About “Elsie’s Mountain- Memories of Palomar & Southern California 1897- 1987”

Available from Amaon or my website, starting Oct 18th.

Available from Amaon or my website, starting Oct 18th.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home.”
John Muir

It was love at first sight when, as a young girl in 1904, Elsie first visited Palomar Mountain. Forever after she would refer to “my mountain” as some might speak of “my husband.”
Elsie and her husband Jack managed their own apple ranch and rustic mountain resort on Palomar during WWI and the years following. Rising 6,000 feet above San Diego and other coastal cities, Palomar provided a creative setting for a life that was anything but dull. Elsie recalls in delightful detail their “proper” British cook, the threat of dangerous forest fires, and the shock of finding out that they had hired an escaped ax murderer.
When Elsie Hayes Roberts was ninety-seven, writer Larry Littlefield described her as “having a memory as sharp as an Ansel Adams photograph.” Those who knew Elsie would agree, for she was a master storyteller who viewed life as a glorious adventure. Her true stories transport readers to life in another era.
Although the majesty of Palomar Mountain belonged to all who ventured there, for Elsie it would always be her mountain.

Barbara Anne Waite

89 Responses to “About “Elsie’s Mountain- Memories of Palomar & Southern California 1897- 1987””

  1. Dan July 7, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    We look forward to reading more about Elsie’s grand adventures!

    • barbwaite July 7, 2011 at 11:12 am #

      Thanks Dan. It has really been an adventure doing all the research and discovering so many surprises as I uncovered the history behind “Elsie”.

      • Debbie Hearn July 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

        I didn’t know you were so close to being finished with this book! I have been waiting for it for 20 years! When will I be able to BUY it?

        • barbwaite July 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

          Elsie will be available on Amazon ,hopefully in late September!

  2. Bonnie Phelps July 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Looking forward to reading more of Elsie’s adventures. Thank you for her journal quotes from her visits to Palomar that I used on http://www.mypalomarmountain.com I appreciate all you are doing to get her work published. What a treasure that will be!

  3. Nancy July 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    I look forward to reading all I can about this subject. Thanks!!

  4. Helen July 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Would rather read works like this than fiction.

    • April August 4, 2011 at 2:10 am #

      I will certainly want to read this book! How interesting! Can’t wait. I also have a blog of my card making. stampwillydesigns.blogspot.com.

      Hugs, April

  5. Joanne Klinetop August 4, 2011 at 3:33 am #

    I look forward to reading this book.

  6. Carol Croxton August 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Looking forward to reading your book. It should be very interesting reading.

  7. Grace Hargis August 7, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    This sounds interesting, Barb. Good for you!

  8. Laura Lorentzen August 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    What a treasure, I can’t wait to read about our truly great Great Grandmother.

    • Barb Waite August 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

      The research has really been interesting. I have learned much as I have tried to understand what it was like in those first years of Arizona’s statehood.

  9. Gwen August 8, 2011 at 12:02 am #


    I am so excited that you finally were able to finish the book about your grandmother’s years of teaching. I am sure it made you feel much closer to her. I am looking forward to reading it!


  10. Vicki August 9, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    It was so good to visit with you while in Antigua. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures and hearing some of the stories of your grandmother’s adventures and loves. I’m looking forward to seeing what you put here on the website and then to reading your book.

  11. Shirley Lee August 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    I am so looking forward to reading this book!! Can’t wait until it comes out in Sept.!!

  12. Shirley Lee September 5, 2011 at 4:59 am #

    Barb.. Sorry I didn’t answer sooner… I had a bunch of company in August, and we were in the Sierras Aug 20th thru 27th. Ray finally told me of the email and here I am! Definitely want to get this book!!
    Love and best wishes….


  13. MariaMartin October 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    How awesome ! I am so excited for you ! Love ya !

  14. Leah October 14, 2011 at 5:44 am #

    I’m so glad I found your blog! What an amazing story you’re telling. Can’t wait to follow it.

    • Barb Waite November 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

      Thanks Leah. “Elsie -Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher 1913-1916” went up on Amazon a week ago. We have been away the last two weeks. We traveled where Elsie taught and visited museums and the AZ. capital gift shop and some libraries and other sites that will sell Elsie. Exciting to realize AZ. Centennial is 3 months away and not hardly any books deal with Arizona’s earliest years as a state. Oak Creek Canyon with the fall colors was spectacular last week. I am on cloud 9 to have finally accomplished what I set out to do so many years ago.

  15. Ilil Arbel November 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    This looks fascinating, to me in particularl since I have published a very similar book about my mother’s journey from Siberia to Tel Aviv as a child. I am going right away to buy Elsie!

