Imagine a one-room schoolhouse with 26 students, a 7-mile bike ride to the nearest swimming hole and onion and potato crops as far as the eye can see.


"We had no television, no computers or anything, so we had to be real creative entertaining ourselves," said Hazel Stearns, who moved to Hesperia in the 1950s when she was 10 years old.


Swimming down at the reservoir, bike riding, throwing mud balls at each other and going to the dump were among Stearns' and her friends' favorite things to do even though the dump was off limits, because that was where the cattle ranches from around Hesperia would unload their the dead cattle.


"One of our favorite games to play was CSI," Stearns said. "We would pull the bones out of the ground [at the dump] and lay them on top of the hill so it would look like a body and then we would pretend we found someone murdered, and that's how we entertained ourselves."


These times in Hesperia when Stearns was little were still very vivid memories in her mind so vivid she knew she had to do something about it. And so the retired real estate broker and mother of four wrote her first self-published book, "Shaping Kate."


"Some of the things in there are fiction, some aren't," she said. "It's about a young girl coming of age, the freedoms we had then and how different they were then and how they are now."


Some of the locations in the story are still in Hesperia today, Stearns said. The schoolhouse is still located on Main Street and the famous Walter's General Store is still located on Hesperia Road.


"Two gas pumps in front, post office inside, general store, hardware, meat market..." Stearns recalled. "Anything you wanted, that's where you bought it because there was nothing else. It was located on Hesperia Road, and it's still used today."


Stearns' 364-page book is available for purchase on Amazon.com, where it's rated five out of five stars.


"Boundaries and time disappeared as I was transported back to the 1950s," reviewer B. Massey writes on the site. "...I will recommend this book to all my granddaughters who always want to know what it was like when I grew up. ...Kate's curiosity and the need to question every word and rule presented her will keep you laughing throughout the book."