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Sat, Dec. 14

Growing up in Kingman brings on smiles

Melanie Gross Blog

Melanie Gross Blog

Hello everyone, my name is Melanie and I'm a new guest blogger for the Kingman Daily Miner. While I usually have a lot to say, I can't think of one thing to write about today. I tend to jump around topics, go off topic, and otherwise, but not purposely, confuse people with what I'm saying. I might have ADD. (giggles)

I was not born in Kingman, Arizona, but I was raised here. As a child I didn't have a care in the world, for Pete's sake, I just wanted to have fun! And that I did. (smiles) My grandpa, Uncle, and I believe my dad helped too, maybe even other family members, I don't remember, built us grandchildren a park. A literal park on my grandparent's and Uncle's connected properties. It was awesome! We had swings, monkey bars, other bars to swing on, a teeter totter like you've never seen, it went way high, a sandbox with a clubhouse over it being held up by telephone poles, ponds with waterfalls and a stream running through the whole thing combining both ponds. It seriously was the coolest thing. And we kids loved it. The bigger pond of the two, served as our first swimming pool, until our grandpa bought a huge above ground pool, built a huge wall and deck around it, with a locking gate to gain entry, and it even had a shower people. Then the ponds were filled with fish, and we had tadpoles. Tons of them! We watched them grow into these little frogs, and we would build Lego boats, put a frog in each of them and race them down the stream that connected the two ponds. Our clubhouse over the sandbox had a tall set of stairs leading up to it. It had a small porch, carpet and even some furniture inside. It was great to hide in and take aim when we were playing with water guns and squirting each other. Fun times let me tell you.

My grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and parents used to can foods too. They would make pickles, jams/preserves, lots of canned fruits and vegetables, and one of my favorites was the pickled okra. They even made raisins from our grapevines and fresh, homemade fruit roll-ups. Our canning house and basement was filled with shelves of food. And it was all so good!

Since we knew everyone living on our block, and were friends with or related to most of them, we'd have these summer block parties. Everyone would come, including our family members that did not live on the block with us. And we'd have music, games, food, drink and tons of fun. My childhood was really good. Goodness I miss being young. (laughing)

We would go on day trips just driving around in the mountains, finding old mines, cattle troughs (we actually swam in one once), and other cool places, then find a spot and have a picnic. We'd go camping at Lake Kaibab, fish all day, sit around a fire at night, and have really good fish to eat for dinner. My family made sure us kids and grandchildren had a good childhood. It was great being with everyone and having so much fun.

Growing up here, in Kingman, Arizona wasn't so bad when I was young. In fact it was pretty great! I'll always love California, where I was born, but Kingman is where I had a great childhood. I have memories from California, but they don't compare to the memories I have from here. Aside from all the family fun growing up, my daughter's were born here, my grandson too, and those are three very special memories I will always cherish, more so than anything in my life. My girls were raised here, and even though I couldn't provide for them all the things my parents, grandparents and family did for me and my cousins, I hope their childhood memories were good enough to put a smile on their faces when they think back, just as mine do to me.

I actually stayed on topic sort of, how about that? We'll see how my next blog goes. (laughing out loud)

God Bless.

Melanie Gross

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