Littletown is a potluck of events |

Littletown is a potluck of events

After braggin’ on my own daughter for graduating from college, I’m not about to leave out Corina Loving Young, who recently completed two years at Sierra College and will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno, in the fall, majoring in accounting and business administration.

“After all these years, it’s time to challenge myself, time to find out exactly who Corina is,” she said. “I always tell the kids, ‘Push yourself, find out what’s under your skin, set a goal and go for it.’ Somewhere in there I decided I needed to do the walk myself.”

Speaking of meeting a challenge, Washington School’s kitty for the Monterey field trip was pretty much OK, but Madelyn Helling put it over the top with a big donation accompanied by a very nice note. Thank you Madelyn! She let me know that the following libraries have extended their hours to 8 p.m.: Madelyn Helling and Truckee on Mondays and Thursdays; Grass Valley on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays, and Bear River Satellite on Wednesdays from 3 to 8 p.m.

Someone who will be interested in the new hours is Walt Lawson, a Bigtowner I met while listening to the Fruit Jar Pickers in Rough and Ready one Sunday morning in early spring.

Mr. Lawson is a southerner, if you please, and he has a Virginia accent so smooth and rich it’s probably a sin just to listen to it. He’s an insatiable reader and an author (those two talents usually go together). He told me the Senior Center on McCourtney Road has a creative writing class on Tuesday mornings, and he was kind enough to send me a booklet, “We Write!” containing stories and poems written by several students, including himself. I got about four pages into it when I realized the writers weren’t students at all; their writings are certainly worthy of being published nationally, and I personally recommend them if you’re looking for some interesting reading. I never did get to ask him: How old/young do you have to be to join the activities at the Center?

I fell behind on suggestions for How to Build Community. Support neighborhood schools. Fix it even if you didn’t break it. Have potlucks. Pick up litter.

Please don’t tell anyone, but before I moved to Washington from Big City Land, I never even heard the term potluck, didn’t have a clue what it was … umm, something the pioneers did? Why, Littletowners used to throw together potlucks on a couple hours’ notice for any reason whatsoever including none, but the custom seems to have mostly died out, and that’s a shame.

Carl “Chick” Cicogni wrote to me about shoeshine stands in Bigtown. “There were two bootblacks in Grass Valley. The one I remember was on Mill Street, right across the street from the Del Oro Theater.

“If you pass by there you’ll notice the sidewalk is wider at that point, kinda inset for about 20 feet. That’s where the bootblack had his chair. This was about 1925, and his name was Hybo Allen, an African-American. He played almost any kind of musical instrument and played or the Grass Valley Band.

“The other shoeshine stand was at the Holbrooke Hotel; the chair was just to the left of the main entrance on the sidewalk.”

Chick likes to come down to Littletown and spend time on the back deck of the Washington Hotel. I don’t know if it’s the mountain air or being blessed with so many admiring friends, but he looks healthier and happier every time I run into him. Thanks, Chick, for the memories and the letter.


Vivian Herron’s column appears on Saturdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.

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