Roll Out the Barrel, October-November 1975

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Went to Redding with Clarke, left the car at Hostetter’s VW repair shop. Doris met us there as she’d been shopping that morning. We went to the Stone Ground place and bought flour, etc. and then came home. Jeff had gone to piano lessons and then to Linda Lindsey’s. Rebecca had walked down to Bob’s office. Clarke and I got home at 5:00 and Bob brought the children shortly thereafter.

Friday we all went to Redding. Bob went down to a place where he could get generator brushes and we went to get some things—a Cub Scout shirt, hat, etc. for Jeff. Went to Sim Nathan’s and got rubber boots for the boys and new shoes for Clarke, tights for Rebecca. We got outside just as Bob was parking the car. We drove to the Shack and had dinner, then went to the VW place and got the VW. Got home about 8:30 with Clarke riding with their dad and the other two with me.

Jeff got sick Saturday and was ill for several days. I worked on Clarke’s Halloween costume all day. He was going to be a devil. It rained all day. Florence and Leonard got back from their fishing trip to Orleans that night. I called my mother on her birthday. She was practicing walking.

Jeanne Meyer and I took the kids trick-or-treating. We went to specific homes where they wanted to visit. Rebecca had gone to a birthday party for an hour at Amy Bancroft’s before that. Rebecca was a cat, Jeffrey a hobo, and Clarke a devil. There was a picture in an album, don’t know where it went.

Earlier that week Bob and I had gone to Redding to see the San Diego Ballet, part of the Community Concert series.

Got a walk in on Friday. It made me feel much better. It was foggy at first but cleared off later and was a beautiful day. “The forest floor is damp and spongy and warm sun on the pine needles made them smell so pungent. I ate up on the hill where I often do although I had walked over as far as Garden Gulch and up the old road. Lots of yellow maple leaves in Garden Gulch. Oak leaves are turning yellow, and some red or amber, elsewhere. “

I bought some carpeting to put on the living room floor (gold with a brown cast), putting backing down first. The children helped. We hauled the carpet in through the rain and put it down. Bob helped adjust it when he got home. It really helped absorb the noise from the piano and the children enjoyed playing on it.

November 16: The children and I went out to the ranch Saturday afternoon. Had to throw a lot of rocks out of the road. Bob and John Scott were down at the creek. They’d built a ramp up out of the rock and gravel and had just about finished.

The previous Tuesday was a school holiday. That morning I took the VW down to the Shell Station and got the snow tires on and new chains. Walked home after leaving the car there. Did some chores and then walked back down and got the car and drove over to Ohde’s to get Linda. Rebecca and I left for Redding. We left the car at Hostetter’s for a valve adjustment and received a ride from them to Cypress Square. We ate lunch at the pizza parlor; bought shoes for Rebecca and me; took a cab down to the mall. We left a copy of Charlotte’s resume and outline of her book at Hyatt’s Bookstore (my sister-in-law, brother Richard’s wife, had just published her first book on economics), and Dicker’s. I bought some boots at Alpine Outfitters. Cashed a check at Dobrowskie’s (they recognized my maiden name! so were willing to do so.) We took a taxi back to Hostetter’s and then went to Lim’s for dinner. From there we went to see the Hislop’s for an hour and then back to town to attend a Community Concert Board meeting and then home. Got home around 11:00 p.m.

Jeff had a week of a lot of illness—fever, etc. A few days later Scott Lindsey and Clay Tucker came over (I picked them up and brought them) to play with Clarke and eat lunch. They caught the bus with him.

Leonard and Vernon Ryan took our truck over to Eureka to get more cribbing. Bob met them at Prairie Creek and they went up to our creek and unloaded the concrete cribbing. This weekend Florence and Leonard went to get the rest of them. They brought the truck up to the house and Bob and Scott (Morris) will unload them tomorrow. I had invited them to stay for dinner and Rebecca started peeling apples for apple crisp while I drove down to the store to get whipped cream, French bread and tomatoes and avocados for the salad. We had spaghetti and wine, root beer for the kids and Bob, and coffee with dessert.

