The Age of Wonder

When work is challenging, I wonder if it would have been easier if I had been born in Virginia in the 18th century. It seems to me that I would have it made regardless of my intelligence or abilities. If I wanted to be a senator or governor, I would simply need to tell my father or grandfather and it would happen. Then I remember that there was no indoor plumbing and you could die from a small cut. So it’s not a good idea. As it is, my family left Virginia, and I was born 200 years later.

I was born at exactly the right time and place to see remarkable motel signage. As many of you know, I was born in Reno, Nevada. The great thing about Reno is that it’s not as fancy as Las Vegas. It’s a small city at the base of the Sierras with great skiing, hiking, and the University of Nevada. When I was growing up it was still a cow town where cowboys would drive in on a Friday night and blow their paycheck. In the 1970s there was an attempt at making Reno more Vegas, but it didn’t take. I like that. The motel signs never became the neon extravaganza that could be found in Las Vegas. They relied on themes that now look rather depressing, such as a “circus/holiday” theme. I may not have been made a governor because I was related to the current one, but I have seen wonderful things, especially the Nevada Club logo: a little Nevada shaped cowboy.