    • Barb Waite November 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

      Thanks so much Ilil, I do trust you will enjoy Elsie. The little details found in a journal or letters are just so interesting. When you go deeper and research those details history suddenly becomes very real. I just recently drove on the road that must have closely resembeled Elsie’s first trip to Jerome, AZ. by narrow guage railraod. The hairpin turns were just as she had described. Some things about Jerome have changed but my eyes caught some of the things that she must have been amazed at. The beauty of Oak Creek Canyon in the fall simply is beyond description. I found myself wishing I could see it by horse and wagon as she first seen it.

  16. Patricia Hines November 14, 2011 at 3:31 am #

    Extremely interesting, can’t wait to read more.

    I am excited that it is on Amazon, that is the place to be.

    • Barb Waite November 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

      Thanks Patricia, I am awaiting reviews to see what readers think. I appreciate the interest.

  17. Alicelynn Cockrill November 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    I’m so interested in reading your book about your Grandmother. I remember meeting her many years ago on Palomar when your folks had a cabin next to my parent’s cabin who were Walt and Mollie Ekberg. They often spent time with Katie and Chuck, and that’s how we met “Mrs. Roberts”, as we called her. What a wonderful project for you to do and I can’t wait to get the book.
    Alicelynn Ekberg Cockrill

    • Barb Waite November 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

      I do hope you enjoy AliceLynn- It has been mailed to you. It was a delightful project- filled with surprises as I did the research. Please let me know what you think after reading it.

  18. Randall Stone November 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    I am thrilled to now own my own copy of a book about my Mother’s favorite teacher. My Mother spoke fondly so very often about Miss Hayes. What a thrill to learn more about Miss Hayes from other than through the eyes of my Mother.

    • Barb Waite November 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

      I am thrilled you are pleased. Eva was such a blessing to me. From the moment I found Eva through the newspaper I knew this should be a book. Your family added much to the history included in the book.

  19. Leon M. Girdner December 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    I enjoyed very much the reading of this book. The Girdner’s are my people, Stanley was my Dad and dear aunt Eva, such a sweet person. The description of the old home place brings back loads of memories. I was born very near the location of that schoolhouse.
    Thank You

  20. Georgetta Christensen December 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Barb, I finished your book, “Elsie,” today. I was so intrigued I could hardly put it down, so just took the morning off and finished it. I loved the way you guided the reader and enticed us. It was like watching a mini-series. I found it all so interesting since we have been to many of the places where the story unfolds. I have to say it had a bit of a shock factor in it. I could relate to her heaviness of heart, and then share in her joy. I found applicable wisdom in her observations too. Great job! Will be anxiously awaiting the sequel.

  21. Darlene December 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    Barb, I finished your book, “Elsie,” recently and have passed to a long time AZ teacher. The book was really interesting since I live in AZ. Will be anxiously awaiting the sequel.

  22. Lynda February 5, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Your book is facinating. I just finished it last night. As this is Arizona’s Centennial and I am a school teacher in Arizona I am going to recommend your book to my students. They should be facinated as to the differences between then and now. Maybe they will even look at our scenery a bit different after seeing it through Elsie’s eyes. Thank you for all of the time and effort you took to put these memoirs together. It was a special treat reading about someone who lived during the same ere as my grandmother.

    • Barb Waite February 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      Thanks so much Lynda. Elsie would be so pleased to know Arizona students were reading her history. Letters during that time were done thoughtfully and treasured. I am so fortunate she had saved that part of her life in letters for others to know what that era was like.

      • Rena Hamilton February 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

        Hi Barb, I am so excited about this book. I am going to order it. Dale and I were with the Bailey bunch on
        Palomar, and I knew Elsie. I visited her in the care
        facility many times and we would sit outside and talk.
        She had so many wonderful stories. I have met you several times when you were visiting your Mom and Dad.
        I have so many memories of our days on the mountain.
        My kids will be getting the book too. Janet and Judy
        rented the little cabin from Katie and Charlie. So
        excited about this.

  23. Connie (Anjuli) February 16, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    I’m really looking forward to reading about your Grandmother’s three year period in those beginning days of Arizona. Would also love to hear more about your time in Antigua. It is good that you have recorded this book of your grandmother- so others who come behind can be blessed by it.

    I wrote a book about my grandmother who was a pioneer missionary to China in the early 1900’s- the book is called Letta In China- in researching and writing the book, I was so amazed by God’s faithfulness. I realized in the end, the book was not so much about my grandmother, but about God’s faithfulness to her!

  24. Gayle Dunning February 26, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    I loved the book, I think that “Elsie” did what we all wish we could have done when young and able, live an adventure! And those of us who have had adventures need to follow her and write them down. I loved the way that some days all she wrote was one or two words but I could follow her line of thought anyway. It was honest, romantic, historic, exciting and not fiction! Wow, looking forward to the stories and notes to follow!