We had Thanksgiving at Florence and Leonard’s. We left Clarke and Jeff there for overnight and brought Noel and Rebecca to our house. David A. got seriously ill that night.

Clarke’s class had their powwow the previous Tuesday and we attended; a yearly kindergarten event. Wednesday I baked bread and made up enough dough for the refrigerator rolls I took to Thanksgiving.

Scott came out Saturday and stayed overnight, helping Bob Saturday and Sunday.

My dad was diagnosed with emphysema.

Saturday, December 6th: Bob was over at Ohde’s at 9:45 p.m. and the children were in bed. I had just watched the Mary Tyler Moore Show (“ I rarely watch T.V. these days.”). Clarke had been sick for several days. We finally got some wood. Bob had ordered it from someone in Hayfork. All they had was fir and about half of it was green but at least we had wood. We’re going to try to get some madrone from out at the ranch. “Two bearded men with longish hair but kind eyes, hauled it over, two pick-up loads at a time for $45 a cord. I made bread that day but managed to get almost two cords stacked in the woodshed. They brought their last load around 5:00 and I gave them the money plus a loaf of bread, which seemed to please them. One brought his wife, a full-bosomed, blond-haired woman wearing a long coat. They stood there in the light from the porch, smiling and looking as if they’d just stepped out of biblical days.” I was really tired and sore that night.

Doris loaned me a book called “Sexual Suicide”, which I read over a couple of days and was depressed by. It made me decide to scrap my lesson plan for the nursery school moms that week and we focused instead on the value of women in the home and in society, which ended up being very interesting.

An exchange of phone calls with Tom Quinn about the water board.

Took Jeff to Scot Muir’s birthday party.

Bob went out to the ranch and did some culvert cleaning. “He looks awfully tired. Has been working until almost 7:00 every night at the office and some time on weekends. He has to make a 20- minute presentation next week on all that he has been working on for the last 18 months. He’ll be gone all next week.”

I got a letter from my mother saying something about Dana (my niece) having won a contest sponsored by McDonald’s and having played her clarinet in New York. She is also going to play in Pasadena in the Rose Parade. I think this was with the high school band. My mother could type only with her left hand after her stroke. She did amazingly well but this was still early in the recovery process.

The previous weekend I went out to the ranch with Bob because Scott wasn’t feeling well. This hadn’t been in my plans. Jane Hicks babysat. We left around 10:00.

“First we unloaded some 2x4s at the creek. Then we went up to the woods with the boom truck, leaving the white truck at the house. We went up to where the empty tank (galvanized, 12x 8 feet) was lying on its side on a wooden frame. It was cloudy and very cold. Bob rigged the tank and frame to the truck while I operated the winch. Then he pulled up the hill a way and started backing down. He wanted me at the front of the truck with the tank to tell him if it was clearing trees, etc. When trying to back around a turn he swung too wide in order for the tank to have clearance. He got too close to the side of the narrow skid road and a rear wheel started going off. He was really upset. Got out and began swearing and unhitched the tank. He asked me to tell him what the rear wheels were doing but that was no help. Every time he tried to back on to the road the front wheels slid further off and the back one continued to slide. Finally he tied the cable from the boom truck to a tree so he wouldn’t tip over. That didn’t help much so he took it off of the boom after backing directly down the bank so the truck was now perpendicular to the road with the front wheels at the edge. Then he winched directly from the winch and got back on the road. I was so cold that my big toe on each foot was senseless and my hands could hardly bend to unhook the chains from the tree. Then he hitched up the tank again and I guided by walking behind him down the road. When we got to the main road he took the tank off the frame and lifted it up again with the boom and drove out to the flat in the meadow. Then he turned around again and backed down to the house with me guiding. By then it was 4:00 o’clock. We got in the big truck, turned the heater on full blast and ate lunch. Including some of the smoked salmon Scoot Miller had given Boband hot chocolate. From there he backed down to the last big turn above the creek with my guiding (a blessing because it kept me warm) and then he drove frontwards down to the creek. We quickly laid 2x4s on the cement piers for a floor. Then rolled the tank up the incline to the platform. It was heavy and wanted to roll back down but we made it. Bob used the boom truck to set it upright.

