jetsetgreen

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Utah State History Is All the Rage

Oh, you’re wondering why there aren’t any pictures of our Vegas getaway? Well, it wasn’t until we’d almost reached the tiny community of Mona that I realized I’d forgotten my camera. I lamented. J refused to turn around and drive 30 minutes back "just" to pick up a camera, so all you have are my heart-rendering words.

We saw the remainder of suburbia slip past our rearview mirror. J watched the small, rural towns turning to sage brush wilderness, with a vague sense of confusion. After an hour in the car, we crested a hill overlooking a flat, expansive valley. “This,” I said, sweeping out my hands in a bold gesture, “Is Fillmore, the first capitol of Utah, and the geographic center of the Utah Territory.” J looked at me funny. “What?” I teased, “You didn’t have 4th grade Utah History in Florida?”
“Utah History? Are you kidding me?”
“Yes, Utah, U.S., and World; we alternated years. You didn’t have a unit on Florida?”
“Are you insane? No! We had U.S. History and Europe.”
I thought about this for a moment. “But when did you learn all your state’s counties?”
“There’s more than 50 in Florida!”
“So? There’s 50 states, you couldn’t memorize your counties and their county seats as well? I can name our counties, don’t you want to hear?”

Turns out he didn’t.

Does this mean that state history isn’t something everyone learns where they grow up? (And also, way to go, Florida, both U.S. and European History? You sure gave 'em the breadth and complexity of human existence right there.)

I guess the chances that J had had a 4th Grade Rendezvous were pretty slim.

Oh, you didn’t have 4th Grade Rendezvous, either?

You know, where you took a school bus to a public park where a bunch of dudes dressed as mountain men met with Native Americans, old west enthusiasts, and school children? There were furs, pelts, Navajo fry bread, beads, traps, Ute Indian dancing, and bonnets? You didn’t learn “Go My Son” with its hand actions? (1:50) You didn't wish your pioneer dress wasn't quite so hot?

Guess you really missed out.

Despite really missing out, J got a the guided tour with me, the 4th and 7th Grade expert in Utah History--with pronunciation, too. Paragonah. Scipio, Parowan. Kanarraville. Toquerville. Browse. Hurricane. We still have a lot to make up. I wonder how excited he’s going to be when he gets his county seat pop quiz.

(Probably super, super excited.)

32 comments:

Kelly said...

Thank you forever and ever for linking to Go My Son. I've been trying to recall those words for years now.

Dixie Mom said...

I grew up in Washington and Oregon...we had state history in both.
No "Go my Son" but our own version of grade school history tours.
I just moved to St. George, so I'm learning my pronunciations too...like Hurricane...Hurricun.
Coming from Missouri where they pronounce things wrong too, it isn't so bad.

The Atomic Mom said...

Larry's Drive in on the main drag in Filmore is the best place to eat....serioulsy!

cabesh said...

We had Oregon History in 4th grade--complete with a trip to the capitol building and visits with our local representative and state senator.

As an elective, I took Pacific Northwest History in high school. I also took Utah History at the BYU. I learned lots of interesting facts that allow me to play tour guide in Utah. :)

We recently had a missionary in our home who hails from Fillmore. He seemed surprised when I told him that I knew it. "Yeah, Fillmore. The first capital of Utah. It's right in the middle of the state. Named after Millard Fillmore."

Erin said...

I was never more shocked in my life than when I found out my husband didn't learn the counties of California. He too tried to pull the, "But there are so many!" and then I sang the Utah Counties for him (in geographical order!) He is still not impressed. I loved this. You have made your people proud of you.

Kalli Ko said...

your education isn't complete until you've taken Wyoming History...


I'm just saying.

brinestone said...

We had state history in Maryland. All I can remember is that the flag is a combination of the family crests from two families, one of which is Lord Baltimore's. Oh, and the state bird is the Baltimore oreole. I always want to say the other crest is the Capulets', but it isn't. That's Juliet's.

Amy said...

You'll be pleased to know that while we here in Florida still haven't got the hang of those ever hanging chads, we are teaching us history, world history, american history, and the holy grail...wait for it....Florida History.

AmandaStretch said...

Even though I say I'm from Utah, I lived in Texas for elementary and middle school and, therefore, had Texas history instead of Utah history. Definitely don't know all the counties in Texas (it's a BIG state) though. At least I'm Mormon and know something about Utah/church history. Don't ask me about Virginia, where I currently live, history though. This is why I'm not for or against state history in schools. Sure, it's useful if you continue to live in the same state forever, but that's obviously not my life plan.

thedoodlegirl said...

hahaaa! I loved the 4th grade Rendezvous!

KREW said...

Idaho does the rendezvous thing in 4th grade, too. However, as a Utah-hoo living in Idaho, I'm embarrassed when everyone knows the words and tune to "Here We Have Idaho," everyone but me. I supposed I need to take a community ed class on Idaho history before my kids show me up. Maybe before my youngest hits fourth grade.

Mom2BJM(Amy) said...

