P O W E L L, W y o. - Memories of air raid drills, life in a railroad car, and the old town of Kane, Wyo., will spring back to life Tuesday, Dec. 2, when former Powellite Jeanne Castberg reads from her autobiographical journey, "A Wyoming Legacy."
Now a Billings, Mont., resident, Castberg will read and sign copies of her first book from 2-4 p.m. in the Hinckley Library Amphitheater at Northwest College.
"A Wyoming Legacy" is more than a trip down memory lane. It's a guided tour, complete with photos, poetry, humor and family memories.
"After my sister died in 2004, I realized I was the last one left who knew these things," Castberg said. "If anyone was going to tell these stories, it had to be me. I also wanted to leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren. I don't have many material things to leave behind me, so I decided on a legacy of memories."
Her "Wyoming Legacy" begins in the early 1900s in a dirt-floored cabin in the now-buried town of Kane, Wyo., back when it "was a fledgling community and was instrumental in shaping the lives of my mother's family, the Scotts," Castberg said.
From there, she follows the Scott and Northrup (her maiden name) families from town to town across Wyoming after her father was bumped from job to job on the railroad. Her memories and observations from childhood are crafted into vignettes and poems, sometimes accompanied by images.
Her remembrances carry titles like "Air Raid Drills" from grade school experiences in Casper, "The Turtle" from childhood time spent in Greybull, "Valentine Cookies" that ended in tears, "The Kiss" that tells tales about her sister, and "The Driver's License," which gave her mother fear of a heart attack.
The stories travel through time from the midst of the Great Depression in which she was born through World War II and into the 1960s when she moved to Powell to teach first grade, at Eastside and later at Parkside.
Castberg's catalog of poems begins with an adoration of the Tetons called "Perfection" and ends with a philosophical observation of life titled "In Between." Images to be found in the book include a photo of a 1935 Plymouth car, a sketch of Heart Mountain by a Japanese internee at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, a family photo of her parents and others.
"I hope the reader will appreciate the humor found in these pages, enjoy the poetry and engage in some individual reflections," Castberg said. While the memories she shares in the book may be specific to her family, the times in which they happened are common to many and a sure source of mutual experiences. She hopes to spark those kinds of similar memories during her reading.
Through the course of her nearly three-decade stay in Powell, Castberg developed a long association with Northwest College, starting in 1975 when she began coordinating the noncredit program administered jointly through the college and School District No. 1. She later stepped into the role of continuing education coordinator at NWC, handling evening credit programs, and in 1987 became the associate dean for continuing education.
Castberg, who's a grandmother and great-grandmother, has another book already in the works.
Copies of her "A Wyoming Legacy" will be available for purchase at the reading, and she's excited to sign them.