By then it was really dark. We went back to the house, put stuff away and drove to Big Bar where we called Jane Hicks and ate dinner at Big Bar Station. Got home around 8:00 p.m. Sunday Bob went back out to put the pipe into the spring, put some plumbing in and start filling the tank. .

The tank, full of water, would compress the fill soil at that end of the new bridge over the winter so that the bridge could be completed the next year.

October 1975

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This has been a week I’d just as soon not repeat. Monday, Bob left for Bakersfield, not to return until Friday morning. I took the VW bus down to the Shell station for a tune up. Was on the phone off and on all ay concerning problems with it. Finally I walked downtown with Clarke and Jeff and we met Rebecca at the hardware store where she’d walked from her music lesson. It was raining that morning and Bob had picked us up from the Shell station –he left for Bakersfield around noon. Shell Station picked us up there in the VW and we rode back to drop him off and then home, barely making it as there was no compression in one cylinder. He had put in new spark plugs and points but it ran much worse than it had when I’d taken it down. The next morning I couldn’t get it started at all. Clarke and I walked to Linda Lindsey’s and then I walked over to the nursery school—had called from Linda’s and was 15 minutes late. ”The nursery school day wasn’t too bad, considering how things had gone so far!”

JoAnn Ferguson brought me home so I could drop off Rebecca’s new flute. I didn’t want to be carrying that around town. The man from Terry Music in Redding had come with the flute and papers to sign while I was at nursery school. When she was turning around in our driveway, JoAnn got her truck caught on our rotten gate because she cut the turn too close. Colleen Stewart’s little girl, Colleen, started crying. We got unstuck but when I went to get out downtown I couldn’t get out—the door was stuck closed because a bolt on the gate had bent a lip over the door. Walked up to the post office; bought some peppercorns, we’d been out for a week; ate lunch at Brown’s; bought some paperbacks at Greenwood’s (left the peppercorns there); around 2 o’clock walked up to Mathies’ where Jeffrey was having his piano lessons. We walked back downtown and fortunately met Doris who gave us a ride home.

Wednesday I had an 8 a.m. appointment at the hospital for a test. Doris picked me up and dropped me off. She took Clarke home with her. After my tests I walked up to her house. It was very cold and cloudy that day but I didn’t like hospital atmosphere so was glad to walk. Doris fed me breakfast and then she and Clarke and I went out to Roundy’s to pick strawberries. They’d called and asked her if she wanted some. She and I each picked a large bowl and Clarke a small one. They live out Highway 3. Got home just in time to feed Clarke strawberries and milk before school. Doris had fed him an egg when she fed me. The bus was going by but the driver saw Clarke coming around the turn and so stopped and waited. I walked downtown and got the mail, had a cup of coffee, and walked home. I called Callahan’s. They taken the VW while I was gone that morning. Wednesday evening Barney called and said the car was running but we had a burned out valve. Thursday morning Barney and Larry brought the car up so I once again had wheels.

Candie and Carin arrived Friday and left Sunday. Clarke was sick for a couple of days. Bob and Candie and I stayed up late one night talking and drinking peach brandy. Late Sunday afternoon , after Candie had left, we went out to the ranch, stopping briefly at Florence and Leonard’s to drop off an anniversary card. When the clouds lifted for a time on Friday we could see snow way down on Weaver Bally, very early for that.

