Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pinehurst: Fifth Grade (3)

Flood & Native Speak

Oft times in the Silver Valley, about every 10 years - give or take a year, there's a flood. There was a flood in '64, '74, and in the mid-80s - (unsure of the year, but my parents took "movies") and probably one in the 90s. Now the floods in Pinehurst usually don't occur during the "spring run-off" when most floods occur - they usually happen in December or January. Yea. Dead in the middle of winter.

Northern Idaho generally starts getting snow in November (sometimes late October), and the snow continues to fall throughout December and into January. But in certain years, instead of the snow continuing through March, winter is disrupted by a "Chinook wind." A Chinook is a warm wind that comes off of the Pacific Ocean melting a portion of the snow pack. As the snow pack melts, it fills the frozen streams with excess water, then rushes into bigger creeks and rivers. I am not sure if it is because the ground is frozen, but winter floods are the biggest in Northern Idaho.

Now the geography of Pinehurst is such, that the creek (pronounced "crick" by the natives - Pinehurst natives) used to flow through the middle of the present town. My parents bought property on Main St. and the entire back yard was full of river rock. . .You guessed it. Right smack dab, in the middle of the old crick bed.

Of course, we were safe from flooding. Pinecrick crick (yep, that's what we called it - so as not to confuse it with Pinecrick, the town, "up Pinecrick") wasn't anywhere close to the property any more. Years earlier a dike (not to be confused with dyke - which is fairly recent term) was built to route the water around the southern end of town to the western side of the settlement and northward to the lead (led) crick. There used to be a road on top of the dike, aptly named "the dike road." As Main street leaves town on the western border, there is a bridge that crosses the "crick" and leads to the Bauman Addition. Prior to January 1965, that bridge was made of wood and held up by wood pylons ("pilings").

The flood came early that winter. It was a few nights before Christmas, when we got the call from Dorothy Clemens. " The dike broke! You've gotta get out of there!" Mom got us up, and we hurried out to the car in our pajamas, shoes and coats. Dad pulled out of the driveway and headed for 6th street. We went up one block and turned left, but the water was getting so deep that a small row boat floated past the front of the car. So he backtracked to Main, turned right and drove east to Division street. My parents had some friends who lived on "D" Street, which was situated higher than our house, so we went to there.

My sister and I crashed on a couch, chair, or floor to finish sleeping. I heard the adults discussing the possibility that the water could get high enough to flood our living room and destroy the presents under the tree. To avoid further catastrophe, Dad and Stan braved the waters back to our place, and put the packages up on the furniture.

The next day the water had receded enough for us to go home. When we pulled into the driveway, there was a thawed "frozen turkey" in our yard. Mom surmised that someone must have set it out on their porch to thaw the night before. People don't do that anymore.

I don't remember what we did for water. Usually when the water gets really high in the crick, and a Chinook starts to blow, we'd fill the bathtub with water to flush the toilet. (Used a pan to scoop the water and pour enough into the commode to trip the flushing mechanism.) We would also scoop water out to boil for drinking. Maybe we did the same with the flood water that year, I just know we got by somehow.

That could have been the year there was an outbreak of Hepatitis A in Kellogg. From the story I remember, some lady contracted Hepatitis and started getting sick while she was preparing food for St. Rita's Bazaar at the Union Legion. Everyone who had eaten there was urged to get vaccinated so they wouldn't get sick. Unfortunately a number of people who attended the bazaar contracted Hepatitis - including my husband and one of his sisters.

The flood destroyed the bridge at the west end of Main St. The waters were so deep, some of the "pilings" broke and washed downstream taking other "pilings" with them. In fact there were numerous wooden bridges around the valley that were washed out that year. Rumor had it that the "Pinecrick kids" had to cross the "crick" by walking across on a large pipe and holding onto a cable, just to catch the school bus once school was back in session. . (I remember hearing about it from the kids at school, but it has been so many years ago, some of them would have to verify if that information was factual. I know I believed it as a child.)

With the bridge to Kingston wiped out, those of us in Pinehurst were stranded. This was before the freeway was built, and the only way out of town was across that bridge. . .now I could be mistaken, but the other end of town was where slough met the "crick" and flooded the old road, blocking that exit. I think if there had been an emergency in town, we would have needed helicopters to get out.
(I know helicopters were used as emergency vehicles during one flood, but I don't remember which one.)

The bridges were given temporary support as the waters receded, leaving sometimes one lane to drive across. As soon as weather permitted, we got new bridges made of concrete and metal. I "kinda" missed the old wooden bridges. They had a certain quaintness and familiarity that the new bridges didn't have.

