Monday, April 30, 2007

Smelterville: Weekends in Pinehurst

Aside from Rollerskating, I also spent a portion of my weekends in Pinehurst, staying at the Caldwell's on main street. There house was between the Post Office and the Library and sat back away from the road. The little house we lived in when I was born, was further back and to the right of their home.

Dorothy Caldwell was a school teacher (fourth grade) in Pinehurst, and she was like a grandmother to me. (My grandparents all lived in Utah, and I only saw them about once a year). She and her husband, Glen, had 5 kids who were 7 yrs or more older than I. The two daughters M & D used to babysit me when I was very young. When I was 5, I was the flowergirl in M's wedding. I spent many days and likely a few nights at D & her husband R's place - off and on through my younger years.

On weekends, I had a standing invitation to spend the night at Dorothy and Glen's. I would sleep on the hide-a-bed, watch cartoons on Sat morning, eat Trix cereal and play with their dog Coonie. (By this time Lucky was gone.) Sometimes I would plunk out melodies on their piano, or listen to their youngest son play the "Flying Purple People Eater" on his record player. (He also had a Flying Purple People Eater stuffed animal that hung high by his bedroom door, but I wasn't afraid of it because it was too little to eat anyone.)

One week, Dorothy called me and said she had a surprise for me when I came to stay. I really wanted to know what it was, and she told me a new family had moved in next door (behind the Post Office) and they had a little girl I could play with. She told me the family was all boys except the one little girl, and she was excited for me to come and play.

That weekend, I met the Carvers for the first time. The parents and all 6 kids lived in the very small home. I remembered the parents bedroom was past the kitchen before we'd go out the back door in a porchlike area. (And it probably was). They had just moved to Idaho from West Virginia at the invitation of some relatives who lived in the eastern part of Shoshone County. They had four boys, the girl, and then another baby boy. The girl M and I became very good friends, but I also became friends with the boys who were near my age. G was my age, S, a year older, and B 3 yrs older.

When I went over to play with M, we usually ended up outside playing Tarzan with some of her brothers. S was Tarzan, I was Jane, M was "girl" (a role we invented for her), G was Boy and B was Cheeta. They was no tree house, but we would play in the base of the trees and pretend it was a tree house. When we couldn't play outside, we would watch movies inside. I really looked forward to going to Caldwell's and playing with the Carver kids.

In addition to being my weekend get-away, the Caldwells also were the first people I knew who bought a color televison. They got theirs in about 1963. Our family was invited to come every Sunday night to watch Bonanza and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color in COLOR! It became our Sunday night ritual and I loved it.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Smelterville: Rollerskating

Sometime after we moved to Smelterville, someone decided to turn the old theater into a rollerskating rink. The theater was adjacent to the Post Office on the eastern side next to someone's (Douglas'?) home and property. (Now it is part of the Smelterville Post Office). My dad stopped by to see what they were doing and asked if he could work at the rink on weekends. He was hired.

I think I was five when I first learned to rollerskate, probably having begun on the old "steel" skates that hooked onto the bottoms of my shoes. When the rink in Smelterville was open, I became a regular fixture. Every Saturday morining, I would go down the street with my dad to the rink, just before it opened, picked out some skates, and was on the floor by the time they opened the door to the paying customers. Sometimes Dad "suited up" for skating, but often he worked in a small room repairing skates, polished wheels, and updating shoe laces. Whenever I got hungry or thirsty, I'd skate back to the small room to the left of the front entrance and ask my dad for money. He always came through!

I loved to skate, and looked forward to every Saturday morning when Dad and I would leave for the rink. Sometimes we would stop at a soda fountain between the Wayside Market and the rink to get ice cream or sodas. One of my favorite memories is walking hand in hand with my dad down that sidewalk. I remember his hand and mine were about my eye level. I always felt special when he'd take my hand and walk me to the rink.