When we got out to the ranch I fixed dinner and we built roaring fires in both stoves. The next morning was foggy but gradually burned off. I took the children on the old trail that goes around the hill and into Big French Creek. It was a beautiful walk. All the leaves were damp, the moss on the trees feathery and everything smelled so good. Lots of poison oak but I hoped little sap was running. Got home and ate lunch. Picked some apples with Rebecca’s and Clarke’s help. Picked green beans. Went for a quick walk up the meadow but when I came back realized that, although the last time we were out I’d defrosted and cleaned the refrigerator, I’d neglected the freezer section and it had thawed and needed cleaning, so did that.

Sometimes it’s hard to be sure how accurate the dates are in these accounts. It looks as if Bob went to Bakersfield two weeks in a row. He was gone the week of all the car trouble, was home for a few days and then once again left for Bakersfield. He called from there to tell me that the work corporate wanted him to do was based on the plan he used for Weaverville two year ago and was pleased with that.

Did a lot of house work in town and waxed floors, declaring them “hazardous” afterwards. This was a Tuesday and he had left the day before. I stayed up too late, but did some things for nursery school and read a book that Doris had loaned me called “New Wives Tales”, by a pediatrician from Oregon and found it “interesting and humorous”.

The next time I wrote I referred to a previous weekend when we had gone out to the ranch. “Saturday was foggy, after a hard rain the night before, but the fog cleared in the afternoon. Bob and Rebecca went down to work at the creek. He paid her 10 cents a board to pull nails out of small boards, 20 cents for medium boards and 30 cents for large ones. Around 1:00 they came home. I’d spent an hour or so cutting wood.

At 2:30 Bob took all three children with him so I’d have some time to myself. About 15 or 20 minutes later the children were back. They’d gotten down to the creek and discovered that all the tires were flat on the boom truck and there was a hole through the windshield. Bob sent the children home and he headed up the road to try to catch up with whoever it was. He did find someone parked in a station wagon at the end of the road by Walden’s. The man said he’d been there since 12:30, hunting. We gave the license number to the sheriff’s office but there wasn’t much we could do.

A deputy was supposed to come up on his way back from Orleans and I left Bob and Rebecca and Jeff at the highway while I went to buy valve cores and see if Scoot Miller had an air pump. Florence remembered that they had something they used to use 20 years ago camping in their jeep. It attaches to a spark plug outlet and pumps the tires. So I borrowed that. Bob and the kids were still there when I got back. I drove down to Big French Creek but no deputy was there either. We finally all went home. Bob stayed down at the creek pumping up the tires. The boom truck ran out of gas and he had to come up and get more but eventually got the tires inflated and brought the truck up to the house.

The next day we pieced together what we thought had happened. Someone was hunting deer up our road and came across the truck. He looked for the key (in the jockey box, under the seat, etc.). Tried to hotwire it but couldn’t get it started. Got mad and put a bullet through the windshield. Took some brushes off the portable generator. Took a spray can out of the truck and was about to spray on the abutments when Bob and the kids came down; hid under the bridge and dumped the tools he’d gotten into the creek right below the bridge. I found a spray can under the bridge and Jeff spotted a hammer in the water. We then fished another hammer and a nozzle out of that pool. The man in the car was probably his friend and, indeed, they may have started out hunting, although it’s a strange place to start from with all Frank’s signs. If our version is correct then that means the man was under the bridge when the children were heading home. (a scary thought even after all these years)

September 1975

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The call with regard to the water board came Monday. Jean Auer was going to interview me on the 24th or 26th. She said the position requires about 10 hours of study a month plus the meetings.

I picked all the pears last weekend and they were in town, slowly ripening. We got about a lug. Some were too high to reach but I thought we might be able to reach them the next day with the aluminum ladder.

On Saturday, the 20th, we were in town. Bob was helping Leonard with some of the painting on their house. The night before, Rebecca had gone into town with the Meyer family and several other girls to go roller-skating. She didn’t get home until 12:30 so she and I were both tired. She had a good time except when she arrived home and mashed her fingers in the sliding door of their van.

The previous Tuesday I’d gone out to the ranch with Doris and Jeff (who had been sick the previous day so I’d kept him home). Doris and I had a good visit and I watered the cement. Dropped Jeff off at piano lessons and visited a little more with Doris until I suddenly remembered that we’d invited Florence and Leonard for dinner that night!