In addition to the loss of bridges, the Pinehurst Fifth Grade playground was reshaped by the flood. A once sloping grade up to the equipment, now had a large crevice right down the middle of it, where the creek had raged toward the school. Nevada street also had a fissure cutting a deep gash across it, one large enough that our elderly neighbor, Mrs. Trosch, was inattentively stopped in her tracks when the front wheels of her car dropped into it.

In Pinehurst, the dike was reinforced with gigantic rocks from the freeway construction, so that it held better than ever. And though the Chinook of winter, brings a big flood about every 10 years, I don't think the dike has broken since Dec. '64.


Mrs. Fierce Shoes said...

I got meme'd (is that a word?) by my friend over at A Schmitty Life and you've been selected for it's next victim!

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:
1) The Life & Times of a First Time Stay At Home Mom
2) Mom of 2 and Wife of 1
3) BlondeMomBlog
4) It's A Schmitty Life
5) Life is short, buy the shoes

Silver Valley Girl said...

I remember the flood of 1974 the best. I think we may have lost the wooden Division Street bridge that year. I remember the river in Kellogg being really high. That is interesting about the flood of 64. That must have been scary with all that water around.

InlandEmpireGirl said...

I remember the floods also. I think after I moved away the water went over I-90 at the Cataldo Slew. I remember seeing it on the news. I still look at the river as I cross the Cataldo bridge in the spring to see how high the water is.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...


The '64 flood was really bad in Pinehurst and Pinecreek, but I think the '74 flood was much larger in the entire region. I will likely blog about it later, but they were putting boards up between the cement dividers along the public beach and sand bagging to keep the Coeur d'Alene lake from overrunning the NIC campus area.

Anonymous said...

Our house at Fifth and Montana was one block from the dike, so when it went in '64 we got three feet of water in our basement. We had just moved into the brand new house during the summer of '64, so we hadn't yet finished the basement (thankfully) although the boys' bedrooms were down there. We got most of our things out, but the muddy mess to cleanup will remain with me forever.

In '74, my senior year at KHS, we had to evacuate because the dike at the bridge to Weir Gulch was about to break. That would have sent a wall of water about eight feet high down Fifth Street, so we packed up and went to the Sunshine Inn. My friend, Rita Spinazza lived nearby, so it was OK with me. Meanwhile, helicopters were used to evacuate people from up Pine Creek. We filled sand bags at Barney's parking lot to help shore up the dike. That, as I recall it now, was eerily similar to filling sand bags during the Sunshine Mine disaster just 20 months earlier.

Fortunately, the dike held (although the Weir Gulch bridge did not) and we moved back the next day. The flood washed out the two eastbound lanes of I-90, just after my dad and I crossed them, so we had to use the westbound lanes both ways for months until repairs were made.

Thanks for jogging my memories, SL. Yes, my dad helped me figure out who you are, from his '72 pre-calc class. So, there. :)

John Austin

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Wow - your dad has an amazing memory! I remember he knew his stuff, and half the time I couldn't wrap my brain around the material. Besides that and Calculus in College, I changed my mind about being a Math Teacher. . .but back to the floods. . .

I remember where you lived. I may have dropped someone off at your house one time. I can't imagine all that water in the basement! It must have been horrible! Mud everywhere!

Glad you were able to evacuate in '74. I was living off-campus in an upstairs apt, by the swimming pool a few blocks from NIC. (One of my roommates was C. Shonewald). Some of the guys who had been sand bagging in the valley came over to rest and we fed them. I can't remember who-all came over, but they were exhausted! They gave us a report of the valley and it sounded much worse than '64.

I remember Rita - didn't really know her - but remembered she was really pretty. She went to Pinehurst Jr. High also, didn't she?

I didn't realize anyone filled sand bags for the Mine Disaster. What did they use them for?

Glad you and your Dad didn't get swept away when the freeway washed out. So scary!

Guess God had plans for the two of you!

Great job figuring out who I am. Did you know me? I knew you, because your brother was popular with some of the girls in my class, and of course, that gave you some notariety as the younger brother.

Get my email from Pert if ya wanna contact me. I would put it here, but I'm getting plenty of spam since I started using Blogspot. . . advertising it here may make it worse!

myrtle beached whale said...

