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The tiny museum stood by the side of the dusty dessert road like a lone piece of driftwood in the sand. Murals faded by the sizzling California sun depict moments that put this town on the map. Just five dollars and I too was transferred into the world of cowboys, Indians, stagecoaches and The Wild West. After using fifteen minutes of my life viewing a mediocre show of all of the films that were shot in The Sierra Nevada Mountains, I got to see costumes and props used by the actors that my grandfather and grandmother adored at the time of their courtship. Patiently I walked through the exhibits to see Roy Roger’s costumes, the saddle that John Wayne straddled and the leather Stetson Hats, stained with the sweat of these men. Then I followed my brother’s voice, turned a corner, and felt my heart start pounding in amazement in amazement.

The secret back room was the home to my favorite exhibit, and one of my favorite childhood movies, The Tremors. The model of the General Store looked just as it did when I visited there so many times in my childhood. The autographed posters of Kevin Bacon and Reba Mc Entire held my attention as I circled every inch of their autographs with my eyes, daydreaming about where they first signed. Did they know that it was now here, in this shack in the center of the dessert? Did they know that their low budget film would become a cult-classic, or at least a classic to me? The models of the human eating worms were painted with pristine strokes and gentle details. They did not seem treacherous in this back room like they did on the screen when I was young. Instead, they were pieces of art, pieces of movie history, and pieces of my youth.

To others who came into the corner of the museum, these gross worms with tentacles flaring out of their mouth were disgusting and not as important as the spurs that Val Kilmer ore in Tombstone. But to me, the life-size foam props actually used in the movie symbolized a special time of my life. Those gross blind worms were what my brother and I flocked to the TV at night to see, over and over. We would snuggle in under the covers munching on buttered microwave popcorn that my dad bought in bulk at Wal-Mart. We’d keep each other company, even scaring one another, while our parents worked next door. Those alien-like creatures were a bond between us, and helped build a base for the relationship today.

So you see, sometimes a place does not have to be grand or expensive to make a special memory. Sometimes the silliest or insignificant objects to other people may be the most important to you. Who would have thought that a crummy museum in the middle of no-where, that is a home to one of the most ridiculous stories ever made, could bring back so many heart-warming memories?


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Taken on April 1, 2012