The Smelterville rink had a wooden floor, and it seemed like a good sized one too. It still had the theater screen on the far wall, that reflected the colored lights on "special" skates like couples only or girls only. The owners played a lot of the popular hits at the rink, as well as some slower waltz type music. Later, after the "British invasion" they'd play a lot of the Beatles's songs. I honed my skating skills every week at that rink.

The rink was open on Fri nights, Saturday morings (two sessions), Saturday nights, and Sundays. I skated both Saturday sessions for a long time, then Saturdays and Sundays, and when I was a little older, I got to skate on Saturday nights, too. I made some new friends at the rink, specifically the owners and their kids. (I think the owner's name was Pat Metzger?) His daughter Kathy was a favorite of mine. There were a lot of people I knew who skated there, but few of my friends from Pinehurst came.

My dad also taught rollerskating lessons at some time on the weekends. I used to go with him, and learned how to teach others also. I used the same techniques to teach other kids to skate years later at the old KHS /Jr High gym uptown when I was in the early '70s.

When I was in the first grade, I got my own pair of rollerskates. My parents each had their own pair, and now I had mine. (I think they bought a pair for my sister, although, she was only two or three and couldn't skate without help). I loved my new white skates. They were better than the rink skates and I didn't have to wear a different pair every week. Mine had really good pink toes stops, so I could easily stop when skating backward. (Sometimes the rental skates didn't have toe stops and if you forgot, you could fall on your face trying to use them.) By watching others, I taught myself how to turn around so I could skate backwards without stopping first. My dad taught me how to rock up on my front wheels and flip my heels around, so I could go from frontwards to backwards in a snap. (Yea, I guess I thought I was a hot-shot on skates.) Kathy's husband even taught me how to waltz on skates, so I could follow his lead even on the turns. (Although I could only turn one direction while waltzing.)

I had great ambitions of being an Olympic skater, but there were obstacles. 1) You had to skate on ice, and on ice skates: so roller skates weren't going to cut it. 2) You had to have lessons to learn all the jumps, etc.and the closest ice rink was in Spokane. There was no way my parents were gonna drive me back and forth for lessons. 3) You had to be thin and beautiful - and I was neither of these. I was just a chubby, plain girl.

Sometime, however, I did get a skating skirt that made me feel beautiful. It was black velvet circle with a silvery white satin lining, and I loved to wear it. It made me dream the impossible, as if it were true. I thought when people saw me in my skating skirt, doing turns and jumps, they would know I was destined for greatness. But the dream only lasted while I was on the floor skating to my heart's content. After the session, I was became just another awkward girl putting her sweaty feet into her everyday shoes.

Thank you, Dad, for the opportunity, the skill, the dreams, and the time we spent together. It was times like these that made me particular when it came to dating in my later years. Who, afterall, could be worthy to take your place in my heart?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Smelterville: Second Grade (2) Friends, Recess, & Barbie Dolls

By the time I was in the second grade, I got to visit more friends that I had made who lived in Smelterville. KV, DS, SM, MM, and LJ were just a few. One time I went to see KV, and she was standing on a chair doing the dishes. I asked her if she could play, and she said not until she finished the dishes. "How long will that take?" I asked. "Two or three hours is what it usually takes me," she replied. Two or three hours? I thought I'm sure glad my mom doesn't make me do the dishes before I can play. She told me she had to do the dishes every night, because she was the only girl in the family. Boy, they had a lot of dishes, too.

At recess, on of my favoite things to do was to swing. Silver King had some of the largest swingsets I remember. They seemed so tall, I could almost swing to the sky. Swings were a first-come recreational item, so I would run to try to beat others to them, and see how high I could go. Sometimes my friends and I took turns pushing each other in the swings to make them go as high as possible. They were so much fun!

Second grade was also a time for Barbie dolls. I got my first Barbie that year, probably for Christmas. She was an original Barbie, but unlike the typical Blonde Barbie, mine had a Brunette pony tail. Since my hair was brown, I thought she was great. My friends and I would play Barbies on the stairs outside during recess. Barbie was my alter ego. I could be anything when I was Barbie. My Pinehurst friend PJ also had an original Barbie with a blonde pony tail. Since PJ was a blonde it seemed fitting. We played Barbies together all the time and would share back and forth when our Barbies got new outfits.

