Now days we are enjoying traveling to many events and shows. We often teach Living History about the clothing and the times.
One event we enjoy each year is Ol’ Wild West Fest at Ft. Missoula, in Missoula Mt. in August each year. This event was formerly called the Wild West Fest and used to be held at the same time in East Helena. WE produce a free fashion show that illustrates the clothing of the day for an interested audience under the big tent.
Then and now…
Wyoming Classics & Bridge Over Time
This business started in my home and grew from there as my children grew. By the time they were off to college it was really blooming. One of my favorite photos was taken by the Greybull Standard and published in the paper showing a view under my tables at a local Christmas Bazaar showing my two youngest sons, Dan and Dave both fast asleep laying on a quilt each holding a small toy car. My older son, Jim, was sitting next to me in a chair. Then came the big move to town. I was recovering from a car accident and the serious injury of a broken neck and bruised heart. Wyoming Classics first retail location was on Greybull Avenue in that small town of Greybull, Wyoming, which is about 50 miles east of Cody. Wyoming Classics occupied a storefront with the taxidermist who owned the building, doing business behind.
In a few very short months Wyoming Classics outgrew that storefront and the search was on for more space and a better location. I thank God for the opportunity to purchase what I think was the best building in town at the intersection of Hwy 14-16-and 20. It was also the only stoplight in town. What a beautiful place, though it needed a lot of restoration.
Our town and our building have changed some since the 20′s when the picture on the right below was taken. It was built in 1908. by Grace Spencer, who was the widow of the first doctor in Greybull. The addition in the rear was added in the twenties. The picture on the right shows the front of the “Spencer” Building when it housed the Rexall Drug Store. The fancy brick line on the top front has seen some changes, but we have located some brick made in the same brick factory at the same time and hope to return the top edge that was removed to it’s former glory. Wyoming Classics operated out of that location until the end of 2005. One dream came to an end, but a merciful and loving God gave me a new dream and someone to share it with. Along came Loren and a second marriage and a new life, including someone to share the adventures of this fun business with. Once I saw the beautiful Bitterroot Valley in far western Montana, I knew I was home. Continuing on in Montana, we added Bridge Over Time to our name. Our clothing is, indeed, a bridge over time. Who We Are and How we got started… I suppose this is where I tell about how this business came to be on this corner, in this little town in Wyoming, so that is what I am going to do, and later how it moved to the beautiful Bitterroot Valley in western Montana. At that point we needed another name since Wyoming Classics just didn’t ring right in our new Montana home. Not wanting to loose our long time customers online, we decided to add another name for regional use and keep our online web name the same. With a last name like Bridge it quickly came together. Bridge Over Time…that is what our clothing is. So now we are know as Bridge Over Time & Wyoming Classics. There has always been a “little shopkeeper” inside of me who was trying to get out and one day she did. I think that almost everything I ever learned to do in my life was preparing me for this business. I just didn’t know it.
I have sewn since I was a child and always “made” and “arranged things”. I love to draw and airbrush paint as well. The ten plus years I spent as an Accountant Clerk for the electric company gave me the bookkeeping expertise I would need so much. During that time I designed and sewed, and sewed, and sewed with my spare time. I made almost all of my own clothes. I have taught “not for credit” classes through Northwest Community College and I have been teaching kids to sew in 4-H for over 18 years. I haven’t got a shy bone in my body and have always felt easy around people, so that made the best part of this business come natural. It’s a pleasure to see our customers find just what they want or need. And it is wonderful to be able to see the work of your hands bring a smile to someone’s face.
With my three sons growing up and soon to be ready to fly the nest, I knew I was going to be open for the …Rest of the Story… but I could never have imagined that it would unfold like it did. The only other ingredient that was missing was the jolt to get me started and I sure got that in an unexpected way one day.
Halloween morning 1989, on the way to town, my car went out of control and rolled on some black ice on the dry creek bridge. I didn’t look too injured, but when the E.M.T. crew arrived I was fortunate to have Rick be the EMT in charge at my accident scene. Thanks to Rick’s insistence that they handle me as a neck injury, in spite of how undamaged I looked, I wasn’t paralyzed in transport. The hospital found my bruised kidney right away, but they missed the rest. When the pain didn’t stop, and at my continuing insistence that something was indeed wrong, on my 3rd day in the hospital, they finally discovered that my neck was broken at cervical vertebrae 6, in three places. Before I knew it we were on a jet plane to Billings, Montana and the next day I had delicate surgery to repair the damage and prevent paralysis. Thankfully, and by the Grace of God, I came out of surgery able to move everything.
To make a long story short, I ended up with three fused vertebrae in my neck; a bruised kidney and heart, and a long road to recovery ahead. About a year of physical therapy later, I discovered an empty storefront down the street from where we are today. I didn’t know if I was strong enough to have a business or not; but I knew I needed to try. The owners of the building, Ron and Chris, rented the storefront to me on a month to month basis understanding that my strength and endurance for the task ahead were both uncertain. I am sure glad I did. After only 6 months in that rented space, we moved down the street to our next home, the old Spencer Building.
Over the years that have followed family, employees, friends and customers have brought their ideas, talents, enthusiasm, and vision to help make this store grow and thrive. I am excited to see the growth continue and the new faces that will join us in our efforts.
I know that none of this happened by accident. This all came about as an answer to a prayer that I had prayed on and off for years. I call it my “Prayer with a P.S.” I always prayed, ” God, give me a witness so I can share who you are and what you can do in a persons life with others in a real way.” At the end, I always said, ” But don’t let me break my neck like Joni Eriksson did.” (She dove into a pool headfirst and became a quadriplegic and He has used her greatly). I had great doubts in that area…It was my Worst Fear.
I believe He allowed my neck to be broken as an answer to my prayer, because He wanted to show me that He could get me through anything…even my worst fear. There is my Witness, just what I had prayed for. I can now say without any reservation that God can get you through anything if you trust in Him. He knew I needed a place to let it shine… and then came my store. The framed plaque that hangs on our wall says it all:
Dear Father, Thank you for the opportunity you have given me to be in business. May you be glorified in every decision that is made, every service that is rendered , and every transaction that is consummated. Make me bold to tell of your love to both my customers and my associates. Also Lord, may they see your love in my actions just as clearly as in my works. By Your Word, Lord, may I be successful enough to support my family and your work. And Lord, may the true fruits of my labors be the joys of knowing that I do my job well. ~
The rest of the story is still unfolding day by day. He is the God of Broken Necks, Broken Hearts and Lord over all our deepest fears. HE IS SUFFICIENT. Each day brings new challenges, new ideas, new joys, and new people to serve. We have longstanding customers who have become friends over time, long time friends who have become customers, and about every thing in-between. We promise to do our best to meet your needs and expectations for our services. All of us enjoy what we do and we think you will see that in what we craft and the selections we have made to offer you.
In October of 2005 God brought Loren into my life and me into his and together we are taking business forward with the special talents that Loren brings with him. Watch for new and exciting things to happen in the coming weeks, months and years from our new home base south of Corvallis, Montana, in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley. Look for us at Cowboy Action Shooting Events and Fairs, Horse, Mule, Living History and many other events all around. We will be happily showing and selling our products and having the time of our lives.
We are PROUD TO BE AMERICANS making clothing and accessories for customers here and around the world!!
There are so many people who contributed their ideas, energy, hard work and resources to help us get to where we are today. Without them this would still be just a dream. To everyone else who has dropped in over the years with ideas and encouragement we owe our thanks. To our customers from all over the world…we would be nothing without you. To those who have yet to come…we await your entrance into our lives and pray that we can be a blessing to you as well.