I rushed home, after picking up Jeff, started a chuck roast soaking in wine, fixed a big apple cobbler. Got charcoal out for the barbecue. Bob came home and took over on that. Fortunately Florence and Leonard didn’t arrive until 6:00. It was a good dinner. Florence had brought corn and I had the water hot; rolls, salad, and cobbler for dessert. And while Florence and Leonard went down to sign up for a class I got the dishes done. Leonard showed some slides.

On Wednesday we got two tons of sand unloaded at the nursery school in the sandbox. Jack Simmons came with a dump truck. Don Lee Lewis fixed our fence. They poured the foundations for the new room on Thursday. That afternoon I was working over at the Recreation Building (on nursery school stuff) when Bob came over to tell me the school had called and Clarke was sick. Picked him up and called to cancel the sitter we had for that evening. I had a nursery school night class to teach and Bob had been going out to water the cement. He stayed home.

The class was difficult. We had to decide whether or not there were enough children for two classes. There weren’t. So I’d have 27—good thing there would be parent helpers. Couldn’t go to sleep that night so got up and read for a while— National Geographic article about strong women in the American Revolution. Felt much better!

Friday Clarke and I went out to the ranch. I picked tomatoes, watered the cement. We ate lunch out there. That night Bob drove out to stay overnight and then go to Eureka the next day to get concrete cribbing for the bridge. He got two large ones and two small ones, all that he could carry in our truck.

The following weekend we were all out there. He again drove over to Eureka to get cribbing. That week had been really busy for me and included an airplane trip to Sacramento for my water quality board interviews. I ate lunch at the Redding airport and took a Nor-Cal plane. There were three of us on the plane until Chico where three more got on. I took a limo from the airport to downtown and was dropped off right across the street from the Water Resources Building. Took an elevator to the 10th floor. Waited about an hour. Read the paper and looked at a book on water and ethics. Was interviewed by Jean Auer. We talked for about 15 minutes. I noted that she had three boys—11, 9, and 7 and was about my age. Then she had to go to another meeting.

I called my sister-in-law, Nancy Adrian (she and her family were living in the Sacramento area then.) Went downstairs and waited until she and Noel came to pick me up. I got to sleep in Noel’s room. Nancy and I stayed up late talking. The next day I washed the breakfast dishes while she took Kent to school. His bike had a flat tire. Nancy took me back to Sacramento and dropped me off at the Air Resources building where I had about a 20-minute interview with Tim Quinn. Then Nancy and I went to a place called The Building, which had a lot of crafts for sale—leather, pottery, jewelry, etc. We then went to meet Cheryl Morris for lunch. She was working for Cal-Western Insurance. We went down the street where we had avocado, tomato and sprout sandwiches. We had a good visit with Cheryl and then walked quickly through the capitol. Nancy took me back to the airport and I was back in Weaverville a few minutes before six.

Rebecca had fixed baloney sandwiches and Bob was fixing a salad. We ate and then I got my projector, slides and screen and left for the nursery school night class. After the business meeting I showed slides of two year’s classes to share some of the things we did. Then Gail Braxton talked about Montessori Schools. Got home exhausted but too stirred up to go to sleep so I read the paper and didn’t get to sleep until 11:00. Wasn’t good for much the next day.

Saturday the children and I went out to the ranch, arriving around 1:30. We stopped at Big Bar to get the paper and cold drinks. After lunch I took pictures of a large spider on the edge of the porch roof and later some of the skull down on the mossy tree by the old trail. Got some of the children too, that might do for our Christmas card.

Bob got up at 5:30 and I went down to the creek with him. We unloaded the concrete cribbing with the boom truck. Came back up to the house and he helped fix dinner.