Sometime between 2nd and 4th grade, I lost my Barbie's head. I was upset, but I did have a Midge doll and a Ken doll to play with. Then one day, I went with PJ and her family to the White Elephant store in Coeur d'Alene. (Her family shopped in Cd'A quite a bit, but my family rarely left the valley to shop). At the White Elephant, we were looking at Barbie stuff, and I found a Barbie head with three wigs. The head had molded plastic hair, but the wigs fit over that hair, so I could change her look. One wig was blonde, one red, and one brunette. My favorite was the bleach blonde bubble look wig. My Barbie wore that wig most of the time, and I longed to have hair just like hers. She looked like Marilyn Monroe in her wig, and that made her beautiful to me.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Smelterville: Second Grade (1) - Fire drills & Smelter Heights

Still at Silver King in second grade, I had Mrs. Hokanson as my teacher. We learned poems and sometimes got to put our art work on display. She usually had one section of the chalkboard where she would draw a picture for the month in my favoite: colored chalk! I remember in December she had a wreath drawn on that section of the board.

I remember different things about second grade than first. First of all, I remember the coat room. It was like a little hallway outside of our classroom where we took off our coats and boots and put on our shoes. Each student had their own coat hook, and there was an area under the hooks that was raised that we could sit on, and also left our boots on after we removed them.

The lunch room was upstairs at Silver King. Every class would line up single file and go to the end of the southern hallway then up the stairs. Each class would line up behind the next until there was a line of kids running from the lunchroom at the top of the stairs all the way to the bottom and sometimes around the corner. We all lined up on the left side, as that is the side the kitchen was on and where we would pick up our trays, silverware, and food. Then each class was seated together at one long table with the teacher maintaining control and seeing that we cleared our plates.

There was no smorgesboard in those days. We took what they gave us and we ate it all - or at least some of all we were given. We even had to drink our milk. When everyone was finished at our table, the entire class was dismissed to line up and go back downstairs for lunchtime recess. I can't remember if we exited via the attic on the back side of the lunchroom beginning in the second or third grade. When we did, we would walk through the back door into a dark area that had boxes of stuff stored on each side of a walkway. We were told to stay on the board walkway and go straight to the stairs that went down to the right. Our teacher would often monitor us inside the attic, so no one strayed. I think this was my favoite part of lunchtime.

The scary part of lunchtime was when we had fire drills. (Some kids loved this.) To get out of the lunchroom on a firedrill, we had to go out a large window that opened on the east side of the room. From the window we stepped onto a metal walkway that ran over the slope of the roof below and to a very long slide. We had to sit at the top of the slide which faced south, and slide down. The first time I went out the window on a drill, I was scared to go down the slide, but I had to. Afterwards, it was kinda fun, but I always hoped we wouldn't have another drill in the lunchroom.

Also in second grade I made a new friend KV. She was a cute blonde girl that had just moved from Kentucky. She and I just lived a few blocks from each other in Smelterville. A lot of times we would sit together on the bus ride home from school. Most times the bus would take those of us who lived in Smelterville home first, then take the kids home who lived up Smelter Heights.

Smelter Heights was a housing area that was on the hill behind the Smelter. I hated it, when the bus went up there first. One reason was because of the switchback at the end of the route, just before we headed down the hill. The second reason was because KV told me a story about a school bus that went off the road in Kentucky and killed a bunch of kids. Now she told me this story as we were nearing the switchback one day. (The switchback for those who do not know, is when the road is heading one way, then turns nearly 180 degrees to go back the direction you were coming from only in this case - downhill.) The Smelter Heights switchback took place at the top of the hill. Since there were no trees on the hill, there was nothing to keep the bus from going over the edge, except a good driver.) Everytime we went up Smelter Heights first, I was a nervous wreck! I would pray under my breath, "Please don't let us go over the edge" - especially in the wintertime. I don't know how the kids who lived on that last road, right by the switchback could stand it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Smelterville: First Grade

I started first grade at Silver King Grade School. My first-grade teacher was Mrs. Morical (unsure of spelling). I remember the first day of classes I was pretty scared to have my mom leave me there. I only knew 2 kids in my grade so far, LJ and MR from kindergarten. I think LJ, the girl was in the other first-grade class, so I really felt strange.

