tab bar


Search This Blog


Monday, May 08, 2006

The Atkinville Expedition

Yesterday my father called from St. George, where he, my mother, and my younger sister are celebrating my sister’s college graduation and visiting the familial homeland (my great-great-great grandfather, Erastus Snow, helped settle Utah’s dixie). They had exhausted the cemetery’s offerings of family history and were interested in visiting Atkinville, an old settlement once populated by—of course—the Atkin clan, of which my great grandmother was a part. They called me because they wanted to know where Atkinville was.

I haven’t a clue.

I told my dad that, but he persisted, saying my mom remembered me telling her I had visited Atkinville, which no longer exists as a municipality and doesn’t show up on modern maps. I questioned her aging memory and joked with my dad that I could make up something to appease her. I could give him directions, and they could drive around for a while, eventually giving up and deciding Atkinville must no longer exist. We laughed and wondered together where this idea came from.

As we chuckled together about my mom’s powers of recollection, a glimmer of memory began to grow. Soon I had a rather fuzzy video track playing through my head of some past quest to find Atkinville. I seemed to recall an attempt I made years earlier, following some road-side sign, I think, that hinted at the town’s previous existence. As I told my father the faint memories that were beginning to nudge their way into my consciousness, I remembered more. It was a bit south of St. George on I-15. We took an exit—following that sign that had offered some hope—and looked around a bit. I don’t think we found anything that firmly declared we had arrived at Atkinville. Then I had a faint impression that the suggestion of Atkinville’s location was given me by my Las Vegas–dwelling cousin, whose son is named Atkin. I suggested her as a possible source of information.

Some time after the phone call ended, I asked my wife if she had any memory of the Atkinville expedition. She did. She told me more than I remembered, but her tale corroborated mine. There was a sign that led us off the freeway in search of the town. We found some new housing development in progress but nothing directly declaring Atkinville’s existence, and we were never sure we found it. (By the way, I just found this Web site, showing the location of Atkinville and giving its history. This was the area we searched on our quest.)

So anyway . . . who has the aging memory? Sorry, Mom. I shouldn’t have doubted you.

Which brings me to one of my motivations for this blog. My “reminder,” as Lizzy likes to call it, doesn’t always work too well. That’s why I set alarms on appointments in my PDA. Heck, that’s why I have a PDA at all. And as evidenced by the Forgotten Atkinville Expedition (which must have happened within the last seven years), my life is bound to slip into some lost and fuzzy film reel that doesn’t make any sense if I don’t make an attempt to reclaim it quickly after it happens.

I have at times been a good journal-writer, but not recently. It’s been years since I have written with any regularity. My hope is that this blog and its millions of readers, all eagerly awaiting the next installment, will give me some motivation to actually record my life. Think of it as something akin to The Truman Show, only in words instead of moving images. We’ll see if it works.


  1. Peter Gardner10:42 AM

    I'm proud to have the honor of writing the inaugural--and hopefully not the final--comment in this illustrious blog for the masses.

    The Atkinville post was interesting to me, since my wife has Atkin cousins who now live in St. George. Probably another nepotistic tie to my boss (to go along with my Snow and McClellan connections).


  2. Anonymous8:13 PM

    I knew I wasn't going senile!(yet) I remembered you telling me that you went looking for Atkinville but couldn't remember if you'd found it. And that is great information on that web site. See how smart you are to find that?

    Kathleen (Mama)