Monday, January 11, 2016

Viola Anglin and the Tendoy General Store

It makes for quite a breadcrumb trail. First go to Idaho. Then go to Salmon. From Salmon go south-east out of town on Highway 28. You're now in the Lemhi River valley and you're going upstream. The country empties out real fast. You're heading towards the Gilmore Summit, elevation 7,186 feet. Be careful. Don't blink, or you'll miss Tendoy, it comes up fast as you zoom along old Highway 28. Tendoy's not really a town anymore. It's a wide spot. One of the neatest wide spots I've ever encountered, make that 'lucky enough to encounter'. There may not be any more spots like this left in the country.
Try and time your drive such that you arrive in Tendoy on a weekday during morning business hours. If you do that and you are lucky, having lived a good life, you'll find the Tendoy General Store to be open for business with Viola in charge of the counter. That's me and Viola in the picture at the top. Summer 2015. She was pushing 96 and that was summer of 2015. Still running a classic general store in Tendoy, Idaho. Viola is a rare piece of history. She is one of the few remaining people from this bygone era, much like WWII vets. Thankfully there are bits and pieces of Viola's story recorded for posterity, including this audio gem with Viola talking to Montana Public Radio about her life in Tendoy. Thank you for crossing the border MPR and spending time with this walking talking Idaho history book!
Discovering Viola Anglin remains my favorite piece, by far, of research for River and Ranch. This person, this bit of truth and reality, is every bit as interesting as anything I conjured up in the writing of River and Ranch. I feel fortunate to have met her.
Moscow-Pullman article on Viola and the Tendoy Store

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