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The Spirit of Sedona Lives

Eddie S. Maddock, Sedona Eye Columnist

Sedona AZ (October 17, 2011) – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity . . .” so penned Charles Dickens in “A Tale of Two Cities” (1859.)

When approximately 200 gathered at the Elks Lodge on Saturday evening, the 15th day of October, 2011, for the “2nd Sedona Old Timers Happy Days Reunion” conversations relating similar thoughts to the words of wisdom expressed by Mr. Dickens so many years ago could be overheard, all in conjunction with reminiscing about days gone by. The event was sponsored by the Elks Lodge and the Sedona Chapter of the Marine Corps League, with proceeds designated to benefit these local MCL charities: the Sedona Military Park, Toys for Tots and the Wounded Warrior.

Thank the powers that be for name tags because they most assuredly were useful. Good will and sincere friendliness enhanced by recollecting how fortunate those of us afforded the opportunity to attend this event prevailed throughout the evening. Some for a reason or other no longer live within the incorporated boundaries of Sedona, but let there be no doubt of their true identity.

We were all one and the same at this event: Village of Oak Creek and vital Sedona citizens now residing in other nearby communities. We were all and remain the heart of Sedona from back then and to this day. No West Sedona versus East Sedona division existed back then as has recently occurred.

A buffet dinner of ribs, chicken, beans, baked potatoes, choice of salad and rolls was part of the package, and the line moved along amazingly well. When the “Happy Days Band” began to play as the buffet line dwindled, all it took was one brave couple to get out there and start “swinging” and others were quick to follow.

There was a “silent auction” and a “Memorial Board” was provided for those that have passed on. Wonder who was the lucky person who won the bid for the animated pony? It was too, too cute.

The décor was so in the 50’s. LP’s had been cleverly displayed in various ways all over the place, hanging from the ceiling and even molded into dishes for the hors d’oeuvres. A total of 40 individually crafted centerpieces, lovingly hand painted replicas of 50’s car models and other appropriate reminders of the days of saddle shoes and poodle skirts, added to the authenticity of the theme and verified the time and effort extended by co-chairs Ray Stueve and Debbie Crick, assisted by their committee of Dottie Balch, Audrey Mangiardi, Theresa Corvett, and Charley Crick.

Accolades must also be extended to the many volunteers who cooked, served, cleaned up, tended bar, and offered their services in so many other ways to add to the success of this well organized event.

It was an unexpected surprise when Popsicles, Fudgsicles, and other assortments of “stick ices” were passed around for dessert. And, of course, it would be remiss to ignore the presence of “Elvis” aka Ray Stueve. Well, seeing was believing and that alone was worth the effort for some of us old timers to struggle getting out of the house on a Saturday evening!

What more is there to say about this splendid event?

To sum up, it was the small town feeling that once prevailed in Sedona whereby we joined together to celebrate not only how fortunate we were to have lived here during a happier and more harmonious period of time but to renew old acquaintances along with the former practice of actually having a fundraiser for good causes instead of the present day demands from groups now prevailing upon the City of Sedona for financial assistance.

Some of you people who now shrug your shoulders and claim you don’t care how Sedona “used to be” or “what happened in the past doesn’t matter” definitely wouldn’t fit in with the gang at this gathering unless you changed your thinking. It’s your choice; it’s your loss.

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  1. Gloria says:

    Great article. You sure have a way with words. Glad to hear people can still get together and have a pleasant evening talking about fun times and doing good things. Nice change from daily doom and gloom.

  2. Dean says:

    I love your article . . . and I miss the good times we had at the Elk’s club.


  3. Amara Resort and Spa says:

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  4. Former Sedona Residents says:

    Received this link from other “former residents” and boy did it bring back memories. After one gala event at the Elk’s a bunch of us ended up at the home of someone called “Uncle Ben” who had a swimming pool. Those of us who were modest went into the pool wearing Uncle Ben’s underwear. Of course there were those who simply jumped in ala bare. One exception was the owner of an interior design business and was identified as host ala bare Uncle Ben’s date although she went into the pool head over heels in her lovely pink evening gown. Some of us found out the next day she actually broke her arm but none of us, including her, felt pain at the time. Only the day after.

    As supporters of incorporation we lost many friends. Then, after the vote, it didn’t take us long to figure out how wrong we were. Saddened and dissolutioned we moved away from Sedona. However, this article was a reminder of why we lived in the first place.

    Thank you.

  5. Donald in Cottonwood says:

    When my late wife and I lived in uptown Sedona, we too enjoyed many functions at the Elk’s Club, including weekly Bingo. Wonder if they still have that?

    However, after they built that big hotel or whatever by the main post office, I guess they were selling spaces there or something because we could no longer enjoy walking uptown for an ice cream cone or something without being accosted by hawkers pushing unwanted information at us.

    So we relocated to Cottonwood and have no regrets other than what Sedona has become. However, it’s very good to know about this reunion at the Elk’s Club and that former Sedona residents will be welcome if this becomes an annual event.

    I recall another annual event which was a carnival sort of thing over on the property where I think New Frontier’s is now located. It was really neat with games like you could win prizes by knocking down bottles, and a dunk tank with well known Sedona citizens willing to take a plunge. Bingo was also offered there and this all took place every 4th of July as did controlled fireworks up at the Posse Grounds.

    That comes to mind because just yesterday I was in Sedona and stopped by that same shopping place and was almost knocked down by a mob of very aggressive people dressed in yellow uniforms. Don’t know what that was all about but I much preferred the kinder and gentler days when we lived in Sedona.


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