By Lynn Moncus: Comments from the Canyons
Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I’m nobody, who are you? Are you nobody too?” became more meaningful than ever recently when I entered the courthouse, had to identify myself, and spell my name. Actually, there really was no reason for me to be surprised that I am no longer known there, but I had to laugh as I stood in a building in which I had lived for twelve years and realized that I am now a stranger in a strange place.
For some reason, we have the notion that we will be remembered in our home town and in one of our homes for a little while, but we really shouldn’t think that way because time passes, people change, and the elders become mere numbers among the young people. That is part of life, and we might as well accept it because we certainly can’t change it.
Despite being an unknown person there, however, I walked amid memories as I entered and left that favorite building. Touching those Georgia marble walls and remembering when they were being put into place always thrills this woman from lma. Walking on those floors that were created on the spot always makes me stand a little taller. Having seen the mural of Coronado being painted makes me aware of its value and of the importance of artists during the W.P.A. years, and later having a small part in seeing it refurbished by our own Bill Curry and meeting the Mead family pleased me.
As always, I hear echoes of the past upon entering and remember some wonderful times in my childhood and youth. Although a number of the offices have been changed and even replaced, I can still see so many of those people who moved into the new building in 1940. The first one who always comes to mind is Winnie Stratton because she played a large part in my life from the beginning and because she was in one office or another during the periods in which we lived there. I can see Mr. Dewees walking toward his office and can hear Irene Kerns laugh as she worked to open the combination lock on her door. I can hear Mary Helen Mundell Neese as she helps me locate a reader for that day’s entertainment.
In the later years, I can well remember attending trials in Judge David Bonem’s court, especially the murder trial of the Gunnish-Heisler case. Of course, I remember attending my first murder trial in Judge Patton’s court in the old courthouse and later seeing him frequently when we moved into the new courthouse. Unless you are my age or older or are a relative, you are not recalling many of these people and the importance they played in our county and its history.
Few people had more fun growing up than I because few had the opportunity to begin life in the canyons of home and to spend some great years in the courthouse. Collecting memories from both places has been just great and listening to the echoes in each place is very rewarding. Being a “nobody” in both places now doesn’t bother me as I have those recollections to keep me going and to make me ever proud of my heritage. Any time you want to be nobody too, just join me during this last chapter and let’s continue to enjoy each day.