SOMETHING OF MYSELF
by Marie Trupp Krieger
(copyright Marie Trupp Kreiger)
THE HOME OF MY CHILDHOOD
[Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV] [Part V]
I have returned to both communities [Endicott and Tonaskat] infrequently as a participant in the reunions of the different graduating classes. Some of my former students can be classed doting grandparents in their retirement years (is it possible for me to be that old?). One of them recently remarked, "You must have been very young when you taught us." Indeed I was--and naive too. I am positive a certain number are aware a reserved spot remains in my heart for them as I am always concerned about their welfare and achievements. My correspondence list includes a considerable number of names with addresses in Washington, Oregon and California. We exchange greetings and regular news-notes at Christmas. If an unusual episode occurs, one of the faithful ones notifies us via letter.
I wouldn’t be doing justice to these north central and eastern Washington areas if I didn’t mention the weather. Pullman and Endicott’s winters in the '30's may best be described by the nursery rhyme--"Blow wind blow, and we shall have snow."
The record in January, 1937, boasted a 19 degree below zero temperature one day and the next day 37 to 39 degrees below zero with winds up to 20 miles an hour in the town of Pullman. But we didn't miss classes. I remember one night in 1933 when it snowed an estimated three feet. Walking was quite difficult that morning notably with my short legs. Have you ever used your hands to pull a leg out of a snowdrift and help it move forward? That's the picture I presented that morning. The snow resembling dry powder kept my clothes dry on my way to classes, and, of course, people shoveled and swept their sidewalks then. The Endicott winters of '37 and ‘38 with ample snow provided outdoor fun for the teachers too, and we were young. We constructed snowmen and threw snowballs at each other while a photographer captured the excitement on film. At our ages, vigor and vitality reigned. Summers remained hot, the only unpleasantness experienced at summer school. The grain fields longed for sunshine and heat to ripen the wheat while the apples at Tonasket sought the sun to enhance their color. The emphases on color robbed the apples of taste. That trend is being reversed of late. The snow and cold found its way to Tonasket, too. The clouds in a clear sky put on a real show, an unforgettable phenomenon.
I spent some of my school vacations in Portland, visited my parents and continued my romance. When my parents moved from Cooper Mountain in the Beaverton area to the Rose City on Mallory Avenue, they lacked a heater for their living room. A wood cookstove fulfilled the kitchen requirements for the time being. My father's earnings barely covered necessities so I furnished the currency to cover a heater. My brothers Jacob and Daniel and I paid for a new set of dentures for my mother to make her more comfortable. If my parents were visitors at Odessa when I happened to be there for a weekend, my mother and I patronized Mrs. Grace Williams' Ready-to-Wear Shop in search of a becoming hat and an attractive dress I could purchase for my mother. My brother Fred was living at Odessa at the time, and he would furnish transportation, a cross-country ride much shorter than by train or bus via Spokane. At times he and friends, Adam and Elsie Bartalamay with their small daughter, Sylvia, made trip to Endicott or Tonasket for a day's visit. I enjoyed their hospitality at their farm residence infrequently. Opportunities for rides presented themselves with teacher friends in exchange for gas purchases, an appreciated convenience. My brother Fred was an extraordinary fellow;. ‘Twas often said, “he has a heart of gold” because he offered to assist anyone in need, financially and otherwise. Yet an unbelievable incident transpired to which we attributed his sudden death a few days later. A so-called friend had snitched Fred’s billfold from a hip pocket--value able papers in addition to currency disappeared. I had had a heart-to-heart conversation with Fred about his future (he spent his earnings freely) in regards to setting aside a percentage of his pay for a “rainy day” and/or possibly a nest egg for old age. He accepted my advice but stored cash money in a safety deposit box instead of depositing it into a savings account to collect interest. When he died at the age of 43, my parents received the savings which were then applied to the purchase of the Shoe Shop building on Union Avenue.
