Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back to My Memories

The only time I remember my father spanking me was when I was five or six and I had gone with a young mother (who was probably 18 or 19 years old) to her folks' place up Alter Creek.  My mom and dad had said I couldn't go with her, but I went anyway.  The girl's name was Whitehead and she had a little baby. I guess my folks were worried sick about me and when I got home, I was spanked hard.

I had three brothers older than me and three younger, so I passed my time playing with trucks and bicycles, making trails in the dirt or when the weather was bad, reading books.  Most of our toys were second-hand that were given to us or found in the dump, or were just pretend toys made from cans and wood by the older kids.  I know my folks never bought us new bicycles - we had two or three that were pieced together from parts of old bikes found in the garbage and we had to share.

When we moved from behind the Garden Valley store to Smith Creek (several miles across the valley and up the Middle Fork of the Payette River), we lived close to the river and so from late spring to early fall, we spent all our time playing in the water (from 1955-1962).  We explored that river for miles and when we weren't in the water, we were climbing the hills.

Here's a picture of the bridge we had to cross to get to get to our home.  Our swimming hole was just on the other side of the bridge on the left hand side of the photo.  There was a nice sandy beach there and the middle pylon created an island in the middle when the water was down in late summer.  Trees and branches caught on that left hand side of the bridge would cause the water to push the sandy bottom and create a deeper hole - so deep that the older boys could jump from the bridge into it without fear of harming themselves.

To the right of the picture you can see the sawmill that was operating at that time.  My mother's brother, Walt Crawford, and several of the family were working this sawmill.  My father bought one of the houses that had been brought in for mill workers to live in.  It was a three bedroom house with no indoor bathroom.

I loved going to school because that is the only place I could go to have other girls to play with.  We lived several miles out of town and our closest neighbors were over a mile away, so the only ones I had to play with were my brothers.  My sister was ten years older than me and left home by the time I was seven or eight.  When I started school in 1954 we just walked over the hill passed the high school to the grade school.  When we moved to Smith Creek we were 8-10 miles from school and lived almost a mile from the bus stop.  

Third and fourth grade classes in the new school building - Mrs Search is teacher

Garden Valley was a very small community with no movie theater, a community hall where dances were held, the community church (non-denominational) and a Catholic Church.  It really was divided in Crouch and Garden Valley with each having a store and gas station.  Crouch also had a garage and a cafe/bar.  Because we were such a large family, we never ate out.  My father planted a garden (which the boys took care of), had a cow to milk and have calves each year for meat, raised chickens, and sometimes turkeys, and pigs.  My mother made butter, cottage cheese, and bread.  She canned fruits and tomatoes which were stored in the fruit cellar (in the hillside at Smith Creek and under the end of the house when we moved back across the valley up the South Fork and near the Ranger Station).

Garden Valley Ranger Station

My folks loved to dance and listen to music.  They went out to the bar every Friday and Saturday night that my father was home, especially when there was live music.  They never drank much - my father would drink a beer or peppermint schnapps and my mother would drink a "ditch", whiskey and water. When I got older, 13 or 14, they used to let me go with them and sometimes they would buy me a coke.  But generally I just listened to the music and once in a while my dad would dance with me.  My folks were great dancing together, whether it was the waltz, a polka, or the schottische.  (My dad was out on the dance floor the weekend before he died in December, 1983.  They had been married 50 years and still loved to go out and dance together.)

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