To the editor,
Just after moving to the Grand Canyon from Illinois, I was pleasantly surprised to spy an oasis from my tail end baby boomer past. Bedrock City, located in Valle, Ariz! I shouted, "Yabba Dabba Doo" and fishtailed into the parking lot. Linda Speckles, the visionary owner and operator of the Flintstone-Rubble village, was so delightful and interesting to talk with. I let her transport me back to the late 60s and early 70s where all of this began.
In the 1960s, the animated show, "The Flintstones" was popular on primetime television, and inspired Linda's father-in-law to build a Bedrock City in Custer, S.D. As Linda's husband was a general contractor, his father asked him to build another outside the Grand Canyon National Park. The couple and their five daughters, ranging in age from two to 12, headed for Valle. They started construction in January of 1972 and it was completed in June of that same year. These caveman dwellings and businesses made out of angle iron, rebar and blown in concrete (Gunite), have existed for 41 years. Linda described them as upside down swimming pools.
I was elated to find the restaurant served the famous Bronto Burger and was offered a five-cent cup of coffee. Yes. It is true -five cents! Also, the campground is convenient for the overflow of Grand Canyon guests, and the village itself is fun to see in 3D, complete with a movie theater that plays the famous cartoons, a Goatasaurus barn with real live mini goatasaurus, and of course, Fred and Barney's houses. They weren't at home while I was visiting as they were at the Buffalo Lodge meeting.
Linda told me of how her daughters, dressed in their leopard skin outfits, operated the projector and sold cactus juice and popcorn at the movie theater. Some of her girls even created much of the artwork, such as the saber-toothed tiger and Dino wall displays.
Also, with a smile on her face and a light in her eye, Linda shared with me how rewarding it was to see the "wonder in little kids' faces, because they were in a magical setting."
The creative proprietor also thought that it had been wonderful and fun to work with the international tourists. She's enjoyed sharing Bedrock with many happy people from around the world and said the Europeans especially love the Flintstones. So much so that a minister from England informed her that their opening hymn was set to the Flintstones theme music.
This mountainous piece of nostalgia will go up for sale on the online auction site www.auctionpoint.com on Nov. 12. I want to wish Linda Speckles well in her future endeavors, and to thank her for giving so much joy to people around the world for four decades. We've all had a "Yabba Dabba Doo" time thanks to you and your family.