War clouds gathered in Europe in the fall of 1939, my first year of teaching at Tonasket; but as long as our country's men weren't involved, it was delegated to the back burner. The news of the war's progress in Europe didn't interest the ordinary citizen to the point of concern. By the spring of l940, a rapid change in the European situation faced our government. A draft bill, conscripting men between 21 and 36, passed Congress on September 14th. On October 29, 1940 the first draft number was drawn in the first U.S. peacetime conscription of an army. Selective service' offices setup in the towns and cities of the U.S. also offered inducements for the young men to enlist in various fields catering to their specific interests. Walter chose to enlist in a pilot corps ferrying planes. After registering, Walter received a deferment because he was the sole support of his parents.
Walter had secured permanent employment as a delivery truck driver so by the fall of 1940, we made plans to marry in l941. Walt's sister Amelia and her husband Conrad Taug wished to sell their house after he obtained employment in the Bremerton Navy Yard on Puget Sound in the State of Washington as a pattern maker--ship repair work. We bought the property on August l7,1940, at 7533 N. Chatham Avenue, a down payment totaling the sum of $624.38 (interest in house and garden tools). The contract Con and Amelia had signed in the spring of 1939 required monthly payments of $13.30 for the house costing $1,400 over a 12 year period at 6%. Their first payment had been on June 1, 1939, we began payments on September 5,1940 for $17.95 plus $122.05. From then on we paid the maximum allowed per month--$279. By February 1st, 1941, our total investment amounted to $1,951.62; our renter paid $25 a month.
When I spent the 1940 Christmas in Portland, Walt purchased my ring sporting a solitaire diamond designating our official engagement. I looked forward to the conclusion of the school year, my last at Tonasket even though a new contract offered me $1,500 if I returned in the fall. My teaching career ended too soon. Believe me, the farewells required much effort on my part. I couldn't have my cake and eat it too. Imagine enduring six years of bargaining to consummate the relationship I had begun in our fair city.
Next on the agenda--a requirement of a plan to remodel our house. Before commencing the reconstruction, a carpenter assisted us by drawing an outline, a rudimentary draft of the renovation pertaining to the arrangement of the rooms. After city approval and receipt of the mandatory permit, the job began on July lst,1941. Luck held sway over the weather, no rain until October, just in time for a green lawn before our wedding. Since the inside front width of the house (facing the street) was divided by a wall forming two rooms, a bedroom and a living room, the wall was removed. The walk-in bedroom closet had to be closed while a fireplace installed at the north end of the new larger living room enhanced its living ability. The bathroom plumbing necessitated movement to the north end, west of the living room. All the fixtures required replacement. For instance, the bathtub with legs couldn’t be encased very well. The resettling of the bathroom furnished us a hallway between the facility and the kitchen with a hall closet, a great asset, next to the chimney. Years later, cabinets with sliding doors were added above the entrance and exit doors of the hallway, a tremendous place for storage of extra linens. Who cares for wasted space in a house? Even storage space for extra supplies can be found above the bathtub. The overhead built-ins compel me to climb--a yearned for exercise. I oftentimes use a handy cane in the kitchen.
THE COOKROOM! Ah, the kitchen What homemaker doesn't desire a convenient workplace? Breadboards are a must, which the carpenter couldn't visualize. I remember supervising the remodeling of my mother's kitchen. The carpenter's remarks–they don't do such and such nowadays--my replies of the old ways being better in some instances. Our sink situated on the west wall overlooked a narrow window-framed enclosed porch. It's back door led to the back yard and to an outdoor entrance to the basement. A new back porch added to the house, with an adjoining wall to the bedroom, covered the basement entrance with a new stairway leading to it. The old stairwell with its retained door serves as a canned goods receptacle into which Walt has built shelves. The most meaningful equipment, a sink, replaced the earlier eating area where the switching of matching windows above the new sink afford me an outdoor view of the traffic. Including an available Tri-Met bus moving east and west on N. Lombard 150 feet away. The wear and tear causing two replacements of the L-shaped drainboard surface within a forty-six year period can't be blamed on my gawking out the windows watching my neighbors or the traffic. Additional built-in cupboards completed the room. Since no floor changes were involved, the original linoleum lasted forty-three years plus a few days probably.