One of the first things Mrs. M would do each day, was to ask us 3 questions. If the answers were yes to all three questions, we would get a star by our name on the board. She made the stars out of colored chalk and they were the kind you make by drawing a + with an x written over it.) I was in awe of the colored chalk and really wanted to have those stars by my name. The three questions were: Did you comb your hair? Did you brush your teeth? and Did you bring a clean handkerchief? (Yes, handkerchief. . .I'm not sure if Kleenex was invented yet, or if it was just a luxury item that no one really could afford at the time.) I always felt bad if I forgot my hankie, because I couldn't get a star that day.

Highlights of first grade were: learning to read, making butter & cottage cheese, and playing Mrs. Santa Claus in the Christmas play. It didn't occur to me until about the time we did the play, that I did most of the talking. I don't remember learning my lines, but I do remember getting to wear "red lipstick" the night of the play. (Raymond Pert played Santa and I look forward to his post about that event.)

I also remember being really homesick in first grade. I had a lot of stomach aches, and later found out it was called separation anxiety. (I wanted to be at home). My most embarrassing moment in the first grade was the day I discovered I had worn my shortie pajama bottoms to school under my dress. (No one else knew, but I was mortified to think I had done something so stupid). Later I found out it happened to other girls as well.

The day we made butter, we took turns churning the butter in a large glass jar with wooden paddles inside. When the butter was ready, we got to eat it on Hi Ho or Ritz crackers. It was the best butter I have ever eaten. The cottage cheese was another story. The curds and whey were upstairs in the lunch room, and each first grader from both classes got to take a turnlifting the curds from the whey with a screened scoop of some kind. The whey stunk, and I wasn't interested in eating any of the curds when we were done. (At least now I knew what "Little Miss Muffet" had been eating, and I really felt sorry for her.)

Learning to read was fun. We had several reading groups that took turns sitting in little chairs around the teacher. She had flash cards with phonics on them that we learned, repeated, and read. Later we graduated to "Dick, Jane, and Sally" books, and latter Dr. Seuss books for take home reading.

Dr. Seuss was all the rage at that time. I don't know if it was the first year his books were out, but a lot of the kids were getting them for their home libraries. I think I got five. One of my friends from Pinehurst, got all the books in the series. I liked to go to her house and read the ones I hadn't read.

My favorite Dr. Seuss book was One Fish, Two Fish. I had half the book memorized and could recite it years later. The only thing I didn't like about the Dr. Seuss books were the drawings and stories of made-up creatures. I thought the drawings were creepy and the creatures were dumb - but I was just a kid. (I still think that about the books, and wondered why they didn't at least improve on the pictures.)

What was your favorite Dr. Seuss Book? Did you like his illustrations?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Time Out for Reflection

Wasn't in the mood to post anything that would take time to think about or write.

I have been reading The Deep Dark: Disaster and Redemption in America's Richest Silver Mine, and have spent a lot of time reflecting. The fact that my dad worked there most of my growing up years and had just come off graveyard shift the day of the fire, brought the tragedy into our home. My Dad lost one of his best friends, and a lot of good men that he worked with throughout the years. His biggest decision was whether or not he could go back down into the bowels of death - but he did. He had to support us and mining was all he knew.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


"Oops" is Ozzy's favorite word. It seems that when I say "Oops" - it usually means something edible has just hit the floor, and you know dogs.

Well, today, "Oops" meant something different. My husband bought some tool to trim branches on the trees, and no, I didn't scalp a tree. What I did, was lop off the top of his raspberries. I just cut them a little higher than the lattice fence between his raspberry plants and my flower garden. I kept telling him they needed to be trimmed so the berries would be thicker and easier to pick. He hadn't done it yet, so -"Oops."

