Double Down posts in Ramblings

Aug 10, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

This is my last blog as a Nevada Humanities staff member.  Friday was my final day with the organisation and on Saturday I started the 2000 mile plus drive from Las Vegas to Columbus, OH, where I’m due to embark on a PhD in Folklore in a couple of weeks.

Working for Nevada Humanities has been a privilege, as has being in Nevada.  I’ve lost count of the number of different places I’ve lived in as an adult but the Silver State definitely ranks among my favourites.

As a way of marking my moving on, I thought I’d make a list of the top five things I’m going to miss about living here.

In no particular order:

  1. THE SPRING MOUNTAIN RANGE:  Red Rock Canyon, Blue Diamond Hills, Lovell Canyon, Mount Charleston; these beautiful places - all so close to hand to my...
Aug 6, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

Who would own an independent bookstore in this day and age?

Christine Kelly, that’s who. 

Christine is the owner of Sundance Books and Music in downtown Reno, the silver state’s largest independent bookstore. I was privileged to spend some time with this wonderful woman as she’s the focus of the latest edition of Nevada’s Hidden Stories (an occasional series that sheds light on the unique people, places, and communities that make Nevada the place we call home). 

To find out more about Christine’s journey to her role at the helm of Sundance, take a listen here:

...

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...

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

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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 7, 2014 | Posted by Rachel Hopkin

This year, as last, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. It was the event’s thirtieth anniversary and since that milestone happened to coincide with its home state’s sesquicentennial celebration, there was – for the first time in the Gathering’s history – a special focus on the cowboy culture of Nevada.

Consequently, there were a number of sessions with a Silver State theme, including a Friday night sell-out show entitled “Nevada in my Heart”.  It featured a range of performers who all possessed, in different ways, a significant connection to this place and...

Feb 7, 2014 | Posted by Karen Wikander

When I first started working at Nevada Humanities, there was a day when I travelled to Las Vegas, trying to woo teachers into using the ONE in the classroom. "Whizz! Bang! Help me help you!" kind of stuff. After a day doing the calisthenics of an extrovert, my very introverted self was thrilled to finally sit back and relax on the plane ride home to Reno. Of course, as it was a Southwest flight from LAS --> RNO, the plane was heaving with people. As I was lucky enough to be one of the last people to board, I ended up in the dreaded middle seat. So much for hiding out next to the window.

That said, I was lucky enough to be seated next to a very pleasant guy who worked in geothermal energy. After developing a friendly banter, and as you do when trapped with people in close...

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