The reader's attention must now be directed to the bedroom, spacious enough so one can walk around the double bed. Attached to the south wall of the chamber one finds two closets divided 3/4ths of the way up from the floor--the upper 1/4th as storage areas touching the ceiling. In between the clothes closets, a built-in chest of drawers below the window sill serves a variety of uses. The top surface supports an air conditioner which extends into the inside window resting on the sill; a storm window protects it when not in use. Another cabinet fit into the space between the closets above the window bordering the ceiling was added later. And still later a bookcase from floor to ceiling was installed against the north wall between the bed and the room's door which leads into the kitchen. Now, how more compact can one be? One might contemplate or question the sensibility of this remodeling project, but the comfort of our home proved its worth. As time marched on, the alleyway behind the property allowed Walt to park his refuse truck under the protection of a carport surrounded on two sides by a privet hedge which I had planted while Walt served our country. Today as we near our twilight years, the location with its shopping conveniences and access to buses can't be beat.
During the remodeling period in the summer of 1941 I traveled to this house nearly every day to paint the exterior siding as it was being completed. Next, I continued painting the interior woodwork plus the area bordering the French window panes. We were forced to change carpenters in mid-stream. An expert cabinet maker eventually concluded the finish work such as cabinets, etc., much to our delight. A paper hanger attached the required wall paper to the living room and bedroom, the work completed.
The installation of the venetian blinds, the hanging of the drapes and the laying of the rugs preceded furniture deliveries. When I had mentioned the fact of waiting for the venetian blind installer to an older neighbor, she exclaimed, “Venetian blinds, are you having venetian blinds?” The very same blinds still adorn our windows forty seven years later.
That neighbor's troublesome horse chestnut trees are still pretty much evident with their year-around mess on our sidewalk and yard although Mrs. Hilda Jefferts has been gone for many years. My list of complaints is long enough to choke a horse, beginning with the roots buckling our sidewalk to leaves so thick the sunlight seldom penetrates. Raking the leaves is good exercise up to a point--causing me to do a slow burn at the thought of the chore. I ran across an explanation entitled “A Very Fine Tree Indeed” which makes good reading. Somebody should organize a Horse Chestnut Festival, and the fall of the year is the time to hold it. The horse chestnut is a very fine tree. It lifts up bright candles of white flower clusters to greet the spring. In summer its broad leaves shade the street like the fingers of a fat hand. But in September it delivers its greatest gifts when its spiky green burs drop and split on the sidewalk and the brown nuts inside roll out landing on the grass in the lawn. Well, maybe it's a particularly fine tree when it stands in someone else’s parking strip. Those husks and nuts do make a mess. But what a delight the brown horse chestnut is. When you roll it in your fingers its feel is cool, smooth and soothing. You can rub it on the side of your nose and make it shine like the top of your mother's mahogany dresser. You can carve a face on it like a little jack o' lantern, or cut a hole in it and pretend it is the bowl of a pipe. You can throw it at your sister. You can collect a bowlful and put them in the middle of the dining room table to admire. You don't eat a horse chestnut, but you don't eat the Hope diamond either, and the horse chestnut gives pleasure to far more people.
Having been thrifty and economical in our purchases provided us all the essential and basic equipment on a cash basis. My mother's oft remarks that the interest can eat up the principal didn't go unheeded. Direct buying at a wholesale house via an employee relative had its advantages. A long-time friend in the upholstering industry provided a custom-made davenport, chair and ottoman for cash, of course. Walt's employment at Meier & Frank's department store as a package deliverer offered the fringe benefit of charging the mahogany furniture (a poster bed, dresser with wall mirror, a secretary desk, a drop-leaf table with individual extra leaves and four chairs whose seat covers I replaced years later with my handmade needlepoint after the wearing out of the original covers, end tables, table and floor lamps)--all purchased without interest but with an agreed sum to be deducted weekly from Walter' paycheck according to a signed contract. A six-cubic foot refrigerator and a twenty dollar Hotpoint (1920's) vintage electric stove including three burners and side oven fulfilled the kitchen requirements. We did use a card table temporarily instead of a more suitable table. Very few original pieces have been replaced--the refrigerator, worn-out living-room drapes and bedroom curtains, box spring and mattress among them, a firmer mattress after my back surgery in 1960. Over the years, an electric sewing machine (a very, very important item), a radio with speakers although the 1941 push-button Sears Roebuck radio still occupies its original spot in the living room and television sets (replacements) have been added. One of Walt's refuse customers gave her deceased husband's solid oak businessman's desk to Walt as payment of a very small bill about fifteen or more years ago. I sometimes wonder if we could have managed without it. It has been handier than handy. Usually what one hasn't had isn't missed. We were solvent after our wedding day but broke and lived from pay check to pay check for several months. Walt's wages totaled $5.00 per day--even provided a $15.00 per month stipend to his parents.