I also trimmed the branches that were coming through the lattice, although he really didn't want me to. "Oops." (We'll see if he even notices.) Now, before you think I am evil, let me explain. He has another patch of raspberries by our exterior fence, and I didn't touch those. Also, during the time he was transplanting those berries, I allowed the original patch to overtake that section of my flower garden. We decided that since his new patch will likely produce this year, that we would clean the raspberries out of my flower bed. Together we dug up most of the plants last fall, and he transplanted a lot of them. So I had permission. . .sort of, and if he gets upset -- all I'm saying is, "Oops."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Smelterville - kindergarten & tonsils

We moved to Smelterville before I entered Kindergarten. My parents rented a blue house on the main street, that still stands today. It was right behind a lumber office, and next to some apt buildings (or an old motel). The house had two front doors, one that went into the kitchen on the left, and one that accessed the living room on the right. We only used the one in the kitchen. It had two bedrooms, a bath, and it also had a small utility room. The kitchen and living room were much larger than the ones we had at the Robinson's house. Outside the yard was enclosed by a wooden fence, and attached to a carport. We lived there until May of 1963, and I don't think anyone has lived there since.

Although we lived in Smelterville, I went to kindergarden in Pinehurst where all my childhood friends attended. It was a private kindergarden run by Mrs. Swan. I thought she was wonderful. I was car pooled with two other Smelterville kids to kindergarten. One was LJ, a girl who lived behind us across the alley and MR a boy who lived across town. Kindergarten was so fun! I learned the alphabet and a lot of American tunes, such as the Star-Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, America, Dixie, and some songs that are no longer politically correct. I also learned to cut, paste and follow directions. One day I didn't hear the whistle to call us for exercise, and I got hit across the back of my hand with a pointing stick. It was the first and last time I received corporal punishment for misbehavin'.

During our exercise time we played fairies and brownies (my favorite game), London Bridge, and a lot of circle games where we had to hold hands - yuck! Our exercise time started with a trip to the restrooms, then we marched around in a large hall, and finished with games and maybe songs. Maybe I shouldn't mention it, but one boy forgot to go to the restroom before marching and had an accident. Mrs. Swan told him it was his own fault for not doing as he was told. I was mortified for him, and never lost a chance to hit the restrooms.

I met a lot of new kids in Kindergarten. One thing that sticks out in my mind was that it was the first time I realized that not all the kids were the same. We all had coloring books or sheets, and I remembered noticing one day that one kid (there could have been more) had a color book with two sets of pictures on each page. One was already colored and the other wasn't. He was coloring a fire engine, but he wasn't coloring it like the other picture. The colored picture showed the fire engine in a bright red. He was scribbling all over the uncolored engine in black or purple. (He wasn't even coloring inside the lines!) I think I may have mentioned it aloud and was told to mind my own business. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with that kid. Later I reasoned that the kind of book and the coloring technique may have had something to do with the fact the kid was a year behind me in school.

I missed a lot of kindergarten. I know one extended absence was due to getting my tonsils out. I wasn't worried about the surgery beforehand, because I was told I would get to eat all the ice cream, popscicles and jello I wanted. I wasn't afraid of staying away from home, so it didn't seem too big of a deal. I probably had to spend the night there (and my mom probably did also). I was surprised that they put me in a crib. It was a large metal crib they used for older kids.

When they wisked me into surgery the next morning, I wasn't afraid. . .until they gave me the ether. The doctor and nurses were dressed in their white, white clothes and everything in the room seemed white. They draped a white sheet over me and a nurse put something over my mouth and nose and told me just to count backwards from 10. I counted 10, 9, 8, 7. . .then I screamed, took a big breath, and was gone.