  25. Roberta Zimmerman March 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    My friend, Marcie VerPloeg, found your book and recommended it to me! I am anxious to read your book; I am a child of Arizona – born in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1945. Congratulations on writing your book!

    • Barb Waite March 20, 2012 at 6:32 am #

      I hope you enjoy it Roberta. Please let me know when you finish reading it if you found it interesting. I am so excited to be doing a booksigning at Costco in Prescott April 14th. Marcie said something that made me realize I should take the diary, photos and letters in a notebook so folks can see they are genuine.

  26. Shirley Huston April 19, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    Enjoyed my Kindle book about Elsie, we winter in Arizona & have been to Jerome and area talked about in the story.
    Thanks for writing the book for our enjoyment.

  27. Den Adler May 2, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Barbara: Finding your book “Elsie” at The Old Livery Mercantile store in Wickenburg (which was mentioned in Elsie’s diary) was one of the highlights of my recent Arizona trip to see a friend of 40+ years. Two things on your cover caught my eye: the photo of your grandmother, with her intelligent, earnest, and very pretty look, and the year 1916, the year my dad (who died 3 years ago) was born. Also, your back cover material is very persuasive to anyone interested in people, teaching, history, Arizona, and/or young love. The last item was interesting to me because my 2007 novel “To Become a Priest–a Love Story” (also on amazon.com) included that theme in a very different way.

    And your book certainly did not disappoint me. I read it in almost every free moment–while riding the exercycle, lying in bed, watching TV, etc. Elsie had to have been a terrific teacher to have her kids remember so much about her after 75 years. That’s just amazing–and delightful. Even though I no longer shared her religious beliefs, I kept in touch with the wonderful nun who taught me in 5th, 6th, and 7th grades (1953-56, and visited her a few months before she died a couple of years ago. And she was invited and able to attend the 35th high school reunion of our class in 1996. She was special, and such teachers are rare. So I was sorry to see that Elsie quit teaching after only three years of having such a positive influence on children.

    Some of the lines in her diary and letters are classics. I loved how her mother advised her to save her sore eyes by writing “postals” (postcards) instead of letters. I’ll be presenting a program at our county historical society on May 17 about collecting vintage postcards (Elsie’s school-teaching era occurred during the Golden Age of Postcards–they’ve been called the “emails” of that time) and will include her mother’s advice in my presentation.

    But mostly, I think, I was interested because of poor Karl. And poor Elsie. There’s so much that Elsie’s diary and letters don’t tell us about what went wrong with their relationship. (I wish she hadn’t burned Karl’s letters, but it was probably inevitable.)I suspect she was trying to convince herself that she wanted only friendship, but her feelings obviously went a lot deeper than that, as you found out when the aged Elsie started crying at your innocent question so many years after she last saw Karl. I identified with him, standing in the field immobilized by his love and his helplessness in doing anything about it. As you noted, he was a very sensitive man, and I suspect his emotions were very strong. His collapse wasn’t totally unexpected. Elsie was pretty, intelligent, stable, and a great deal of fun. I don’t doubt that Elsie had a good and happy life with Jack, but humans can certainly love more than one person at a time, and I suspect Elsie never really lost her love for Karl. You can see it hinted at in her diary where she says so much in refusing to say anything, or refers to thinking about “someone,” or trails off with ellipses.

    Thank you for your work on the book, which must have been (and probably still is) fascinating as you continue to find more details. I know how much work it takes to bring about a book from my novel and the two books about Janesville (Wis.) that my wife, Judy, and I did for Arcadia Publishing. Congratulations and best wishes with it. I’ll be ordering one from you for my sister. (And don’t be afraid to propose book signings in stores who carry your books. You don’t have to wait for them to approach you. Of course, sometimes they fizzle. Other writers have told me they shared my experience of having had a true book signing in which we signed exactly one book. But even then, comments from even one reader can make your day.)

  28. James Moon May 23, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    Just finished reading Elsie. What a delightful way to memorialize your grandmother and all she accomplished in her three years in Arizona. Your advice on leaving a written legacy to the Grandmothers In Touch of what the Lord has done in their lives is especially meaningful as I am now in the “grandparent” age and realize that without written sharing of our experience, our individual lives will be lost to future generations. I have already turned out about 100 paqes of my own experience growing up in the midwest and am working on another “book” on my experiences in northern Canada where my family vacationed when I was young and where I now spend my summers.

    You mentioned at the end of Elsie that a book on her life in California is in the works. When might it be published?

