4. Surprise honor brings more memories

| May 15, 2014 | 2 Replies

TileOn a recent visit to Quiet Valley Ranch, I got to stay in my old cabin, which is now called and used for the green room. It was like old home week, even with the changes and improvements in the 10×20 foot building.

One day, I went in to clean a bit in the new women’s shower facilities — Two showers, handicapped size, and three toilet stalls. Plus five lavatories. Such elegance I never expected to see at QVR!

While washing up the shower walls, I saw the tile, shown here in the photo, and it brought me to tears. After so many years, someone still cared that I had been there! You cannot imagine how incredible that made me feel.

Showering during those years in my cabin on Quiet Valley Ranch was a challenge in the winter time.

The only shower was inside the backstage bathrooms, which also had the only flush toilets on the ranch… remember, the flush toilets, along with the free beer, was why I got into volunteering there in the first place.

My cabin had undergone a major overhaul after the 1980 KFF. First, my home consisted of four sets of bunk beds and seven other staff members slept in there, too, during the festival. After it all ended, Dan and Ann Greenlee, Lee Green and others held a work weekend and before it was all over, I had a cabin with insulation, electricity, a bed frame on the west end raised up high enough off the floor to give me more storage, a closet, a below-the-counter refrigerator topped with a 3-burner stove top (propane gas) for cooking, and shelves on the east end. But no plumbing.

My cabin, now the green room.

My cabin, now the green room.

I didn’t care. I was, after all, a field hippie at heart, and a grateful one for all the improvements to “Mary Jane’s Place.”

Through those summers on the ranch, that nearly-outdoor shower in the women’s side was a nice daily relief. And being able to go to work in cut-offs and T-shirts was a bonus… of course, I’ve lived in T-shirts ever since then, barely dress up more than that.

As the winter arrived that first winter, and every winter after that, it got more touchy, wanting to shower in the near-outdoors. There was hot water, good! I had some thick plastic sandals to wear back and forth, good! But when temperatures reached 50 degrees. No good! Forget the 30-degree days — showerless!

To make it workable, I bought a used sleeping bag, really cheap at a goodwill-type store, hung it on a separate shower curtain at the step-up opening to the bathroom with its two toilets and one shower. The hot water from the shower basically heated up the entire little room, at least enough that I could get in, get wet, get out, get dressed.

I got through the winters there with that configuration, and was proud of my ingenuity!

Oh, and by the way, at first I thought I wanted to know who cared enough to hand make the tile in my honor. But now, I think I’d rather think it was anybody and everybody. So, if you know who crafted that, please don’t tell me!

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  1. Nena says:

    That is a cool story. Thanks for sharing. Smooches!

  2. Vern Crawford says:

    Hi Mary Jane,

    Welcome home!

    Just know that you are so loved by all of us down here at the Kerrville Folk Festival. It was such a pleasure to have you back here with us recently.

    It is clear that you make great contributions to the North Texas music “Scene.” I do believe that you need to make at least one major 18 day musical field trip to your Hill Country alamata.

    Hugs,
    Vern and the rest of the family

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