Thursday, July 24, 2014

You'd think I'd have at least ONE decent picture of me dressed as a pioneer

. . . especially when I wanted to be one for more than half of my life.

You think I am exaggerating? I am not.

Growing up, I loved pioneer stories. Loved. them. I secretly always wondered why I had been born in the 1990s instead of the 1820s.

I forced my sisters to play pioneers with me and we would trek across our living room in lieu of the Great Plains.

And, of course, this:

Oregon Trail, baby. And not just Oregon Trail. Oregon Trail TWO. Best game in the history of my life. I am dead serious.

I was a PRO at this game. And when I say pro, I mean pro. I could give you advice on any situation the game . . . and I would. And still can.

For example: Merchants' packages of supplies? Not even worth it. Just go buy your own stuff. 

Sorry, Joe Schmoe with the tacky plaid suit. I will not sell you my ox for your bacon. Because we are still in town and I will need that ox when I cross Rocky Ridge. 

Hunting for buffalo! But don't hunt too much or else game will become scarce and you will probably end up accidentally shooting yourself or getting mauled by a cougar. 

"This river doesn't look too deep. Let's ford it." Famous last words. Caulk the wagons and float! That's the way to do it every time . . . unless it's like 2 and 1/2 feet deep (and even then, it was usually my luck that the wagon would still tip over). 

Oooh, the infamous dysentery. He doesn't stand a chance. 

See? Anatharon has died. Poor Anatharon. He probably died of dysentery. Let's be honest, it's Oregon Trail. We KNOW he died of dysentery. 

In short, I LOVED OREGON TRAIL. So much so that I would often act it out while playing the computer game. While wearing a bonnet and an apron. I have no shame.

The only shameful thing is that I have no pictures of this. None at all. There is not one good picture of me dressed as a pioneer.

People, I wanted to be a pioneer. I wanted to be one of those pioneer children who sang as they walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. I wrote "pioneer diaries" in correspondence with my cousins as we would pretend to be Mormon pioneers leaving Nauvoo, camping in Winter Quarters, and coming across the plains. It was basically like a Mormon Pioneer soap opera. I mean, look at this brilliant writing:

"Katherine and Melissa's father, my uncle, passed away, and we all mourn as much as we can, which is quite a bit because the winters are dismal. It's only been about a month since we've been stranded here, but how I wish for spring to come. Snow, what little there is, is depressing." 

"Dear Diary, I have noticed that Katherine seems to be a little bit jealous of me because I'm sick and I get a lot of attention. Does she know how much pain I suffer?" 

"James is getting sick again. We were talking yesterday and suddenly he started coughing uncontrollably. I felt his forehead and nearly scorched off some of my skin. It is awful." 

And, the family favorite: 

Megan (aka Melissa): "Father blessed me before he died. He said that if I would hold to the iron rod I would be able to endure." 
Kyra (aka Katherine): "Father blessed me. He said that if I would hold to the iron rod I would become great and marry a wonderful, righteous man." 
Leslie (aka Jolie): "Katherine is sweet, but she is a few feet down the iron rod. I mean that in the best way possible." 

This is quality writing here, folks. I don't know why were weren't awarded the Pulitzer. 

If you need further proof of my love of pioneers, you can look at my cousin Kyra's blog post from about two years ago where she also talks about how we would all play pioneers together. 

But despite my obsession, not one decent picture. It is a travesty. 

[okay, okay, okay. I did find one picture. But it is from my awkward stage. Which lasted from 5th grade until I was 17. Sooooo, that was a long time. And I don't think social media is quite ready to see my awkward stage.]

Oh, and I finally found this picture!!!!

So, one. One decent-ish picture from all of my time dreaming of becoming a pioneer. And I'm not even wearing a bonnet. 

All of the other pictures I found were ones where I thought it was us dressed up in cute little pioneer dresses . . . and then I realized that it was the 90s. And a lot of little girls' outfits kind of look pioneer-ish.

We're still cute, though. 

Oh, and I found this picture. It is from the sesquicentennial anniversary celebration of the Mormon pioneers making it to the Salt Lake Valley on July 24th, 1847.

Yeah, not so good. We are clearly blinded by the pure awesomeness that is the pioneer spirit. 

Still, in all seriousness, I have always loved pioneers--I've loved their bravery, dedication, and vision for the future. I am honored to be descended from some incredible pioneers--and not just those who crossed the plains in 1847, but those who came to America in hopes of a better life and in order to freely worship God. I'm grateful for the examples of my parents--both of them are pioneers in my eyes. It's not easy to be the first one; it requires bravery and faith. [FYI, President Uchtdorf just gave a wonderful speech about the pioneers. You can read it here.]

And I'm grateful that we have a day to celebrate the "builders of the nation" and remember that all will be well for us, too. 

Even if I don't have any photographic evidence.


  1. Playing Oregon Trail with you was my favorite thing.

    Also, I'd like to note that I was dressed as a pioneer in your last picture.

  2. I played pioneers with my cousins too! I also had a deep and burning desire to be a pilgrim. My mom made me a costume in kindergarten. Why celebrate Halloween when you could instead celebrate Thanksgiving? :)

  3. I LOVE Oregon Trail!!!! hahaha this was the best pioneer day post I've ever read! I love it!

  4. Hahaha i love this whole post

  5. Haha, thanks everyone! It's nice to know that I have so many kindred spirits who appreciate the fine things in life like playing Oregon Trail and pioneers. :)

  6. laughed out loud. seriously.

    And Derek commented on one of the pictures--"Hey, I know that exact version of the Oregon Trail"

    Best thing ever was getting to go on a Wagon Train with my grandparents and their wagons, horses. You had to dress up the entire time--bonnets, skirts, bloomers---the whole she-bang. I thought I died and went to heaven.

    Although, eating Cheetos in the back of the wagon was probably not very authentic...