  29. Sandy June 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Hi, I just finished reading Elsie, It was so good i just couldn’t put it down.
    I have lived in the Verdi Valley and now live in Flagstaff. Reading about the area and all she went threw made feel as if i took an adventure along with her. I can’t wait to read more of your work.thank you so much.

  30. Gillian Mawson July 25, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    Hello Barbara, as you kindly put a comment on my website I thought I would add one to yours. People really should buy your book, as it is saving lost history! I hope that I am doing that with my book on ‘Guernsey Evacuees, the Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War’ – see my website at http://guernseyevacuees.wordpress.com/writing-my-book-blog/ to follow my discoveries whilst writing it. The stories of all kinds of different people who were involved the first half of 1900s will be lost for ever if they are not written down and published now. Well done Barbara! Gillian

    • Barb Waite August 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      Thanks Gillian. I look forward to reading your book. I enjoy novels but first-person accounts are among my favorites.

  31. ritaroberts August 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Hello Barbara.I picked up your web site through Gilliam Mawson,and am so pleased I did. What a fantastic project you have worked on here.I was also excited to see my surname is Roberts (By marriage).I am ,so far, entrigued with your story enough to buy yur book which I am really looking forward to reading,and am now folllowing your blog. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

  32. ritaroberts August 14, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    Hello Barbara,I have ordered your book today and can’t wait to read it. I know I won’t want to put it down. A couple of years ago I researched my family tree so I undertstand how exciting it can be. Your reviews are also very interesting.
    Regards Rita.

  33. Andi Elam August 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    I read your book on Kindle and ordered it on Amazon so I can add it to my Arizona Collection. As a Arizona History lover and my familys genealogist I found this book to be a great read, I couldn’t put it down. I also checked Elsie out on Ancestry, how cool is that…..(sorry its a hobby I had to look!!) I can’t wait to see what else you add to Elsies story…..

  34. ritaroberts September 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Hello Barbara,I was so excited to receive your book and have now completed reading it. What a beautiful story about your grandmother.She was such a determined and strong young lady,and those children she taught loved her so much.The Canyons,the Indian archaeological ruins and the Native American are things I have been interested for as long as I can remember so that was also special for me. I note at the end of your book that, we as mothers or fathers should write down our lives. Well, I have done that after much persuasion. However not so detailed as yours about family tree,but my memoirs.Its called “Toffee Apples & Togas”. I adored your book and am going to read it again. Best wishes.

  35. Cassie Carson November 4, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

    As soon as I spied your book on Goodreads, I ordered it from Amazon. I am a second-generation Arizona native.. My mother was born in Casa Grande, AZ in 1915. Her father (my grandfather) was the first doctor there, and owned the first car. His three sisters were all teachers, and his brother was a lawyer. All that education was pretty amazing in the end of the 19th , beginning of the 20th centuries. And, they all did it with their own money and effort. Their father (my great grandfather) was a German immigrant and bandmaster for the US Cavalry, their mother an Irish immigrant. I wish I had the skills to write the history of my mother ‘s family.
    I read everything I can find concerning early AZ history. I was sooo disappointed with Dorothy Wickenden’s memoir – Nothing Daunted. The used bookstore wouldn’t even take it back.
    Now, I will go out to buy the book about the Harvey Houses. Later, My grandfather and grandmother lived in Seligman (1950’s) where he was the town, reservation, Union Pacific doctor. I inherited two lovely framed photographs by Carl Moon that hung in th William’s HH. When the HH there was being torn down, My grandmother saved them from a pile that was going to be burned.

  36. Cassie Carson November 5, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    I was scrolling thru Goodreads and discovered your book. Closed out Goodreads, got on Amazon and ordered your grandmother’s memoir. I am eagerly awaiting its arrival. I did the same thing when I found out about Dorothy Wickenden’s book. It should have been a wonderful read.

    I am a second-generation AZ native and love reading about the southwest. My mother, who passed away 6 months ago tomorrow, was born in Casa Grande in 1915. Her daddy (my grandfather) was the first doctor and owned the first car in Casa Grande. My grandparents spent their honeymoon on the reservation giving care during an outbreak of smallpox.

    My grandfather’s father was a German immigrant and was a bandmaster for the US Cavalry, ending his military career at Ft. Grant, while still an operational fort; his mother was an Irish immigrant. At the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century education was not as common as it is currently. All three of my great aunts became teachers and my uncle was a lawyer – all on their own dime.

    My grandfather used to tell how he would “ride the rails” from St Louis back to Globe to work in the mine in order to earn the money to continue his medical education. He did not spend any money to actually purchase a seat on the train!

