Double Down - A Blog

Jul 22, 2014 | Posted by Nancy Cummings

My mother, Ruthe Deskin, a third generation Nevadan was born in Yerington, Nevada, once known as Pizen Switch. Through the years, she was fondly referred to by others as “the girl from Pizen Switch.” 

During her school years in Yerington, she served as the editor of the high school newspaper, and captain of the championship girls’ basketball team. Her best friend Mugs (Marjorie Guild Russell) nicknamed her Cutie which stuck throughout high school.

When she graduated from high school, her father moved the family into Reno as he was determined to have his children attend college.           

She graduated from UNR in 1937 with a degree...

Jun 11, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

Photograph courtesy of Max Chapman, Reno Historical

I’ve long been interested in old buildings and historic preservation, and so after moving to Nevada, I was delighted to join the board of Preserve Nevada.  It’s a statewide organization, based at UNLV, which is dedicated to the preservation of Nevada’s cultural, historical, and archeological heritage.

Every other year, Preserve Nevada puts out a list of significant places that it deems to be of concern in some way in terms of historic preservation.  Usually there are just 11 names on that list and normally, they are all considered “endangered”.  However this year, to mark Nevada’s sesquicentennial, the board came up with 150 places which fell into three...

May 28, 2014 | Posted by Karen Wikander

I was 22 the first time I heard Maya Angelou speak.

I had never read her books or poetry. This was pre-YouTube and Google so I had never searched for her online. Her name was familiar, but in the limited experience my 22 years on this Earth had afforded me, her significance had escaped me. In retrospect, given that I was an English major, this dearth of knowledge is disappointing. (I am chastising my younger self)

A friend of mine – one with more wisdom than I clearly had – recognized an incredible opportunity when Dr. Angelou came to Reno to speak at the University and had secured us tickets. I went because, why not? I had already been accepted into graduate school in England and was floating through those last few months of Uni, eager to participate in things before I...

May 21, 2014 | Posted by Nancy Cummings

[Nancy Cummings with George Woods, the New York Times Children’s Book Editor as dinner guests of the Lippincott Publishing Company at the 1973 ALA Conference in Las Vegas.]

This piece was written because after 41 years, the American Library Association is finally coming back to Las Vegas for its annual conference June, 2014.  It was considered a controversial site for years because of its “sin city” image and the ALA Administration steered clear of it as a location for future conferences.  That is no longer the case and Las Vegas is hosting the conference once again.  Here is a recollection of my experiences at the first ALA Las Vegas Conference.

Remembrances of Things Past:  American Library Association Conference—Las Vegas—1973

...
May 8, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

In celebration of Nevada's 150th birthday and Historic Preservation month, Nevada Humanities, in partnership with Vegas Valley Food Tours and the City of Las Vegas, has created the Vintage Vegas Food Tour.

On Saturday May 10th and Saturday May 24th, from 4:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m, we are offering a tour that explores Las Vegas restaurants which have withstood the test of time. Experience magnificent steakhouses, mom and pop ethnic eateries, and old-fashioned food shops that have been in the city for over 25 years. Between tastings, you will hear stories of the history and culture of Las Vegas from knowledgeable and entertaining guides, as you stroll through this downtown neighborhood.

By way of a “taster” (please excuse the pun), here are some short audio slideshows that offer...

Apr 22, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin
Following on from Nevada Humanities' piece about the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering that aired on Reno Public Radio (KUNR) in February, we are delighted to now have new partnership in place with the network to bring to listeners Nevada's Hidden Stories - an occasional series which will focus on the unique people, places, and communities that make Nevada the place we call home.  
 
The latest edition of Nevada's Hidden Stories features writer, photographer, and Nevada resident, CJ Hadley, who was recently presented with a prestigious Wrangler Award for Outstanding Poetry Book from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma.  The award honored the latest book from Range Magazine, which Hadley founded, edits, and...
Apr 14, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

The photograph above, taken in the dim and distant mists of time, shows the two year old me near a campsite in Normandy.  Evidently I have always taken my boulangerie items very seriously.

My brother and I were blessed to be raised by two Francophile parents in the county of Kent, which lies adjacent to the English channel. The combination of this geographical proximity and parental predilection meant that we spent many a family holiday in France.  For my brother, David, these early experiences definitively shaped the course of his adult life – he is now an eminent French historian (well, I think he’s eminent anyway). For me, the impact has been...

Mar 16, 2014 | Posted by Karen Wikander

Yesterday, on the Ides of March, my grandmother, Sara Levi, passed away. She would have been 100 years old in July. 

My grandmother was born on Rhodes, a small island off the coast of Greece with a tumultuous and storied history – if a country and its history can infuse the spirit of a human, then Rhodes and my grandmother share a soul. The romance of Rhodes, with its ties to Turkey, Greece, and Italy, sculpted the woman that my grandmother would become.  She was born into a world of beauty, warmth, culture, and peace. She would watch, luckily from afar, as her island was overrun with Germans and her family taken to concentration camps, where many of them were killed – her parents on the first night.

This is a woman who came to the United States without knowing any...

Mar 9, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

All photos courtesy Rachel Hopkin/Nevada Humanities

I think I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve led a rather peripatetic existence; so far, as an adult, I’ve lived in fifteen cities across seven countries within three continents. In fact, I was once told by a psychic that I had no “root chakra” and although the rest of our conversation was nonsensical, that part resonated.  So it’s rather ironic that I now work for an organization which considers facilitating a sense of rootedness - or at least a sense of connection - between Nevada’s residents and their beautiful state as part of its raison d’être.

Over the years I’ve learned that the way I best connect with a place is to get out and walk on the land beneath it. Thus, one of the great revelations...

Feb 14, 2014 | Posted by Nevada Humanities

Just over a week ago, the town of Elko played host to thousands of visitors from all over the world who descended on north east Nevada for the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. It was the Gathering’s 30th year and among those in attendance was Rachel Hopkin. Rachel is a folklorist and radio producer who works for Nevada Humanities and she put together this report for KUNR about this event which – as she found out - had a very particular focus this year.

This report aired as part of KUNR's...

Pages