I agree with Kalli Ko - Wyoming history - learned alot - but not all the counties , taken at the good ole U of W... (that's Wyoming, not Washington.. :-) ) I did however go to school thru Jr High in Ut, so I too remember the counties...

c jane said...

I climbed that ladder. I earned that feather.

Amy said...

Now that blasted Utah counties song is in my head (Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, and Carbon . . . To the tune of Ten Little Indians).

While I was volunteering in a Texas elementary school, I was surprised to have to learn the Pledge of Allegiance to Texas.

La Yen said...

Tatonka.

Kim said...

I can't believe some states don't teach state history! I guess growing up in Texas, where state pride is firmly established as soon as possible, I might be a little biased.

And, yep, we did recite the Texas Pledge every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance. And sang "Texas, Our Texas." I still can't believe some people don't know their state song!

La Carter said...

Growing up in your neighbor to the west (Nevada) I have noticed that us westeners take great pride in our state history. My husband is from Virginia where state history is pretty much covered in U.S. history, he doesn't even know his state's song. Tragic.

ali said...

to get the full effect, you need to take him through orderville. Complete with story of jeans and the downfall of orderville's founding principles.

Lindsey Johnson said...

Ha! I just relived my 4th and 7th grade years studying UT History. Sometimes I still sing "Go My Son" but I only remember the first few lines. That gets boring after awhile.

Beeswax said...

I love Utah History. I loved it so much I pretty much majored in it. And I grew up in Los Angeles.

Maybe every kid in the country should take Utah history.

(I was only kidding about the last part.)

jennie w. said...

In Michigan we learned nothing except our lame state motto "if you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you."

Emily said...

History was not my strongest subject by any means, but I don't remember learning too much about California history. We learned some when we learned U.S. History, but I'm with J in that I remember U.S. and European most of all.

My sister who went to school near Coloma, CA (gold country) had a more in-depth California history section I believe due to being in the heart of gold rush country!

the emily said...

We had US and World, but no "new mexico" state history. Although we learned "Go My Son" because it was on a record we had growing up. I went to a fireside in Albuquerque when I was 17 years old with Steve Young as the main attraction. I didn't wear underwear. To a fireside. I was certain he was going to marry me. Anyway, I sat on the front row, and when they announced that the closing song would be "Go My Son" I burst out laughing. Steve Young and I made eye contact. I knew then that he would not marry me. Stupid go my son.

Rynell said...

Try Texas history--even more counties than Florida--254 to be exact.

Emmie said...

I remember when I and my fellow Rock Canyon Elementary classmates rubbed paper bags on the school carpet for like 45 minutes to make animal pelts. And then we shook jars of cream for another 45 minutes to make butter. It was awesome.

Trish and Greg said...

to KREW @ 9:13 - I was born and raised in Utah. My husband was born and raised in Idaho. Our three girls are a mix of Utah/New Mexico. Guess which state song they can sing? Yup - the Idaho State song. Man! They must pound that into the little bitty heads of all school children, because my husband can still sing it after many decades. He passed it along to us - ALL of us. I can even sing it.

Chorus:

"And here we have Idaho--Winning her way to fame, Silver and gold in the sunlight blaze, and romance lies in her name.

Singing, singing of you, oh proudly too, all our lives thru, We'll go singing, singing of you, singing of Idaho."

Morgan Lee said...

I grew up in Florida and we most definitely had a unit on Florida history in the fourth grade. My friend Kristi and I built a replica of the capitol building, using toilet paper rolls and play-doh (for a project that was part of the state history unit). We also took a field trip to Old St. Augustine. Your friend is probably just the type who doesn't remember much from her younger school years. I don't get people like that, but they exist.

lisa said...

We had Ohio history. Buckeyes and Johnny Appleseed. I still don't know if he was really from Ohio or we just claim him. We claim the Wright brothers. And John Glenn. But he really was ours.

Tyla said...

Well, those of us here in Tennessee are now, thanks to our governor, "racing to the top", so there's no time for trivial things like knowledge in and about the place you call home. All our students will one day major in physics at Harvard. Not quite sure who will take care of those pesky plumbing problems or check out books at the local library when that day comes.

Tzipporah said...

In Massachusetts, we had state history in elementary school, but they paraded it as "U.S. History" since really, we had the Mayflower and whatnot.

(I was in college before I learned that Plymouth wasn't the first plantation/settlement, although I began to suspect things in high school)

buttercup said...

I lived in California in 4th grade and I got my California State History. I was reminded of it all on our recent trip to Cali. So I naturally assumed that all states must do 4th grade state history....I guess I was wrong!

Polly said...

I loved 4th grade California history! Making a model of a mission complete with little clothespin indians. Hiking in the foothills to see where they ground their acorns. Going to a mining town. It was the best year. And we also learned the counties.

The school where we live now does a pioneer days thing where the kids all wear pioneer clothes to school and play old fashioned games at recess and write on slates for a week. A week! You really need that long to get it? Also they do state reports one year and a big international festival another year. Booths, food, costumes, dioramas, and last year a red phone booth made from a refrigerator box. About 50-75 countries represented every year. I am going on and on here. I am kind of excited/dreading our kids getting to this age.