When I woke up, my throat hurt soooo badly I didn't want to eat anything. I tried to suck on popscicles, but it hurt. I tried jello, but it hurt. I tried ice cream, and it tasted terrible. I was soooo mad! I could have all I wanted, but it hurt too much to eat anything. What kind of a deal was that anyway? Well, at least I'd get to go home after staying the night. So, I stayed the night, and I remember waking up to see my mom sleeping in the chair. (They didn't have soft chairs in hospitals then. The chairs were cheap aluminum or stainless steel ones. There may have had a cushion, but it probably wasn't too comfortable.) I was surprised she was there, but now I understand why.

The next day I was ready to go home. I didn't care about my sore throat, the popscicles and the jello. I just wanted to go home where everything was normal. The girl in the bed next to me gathered her stuff and left the hospital, but I was still there. Then I found out I had to stay another night. What? That's not fair! I was told I'd get to go home, but no one told me why I had to stay. But I found out.

Later in the evening, the white clad doctor and an all white nurse or two came in to my room with a tray. On the tray was a large pair of tongs and a bunch of cotton balls. (Now if you're squeamish - skip this next part.) I was wondering what they were going to do, when the doctor picked up a cotton ball with his tongs and said, "Open up". I opened up my mouth and he stuck that cotton ball so far back into my mouth, I gagged. Then he pulled it out, and it was bright red! He did the same thing a few more times, then he and his white entourage left the room. What was that all about? I wondered. I thought it was the weirdest thing. At least I got to go home the next day.

Years later, I found out the reason why I couldn't go home after the first night, was they couldn't stop the bleeding. I still don't know what the cotton ball exercise was all about, unless they cleaned my throat and put some kind of medicine in there to help stop the bleeding. All I know is that it took a long time before ice cream tasted good to me again.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Robinson's House

We moved from the little house to the "Robinson's house," when I was about 2 1/2. It was a stucco house with a livingroom, kitchen/dining room, two bedrooms, a bath, and a hallway leading to the back door. There was also a large dirt driveway and a detached wooden garage where my dad used to work on his stock cars. We had a yard, unlike the little house, with a lawn that I could play on. (At the little house there was a dirt driveway, and area for parking cars where my dad worked on his stock cars, and where I played. Somewhere there is a photo of my friend PJ and I working on a stock car engine with popscicle sticks.)

The Robinson's house belonged to the Robinson family - who owned and rented this house to my parents. They lived on the corner of 6th street and Oregon and we lived next door. Another Robinson family lived in a brown house behind us (on Nevada) and were likely related to our landlords. They had kids near my age, and I played with them when I was old enough to leave the yard.

When I think of the Robinson's house, I think of the dark brown linoleum tile on the living room floor, the green couch, and the heavy black phone in the living room. We had a simple phone number I memorized during that time: Sunset 2-2922. You didn't have to dial the letters, just the numbers then.

There are lots of memories from the time we lived there. . .eating M&Ms, watching American Bandstand with the babysitter, dressing up in the outfit my Grandmother L. made for me, playing with the Robinson's dog "Trixi" and helping her eat her dog food. (Hard dog food in various shapes and colors - tasted like Rye biscuits do now).

My mom told me, that I used to threaten to eat dirt when I was told to do something I didn't want to do. "If you make me, I'll eat dirt! I'd threaten." I don't think it was much of a deterrent, because I can still remember what dirt tastes like. Or maybe I remember the taste of dirt from going to the Pinehurst Race Track on the weekends to watch my dad and his friends race. I remember the time my dad rolled his stockcar on the Southwestern turn. I wasn't old enough to be scared, but I was excited to see him climb out of the car. (There was a picture of my dad and his stock car on the wall of the Tall Pine last time I was in there.) I thought I would be a stock-car racer when I got older, but the track was closed. Now the bar that sat between the track and Division St is gone, as is its name from my memory - but it was still there in the 70s when I was old enough to dance to the tunes of Mary Juma's (Yuma?)Band. The entire area is covered with RVs and trees today.

We were living in the Robinson's house when my little sister was born. I only remember one incident involving her at the time. She was crawling behind the brown stove in the living room, and my mom scooped her up and spanked her. I started to cry. I didn't want my mom to spank the baby.

