Those experiences brought back a memory I had suppressed for years. When I was eight years old, my parent; brother, Jim; and I moved away from
Hinckley for a few months. My dad took a construction position in building a condominium complex. While this project was going on, we lived in Pleasant Grove from October 1969 to May 1970 and in Utah County from May to August 1970. I attended third grade at Central Elementary in Pleasant Grove and then we spent the summer before fourth grade living in a trailer next to the Provo . When I lived in Provo River as a student 12 years later, I went to the location of that trailer park and found it is now a city park. Provo
I was pretty blue the summer of 1970. Jim and I only had each other to play with because we didn’t know any kids around there. Most of our belongings (books and toys) were packed in boxes and were staying that way because we would be moving back to our house in
Hinckley in a short time. After a day or two of living in , I found the best way to pass the time was to sit on a large, flat rock that overhung the river. I could throw sticks and rocks into the water, I could watch the wildlife in and around the water, or I could listen to the sound of the fast-moving water. I was quite fascinated by the river. On my first day visiting the river, I saw an enormous gray, papery wasp nest lying on the ground about 10 feet from the edge of the water. It was about 15 inches long and shaped like a fat football. Apparently a storm had blown it out of a nearby tree. I had to walk past the nest every day as I went to my favorite rock by the river. I instinctively gave it a wide birth, even though it seemed deserted and was lying on the ground instead of hanging in a tree as it had been at some previous point in time. Provo
This routine went on for what seems like weeks, but was perhaps only days—I’d get up, dress in my shorts and t-shirt and walk down to the river. On this one particular day, I must have been feeling especially frustrated about living in a trailer down by the river because as I walked barefooted through the muddy grass to the river’s edge, I decided I was sick of seeing that old wasp nest lying on its side on the ground and I gave it a mighty kick. My bare foot sunk deep through the papery layers of the nest and as it was lifting off the ground and into the air it was tearing apart and wasps were pouring out of the shattered mess and looking for the culprit who had just destroyed their home.
Those wasps were mad as hornets! I was instantly engulfed in the swarm and stings were coming so hard, fast and furious all I could do was run, scream and swing my arms. I was wailing like a siren as I tore up the hill and down the road to home. It must have been quite a spectacle for all the residents of the trailer park who saw the skinny kid screaming and running over the speed-bump-riddled road surrounded by a swarm of furious, buzzing insects.
My mom had to swat and kill quite a few wasps which came right into the trailer with or attached to me and were still trying to seek revenge on their home wrecker. When Mom could finally get down to treating my stings it took her hours to cake my wounded body with baking soda plasters. There were lumps and bumps on nearly every inch of my little nine-year-old body; I even had stings between my toes.
The rest of that summer must have been even more boring because I only remember one more visit to the river and that was on the day we moved back to
Hinckley. I walked down to look at my rock and the remains of the wasp nest. There wasn’t too much of it left, but the biggest chunk still had a few wasps circling it so I didn’t stay long.