    Your mention of the Harvey House book gave me another book to purchase. In the 1950’s, my grandparents lived in Seligman, AZ, where Pop Pop was the doctor for the town, reservation and the Union Pacific RR. When the Harvey House in Williams was being torn down, Mom Mom rescued two beautiful framed photographs by Carl Moon from a pile of “trash” that was to be burned. They look lovely in my living room.

    I can hardly wait for your book to arrive! I know I will enjoy reading your blog, too.

    Thank you,

    Cassie Carson

  37. Jan Tubiolo November 8, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Dear Barbara,

    Sheer happenstance to find the book on Kindle! Couldn’t put it down and read far into the night. The description is of the area I’ve come to love in AZ. It’s quite a treasure and I look forward to further adventures of your remarkable grandmother. I was so excited to read the book, with Elsie’s wonderful recapturing of the history of the area, of her interesting social life, her adventurous heart and, because even though I live in California, I have gone to Cottonwood, Cornville and Camp Verde quite a few times over the years and the book brought the entire area of the Verde Valley alive. I also look forward to exploring the area of Cornville on our next visit to see if I can find some of the sites you mention. It’s evident that the people captured her heart too and it was so evident that little Eva was important to her as well.

    We bought a house in Cottonwood years ago that we hope to move to one of these days. Since we are now in our 70’s, I hope it’s pretty soon! On my first trip to Arizona as a six-year-old, I traveled from Missouri to Prescott with my grandparents to visit my grandfather’s own adventurous sister and fell in love with the country.

    Her memories of Karl Hurst were so poignant and I intend to look for the memorial fountain the next time we are in AZ. As I read in an earlier comment, you certainly can love more than one at the same time and I can understand her conflict in trying to settle her own mind; I also know that even after being married for nearly 54 years, the memories never leave you. I was happy to read of her finding her wonderful love in Jack. She was truly blessed to have lived out such a full life and you were blessed to have been part of it.

    We have a 92-year-old friend who lives in Jerome and who has quite a history in Arizona herself. I can hardly wait to have her read the book. She will love it too.
    Thank you so much.

  38. ritaroberts November 17, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    Hello Barbara, Just enquiring if you are still going to write a sequel to your book about your grandmother.I did so enjoy the first as I know many others did also.
    Best wishes.

  39. ritaroberts November 27, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    Hi Barbara, Congratulations on the award for your book.
    I read an article about the last of the code talkers, not long ago. What a fantastic job they did. I also saw the film about the code talkers Brilliant !

  40. Olivia C. December 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I just finished reading Elsie: Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher and loved it! I was born and raised in Arizona and really loved getting to look into the past! Actually, I was really bummed out when I was finished reading the book. Your grandmother sounds like she was an amazing woman. I have recommended your book to several friends. Thank you so much for sharing!

  41. Sheila Hale January 6, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Barbara, I just had to write to say how much I have enjoyed reading about your grandmother. My copy is via Kindle, who were promoting it and am I glad they did.
    I have never been to Arizona, but I feel like I now know it through Elsie’s eyes. It just struck me how courageous she was, how things have changed beyond all reason since she was growing up, but how I would love to have sat and talked with her.
    Thank you and your family for all your hard work in producing this lovely history

  42. anne mueller February 6, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Wonderful read. Couldn’t put it down. wHAT A FANTASTIC GRANDMOTHER YOU HAD.

  43. Elsie Campbell February 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Dear Barbara,

    I received a copy of Elsie in the mail with only the address of Palomar Mountain Book Co, and was pretty curious as who would send me this book, as I had never heard of it. Then to make it more curious, it was signed “To Elsie from Elsie’s granddaughter”. I’d been telling friends at church about this and they thought it quite an interesting situation.

    Yesterday, I was talking to my daughter Tammy Fesmire and telling her about this and she said “she is a teacher in Arizona right?” To make this a bit shorter, she admitted that she had read the book on her daughter’s Kindell a year ago and knew that it was a book that I would enjoy. How true. I am already half way through the book and am enjoying it so much.

    She sent me your website and I went on it today and read that you have a new book that you are writing. I am looking forward to reading that one whenever it comes out. Thank you for such a good read and your memories of your grandmother.

  44. Carol Ann Schneider February 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    Just finished reading Elsie’s story, which I enjoyed for several reasons. My Aunt Margaret was also a young teacher about that same time, though in SE Kansas. Many of the places mentioned were familiar to me. One cannot forget going through Jerome at dusk! And the trip to Grand Canyon was most interesting. I looked up Bill Bass and learned more.
    I cherish a small teapot from Kansas City’s Harvey House, passed to me through a friend. My husband’s aunt went west as a Harvey Girl but didn’t stay long.
    Guess I should finish my own autobiography started when I assigned my eighth grade students to write theirs.

