Monday, September 14, 2009

Our Book (part 3)

Why did we decide to write a book? Well, what else could we do when so much was practically given to us? This story was begging to be told, and I don't think that we could have done otherwise and felt good about it. Here was a story that anyone that we asked in Zion National Park about, had never heard about it. All the history books on Zion, that we could find, never even hinted at it. In fact very little was ever said about any park history between Zion becoming a national park at the end of 1919 and the opening of the lodge in 1925 except the dedication ceremony. Most of the wonderful photos hadn't been published since the early 1920s. Here was a chance to tell a story that hasn't been told for 90 years. How often does that happen? The closest thing that we could find was an article written by a daughter of one of our girls in 1973 for the Salt Lake Tribune. While researching the story, information kept falling into our laps like it was just waiting for someone to take a little notice. John, who has done a lot of research for his automobile histories, said that none of his other research ever came this easily. We received encouragement from all sides, and the families of the girls that we found were so thrilled to help us out. We always came away from those visits with renewed enthusiasm. John had collected related park items and maps over the past 10 years that fit perfectly with the story to fill it out visibly even more, and it helped that John is a graphic artist who could do all the design work. He created a ''mock up" version of the book to send to potential publishers including the University of Utah Press who responded quickly saying they wanted to publish it for us. What all of this means is that we wrote the book because it was a great unknown story with great photos that was practically pushing us to produce it. I just don't know that we had any other choice. For all we know, one of those six girls might have started to haunt us if we had just tucked the photo albums away in a box.

Please note that the text of the book was written by my husband John and not by me. He is much better at writing this story than I am. I am afraid that my enthusiasm gets in the way of my writing skills.

The above photo is just one of the great photos found in the photo albums. That is Dora Montague doing a flying dutchman over the cliffs in Zion. I don't think that girl was scared of heights.

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