It seems that this book, put together by James N. Kimball and Kent Miles, seeks to break the old stereotypes and pay tribute.
I read with keen interest on the professor at Harvard — Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s biographical essay. She begins,
Sugar City, Idaho, was lively for a tiny little town of nine hundred people when I grew up there. It’s five miles north of Rexburg along the highway toward Yellowstone. The whole town washed away in the Teton Flood of 1976. By then, my parents had moved to Idaho Falls, but we went back that year to visit. There were two or three buildings still standing that I could remember. Even trees were washed away.
It ‘s an interesting feeling having the material of your childhood washed away. Not that there was a lot of there anyway, because it was a new town of 1906. It was sugar factory town. Now it’s like a subdivision bedroom community of Rexburg.
This is a Mormon life story because it begins with ancestors. My grandparents had homesteaded in Teton City, near Sugar City, and that’s where my mom was born. My dad was also born in Idaho, in the little town of Thatcher. So both of my parents grew up in the age of cattle and sheep, and both of them had sheep, if I’m not mistaken. Dad was a school teacher. The only job he could get was in Teton, and he came out and boarded with my mother’s parents. That’s how they met. My parents spent almost all of their married life in southeastern Idaho.
We used to say Sugar City was 99.44 percent Mormon. And it really was a very intact and very active Mormon town. Whereas Teton, where my mother grew up, was a backsliding Mormon town, and my mother’s family, the Sidoways, were among the backsliders. That was a great dynamic to grow up with. I had Thatcher relatives who were active in the Church and Sidoways who weren’t” (pp. 87-88).
(1) As a seven year old, I helped my dad stack sand bags during the Teton Flood.
(2) And Laurel’s comments on Sugar City and Teton City are true to this day.