  45. Anne Etherton February 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    I thoroughly enjoyed your book. It is the first book I have chosen for my new Kindle. I have traveled through many of the places in the book, especially enjoying Oak Creek Canyon. I grew up in the San Diego area, and my family used to go up to Santa Monica to visit my grandmother. I found it fascinating at the beginning of the book Elsie mentioned that going from Long Beach to Palomar Mountain was a 3 day trip. I’m looking forward to a sequel if you write one.

  46. Elsie Campbell February 16, 2013 at 9:50 am #


    I just finished reading your book this morning and want to thank you again for such a special remembrance of your grandmother Elsie. I also have a grandmother Elsie, My first name was after my maternal grandmother Elsie Porter, and she was the grandmother that I was closest to, but never knew much about her life before I came along except she was from Nova Scotia.

    You suggested to me that I write of my life for my children. Several years ago I made a book (in a looseleaf notebook form) for my four children and my husband did the same. It was a Christmas gift to them. I have since made copies of it (it also included pictures of my growing up and extended family that I had.

    I now plan to add to that book other areas of my past life per your suggestion. I just wish that before I left home after graduation to join the WAC’s that I had shown more interest in my herritage and asked my Mom and others of their past. Unfortunately, now is too late as I am now the only and oldest of my family to ask. My youngest daughter is now into checking into our ancestors.

    Thank you again for such a great book about your grandmother.

  47. Susan Sherrell February 28, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    I absolutely loved Elsie’s story! I come from a family of teachers; I was also a librarian like Elsie. How blessed you were to have Elsie as your grandmother!

  48. Carolyn March 1, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    Fate sent me a link to your book on kindle as a reader of biographies. Jerome AZ caught my eye as it was one of our most memorable experiences during a cross country RV trip with our two teenage granddaughters a few summers ago. We camped in Camp Verde and explored the areas inbetween. Some day I WILL go back there and use Elsie’s travels as a guide for exploring all of AZ, from El Tovar at the Canyon right down to the Fountain – like the tv series tours they do of locations in NYC from Supranos. Sex in The City, etc but this will be from real life!

    In terms of the history of women in America you have captured so much about the women who continued their schooling into college. How was it financed? Was there any fear of becoming a spinster when she delayed college, then resumed and then moved on to a career in teaching?
    My earliest impressions of that period from casual references to it was that women didn’t go to college and they would be spinsters if they didn’t marry before age 30.

    When Elsie learns she is being replaced by a young girl who has only a high school degree, she reacts like the town could do better. (Perhaps Williams AZ prefers to hire a less trained aka cheaper teacher?) There’s fertile ground here for discussions about where we have been and where we are going as a country.

    I hope to see copies of your book on the shelves of every gift shop in every town Elsie touched and beyond to the gender studies courses in our colleges. It’s a treasure, like a hologram view into the past touching on so many aspects of life including mental health care and the effects of WWI on immigrants and American families – something I appreciate as the grandchild of E European immigrants who came here at the turn of the century as 17 year olds as war clouds loomed and believed they would return “home” to family in a few more years.

  49. Barbara March 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    Thank you for such an inspiring story. Enjoyed reading it after I purchased it for my Kindle.

  50. Martha Gates May 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Just finished reading “Elsie” on my new Kindle. What a joy to read and I do so relate to her story, although mine is not as exciting. I lived and taught on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico some years ago. I did have some modern conveniences, but still it was 130 miles to the doctor or dentist. Several teachers were there only one year as they couldn’t bear having no pizza delivery and also 90 miles to nearest movie and 60 miles to a restaurant.
    Elsie and Karl’s story was so sad; but thankfully she realized he was not the right one for her before making the mistake of marrying him. Elsie was a very loving person; her letters are so full of the love for her family.
    I’ve written 3 family histories for my children and grandchildren and know the enormous amount of research and time involved in such an undertaking. Thanks for writing the book.
    Martha Gates

  51. Kaye Parker May 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    I loved your book and hated for it to end. I hope you write a follow-up book on Elsie and Jack’s years as a married couple. Thank you for writing such an entertaining and informative account of Elsie’s life.

  52. Carolyn Craig Caldarelli January 25, 2014 at 1:37 am #

    I am 80 years old and have just now finished reading the book on Kindle. I live in Maine and went to a one-room school in the early ’40s. I related much with this book altho my life was not so primitive. I enjoyed the book so much and will hopefully re-read it in the future. Elsie sounded like a wonderful teacher as only those early teachers were. I had several myself and remember them fondly. Thank you for writing this. It brings some sanity back into a persons life in these crazy days of the 2000’s.

