Adrien’s Many Trails

Former Moab Mayor Karla Hancock addresses a gathering at the remodeled Moab Museum.
Photo by Sena Hauer

Well, here I sit in front of an office computer after six months or more of using only my iPad at home. It appears I have forgotten the world of stuff I used to know about operating a computer. Sad. But I’m giving it a go, in the expectation that my fingers doing the walking will remember more than my brain. Ah! These “golden” years.

That dedicated bunch up at the Moab Museum had a wing-ding last weekend to showcase their remodeled “digs.” And it was an impressive evening. My role was making one introduction, former Mayor Karla Hancock. Sometimes it is necessary to go back some years in memory to bring a scene back into focus, and that was so last weekend, as it is also the case now.

Taking a cue from “The Golden Girls,” let’s say “picture this.” It is the year 1954, and the Ellis Foote family is moving from west Los Angeles, near Watts, in case you’re familiar with the territory, to Moab, where my father had taken a job as this city’s first city manager.

There came my parents. Ellis and Norma Foote, and their five children, plus my dog, Eppie. The schools were already filled past capacity, and five more didn’t seem to create any more problems than the town already had.

As my father observed, we were short on water, but when that ran out the sewer also quit. A pretty picture for a new city manager.

Moab being Moab, people pulled together, then as now. New sewer and water pipes were installed, plus a bunch of other stuff. Main Street went straight south instead of turning left at Center Street. Helen M. Knight School was new then. I mean the old Helen M. Knight School (or HMK as we called it). Herself held forth for some years still as the first and at that time only woman superintendent of schools in Utah.

Some year in there, one of her students wrote a lovely poem that included her. I used to have a copy, but a trip home just now didn’t reveal it so it will just have to suffice to say that part of it read, “There stands Helen M. Knight with a book in her hand” (a roll book). And it went on to tell that some of us had gone on to other things (presumably death), and the rest of us were “either absent or tardy.”