A Magic Year

Life Among Monsters, Floods, and Thin Ice

By J.L. Bowman
Photos Courtesy of Magic Hot Springs

Shortly after my family relocated to Idaho, around May 1961, Alan Shepard made his famous flight into space in the first U.S. manned rocket, Mercury 3.

I remember listening to the radio that day and my amazement at the thought of being in space. Our family had its own otherworldly experience here on Earth about then, when we moved to Magic Hot Springs, which lay in the desert forty miles south of Twin Falls.

We arrived at Grandma and Vic’s new property in early spring, in the black of night. My Uncle Bob, his family, and my family would all be living at the small resort, taking care of the grounds and hot baths. We quickly located the little cabin that awaited our arrival. The flame of the small kerosene stove wavered behind the glass door and a flickering oil lamp sat on a table beside the bed. Half-asleep, we crawled under the cold bed covers and snuggled close to each other for heat.

It seemed that I had just slipped into a deep sleep when my sisters, brothers, and I were startled awake by hands grabbing at us, dragging us out of our warm beds. The brisk night air sent chills through my body. Mom, Dad, and my Uncle Bob were standing around us five kids, talking in frightened voices.

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