Because of my high standardized test scores, our "brilliant" counselor, Mr. Horvath, decided that as a Junior I should take Calculus and Physics. This was an experimental program of which I was the guinea pig. All the other students in those classes were Seniors. Mr. Austin taught both. What Mr. Horvath failed to realize was that I was one of the youngest people in my class, so I was essentially two years younger than my classmates in those classes. Though I was intellectually on a par with them, I was not socially or emotionally equipped, or on the same maturity level as the other students. The experiment was a dismal failure and to this day I don't get physics. Mr. Austin was a great teacher, but I was not prepared to learn those advanced subjects. I had forgotten all about that until I saw the name Austin. This blog stuff is like hypnotic regression for me. Plus, I was and always will be, a classic underachiever. Standardized tests do not allow for that.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Wow. . .I didn't know KHS ever had Physics and Calculus. I was an Algebra whiz, but dismal at Pre-Calc. I got my highest scores in Physics on the ACT - even though I had never had it. (Thought it was pretty much common sense at the time - but then not everyone thought like me). Sorry, they put you through all that torture. Actually Standardized tests can measure underachievement, if you guess at the answers. Guess we thought if we played by the rules, the "experts" would take care of us. LOL!

Hypnotic regression??? Maybe that's where my brain has been lately. . . So funny. I decided to keep this blog primarily about my growing up years. . .because it is about Pinehurst. Didn't realize that I would be draggin' others back with me. . .but then that's what makes it fun. I get to hear other's stories of what was happening about the same time, and it makes my memories much broader. . .

Thanks for regressing with me. . .you and all the Silver Valley Gang. . .

myrtle beached whale said...

They probably don't have now. After that debackle, they probably discontinued advamced math and science and added another shop class. I would have learned as much about Calculus and Physics if I had just sat in study hall for two hours a day. Mr. Austin didn't even put letter grades on my work, just big red question marks. Though I looked somewhat like Stephen Hawking in those days, it did not help me to Grok the laws of physics.

Jackie said...

I remember the flood of '64. Of having to first boil our water and empty the hot water tank, and then not being able to use the water at all. We lived up Big Creek and I remember a couple lost their home in a mud slide and were both injured. But that's about all I remember. And I wouldn't have remembered that if I hadn't read this blog! It was a LONG time ago! (Makes me feel old!)

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

I remember that mudslide! The area was still a slide when I worked at Sunshine Mine in '74 as a tour guide! They had a fence around the area on the right side of the road as you travelled up the draw. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to each of you for your comments about my dad. His was the first Calculus class taught in Idaho. He also introduced the first PCs to a school in Idaho. He still teaches calculus to students from around the world via CalCalc, from his home in Hayden.

He turned 83 yesterday and is still going strong. My mother is doing well, also. Some of you may have had her in school. She taught fifth grade at Pinehurst when SL was in seventh grade, then moved to the middle school at Kellogg and taught science.

Thanks again for the recollections. I'll share them with my dad today when I see him for lunch.

John Austin

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

JA: I remember your mom. She was always a nice looking woman. I didn't have her in school, but she may have been teaching at KJHS when I substitute taught there in the fall of '75 and '79 (?).

Great to know your dad was a pioneer in Idaho math. Sorry, I didn't follow through and become a math teacher. . .I don't think my brain was ready for pre-Calc, and I thought your Dad was way more intelligent than we were.

I really struggled with Differentiation in college. I could Integrate, but not Differentiate. Don't know Why - just didn't make sense to me. I never figured out what to do with the problems - unlike Algebra where I knew what to do to reduce the formulas. With Differentiation, I didn't know where to start or when to end. I never got any problems right!

I tried to take Calc 2 at NIC, but dropped it, since I slept through the classes (not in class, but at my apt.). Then I tried taking Calc 2 again at UI in the fall of 1980. Got lost the first week, and dropped it. Tried Calc 1 AGAIN in 1997, but couldn't remember Trig from 1972. . .go figure!

I have taught various levels of Algebra and Geometry off and on for years at Private Schools, and I loved it. Just wished I could have learned higher math more easily. (My husband slugged it out to become an engineer - but I'm not much of a slugger.)

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

JA: Should have said to give my best regards to both of your parents. I appreciate the sacrifices they made to educate those of us in the valley. If it hadn't been for quality teachers - who knows what might have happened to some of us.

My mom strongly discouraged me from going to college, but I didn't want to just get married and have children. I wanted to stretch my brain. . .(and find someone to share my life with that I could "talk" to on a deep level.)

Dad didn't say anything, but there was no money set aside. I'll probably blog on that, if I can ever get through these growing up years.