his way over to me and sat down. Suddenly he slumped over and turned white. Several people were still in the room and when he wouldn't revive I yelled out, "Call 911!"

A neighbor, a retired cop, immediately took charge and Dee was carried to a couch, his feet elevated and his color started coming back. He was in and out of it until the EMTs arrived. They put him on oxygen, determined it wasn't a stroke or a heart attack, and hustled us into an ambulance headed to the emergency room.

A nurse asked what he'd been doing when he fainted. "I'm a historian, and I was giving a lecture on Copperton, which is a company town in Bingham Canyon built to house miners from 28 different countries ... " He's delirious, I thought. "The Bingham brothers discovered copper in 1858, but Brigham Young sent them to settle ... " (Obviously, he'd survived.) The nurse listened to his ramblings as she drew his blood, checked his vitals and stuck his arm with an IV. She put him on pause while she went for juice. "Dear, you don't need to give her the whole spiel," I told Dee. "She was just making sure you stayed conscious."

But then she came back with a sandwich. "I want to hear more about Bingham Canyon," she said. "That's where my dad grew up. He used to deliver coal to the brothels. In fact, he and his old Bingham buddies still get together every Thursday for lunch—they're all in their 80s and they love to talk."

Dee at his Garden Park Lecture.

Dee was released a few hours later. Along with instructions to lower his blood pressure meds, the nurse gave him her dad's telephone number. By Thursday they were best friends, and Dee was invited to lunch. And now he has dozens of stories!

"Did you hear the one about Big Helen? She was a madam who paid for us to go to the movies every Saturday. We used to throw rocks at her window until she came out and paid us each a dime to go away!"

My Heritage Associates blog has another good story: Click here.


Amanda said...

Oh my word, so interesting! Further proof that everything happens for a reason :) I'm glad Dee is okay!

Diane said...

I was so afraid he'd had another heart attack. Thanks for not leaving us hanging! Isn't amazing how things "happen" to work out? Too bad it took a hospital visit for this miracle to happen. It sure makes a great story!

Christie said...

Such a great story within a story....love it.

~Kristina said...

I'm glad to hear that Dee is ok.
What an interesting way to earn a lunch date!

Sheri said...

How scary for you! I hope Dee is okay (and you, too).