I Don’t Like Peas….

JULY 2015

This Letter to the Editor from West Yellowstone resident and retired librarian Jan Dunbar appeared in the West Yellowstone News in 2008. At that time Forrest was contributing articles to the newspaper much like his scrapbooks here, the stories on his blog and the stories that are in his two memoirs. Some of the stories in his memoir were originally written for the West Yellowstone News.

Below is Jan’s letter as it appeared in the 2008 West Yellowstone News. I added the photo which came from Crayton’s family photo collection.


I have enjoyed the reminiscences by Forrest Fenn lately in the News. (He probably wouldn’t like to be reminded that we called him “Bubba.”) I wasn’t acquainted with him, but I knew his sister June slightly, and his brother Skippy quite well. Skippy worked as a boy for Jean Cardon Young’s father Con Peterson in the old O. P. Skaggs on Canyon Street. Skippy was lively, to say the least. And I knew Donnie Joe Heath.

There is always some old crone who goes about correcting things. So here I am. I have to mention that we called Donnie Joe’s mother “Bess,” and she wasn’t the postmistress. She worked at the post office for Alice Hanson who was the Postmaster. Alice always said “There are no ‘mistresses’ in MY post office.” That was her kind of humor.

And later, at West Yellowstone High School, Skippy’s daughter Lana was in our first or second graduating class. She had a pair of little brothers, one of whom was Crayton who shared First Grade with our son Romney and who, as they all had to, survived a harridan of a teacher. She may not have been the worst teacher I ever knew, but she was a close second. I think she disliked little boys, and that class had about ten of them. It was her vision that all plates should be empty after the lunch hour, especially devoid of the canned carrots, beans and peas, regular fare in those days. Crayton did not share her enthusiasm.

Each day after lunch, small desks of those who failed to eat their vegetables were put out into the hall where the culprits sat before their cold and miserable peas or carrots until they either ate the vegetables or had to be excused to go home. Crayton never gave up. One day as I was walking down the hall, there was Crayton, sitting stoically before his cold plate. “Crayton,” I said. “Whay don’t you just eat those peas and go back to class with your friends?” He looked at me with those beautiful big brown eyes, and said, “But I don’t like peas.”

Later I heard that Crayton Fenn was the youngest licensed plumbing contractor on record. No doubt he became interested in such a profession, having dumped so many cold peas down the drain.

Jan Dunbar


Crayton's grandfather Marvin and Crayton hanging out at Marvin's Airstream Trailer at the West Fork Campground between Ennis and West Yellowstone. Probably taken in the mid 80's.

Crayton’s grandfather Marvin and Crayton hanging out at Marvin’s Airstream Trailer at the West Fork Campground between Ennis and West Yellowstone. Probably taken in the mid 80’s.


29 thoughts on “I Don’t Like Peas….

  1. “A harridan of a teacher”?….Now that one sent me to the dictionary…

    That is very old school terminology…Proper I suppose for an 87 year old…

    Sounds like a word ff would use…

    • Kinda goes along with “Old Biddies” and “Wicked Witch of the West” – yes indeedy – very old school. 🙂 I’m sure she is a very nice lady.

  2. North of Ennis they do a long distance tubing down the river, it must be a big event cause it seems like the whole population of Ennis comes to it, all 840 people.

  3. I worked as a cook in a cafeteria for ten years. I would ask the kids what they wanted before I would plop it on their plate. Meat? Fresh mashed potato’s? Home made gravy? Fresh vege’s? Salad?
    Then it would take two of us to throw out all the food that those kids dumped in the trash. Why couldn’t I just make peanut butter and jelly sandwich’s every day and be done with it?…sigh

  4. nice picture,crayton looks like skippy,and granddad looks so pleased.family sticks together thru thick and thin.guess crayton didn’t like green.

    • Are you saying that Crayton was a bad grandson? How could you say that when you don’t even know him? I myself am a family man.

      • In addition, I love MY family and am respectful of other people’s family’s. One time however, I went to my colleague’s house Rajid, and had somehow insulted his mom by using a word that was not accustomed to be used at the dinner table, I won’t mention it here. That’s the problem with acculturating to other custom’s, it is hard to understand unless you live in the country for a while.

  5. Crayton!

    Do you like green peas…
    said the harridan!

    I do not like them,
    Miss Harridan.
    I do not like
    green peas Madame.

    Would you like them
    Here or there?

    I would not like them
    here or there.
    I would not like them
    I do not like
    green peas Madame.
    I do not like them,
    Harridan 🙂

  6. Another interesting story. I went to that museum and loved it. Would have loved to be there that night as well.

    • James-
      Fenn Haven was in West Yellowstone, on Boundary Street, just a couple blocks down from where the Dude Motel is today. Remnants of the Fenn Haven cabins are still there.

      West Fork Cabin Camp and Campground is about 35 miles north and west of West Yellowstone on Hwy 287, heading toward Ennis, MT.

      When Forrest’s mom and dad sold Fenn Haven they still came out to Yellowstone every summer but they bought an Airstream trailer and stayed at West Fork. Forrest’s mom died of a heart attack at West Fork while they were staying out there one summer.


      • Thanks Dal. Just didn’t know where Fenn Haven was.

        I know West Fork, just stayed there tent camping and then a cabin for a night July 1-3 on our 2nd trip on “the Chase”. Great place and really nice people. Had good time On the Madison too.

        BTW Dal…Why did you post this? At Forrest request?

        • James-
          Crayton and I were yapping on the phone earlier that day and when I googled his name this story from the West Yellowstone News came up..

          Crayton is Forrest’s nephew and Skippy’s son. Skippy lived in West Yellowstone, had a construction company there. Crayton lived with Skippy in West Yellowstone until Skippy moved to Seattle.

          I believe that knowing more about the Bubba and Skippy Fenn families cannot possibly hurt in the search.

          Besides, Crayton is my good friend and it will embarrass him to have this up here…

          lol…what are good friends for??

  7. Been there done that. LA Veta pass from a birdseye view. They seem to go so well together. Peas and carrots, bacon and eggs, all just like peas in a pod. Crayton should try them again instead of spending so much time underwater.

  8. Dal – How many projects have you and Crayton worked on together?
    I know that he is sonar savvy, but have you noticed any other search techniques he tends to use that might enlighten us in our searches?

  9. Sometimes these old posts strike a nerve. I also hate peas and could not be forced to eat them. But I would have tried to avoid punishment by having my mom write a note that I’m allergic, or maybe by getting (paying?) someone else to eat them.
    I really like the pic of Crayton with ‘grandpa’ Fenn!

  10. This story reminds me of my fourth grade teacher who was in her 80’s at the time and never married. At lunch, each of her students had to show her that we ate our entire lunch before being allowed to go to recess. One time, I was full from the lunch my mother made me and I couldn’t finish it. I hid the rest of my lunch behind my napkin in hopes the teacher wouldn’t see it. I either got lucky and she didn’t notice, or she was kind enough to let this one time go by, because I was excused.

    This is a nice story Jan told, and a great photo of Crayton and his grandfather.

    Dal, when was the last time you heard from Crayton, and how is he doing?

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