29 September 2009

Sleepy Hollow Recollections: Paul Nolan Hyde--Canyon Boy, 1948-1959: #1

A few days ago, I received a comment on my entry about traffic improvements in the Canyon, though the comment was unrelated. The correspondent, Paul Nolan Hyde, a Utah resident, wanted to simply share the fact that, from 1948 to 1959, he lived in Sleepy Hollow and said that he had a lot of memories of his decade-long residence in the community.

I made a reply comment that I wanted to post some of his reminiscences, if he was willing to provide them, and, subsequently, he has sent me three specific recollections that I'll share on this blog. If he is willing to send more, I'm happy to post those, too.

This, after all, is part of the documentation of the history of this oldest of Chino Hills communities and the oldest surviving Carbon Canyon neighborhood (the original Olinda being thirty years older, but also gone for nearly a half-century now.)

So, here is the first entry of the three Dr. Hyde sent, a really well-written remembrance of glow worms found along Carbon [Canyon] Creek and a tale that takes us back some sixty years in Sleepy Hollow's history:

Glow Little Glow Worm

One of the unforeseen delights of moving into the Canyon was the discovery of unimagined creatures. Rattlesnakes and hummingbirds I had at least seen pictures of, and in short order, found them up front and personal in my own yard. There were no epiphanies associated with these encounters; snakes were snakes and birds were birds. Although I came to have strong feelings about them, so much so that nearly fifty years afterwards I can write about them with some clarity, yet there was little of the moment that surprised me about snakes and hummingbirds. Glow worms, however, were different.

My mother and father would one day form a dance band. Mother was a competent singer and learned to play the marimba. My father played the guitar, generally as a rhythm instrument. I seldom saw them perform at Dot’s and Floyd’s, but I was often privy to their practice sessions with the constable drummer, the evangelical trumpeter, and my best friend Bill's accordion mother. What I remember best about those sessions, however, was the music, the countless songs that they brought into our front room as they added to their repertoire. They were songs made popular by Doris Day, Dinah Shore, and Rosemary Clooney. They affected me profoundly, not because I liked the songs particularly, but because my parents could perform them with such apparent ease. Some of the songs have become etched into my memory. "This Old House", by Rosemary Clooney was a kind of theme song for my mother. Patrons at the bar where my father's band played and sang, asked for that number over and over again. I suspect that my mother's version was more popular to her audiences than Miss Clooney's was. Years later, upon the death of my mother, that song became the informing metaphor for my poem "Quiet Time". Anyone acquainted with the lyrics of both the song and the poem, would immediately sense the connection between the two. Another popular song performed by the band, was the Mills Brothers' classic "Glow Little Glow Worm". My earliest recollections of music include that song, the Brothers' rich, clear voices almost negating the need for the instrumental ensemble that accompanied them. I had no idea, as a young child, what a glow worm was. I think that I had not even made the connection between the thing and the animal world. I suspect that I may have thought of the glow worm as mythical as dragons, or even as fanciful as the story of Cassiopeia that I read in my book on the constellations. Imagine, if you will, the extraordinary impact that registered upon my mind and my heart when one early summer's evening, my mother took my sister and I out to the front stairway that led to the road above our house and pointed out the pale green light of my first glow worm. I was as if all fairy tales had suddenly come to life. Were I compelled to point at a single event in my life that created within me the capacity to willingly suspend my disbelief, the initial motions of a burgeoning Romantic, it would have to be that damp night of pulsing luminescence. We were allowed to hold the living treasure of dreams in our hands and then were persuaded to return the creatures to their home in the ivy along the steps. I cannot recall ever having seen another in my life.

This remembrance is copyrighted by Dr. Hyde's Parrish Press publishing company and used here with permission.

1 comment:

Zaphod said...

One addendum: While it is true that I have four degrees in English Language and Linguistics, two of them from BYU, and while it is also true that I have "taught" or "professed" the same throughout the United States and Canada at various institutions of Higher Education, including BYU, and notwithstanding the fact that a "Google" of my full name will take you to websites that assert that I am a Professor of Linguistics at Brigham Young University.... I am not nor have I every been a faculty member of that wonderful university. There are two reasons: First, I spent my teaching career doing something far more magnificent, something almost magical, and second, BYU could not afford me.