Posts Tagged "Storybook Island"

A New View

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Blog, Double Cousins |

A New View

Today I experienced a long-time tradition with a new-found awareness.  This evening I accompanied some of my nieces and nephews to Storybook Island in Rapid City, SD. I have been coming to this wonderland since the late 70’s when I watched my little sister delight in the discovery of this incredible storybook world. Ever since, I’ve taken every opportunity to experience the park with the children in my life! Today was no different. But, yet—it was. After our visit to the park we gathered around a table along one of the Rapid Creek tributaries and enjoyed a picnic with my brother and his family. We sat just a few hundred yards from Rapid Creek and the former site of Storybook Island; the site that was completely destroyed by the Flood of 72. We are very aware of the flood, especially this year. As you may have noticed in the news the Great Plains have experienced a LOT of rain this year. Rapid Creek is really high and is over its banks in several places throughout Rapid. As it flows into the waterways placed there to hold   the excess and spreads out across the flood plain we are reminded of the reason for the beautiful park system that winds through Rapid City.  It is there to prevent another disaster the size of the one that happened June 9, 1972.   In the third Double Cousins Mystery, the cousins learned about the devastation and loss of that night. As I researched for that book I learned many things I didn’t know.  Though I lived in Rapid City for ten years, I still didn’t “get” how terrible that day was. Every year I would hear the reports; 238 people died, thousands of vehicles destroyed, entire neighborhoods devastated. Yet, I didn’t understand. Not until I read first person accounts. Now, I will never look at the creek the same way again. I will never enjoy Storybook Island without a hint of sadness for the loss of the original park mixed with gratitude for those who rebuilt. I think of those lost in the flood every time I walk on the bike path. And, when I re-read one particular scene in The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Rushmore Treasure, I cry. Every time. Researching the history of my town changed my life. I bet if you went to your library or local museum you would find information that would bring your town’s biggest historic events to life. Then, like me you will gain a more complete appreciation of your...

Read More

Storybook Island–A Bucket-List Worthy Place!

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Blog, Double Cousins |

Storybook Island–A Bucket-List Worthy Place!

If I had a bucket list one of the items would be to spend the day with my whole family at Storybook Island in Rapid City. No, I’m serious. Storybook Island is a very special place, as anyone who has been there with a child age two to eight can attest. Oh, kids younger than that can enjoy it. Children older, even those MY age can also enjoy it. But, if you want to get the most entertainment out of the experience,  you need a two to eight-year-old and a camera. The first time we went I was a teenager and my baby sister was two or three. Oh what fun we had watching her dash from one Storybook character to another! Grandpa and Grandma Onstott took us and when we realized how close it was to their house—walking distance—and that it was free (they happily take donations), we went over and over. Storybook Island was first built in 1958 by the Rotary Club. It was on an island in the middle of the park and there was a nifty bridge entering the park called London Bridge. I don’t remember that part because in June of 1972 the flood tore through the park destroying almost everything. A few of the storybook displays were discovered downstream, but the entire park had to be rebuilt. At that point they moved the park to its present location which is where I’ve always known it to be. When I moved to Rapid City in 1995 I was a new aunt of three nieces, all under six months old. For the next ten years I lived right there in the middle of my growing brood of nieces and nephews. By 2005 there were ten. At least once a year we converged on Storybook Island with cameras, picnic food, and kids! Two days before my wedding my personal attendant and I took the kids for one last trip. It was bittersweet. I knew it would never be the same, because they just have this awful habit of growing up! Thankfully, I’ve had another niece and nephew come along, and when I’m home I get to visit the park with them. The great part is this: even the older ones still like to go. I can see in their faces the memories of previous visits. They laugh at the antics of the little ones. They encourage them towards the spot that was THEIR favorite. I’m sure in another ten years we will still be going. Only it will be another generation of nieces and nephews! It’s a neat place. A special place. One worth picking for your bucket list! At least, that’s my opinion. So, when it came time to write a Double Cousins Mystery in Rapid City, it was a no-brainer. Storybook Island must be included. I hope someday you get to visit the real place, but if not. . .read about it in the...

Read More

A Glorious Day

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Blog, Double Cousins | 1 comment

One thing about this author’s path is the continuous stream of forced new learning experiences. I’m not exactly a fan of new experiences. The problem with new experiences or opportunities is that I’m not good at them yet and I can’t have confidence in the outcome. Yet, here I am time after time doing something I’ve never done before. Like a book launch party.   I had no idea what to expect with this party. It was a risk. I was spending money on a room, food, door prizes, decorations, and advertising and I had no idea who would show up. I remember telling several people, “I don’t know if it will be the 15 or 20 local people who love me most—my family—or half the town. But, with the help of my family we rushed to the finish line, the decorations were put up, the food was prepared, the other guests of honor were invited, and the day arrived.   Half the town didn’t come. But, thankfully it wasn’t just my family either. The numbers though weren’t the real story. As I watched my nieces and nephews throw themselves into helping with the event, and then as I listened as the special speakers shared their stories I realized something.   Once again, my plan wasn’t God’s. My plan was to promote the book by getting hoards of people to my party. God’s was different. Yes, the book was promoted. After all two TV stations showed up. The attendees bought books. It was great fun!   But more than that, as the director of Storybook Island shared the importance of the free children’s park in her childhood, and the continued determination to keep it free I saw heads nod. I saw my nieces and nephews gaining a new appreciation of the playground of their childhood.   As Mr. and Mrs. Masters stood and shared how God sustained them in the face of the horrific loss of their three boys in the flood of ’72 a new understanding dawned on the faces of the listeners.  Recognition of the impact of this historic flood. A reminder of the amazing power and provision of God’s grace.   So, what I thought would be a promotional event turned into a time that caused me to say, “How Great Is Our God!” And that makes it worth every penny spent and every hour of work. Because—after all—isn’t glorifying God what it’s all...

Read More