    • Barb Waite February 6, 2014 at 8:03 am #

      Thanks Carolyn for your kind comments. I think you would enjoy the print copy since it has a lovely hand-written font and conveys the feel of her actual letters. My book designer told me I actually could have her own handwriting used, but it was at times not that easy to read her letters written in haste or diary entries that squeezed in lots of comments. I hope you have read all the little “tidbits” I have added over the last 2 years on this website. Sometimes I feel like I should go back and re-write the digital version including those tidbits.

  53. Ashley S February 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing the adventure of your grandmother. She seemed like an amazing woman! I truly loved reading your book and think I will review it on my blog to tell others how amazing it is! I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and my husband grew up in Williams, AZ, so it was so fun to read about familiar things in a time way before us! 🙂

  54. Virginia Miller March 2, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    What a journey incuding tears at the end. Looking forward to the sequel.

    • Barb Waite March 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

      Thanks Virginia. I love hearing from readers. You might enjoy looking at some of the additional “tidbits” I have included over the last 2 1/2 years. Historical research is fun and meeting some of the friends who have read “Elsie’ has become my own great adventure.

  55. Diana Jackson March 3, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Elsie’s story is such a lovely one to share and I thank you for sharing some of it on your posts. I’ve nominated you for a 7 in 1 blog award which goes live this Thursday on http://selectionsofreflections.wordpress.com/.

  56. Candy Adams Terry March 4, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

    Barb, I absolutely love your story for a whole lot of reasons! I shared some of them in a reply just a few minutes ago to your post showing a picture of the old post office and Mr. and Mrs. Chick who were the postmaster and postmistress. I would love to compare notes regarding Cornville, as I grew up there and …. (I suppose that you don’t need to hear what I just said in my earlier reply tonight.)

    I am so pleased with the nomination that Diana Jackson spoke of in a reply just one day ago! I will even pass on the info regarding the blog award going live. This I’ll pass on first to my writer friends, though, and then to my old Cornville friends. Congratulations on your nomination!

  57. Barbara Magee-Wadsworth March 22, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    Thank You so much for sharing this wonderful story!
    I have read the book through twice now and am more dellighted with each read.
    I loved sharing your Granmothers Arizona adventures. She was truely an amazing person.
    We can all learn a lot about courage and making the best of a situation from her.
    Thank you again for sharing her story.

    • Barb Waite April 25, 2014 at 7:47 am #

      Thanks Barbara. As I dig into all the old notes, diary and letters left from her years spent on Palomar Mountain I realize just how true it is that she “made the best of a situation.” We have become so dependent on others supplying what we need. The years Elsie’s family spent on the mountain display both living independently and working as a team with the community to survive. I trust I can convey some of the values revealed in life of 100 years ago.

  58. Ruth Tonkovich September 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    Barbara, I was truly amazed at how compelling Elsie’s story is, especially since it is a mainly a compilation of her letters. Your book is an excellent read. I was drawn into Elsie’s life and looked forward to each of her letters to continue the story. You, or should I say she, painted a vivid picture of life in Arizona, and California, in that time period and it was fascinating. I have to admit that I was unprepared for Karl’s tragic life. What a shock. You hinted at this in your introduction to the book, recalling your grandmother’s tears. So I knew there was going to be something sad, but I never would have guessed the details. What a story, what a life – thank you for putting it into print.

  59. Pallas March 6, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    I enjoyed Elsie’s story so very much; thank you for sharing your grandmother’s story with the world. I was drawn to her story for a few reasons: I enjoy genealogy and collecting old photographs from antique stores, I am familiar with several places in the book such as Claremont Colleges, Mt. Baldy, Palomar Mountain and Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona. By the end of the book I felt as though I knew Elsie as well as her family and friends. I was left with wanting to spend more time with Elsie, and I’m happy to hear you are planning to write another book about her mountain years.

    It must be a joy to have so many pictures, letters and of course Elsie’s diary. I sure would like to be able to see a story about my own grandmother come to life through her correspondence and pictures, but I don’t have very much written information from or about her.

    I have put a link to your website on my blog’s sidebar so that my readers will be able to find you, and give them the chance to enjoy Elsie’s story too.

  60. Roxanne Speer September 11, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    I just finished reading “Elsie”. LOVED IT! We moved to Prescott Valley a few years ago from San Diego and I picked the book up at a museum nearby. It was wonderful to read about your Grandmother’s life and her adventures. I can’t wait for your next book about her life with Jack. Thank you for sharing her story with us!

    • Barb Waite September 11, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

      Thanks Roxanne for the encouagement. I think you will enjoy “Elsie’s Mountain.” My editor said she enjoyed it even more than the first book. Elsie was an amazing woman. I think the second book will reveal just how strong my little Grammy became. It should be on Amazon mid-October. I love Prescott Valley.