My dad has photos from that time, as well as some home movies of my 5th birthday party. I had remembered my "doll cake" from that birthday. The movies showed my guests and I sitting on the livingroom floor (on a sheet, I think) eating birthday cake. I wish I had access to that movie today, so I could list the guests. (I can think of some, but not all, and I wouldn't want to leave anyone out - just in case they ever happen upon my blog.)

I used to travel a lot when I was still a pre-schooler. I spent a week or two at a time with the Shaffer's in Cd'A and the same with the Boje's in Otis Orchards (now part of Spokane Valley, I think). At the Schaffer's we'd walk down to Sander's Beach on Cd'A lake to swim. At that time Sander's was a public beach and easily accessed by anyone who wanted to swim there. I loved the smell of the lake - a kind of rotting wood smell from all the logs - and I loved to play in the water.

At the Boje's, my favorite thing to do, was to play dress-up in the basement. The Boje's had 3 girls and they had a lot of dress up clothes. We used to also play with "movie star" paper dolls. One thing I didn't care much for was when we had to go to bed. Their mom used these strap things on the bed, so the covers wouldn't move. I couldn't get out of bed very easily to use the facilities or to get a drink. I remember squeezing myself up and out of the opening at the top of the covers to get a drink one time, only to be told - once I hit the hallway - to get back into bed.

An interesting side note to the Boje story, is that one of the daughter's closest to my age went into teaching. She currently teaches at Kellogg High School under her married name, and has raised her boys in the Silver Valley.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Earliest Memories

Standing in my crib (actual baby crib) seeing my relatives lying in bedding on the floor of the little house. A couple of my mom's sisters and their families had come to visit us. From that visit, I also remember playing "Star Light, Star Bright" and having cousin Mike pick me up and carry me cause I had been "caught."

I remember the national anthem at the close of the broadcast day on the little TV. . .(but that could have been a flash-back when I saw it years later). I remember "Gucky" (Lucky) the Caldwells' yellow lab who came over to play with me. I loved to throw his rubber ball for him, and watch him fetch it - until it was so saliva laden, that it soaked my hand.

The little house was located among some Ponderosa Pines a ways behind, and a little to the left of what is now the Pinehurst City Library. It consisted of 3 rooms: the L-shaped livingroom / kitchen, the bedroom, and the bath. It seemed so small years later when one of my cousins - Bob - and his wife came to Pinehurst and lived there for a while.

I also remember my brother, Steven, sitting in the high chair. I was waiting to see if he would leave some applesause for me to eat. I loved applesause. It took me a few years to understand this memory. My sister, R, was born when we lived in a different house, and for years I wondered who the baby was in the little house. I don't know who "jogged my memory," but I realized one day the baby had been Steven. Steven had been born with a birth defect and died suddenly at 10 months of age.

We never talked about him. In those days, while my parents (and me?) were at the funeral, some of my parent's friends went into the house and cleared out all reminders of Steven. (Except his baby book and a few pictures I found years later). At that time they believed it helped the parents get over the death of the child. My mom was so traumatized by his death, she lost a lot of weight. I think she just buried the memories of him, because losing him was so painful.

I have a snipet of memory from the funeral home. (And if it bothers you - skip this paragraph.) I don't know if it was the actual funeral, or if it was just a viewing. . .but my Dad was holding me and Steven was lying "asleep" in a high "bed." I remember saying, "Daddy, aren't we taking Baby Steven home with us?" I didn't understand what was going on, and I don't know if anyone tried to explain it to me. After all, I was only two.

We must have moved from the little house shortly after that. For years, my memories of the little house were always happy ones. I didn't realize that memories for my parents were sorrowful.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Family

I am married to The Hunk. He is an incredible guy: ambitious, athletic, intelligent, and much more. We have been married for nearly 27 years, and reared 3 children to adulthood together. We are all Christians, and have been greatly blessed in our lives by the Lord.