had shopped at Meier & Frank's department store for my kitchen utensils during the summer months. I let it be known that a bridal shower was not to my liking. I did wish to select my own necessary items. Who cared to receive ten cookie jars?
Only our immediate families were invited to our wedding service held at our house when we pledged our troth to each other in front of the fireplace. A simple reception and the serving of Cake was observed in our basement. The Rev. Paul Kalmbach performed the ceremony. I had secretly promised myself while a high school student in Odessa, Washington that Rev. Kalmbach should tie the knot if he resided in the vicinity because of his generosity and thoughtfulness shown me in the twenties. I wore the traditional white wedding dress I had purchased at Meier & Frank's, carried a bridal bouquet and borrowed the veil from Walt's sister, Amelia, but used a head piece of my own choice. My sister, Helen, had married Carl Abel on June 10, 1939. I had been her maid of honor so it was only natural that she served as my matron of honor. Carl Abel as best man, attended the groom while a Junior bridesmaid, Sylvia Bartalamay, the daughter of Adam and Elsie Bartalamay, special friends from Odessa, Washington, completed the wedding party. The Gladys Gilbert photo studio photographed the event on Saturday evening, October 25, 1941. A minimum number of wedding gifts pleased us. Two or three alarm time pieces were set by Walt's brother, John, to ring at different hours during the night. We didn't own a car nor did we travel anywhere for a honeymoon; Walt took Monday off work, I took the trolley bus to downtown Portland to shop for small items, among them a dishpan. I sent announcements to close friends; bridal pictures and short statements to The Oregonian and The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington daily paper. My picture appeared on a random page of the Spokane paper along with other surrounding area news items. My former Superintendent of the Tonasket schools, Mr. Ed Notson clipped the picture with several attached items and pinned it on the bulletin board at the high school. One caption read, “Stole Saddles, Sent to Prison” and the other, “Plan to stock million Acres." One of my former students mailed it to me by Christmas; I'm positive the headings connected to my picture caused quite a few chuckles.
Walt worked odd hours, took a brown bag lunch giving me exclusive right to the daytime hours for much needed rest after months of work devoted to this house. Now the housework was light so I could loaf while listening to soap operas; I soon grew weary hearing similar episodes and turned to more profitable unfinished projects, a scrapbook and needlework. I had assembled a lovely “hope chest” during leisure hours while teaching school--a crocheted white bedspread in a popcorn stitch, a handmade afghan with wool yarn in rose shades, pillow cases, dresser scarfs, tablecloths, dishtowels, and handtowels were embroidered with crocheted edgings. More often than a person would think sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure. I had achieved a goal but I wasn't able to sit on my laurels very long.
On December 7th, less than two months after our “Happy Day", the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. War clouds had drifted through our back door almost destroying our navy. A shocking disaster united our beloved country; aluminum collections became popular, gasoline and food were rationed via stamps, factories tuned to defense materials, all enterprises geared to the war effort. I feared for my husband's involvement as young men left the sanctuary of their homes, perhaps never to return to the safety our nation provided. With all eyes directed to fighting a war, our family furnished the first Portland traffic fatality in January 1942 when Walt's brother-in-law, Jack Owen succumbed.
By November of ‘42, manufacturers were hiring women by the droves to work in factories to replace young men. I also sought and procured employment at Nicholai Door Mfg. Co. in north Portland within walking distance of our home. My brother-in-law, Mr. Carl Abel hired me to feed blocks of wood into a machine for the manufacture of ammunition boxes; these blocks, tongued and grooved, stacked on pallets and fed into the machine which supplied the glue while at the same it time fastened the blocks together. I also glued boards for wire spools on another machine and drilled holes in ridge poles with an electric drill--the latter was heavy, heavy work.