  61. kathleen December 12, 2015 at 7:28 am #

    Barb, I just finished reading Very lovingly yours, Elsie……I really enjoyed this as I live in the area where she ventured out as a school teacher. I live in Chino Valley Az., not far from Williams and Prescott, and Oak Creek, and Sedona. You are truly blessed to have her writings and pictures and memories. I barely knew my grandparents. It was a delightful read. I keep journals myself for my children and grandchildren. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless and Merry Christmas.

  62. Kay Story January 6, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    Two years ago I travel to San Francisco with
    Monarch Teacher network . We travel the coast of California and enjoyed the majesty of the region. Since going there I have fell in love with the region especially Muier Woods and Mr John Muier. So thankful for people like Elsie who shared so much about her life in her journals. Thankful for Barbara for sharing with all of us.

    • Barb Waite January 6, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

      Thanks Kay. I will add your name to the hat for the drawing of “Elsie’s Mtn.” Muir woods are amazing place to visit. Barb

  63. Rick Barclay January 13, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

    Hi Barb,

    Just finished Elsie’s Mountain — what a wonderful read! I’ve become familiar with Palomar through my work with the the state park (trail maintenance volunteer and former president of Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park.) Your grandmother’s memories added a whole new dimension to the places I’m familiar with, and it was nice to see things through her eyes and experience things I could never imagine. What a life she had!

    Thanks for the shout out to FPMSP. I am familiar with your brother Dan; in 2013 I accepted a check from Girl Scout Brownie Troop 1852 of Carlsbad to help keep Palomar Mountain State Park open and vibrant. They raised the money on their own and donated it in loving memory of Dan, who was grandpa of one of the girls. Please give my best to Curt.

    • Barb Waite January 13, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      Thanks Rick. I enjoy hearing when readers enjoy Elsie’s ability to transport us to a life style on our mountain unique to that time. I am now enjoying sharing her story with historical groups, Rotary clubs and book clubs. Such fun. Elsie would be rather surprised at all the attention her memories are receiving. Dan was a giant of a brother, and we all miss him. I remain a Palomar Kid! Barb

  64. Mary A. Bruno January 15, 2017 at 9:55 am #

    If you like browsing through hidden treasures in Grandma’s trunk, and the discovery of vintage letters with their musty smell and crumbling brown edges, while viewing yellowed photos of historic people and places, and the feel of old lace, you will enjoy Elsie, by Barbara Anne Waite.
    The author has captured the feel of adventure in the everyday life and courage of Elsie Hayes, a charming young Arizona school teacher in the early 1900’s. Discovering how many inches above the ankle were permitted for a teacher’s dress length was amusing, as was finding out where teachers were not permitted to loiter. Reading this well-documented book was like a pleasant stroll through history and down Elsie’s memory lane. Interesting! Entertaining! Informative! Satisfying!
    Mary A. Bruno

  65. Laurie Carlson September 11, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

    Hi Barb,
    I just finished reading Elsie’s Mountain. I loved it! You certainly captured her love for nature and her wonderful story telling ability, not only in the letters selected but in your choice to connect them in a narrative form!

    You may recall me, if I describe myself as Raynell’s twin sister! My family and I were blessed to spend an evening in your family cabin on ELSIE’S MOUNTAIN with Raynell and her family many years ago. One special memory we have is that we found a rope in a tree and attached a leather belt to it so we could swing on it —– the belt could hold our kids weight just fine, but when we adults tried to swing — well, we ended up breaking through two leather belts!!

    Of course, growing up in La Mesa, your story also brought many other images to mind and I looked up some of the San Diego sites mentioned, like the Balboa Theater to see where they were located!

    Thanks for writing! I will look forward to reading about Elsie’s Arizona adventures in the future!

  66. Shirley Kerr December 2, 2017 at 11:40 am #

    Just read Elsie’s Mountain. Brought back many memories. I lived on Nate Harrison grade from 1951 until I left for college in 1959. My father sold the ranch in 1962. Have been up that grade a few times and on the mountain a number of times. Always took tourists up to the observatory. Remember being in Doane Valley etc. My sister currently lives in Julian, her husband raising apples there until he retired. I have lived in Oregon since college but go visit San Diego county. Thanks for a good read.

  67. Jeanie Cummings January 16, 2021 at 5:30 pm #

    I would like an autographed copy of Ensues Mountain. I have the first book. Let me k is how you want payment. PayPal or check.

    • Barb Waite January 17, 2021 at 8:36 am #

      Thanks Jeanie- Send a check to Barb Waite 2382 Primrose Ave Vista, Ca 92083. Appreciate it!

  68. Rita Covalt January 18, 2021 at 2:09 pm #

    Barb, I would like to have one of each. Love your writings!

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