Saturday, December 2, 2017

Strawberry Flats

It's only the second day of December but I've already been bitten by the Christmas Bug. (That's a thing). I think it's this place. These cozy curving streets and towering trees, the chill in the air and the scent of smoke and pine, all of the festive lights...I love the mountains to a degree that's got to be annoying to others because the wonder of living here is all I want to talk about. But recognizing I have a problem is the first step to curing it, right? (Do I want to cure it?)

Here is our home, decorated for the first time. Well, decorated for the first time by us, at least.

Today Trinity baked chocolate-chip cookies and wrapped them in cellophane wrap with ribbon, while I made Christmas cards. We're going to give them to our neighbors tomorrow. Attack of the Christmas Bug.

Oh, our Amazon purchases are a wee bit out of control too.

So speaking of my obsession with the mountains, last weekend I went to our local library to research the history of our town, and discovered these pictures:

It turns out our town used to be known as "Strawberry Flats", due to berries that were grown in the surprisingly wide/open areas of the community in 1865, along with a successful strawberry farm homestead run by a Mr. Smithson from the 1870s-80s. Twenty-five weekend cabins were constructed in 1914, bringing in an influx of visitors. According to the article "Best Kept Secrets in the Mountain," there were finally enough full-time residents by 1916 to apply for a post office and their own zip-code. Residents requested the name "Strawberry" or "Strawberry Flats" for their town, but the name was rejected because another community in California was already using it. Strawberry residents were forced to accept their second choice, "Twin Peaks," named after two prominent peaks nearby. These peaks are still known today as "Strawberry Peak" and "Little Strawberry." The post office pictured above would have been the very first building to display the town's new official name of "Twin Peaks." It had to feel strange to the locals, calling their home by one name their whole lives, then having to switch to another.

Every town/city has a history, so I'm not sure why I'm so intrigued by this one. When I lived in Oak Creek (WI) for 18 months, I never cared about the town's history. Even my beloved desert hometown, though it's backstory is mildly interesting, has never captured my attention quite like Twin Peaks. Maybe it's the size of the town that makes a difference. My desert hometown has a growing population of over 90,000 residents, and is constantly blooming with yet another chain, whether it be a Von's or a Starbucks. There's nothing quaint or cozy about it; nothing that makes a person want to dig for a story. But Twin Peaks has only 1,500 residents (with very little room for growth due to its geography). That's about the same population as the middle-school I work for. Our local grocery store is family-owned and has been around since 1940. 

When you're living in a town this small, history seems to resonate from every corner, and somehow your presence there feels so much bigger.

Maybe eventually small-town living will get on my nerves. But for now I feel pretty dang grateful to live in this sweet little slice of mountain. I feel very certain that, someday, one of my novels will feature a small foggy town in the mountains...a town called "Strawberry Flats".