Walt had introduced me to salmon fishing the year we met, but I had not pursued it enthusiastically until after our marriage. I fished a few times in the spring of 1943 but not enough to become too excited about the sport because I was working 6 days a week. After Walt left Portland for the armed services on August 3rd,1943, I lived alone in our house until his discharge on November 25th,1945. Our furnace's fuel is a liquid now after a conversion from wood and briquets in earlier years; a neighbor lady, Mrs. Gertrude Neilsen exchanged favors with me. She had access to my telephone, and I returned to a warm and cozy environment after work. The original heating system which gave up the ghost (went kaput) reminded one of an octopus. It filled an immense space with huge obsolete pipes extending all over the ceiling of the basement. The modern compact furnace with its small pipes provides beauty as well as a feeling of spaciousness. Automatic heat regulated via thermostat is equally important to the electric refrigerator and stove.
I became a substitute teacher in the spring of l944 at Roosevelt High School on a five-day weekly basis. The sixth day or Saturday, the factory job at Nicholai Door Mfg. Co. I replaced a neighbor gal, Margaret Hawthorne who had a temporary health problem which became a blonde baby boy who I was to enjoy later. I had applied for and been granted an Oregon Teaching Certificate in January 1936 in hopes of obtaining a teaching position in Western Oregon but the Washington post offered a fine opportunity with a return to familiar territory. Teaching in a Portland High School, a chance in a lifetime, yielded mostly dissatisfaction and discontentment. Instability of families due to the war contributed to class absenteeism and abnormal disturbances. The principal feuded with the teachers in regard to disciplinary issues. For instance, in one case, many students didn't receive passing grades under the tutelage of one particular teacher who was called on the carpet. “They won't do their assignments,” implored Miss Failing. Mr. Griffith replied, “You mean your assignments.” Miss Failing’s answer to that statement was, “Now you are quibbling.” Likewise, other cases could be mentioned to illustrate my point. I also felt many teachers showed a lack of dedication to their jobs. I had a free period which I devoted to the correction of papers. One of my peers questioned my objective with, “Why bother to do that?”, a question I had trouble avoiding. “I just give multiple choice--a question and answer test after which the students exchange papers, etc.", commented another colleague. Imagine learning a foreign language in that manner! My argument was how would an instructor know whether a pupil should seek more explanation or plain memorize a particular article or unit. One time a tenured faculty member decided a vacation trip to California for two weeks at the beginning of the 2nd tern would be fine but those of us who had a free period had to fill in and teach one of her classes without extra pay. Others would take a day off and not leave lesson plans, etc. One day the vice-principal asked me to teach a music class. The pupils arrived with no pencils, paper or books, and the pianist refused to play the piano. I bungled through that hour! What a waste of a child's time and taxpayer's money.
I could gaze out the window for a fleeting moment any time of the day and notice several students wandering aimlessly about the school grounds or on their way to leave the property. The administration was more concerned about a student presenting a gift to a teacher. My attempt to teach one student how to study Spanish resulted in his paying no heed while at the same time saying, “I don't want to learn it that bad.” I wondered why he had signed up for the class. The student was always blameless; the instructor's approach appeared uninteresting. I understand that at the present time, 43 years later, conditions are much worse. They surely had their beginnings then, perhaps earlier and should have been nipped in the bud. I overheard some of the educators laughing about drinking sessions after graduation exercises; I was horrified to learn that such actions actually occurred. It was disgusting, to say the least. Again, a teacher's values, morality, integrity and habits are easily transmitted to her charges who are influenced by word and deed. I remember one of Roosevelt's students expressing disgust upon seeing a bottle of beer in one of his instructor's refrigerator. A modern incident of that nature might not change one's respect for his superior since beer and wine occupy grocery store shelves to be purchased and consumed as regularly as soft drinks are by the younger crowd. John S. Griffith, the principal, in later years secured a position in the administration office. There he met his Waterloo after he and a grade school principal, a Mr. Erickson, dismantled the backside of a portable on school grounds to use the lumber in the construction of a cabin for their own use. How he ever managed to become president of. Multnomah College located. in downtown Portland after that episode, I can't say. His error had evidently been forgiven but not forgotten by his associates at Roosevelt.
