Friday, October 21, 2011

To Continue on with my Story

Two of my brothers were over this last weekend and we talked about what it was like growing up in Garden Valley, especially up on the Middle Fork of the Payette River.  They recalled when our oldest brother, Tommy, took a gas motor that dad had taken from an old Maytag washer (replacing it with an electric one) and hooked it up to a generator to power car headlights so we could ice skate after school on the frozen pond down the road from our house.  The daylight on winter days in Idaho is really short and we didn't want to skate in the dark.

We also sketched a map of the area where our house stood - across the river from the portable sawmill.  You can't get to that place the same way anymore, as the bridge has been taken out and the road down to the river in that place has been gated and access is restricted.   See below the pictures I took this summer as I attempted to go down to view our 'old stomping grounds.'

We talked about where the barn where we housed out old blue roan milk cow was located - just over Smith Creek which we had to cross to reach our home after we went across the single lane wooden bridge that spanned the Middle Fork.  Roger remembered there was a shed in front of the barn that housed a corn mill/husker.  And next to our pump house was an old garage/car port with an abandoned Wiley's Jeep with fake wood-grained siding.  The reason he remembers it is because there were so many of us kids, he and Adrian would sleep during the warmer nights on a mattress in the back of this abandoned Jeep to relieve the crowding in our small house. 
By the time I was in Junior High, we had moved from the Middle Fork to the South Fork of the Payette River - up by the Ranger Station.  Again we were near the river, but at this place along this river, the riverbed was covered with rocks, the river was swift, and the water was oh so much colder than the water in the Middle Fork.  There was a fair-sized island about 6 feet out from the riverbank and by the time we had waded out to it, our teeth were chattering, but it didn't keep us away.  That willow covered island was our new playground when we weren't climbing the hills.
When I was in my high school algebra class (1962-63), our teacher, Mrs Thomas (second row left in picture below), was a unique lady that had traveled all over the world, had tutored in Hawaii for a wealthy family, had lots of fun stories to tell, and loved introducing us backwoods kids to the city life and culture.  She would take one or two of us at a time to Boise to 'operettas' (one of the theaters was putting on a series of Nelson Eddy and Jeannette McDonald musicals)

and out to restaurants to eat (Chinese, Mexican, whatever).  This was my first time experiencing this kind of life.  For Garden Valley had no movie theater, no drive-in, no bowling alley, no soda or hamburger shop, and no other typical teen hang-out that most people associate with the 1960s.

 On steps of GV High School my freshman year

I had spend one summer in Boise with my music teacher, Marcella Boylan (she gave me 8-10 years of accordion lessons, driving to Garden Valley from Boise once a week) to entertain her deaf daughter.  She had sent us to the movies (saw 'A Shot in the Dark' with Peter Sellers), taken me to a beauty shop for a permanent, and I accompanied them to a large wedding.  But most of the time I spent in her home keeping her daughter company.  This was in 1964 when I was a sophomore.

Another memory about my freshman year at Garden Valley High School (1962-63) - my history teacher was Mr. Lindsey, whose son Mark Lindsey was the lead singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders.  (The band appeared regularly on national television, most notably on Dick Clark's Where the Action Is, Happening '68, and It's Happening, the latter two of which were co-hosted by Revere and Lindsay.)  Mark's brother attended our school and was in my grade.  The rest of the family remained in Council.

I never really dated in high school (remember I was the extremely shy, chunky gal with all the brothers).  I went to one of the proms with my brother, Adrian.  I liked lots of boys and when I was a senior one of the boys I had liked had joined the army and he wrote to me a lot.  He was sent to France, which was a country I had always wanted to visit (I took French in school just in case I ever got to go).  His name was Tom Johnstone and he was related to a guy who owned a cattle ranch in Garden Valley, as well as Montour and Emmett (this guy eventually was involved with the initial planning for Tamarack resort in Valley County, Idaho and even has a park in Garden Valley named for him).  Tom's father, his brother John and his sister moved onto the ranch to work for their relative.

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