The Hunk is a self-proclaimed "garbologist" (read: "radioactive garbageman"). Wasn't always so. He used to be a mining engineer, before the collapse of silver prices in the early '80s. As many people in our generation, he had to re-invent himself. He comes from a large family in Kellogg, Idaho - and interestingly, that is where we met and married. I will have much more to say about his family later.

Our young ladies - I will call M, V and S. (If you say MVS fast enough - it sounds like "envious"). The "gauls" [English accent needed] are all very unique and beautiful. M works at the nuclear site in a job designed to use her organizational and computer skills. V attends Idaho State University studying Mass Communications and Music. S is at the University of Idaho studying Microbiology. All three are single, and The Hunk expects them to stay that way for another 10 years or so. : )

After completing my Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Communication at ISU in 2001, I am finally working part-time at a dream job - in a fabric store. Yes, the education was not a prerequisite for the job, but I love working there.

Besides The Hunk, the girls, and I, we have a cantankerous cat named: Colonel, and a Sweet Chocolate Lab named: Mz Oz (Pronounced Mizz Oz.) We call her Ozzy. Colonel, who is nearly 14, is the Alpha Cat - or so he thinks. (Only the dog gives him space.) Ozzy is about 4 ??? and is clearly the sweetest dog. I also call her: Sweetness, Cocoa Pup, Puppet, Ozzy wazzy, Puppy Girl, and probably other endearing titiles. I call Colonel: Brat Cat and sing "Evil Kitty" (tune of "Evil Woman") when he is tearing through the house rumpling up the rugs and stalking family members.

The Hunk just brought me breakfast. . .scrambled eggs, toast, juice. What can I say?

The Hunk is looking for a used speed boat to buy. Now that we are slowing down . . .he wants to rev things up! Boats have never been my passion, but I'm sure we will have fun. I know the girls will enjoy waterskiing and watching their mother as white as a styrofoam cup.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The night she screamed

After reading Notes from Inside my Head this morning - I remembered how I felt when my first daughter was born. Exausted - all the time. My life (as I knew it) had come to a screeching halt. . .and now centered around this child. My body, recovering from a C-section, had now become hers. Her nourishment, her conveyance, her comfort, her hands and feet. I dressed her, fed her, changed her, changed her bedding, changed her clothing, rocked her, held her, fed her, fed her, fed her, changed her. Then I slept, sometimes for 10 whole minutes before she'd wake up screaming, or fussing, or crying. So I slept when she slept, I was up when she was up. She was my dictator. I was her slave. I lost track of time. I forgot who I had been. I became a Zombie, responding to her every whim. Then one night I flipped out, and scared my husband half to death. I was soooo tired. So incredibly tired.

My husband, The Hunk, had stayed out of school that semester and worked in a sawmill - barely keeping the wolf away from our door. He wore earplugs at night and kept a regular schedule.

The only time he received intelligent conversation with his precious bride - was for an hour or so in the evening. All she did was sleep and care for baby M. Why was she tired all the time? All she did was sleep.

Then one night - she screamed - and he shot straight out of bed.

The Hunk found his bride on the kitchen floor sobbing. Seems she had broken a wooden spoon trying to compress the air out of a bottle of breast milk. He took over. He held his wife and told her everything was going to be okay. He picked up the pieces and put them all back together. He gave his bride hope, and she believed him. He settled her into the rocking chair, and brought the baby to her. They were a family. . .

We still are.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rodent Rage

Advice is cheap - eveyone gives it away freely, even if it isn't practical.
Today, I read an article that told you how to keep rodents out of your home. The article gave four steps to prevent rodent infestation. It involved finding all the holes and cracks in your house's foundation / basement and filling them with some goo. You also have to put a seal along the bottom of your garage door, and keeping all your foliage at least a foot or so away from the siding.
The article said a mouse could get into a hole the size of a dime! They also like to burrow in the dirt to find these small openings in your home. Can you imagine looking for all the dime sized holes or larger in your concrete, siding, and under the dirt? Who's gonna dig all around the house looking for holes to fill?

My solution is practical, works well, and wasn't even on the list: Get a CAT!