Teaching had its rewards; it’s a continuous edification involvement for both participants, the tutors as well as the students. Directing young people’s lives along beneficial lines while at the same time taking a personal interest in each and every student can’t be stressed amply. The potential is evident waiting to be developed.
I was also employed at Nicholai Door Manufacturing Company. during the summer months of '44-'45. I irked my co-workers by saying, "No use working if one can’t save some of the earnings." I was fortunate healthwise to carry out my philosophy of my chosen life. It's a matter of priorities, do I satisfy all my whims (idle notions) in acquiring possessions constantly? Most of the time I only bought required items, rarely nonessentials, but I always saved a Iittle, taking care of the things I owned. I splurged in 1945 by signing for a set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and paying a set amount each month. Since then I receive the Book of the Year every year to keep the set up to date. The first Yearbook cost $4.95 and the present one (1988) listed at $ 32.43. What a valuable asset to my personal library! It also saves trips to the Multnomah County Library or one of its branches. Books are items I dearly love, a wise investment. I belonged to several book clubs during World War II days, but discontinued the practice on account of too many novels; I prefer non-fiction. Much of the war industry ceased after the United States’ President Harry S. Truman ordered atomic bombs dropped on Japan in August 1945 impelling that country’s surrender. Along with that episode came the news of Walt’s early return which prompted my desire not to continue with my profession. In the meantime, I sought and obtained temporary employment at a downtown establishment, a Fred Meyer Variety Store. I soon ascertained dealing with the public and the parting of their money had its drawbacks. I left that job upon my husband's discharge on November 25, 1945, to become a homemaker again. After minor surgery, Walt returned to his former occupation as a truck driver, appliance deliverer and installer at Meier and Frank's.
We discovered that wise money management from 1941 to July 1, 1946, a 5-year period, resulted in a favorable time to consider a business situation. It would afford us a little more leisure time, a better opportunity to pursue our hobby on the river, sport fishing for delectable salmon, steelhead. and coho (silverside). Walt’s cousin, Mr. Peter Deering, a refuse collector felt that having a partner would be helpful. A proposition of that nature entailed serious thought on Walt’s part, especially being reminded of the heavy lifting--a chore experienced as a young lad in lending his father a hand. How well I remember that decision! The three-year partnership ended March 1st, 1949.
A new 1949 Ford truck with an open box and Walt behind the steering wheel afforded us a once in a lifetime opportunity, the means to independence, a chance to forge ahead in the business world. Walt had traded customers involving other refuse collectors concerning consolidation of his route in S.E. Portland during his partnership and later into a compact area to save time as well as cutting down expenses. By hiring a helper, a high school senior on Saturdays for the ever-growing enterprise, Walt was able to lighten his work. Soon two college boys worked two hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays but longer on Saturdays because the construction of new houses on a former farm in the middle of the residential route increased the revenue. I kept busy with the bookkeeping, collections, mail, household and yard duties, shopping and salmon fishing. How’s the garbage business? Well, it’s picking up all the time.
