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Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

Four Corners, a Theme Print E-mail
Written by Wes Vanderhorst, PLS   
Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Many years ago 1974 as adolescent I graduated High School, Clinton, NY Class Treasurer. I was 17 years old, Varsity, Regents with wanderlust. I left home with incomplete knowledge but gained it quickly on my own as cowboy ski patrol a sort of John Steinbeck without Cannery Row in our mutual backgrounds.

Yes I did in fact work the Open Range and fished with dynamite in my past the eldest of a bizarre and storied family of remarkable Americans.

After I qualified for the Ivy Leagues without resources to pursue same I simply abandoned my great upbringing those lessons from my mother a teacher my father a great man a gentle tried and true man manager of NY Tel, Utica, NY.

I did in fact attain a College credential on my own, a private school, Surveying /Forestry paid my own way three jobs: College of the Adirondacks while my younger siblings attended Universities like Saint Lawrence and Wellesley. An upper classmate of my sister is now Secretary of State these United States.

Yes we had some opportunities as adolescents. I deferred heroically due to my parents burden, my siblings and the fact they wouldn’t sign my college application essays. In 1974 an application with essay was $200 a lot of money back then. Parents frequently know best, I give them a three to one chance today without attorneys, with them parents are doomed!

I may have been offered McGill or Dartmouth had they sent it in! And then….?

The Four Corners emerges a tiny community of Clinton, NY, the Village, Hamilton College where Bristol-Meyers was founded and on College Hill where Leland Stanford earned his diploma, Grover Cleveland, Elihu Root, US Senator indeed Alexander Hamilton, our founder of Treasury issues the decimal system… look I am writing this stuff because it is true! Corners: Wesley Gerrit, Leisa, Paula and Gregory Scott, in order. These are the young Americans my parents spit out 50 Fountain Street. Four kids of amazing talent offspring of Wesley and Jessie Vanderhorst, amazing parents my parents, cornerstones of America.

All my siblings are self-made responsible accomplished in many ways. To my knowledge no one of my family has ever taken welfare paid back their loans with interest. This is testament mother and father formerly of Clinton, NY.

Think of the taxes alone we have paid! Is that working out for America or do we work harder give up more of what we earn?

Four Corners of Credit: Collateral, Ability, Income, Honor. My siblings and I are square.

I keep wondering why we relieve ourselves of fundamentals. Is it hard to know basic tenets?

The way I was raised if you borrow something you pay it back. I am owed nothing. My mother and father raised me to what?

Mesa Verde Colorado, history books, Coors beer. At seventeen I drove from upstate NY to find a job at Golden, Colorado (beer) and they told me you don’t belong to a Union you are too young go home. I remember that year (1975) Motel 6 was $6 dollars per night. I paid that amount in Denver. Today, maybe fifty bucks?

I slogged on, over Salida Pass US 50 to Gunnison Colorado just a little closer to Four Corners, just a glimpse of those magnificent Cliff Dwellings I read about in High School, perhaps Anastasies? I joined the Gunnison rugby club teeth knocked out. I earned foreman washer Idealco, Gunnison, Colorado at the tender age of twenty.

Then one day I almost lost my Crew mountaineering over the Maroon Bells on a skiing trip. While hitchhiking back to Crested Butte I knew my way to Four Corners Colorado, the only place in the United States where four states are at one point. Imagine.

After much intention with no resources other than a thumb I arrive May 1975 at Four Corners, a surveyor’s mark in the ground and iron pipe with a cap on it marked “UT CO NM AZ”: A surveyor’s mark in an open desert little dirt trail to arrive no signs. That is Four Corners.

Today is 2011. June 2002 I remarried. An exceptional woman at 45 years after 14 years divorce from wife who left the EX as it happens. After our Ceremony we decided to visit stay with a friend at Phoenix. The bride and groom visit Southwest like the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater. Sedona, AZ. Would you like to visit Four Corners?

We went. Neon signs, Continental Divide signs, Navaho Jewelry Signs. Four Corners had easily fifty vendor tents around a magnificent 100 foot diameter pedestal of concrete with paver’s steps and bronze inlays. Ever been? I have twice.

From my humble beginnings think about men like me who are really Corners of lives works. Not you politicians, forget Wall Street and therapy. Start with one iron pipe in the ground for your purpose.

Wes Vanderhorst, PLS

PS Your first corner is your past. There are other states. Present day and future are in mind.

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