Parlor Time


Background Music "Blood in the Desert" (c) 2017 Zach Hardy

"The Hardy Heart" monthly blog - October 2017 Every night when I was a kid my brothers and I would fall asleep to a tape of one of the books in The Great Brain series. The world of The Great Brain takes place in the semi-historical, rural town of Adenville, Utah between 1896 and 1898. The series revolves around the wild tales of a young boy Tom Dennis Fitzgerald who is so cunning and charismatic that he can think his way out of any problem and into a whole host of outlandish schemes. The stories are told from the vantage point of Tom's younger brother John Dennis Fitzgerald, who both equally idolizes and worries about his genius, older brother. The boys have one older brother Sven and then Mama and Papa Fitzgerald. I absolutely fell in love with the way in which the books narrated this family's life in the old west where there were no cars, "water closets" were cutting edge technology, weekly chores included milking cows, and the family spent evening times in the parlor. The concept of a "parlor" is something that to this day completely fascinates and intrigues me. Growing up, my family had a "living room" and "family room," but there was something about these rooms that did not quite match the magic and importance of the Fitzgerald parlor. The Fitzgerald family would use the parlor as a place where each person could either be engaged in their own book, game, or knitting project, or gather together to discourse with each other or with guests. It seemed like a main hub for the activities of the home and was the setting for many of the plot developments in the books. There is a place in my childhood memory that does equate to the significance of the Fitzgerald's parlor and that is the main room in my family's cabin up Big Cottonwood canyon in the mountains of Brighton, Utah. It is a beautiful, old structure from the early 1900's that Heber J. Grant purchased as a summer home for his second wife Augusta (my great-great-grand parents). Although a few updates have been made over the years, it has retained a quintessential log cabin feeling complete with a large stone fireplace and old creaky wood floors. One of the most magical times at the cabin was in the evening, after dinner when we would make a roaring fire, turn the lights down and listen to my dad sing and play guitar. We would sing along with him at times, but I have so many warm memories of sitting in a trance like state, staring at the fire and listening to the music. I have been in my current residence for just over a year, a classic, gorgeous, old Victorian Salt Lake C