My parents owned a vacant lot beside my Dad’s Shoe Repair Shop on Union Avenue between Fremont and Beech. Several people showed an interest in purchasing it. My father decided to sell half interest to us in 1949. So my parents, Walt and I had an all-purpose building erected on the lot. We divided the income and expenses equally between the two families. A greeting card company leased the building until their move to the southeastern area of the United States. The rental of the building to other concerns lasted 16 years. Property in the neighborhood continued on a downhill spiral especially after the younger generation kept leaving the Albina section of Portland to be replaced by an ever increasing negro population. The riots on Union Avenue caused by a black revolt practically wiped out the Russian-German business community. We had anticipated the trend, located a buyer in 1965 and closed the deal while my ailing father lay in the hospital. His surviving days were numbered. I remember an afternoon in the office of Bruce Curry, a lawyer on Union Avenue, in the presence of an estates’ representative of the State of Oregon who questioned our asking price for the real estate. No doubt he had inheritance taxes in mind. I felt the key component in our decision was the opportunity to dispose of the property in light of the availability of a better investment. Our monthly payments disturbed the lawyer who remarked, "You will all be gray-haired before the final payment." Our main consideration was getting disentangled. The same buyer purchased the Shoe Shop edifice at a later date. My father's survivors breathed a sigh of relief. After all, the prime purpose of the holdings had reached a conclusion. Six children inherited my father's estate. God had granted him eight more years of good health after my mother's sudden departure caused by pulmonary thrombosis in 1957. My oldest sister, Esther, fell heir to my creators' modest house since her siblings with their spouses owned houses already. Esther had never married, lived in the family home until the neighborhood punks broke windows and harassed her. My brother, Jacob, who felt responsible for her welfare, sold the house, acquired a mobile home, and positioned it on a vacant lot adjacent to his place where Esther lived for 16 years (1971 - February 10th, 1987).
We purchased our first boat in the summer of 1946, a 16 foot skiff designed and built by Ivan Shepherd. Shepcraft became its trade name. We painted it before installing the necessary hardware, correctly bent 1/4" galvanized water pipe formed into 3 bows over which we draped, fitted and sewed by hand discarded ball park canvas resembling a buggy-type top to ward off the elements--sun, wind, rain, snow and the cold. Salmon fishing, often done in lineups--boats sitting on the water riding side by side--called for rubber bumpers to protect the vessel and soften the shock as they banged each other caused by waves from other craft passing by. Water splashed into the boats wetting the occupants if the top wasn't used properly. The innovation of better designs in skiff building continued over our salmon fishing years so that selling and buying boats became a bad habit. I made a dozen or so tops of canvas. Later the use of nylon material simplified the stitching process. I also sewed several in my father’s shoe shop on his treadle machine, one for us and one for Jacob`s and my Dad's boat. My, how equipment has changed!
After World War II had ended, one encountered an unusual demand for automobiles. We scouted around for transportation. Walt purchased a 2-door Model A Ford which he overhauled by applying his mechanical knowledge and experience via ownership of having had a Ford truck. A few new parts replaced badly worn-out ones. I recovered the upholstered seats with velour yardage--a satisfactory method. We could set up a temporary bed for a night's rest on a number of fishing trips to Ilwaco pulling a boat trailer upon which rested our boat. One time we drove to Celilo Falls located in the Columbia gorge to try our luck in the Columbia River. I had an awful time staying awake. The Model A rocked me to sleep, but one time I did manage a period of wakefulness in time to prevent Walt from driving into a bridge abutment. Walt had relied on his foresight to sign up for a new car and took advantage of that at more than one agency. That gave us access to approximately six autos within a 5-year period. Some we drove for about a year. Others, as they became available, were sold to friends who had failed to get their signatures on the line and were in need of a vehicle. The market changed. I had an urge to learn to drive. So we traded a 1952 Chevrolet in on a 1956 with automatic gear shift which we drove for 19 years. I applied for a regular learner's permit. My husband automatically became my teacher for a year. Every time we got into the car, I drove under his supervision. I passed the test at Oregon City in February,1957 while Walt fished on the Willamette. Walt had neglected to teach me how to move forward after stopping on a hillside but my quick thinking saved my day. Crossing my left foot over to step on the brake, I controlled the gas pedal with my right foot and sailed up the hill. My examiner wanted to know if I had done that before. My answer was in the negative, but I passed my test and returned to the river to watch Walt land two salmon. My reason for wanting to drive hinged on my parents' ages. The time would soon arrive when they might need my assistance. I wished to be prepared. My dream involved a drive to their house in the mornings, return home in time to prepare lunch for my husband and spend the afternoon on the river fishing. Well, about 4 months later my mother passed away unexpectedly. I happened to be nearby, approximately half a city block away finishing a paint job on my mother-in-law's house. I had cleaned the paint brush when the neighbor yelled, "There's a lady lying on steps over there." I screamed, "My mother." I don't know why, but I was the first member of her family to know. My father was at work at his shoe repair shop.
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