I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Dream of being a Showgirl and a Place called Junkee.

For most of my life I thought that Reno, Nevada consisted of Virginia St and the casinos. I had only seen the downtown Casinos under the sign that read "The Biggest Little City in the World" on North Virginia St. My parents took me there when I was very young and I would look though the windows of Harrah's and Harvey's watching my dad play some nickles for me in a slot machine. I thought it was all fascinating. The lights, the people..... It was a place that never slept.
 I even wanted to be a "showgirl" at one point in my life. When I took an aptitude test in high school the results said that  I could either do well as a mechanic or a showgirl. Since I could sing and dance and I was very tall, I didn't think that being a mechanic would fit my image or bring me the excitement that I so desired at 17 years of age. I turned my nose up at what my dad would have called a good, solid profession with good skills and dreamed of being an actress or a singer... or a SHOWGIRL. But, my parents won out and in my first year of college, I met The Prospector and the rest is history. I never became a mechanic or a SHOWGIRL. But it's OK...maybe in my next life.
So last Tuesday my retreat friends and I drove to Reno for the day. We didn't gamble or go to the shows. We didn't even get near the downtown Casinos. There is much more to Reno.
But it still makes me wonder if I should have become a showgirl and had my moment on the "wicked stage".  Oh well, enough of the "What ifs...". It's a little late to think about where I would be if I had become a SHOWGIRL.. but it still sounds exciting.
Reno has 225,000 people in it now and twice as many if you include the Sparks area. Las Vegas is the only town in Nevada that's bigger. Reno is in a high desert valley along the Truckee River. The Discovery of silver in 1859 led to a mining rush in 1863 and when a railroad station was established in 1868 the little town finally came into its own. Charles Crocker, the railroad superintendent, named the town RENO after a Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed in the civil war. Mining remained the political power until 1931 when the state of Nevada legalized open gambling and more liberal divorce laws. "I'm going to Reno." became synonymous with "I'm going to get a quick divorce."
The arch was erected on Virginia St in 1929 to promote the Trancontinental Highway Exposition that year. The mayor asked folks for a slogan and when a $100. prize was offered, a guy from Sacramento won with:
This  photo, above, is probably how it looks when my dad played nickles for me in the 50's, but this is how I always remember it.
Bright, exciting and wild. I still feel this way when I go up there.
Well, this is probably more information about Reno than you ever cared to read about, but it's an interesting town and it has changed a lot in the last 50 or 60 years.

So last Tuesday my friends and I drove to Reno for the day. We didn't gamble or go to the shows. We didn't even get near the downtown Casinos. There is much more to Reno than gambling and showgirls.
We drove on the new freeway from Carson City into Reno.
It makes short work of driving up or down the highway. It's now called I580 and is a monumental piece of highway construction. It's not finished below Carson City but it sure is nice traveling up to Reno.

This is the wonderful metal artwork that is being use on the overpasses and onramps.
This is the Fairview Drive overpass where the freeway ends in Carson City. They will continue the freeway to the south when funds allow.
Isn't this creative? Who has miners, cowboys and wagon trains moving across their overpasses?
 Who has huge mine openings with trains coming out of them under the overpasses?
and steam trains on the off ramps and metal horses on the tops of the hills? Nevada does!  It's a sight to see. Each a different piece of metal art and so much a part of Nevada's history.
We first drove to a place called Junkee on S. Virginia St.
 This is a clothing exchange and antique shop that redefined "thrift shops". It was loaded with "pre-owned" clothing, antiques and amazing old stuff. It looks like a small place until you start moving from one room to another. It goes on forever. We all found stuff that we couldn't live without and came away feeling like we nailed some very good buys. 
I found a wall plaque that just talked to me. I don't usually buy wall plaques but this one was pretty and I knew it would look wonderful on my living room wall. The plaque has a 10 inches diameter and is beautifully made. It's not hydrocal (Hydrocal is a product composed mainly of plaster of Paris and a small amount of Portland cement.) or wood. It's more a ceramic base and it's hand painted and antiqued on the raised flower design. There's no name or info on the back. It has a old metal hanger that is very secure. It was only 4 dollars.

Then I spotted THE HARE. Look at him. Someone had tied the ribbon around his neck and you could tell he was feeling quite spiffy with his green "ascot". 
 Look at that attitude. He's a very proud gentleman.
 He has character.
There is a small problem with the top of his ears, as if he was dropped on them and someone did a bad patch job. I will do a little DYI with my acrylics and he will be as good as new. He was $12.00, reduced to $6.00, so I thought I got a wonderful deal. 
He's happy and I'm happy. He has a new home and told me that he would like to keep the "ascot". I think he might be English.
If you're interested, this is all you need to know about the Hare. He is not a rabbit. There is quite difference.

Again, it's late... so I will continue the day in Reno tomorrow. 
Sweet Dreams.


  1. How terrific are those silhouettes on the overpass! And how great to acknowledge the history of an area.
    It's fascinating to take a look back at the places we knew when we were young(er) and see how they changed...and are still the same! Thank you for bringing us along.

  2. ha. he does have character...nicked ears....i like all the trains...never been to reno

  3. Reno has changed since I was last there. In the later 50's and early 60's my husband and I would take $20.00 with us and we could gamble all night. Love the iron art work very impressive. You found a couple of great buys. I especially like the plaque. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  4. Three knitting pals and I went to Reno last Fall to attend a knitting conference. We enjoyed it so much!! We drove downtown in the daylight and saw the casinos, etc. We did not see the fabulous metal work on the overpasses, etc. that you show in your photos, but wish we would have. I think they are fabulous!!

  5. I am always enjoying your photography, the Reno pictures were really great. Lori and I went there a couple of years ago and hit the thrift shops. It was fun but it was while my hip was bad so that was hard. She is a gambler, and I am not, so I mostly stuck to the room and ate. (LOL) Not at the same time though. I would rather lose my money in a thrift store.


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