Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | April 14, 2014

110 Years makes quite a difference!

Elsie, Hylinda, Alice

110 years makes quite a difference. It was 110 years ago that my great-grandparents Alonzo and May Carrie Hayes took their 3 daughters and went up Palomar Mountain. Elsie, Hylinda, and Alice longed for the sounds of birds, sheltering oaks and lush ferns of Virginia where they were born. That first trip up Palomar took 3 days from Long Beach in a horse & wagon. Elsie described their arrival:

“I remember vividly as a girl I recognized that Palomar belonged to me from the first moment I reached the top and the wagon stopped on the crest.

I ran through the woods to the edge and saw the world spread below in unutterable beauty.”

Last Monday it took an hour in air-conditioned comfort to go from our home to that old apple ranch Alonzo Hayes bought in 1904.  Monday morning three of Alonzo’s great grand-daughters stood where their grandmothers once stood. Marilyn and Chris and I enjoyed our lovely drive up Palomar to see where our great grandparents had the apple ranch. Thank you to Elsie for re-uniting long lost cousins.  One of the cousins saw a pic of Elsie’s book on Pinterest and the cousins began to contact me.  We had had no contact in at least 50 +  years, and I now discover that Chris lives just a couple miles from us! These cousins had fond memories of “Aunt Elsie” but we could not remember meeting each other. Elsie wrote down her memories of her Arizona years and those letters and diary (saved from so many years ago) became the book “Elsie- Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher 1913-1916.” It has sold well on Amazon and the kindle edition is #1 in Western memoirs. It has often ranked in the top 100 books on Educators/Amazon. Elsie would giggle to think that was possible. She would likely be even more pleased that her story has now linked together cousins from all three of Alonzo’s daughters.

Barbara Anne Waite author Elsie   We looked at old family photos of our grandparents and mutual great grands and it was just wonderful. “Elsie,” the book, reconnected us. I am working on the next book taken from Elsie’s memories of Palomar. It will be “Elsie’s Mountain Years” and hopefully out by December 2014.

palomar mountain apple blossoms Elsie's Mountain Years, Barbara Anne Waite       Barbara Anne Waite Elsie Arizona Adventures Palomar Mountain

These trees from over a century ago, demonstrate  that old can still be very productive and beautiful. This apple blossom is from the trees our great-grandparents planted on Palomar in 1904. Now cousins connected and enjoyed our time under those old apple trees where our grandparents played 110 years ago.  The truck was used for the family apple business and motel they had there that welcomed guests to this lovely setting so many years ago.

Elise's Mountain Years, Palomar Barbara Waite   Here are “we girls” looking out on Elsie’s “Inspiration Point” where the community often sat for Sunday vesper services all those years ago. What a delightful day. Blessed & thankful.

Barbara Anne Waite






  1. Barbara,
    I’m so looking forward to your next book as I absolutely loved your first one about your Grandmother’s teaching live in AZ. It is wonderful you are doing this! And meeting your cousins must have really been special.
    Keep in touch!
    Alicelynn Ekberg Cockrill

  2. Very beautiful.Thank you – joe (& Carol) Dirks

    Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 20:17:47 +0000 To:

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