Adrian Shirk

Producer

Adrian Shirk is a writer and editor raised in Portland, Oregon. She holds a BFA in Writing for Publication, Performance, and Media from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and is a co-founder of The Corresponding Society, and its associated journal Correspondence. Her work has appeared in Wilder Quarterly, The Airship, Packet, Owl Eye Review, and 7Stops Magazine. She's currently an MFA candidate in creative nonfiction at the University of Wyoming. Left to her own devices, she writes about American religion, architecture, geography, the remains of fallen cities, and family ancestry.

Adrian Shirk

Donna Marburger was a student at the University of Wyoming in the 1950’s. Her major was physical education. In the physical education department, there was a men’s department and a women’s department. Judy Knight from the Laramie Plains Museum asks Donna how she felt about having men and women trained differently.

legendsofamerica.com

John Farr tells the story of Kit Carson, who was a famous trapper and explorer in the 1800s.  John C. Fremont hired Carson on his expedition as a guide, and together they mapped and explored the American West.

Dawn grew up in the cabin her father built outside of Saratoga. She shared her childhood with her family, the surrounding wildlife, and the friends she found in the Indian reservations where her father was a teacher. Dawn grew up drawing and painting, and she later worked as an artist-in-schools for rural communities in Wyoming and South Dakota. Dawn reflects on the role that nature played in her ability to express herself creatively.

Visit Dawn’s gallery website.

Nita Engen grew up in Centennial, Wyoming. She is the 5th generation of ranchers to own land in the area, and cherishes the community that raised her as a child. Nita tells a few stories of her childhood on the range.

Adrian Shirk

Anna Marno was born and raised in Centennial, Wyoming. Spending most of her childhood at the Snowy Range Ski area, Anna quickly became a talented skier. She qualified for the U.S. Ski Team her senior year of high school. Anna shares her story.

Val and Jerry Burgess are residents of Sheridan. In this story, Val asks her husband to reflect on his experience receiving a stem cell transplant.

Not long ago, in an unexpected turn of events, Rawlins resident Sherrill Bailey adopted her grand-nephew. In this story, she explores the rewarding and complicated destiny of becoming a parent at 65 years old.

Linda Fleming was the first woman to be appointed or elected for public office in the Carbon County town of Baggs. After her long tenure as both mayor and county commissioner, she turned her leadership talents to ministry.

Tommie Butler was just a kid when World War II began, but he remembers the effect that war-time  retrenchment had on his home town of Gillette—times that were both hard and rewarding.

Micah Schweizer

Dan Kinneman is from Rawlins. His father was one of Wyoming’s longest-serving legislators. In this story, Kinneman—himself a former legislator—describes a childhood visit to Cheyenne during a treacherous winter.

Abbie Taylor moved to Sheridan as a kid, when her father decided to take over the family business. Because of a lifelong disability Taylor developed a unique relationship to jukeboxes -- as well as the whole region where her father installed and repaired them.

Micah Schweizer

Joan Paige’s family has lived in the Equality State for almost as long as it’s existed. In 1889, her grandfather, John Mahoney, was stationed just outside of Rawlins at Fort Steele. In this story, she tells of circumstances that brought him west, and the dubious nature of late-19th century frontier towns.

youngmusicians.net

Evanston native Shasta Wigginton talks about what it was like to be homeschooled and how the experience shaped her views on education.

Sixty-two-year Sheridan resident Mary Burgess spent much of her youth in the Philippines where her father was a politician. As she tells her friend Val Burgess, when she was thirteen, she was living at an Episcopal boarding school in Baugio when she, her sister, and two other women decided to take a long walk north.

Mary Burgess moved back to the US for college, and eventually joined the WWII effort as a part of the American Red Cross. In this story, she tells her friend Val Burgess about her experience as a woman behind the front lines.

Micah Schweizer

Marla Brown is a fifth generation Wyomingite who grew up helping run her parents’ various businesses during some of Rawlins’ booms and busts.

UW Professor of history Phil Roberts tells the story of how Thomas Boylan—the late owner and operator of The Fossil Cabin outside of Medicine Bow—protected the identity of local Japanese Americans from relocation officers during World War II.

Micah Schweizer

In 1967, Rawlins resident Duane Shillinger was hired by the Wyoming State Penitentiary as a counselor. Later, through an unexpected turn of events, he ended up serving as warden for seventeen years. In this story, he remembers the transition from the 19th century facility to the current one, and the relationships he formed with inmates.

Micah Schweizer

Like many Wyoming natives, Pat and Ellie Noonan met at a college party in Laramie—almost sixty years ago. In this story, the couple describe the misadventures of their first encounter.
 

The Noonans remember the summer that city officials dug up the century-old corpse of outlaw Big Nose George.

From the early 1960s to the late 80s, Pat Noonan was employed by the First National Bank of Rawlins, first as a teller and later as its inaugural Computer Operations Manager—which was a wholly alien pursuit for a small town bank in 1971.

Josh and Susan Anderson—Evanston natives who met only after they were both going to college in Utah—work for the Uinta County school district. In this story, the couple talks about how they arrived at their vocations.

Both of the Andersons’ children were born in Jackson—the closest hospital to their home at the time, and more than a two hour drive away. Naturally, this left the couple with some wild stories about childbirth on the frontier.

county10.com

Mark Soldier Wolf is a Northern Arapaho tribal elder. He grew up on the Wind River Indian Reservation, outside of Riverton. For him, the past is forever inscribed on the present, a sentiment he shares in this lesser known version of the Battle at Little Bighorn.

When Soldier Wolf returned to Wyoming from the Korean War, there were very few resources for veterans. In this story, he describes how he got his life back together, and the atmosphere of Riverton during wartime.

Micah Schweizer

Melanie O’Hara grew up on the far side of the Hogback in Centennial. She reflects on the astonishing diversity of Centennial in the 19th century.

Micah Schweizer

Murray "Murf" Self grew up in Centennial where his father Pat ran the Old Corral Hotel & Steakhouse. When Pat was eighteen years old, he started receiving a money from the VA on account of his own father’s death in World War I. This windfall marked the beginning of Pat Self’s tumultuous life with fancy cars.

Have you ever wondered why so many small towns have turned their old train depots into museums? In a story about his mother’s quest to open an interpretive center in Centennial, Self explains how.

Jennifer Tennican

Dail Barbour was twenty-four-years-old when she moved to Jackson Hole. She worked at the Wort Hotel, a historic inn in the heart of the city, where she was issued a remarkable uniform. 

Dail Barbour arrived in Wyoming the summer she graduated from high school, 1964. She and a few friends bicycled across the country. They spent a week in Yellowstone and Barbour swore she would return. Six years later, she moved to Teton County permanently, settling for some time in Wilson where she spent many days and nights at the legendary Stagecoach Bar.

Adrian Shirk

Adrian Shirk was born in a now-defunct Manhattan maternity ward. Her nonfiction has appeared in Wilder Quarterly, The Airship, Owl Eye Review, 7Stops Magazine, and Packet. Currently, she's at work on a book of epistolary essays with poet Amber Stewart and is finishing an MFA in creative nonfiction at the University of Wyoming.

A version of "The Disoriented Express" recently appeared in Packet.