Wyoming

An Obscure bit of History from My Home State

Two things that come to mind is that Wyoming has some strange, strange history and that it's not always immediately evident how much the WPA program of the 30's Depression era changed the social and political climate of the state. I am, as always, amused by how things I've known since I was in elementary school are now wrong. Absaroka was always pronounced ab-ser-oh-kah, with the first a being short like in cat, the second a being a kind of schwa sound and the strong syllable being the Oh. I've never heard anyone say "absorka".

My dad, being a sort of extreme left wing radical, thought the WPA and CCC were grand things. Look at all they did, he would say. Not only did they keep people from starving to death by giving them real work, they made the lodge and other buildings at Yellowstone, built the roads for the parks, made wayside stops for travelers. He thought this was infinitely preferable to any sort of welfare scheme that involved handouts, even if it did cost more money than simply passing out assistance and food stamps. He had a very strong sense of what he would have called personal dignity and what we call self-esteem, and thought many of the world's evils came from assaults on personal dignity. Unlike modern self-esteem pedagogy, which teaches you to value yourself just because you are the special snowflake that you are, Dad believed that self-esteem (or personal dignity) was something you worked for and earned. It's totally out of place in today's society and I certainly don't make my kids earn their self esteem in the way that my Dad expected me to earn mine, but I'm sure it colors my parenting nonetheless.

I only vaguely remember the Absaroka secessionist movement being taught in Wyoming History class in public school. My hometown isn't in the Absaroka territory. It's a great little piece of quirky history though, and I'm very amused to have learned about it from those folks in New York. šŸ™‚

P.S. Yes. It's still raining here in the armpit.

P.P.S. If you've never been to Yellowstone National Park, Google Old Faithful lodge. No picture can do the inside justice, but a lot of people have tried. It's indescribable, really

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