Fiesta Dresses are a distant topic from sex torture and murderous pitbulls. Given the continuing notoriety of the David Parker Ray case and Sierra County's apparent desperation for economic stimulation, I'm greatly relieved and a little surprised no one has had the idea of re-creating the "Toy Box" as a museum piece - at least that we know of.
Lessons from that horrifying history seem limited to: A) Gosh, we sure hope that's history; and B) "Let this serve as a warning to girls."
It's infuriatingly common to hear that this is what happens when girls do X, Y or Z. Such victim-blaming is blazingly evident in the justice system and the Ray trials.*
The focus on the victim and her part in sex crimes doesn't change behavior - least of all men's behavior toward women and girls. But it does evoke generalized fear and suspicion on the part of one-half the population toward the other. This is hardly the basis for a healthy community but it's great for gun sales.
Pleasant and un-prurient interests abound in Sierra County, as fiesta dresses remind me. The Geronimo Springs Museum also has a most fabulous pottery collection, including a Mimbres Black-on-White pot with an exquisite crossword puzzle-like design - as if the artist was tripping and picturing a New York Times of the future. But the fiesta dresses are my personal favorite.
My Mother, Aunts and every other female I knew had a fiesta dress or three during the day. These particular rick-rack on-net artifacts of the 50's home sewing era were winners of T or C's annual Fiesta Dress competition. They're kept lovingly dusted and displayed in the "Barbara and Ralph Edwards Suite" along with fifty plus years worth of parade and pagent memorabilia - walls full of B-movie stars' signed photos and smiling fifty faces of Miss Fiestas.
Ralph Edwards died in 2005 and in the 2006 parade the Sierra County Sheriff's Posse honored him with a riderless horse. The Fiesta event has cooled as the town struggles with finances in the absence of Edwards's largesse. But they're still crowning "Miss Fiesta" every year.
*For a detailed account see Consequences: The Criminal Case of David Parker Ray, by J.E. Sparks. But better yet, don't. Take a picnic or go to the museum where you won't see a thing about it.