When I went to Sacramento Bob had taken Clarke to Linda Lindsey’s in the morning—Clarke and Rebecca came home on the bus at 3:00. Jeff got off at Dockery Street at 2:00 and walked up to Ohde’s; Doris brought Jeff and Linda to our house a little after 3:00 so there was someone with them until Bob got home.

Note: For me, all this travel by plane and arriving at destinations in an unknown, to me, urban area was exciting and stressful and stimulating to mind and body. It was the beginning of a whole new dimension for me. At this time I still didn’t know whether I would get the position. There was no salary, but there was per diem. More about what was involved in serving on the board later.

August-September 1975

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This morning Bob got up early to go down to the creek to meet Scoot Miller. Scoot worked 1 ½ hours hauling shale to backfill the cribbing and raise the road level. Florence Miller came in to get him. He had to be on standby out at Mule Creek by 10 a.m. He’ll be back again tomorrow. Kevin Lewis is coming in tomorrow to work with Bob also.

The asters are starting to bloom. Candie called yesterday morning about the possibility of a backpack trip.Instead of that we spent good afternoon up Swift Creek. Candie took lots of pictures.

Swift Creek Jeff

On Friday I wrote that I’d awakened while Bob was in the shower. “ I haven’t gotten up early and fixed his breakfast all week and was having a dream about collecting old boards, small logs and other wood in Lowden Park and having to scrape dog feces off of it. I got up! Had a fire going, honeydew melon on the table and was fixing a friend egg and French toast when he came downstairs. It was dark, cold and the moon was shining at 5:30. The canyon is filled with fog now.”

Wednesday it rained quite hard. I worked down at the creek for two hours, from 4:30 to 6:30 cutting and fitting the edging boards—didn’t get much done because I’m slow. Coming home I could see the rain beginning over against the mountain, a small silver curtain, and by the time I was in the garden picking lettuce it was beginning. Wednesday morning Rebecca got up at 5:00 and went down with Bob—she cut $3.50 worth of wires and helped with a few other things. I picked blackberries and made a peach-berry cobbler. Also made a loaf of bread as we were nearly out. Took still warm cobbler down to the creek at lunchtime. After lunch I mowed the lawn.

Tuesday Kevin Lewis came and worked with Bob all day. He has been coming in from 6 a.m. to 12 since then. He’s working on a cabin way up on the hill above North Fork (above Old Helena). He said there was four feet of snow up there last winter. Tuesday afternoon I cut up three big pieces of wood for firewood. Bob had hauled them out Monday night.

Jeff woke up at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning and managed to wake the rest of us up, anxious for his presents. Tuesday morning I baked a cake for him. Put frosting on in the late afternoon, flavored with crushed strawberries. I was writing the above by candlelight. At 6:39 some light was coming in from the windows.

The previous day, Clarke and I went into Weaverville in the white stake-sided truck, without the racks on. Went down to the creek at 10:00 and unloaded stuff out of the truck. Bob drove it over to Walden’s and I drove the VW. I didn’t want to drive that wide truck on a few places. We left the creek around 11:00. The truck rides rough and the steering is stiff but otherwise it is ok. We went up to the house, started a laundry; went to Brown’s for grilled cheese sandwiches and cones (where Michael and Dick came in to eat too. Clarke and Michael had a good visit—silly 5-year-olds).

Swift Creek Rebecca

Parked the truck down behind the post office. Went to North Valley Bank and took out $600 from our savings account and took it to Bank of America to put in our separate checking accounts. Went to Van Matre’s to get terry cloth to cover the cement (and didn’t get enough). Went to Hal Goodyear’s for plywood and carriage bolts. Went home to do more laundry. Went to Florence’s to get vegetables; Richerts to get metal; back to Hal’s to get the carriage bolts which I had left there; then to the service station and back out to the ranch. Arrived at the gate about 5:30 and Bob, Rebecca and Jeff arrived about a minute later. Clarke was asleep when I got there and when he woke up his dad was driving and I was driving the other car. What a strange sensation that would be for a child! Went up to the house and fixed salad, tuna fish sandwiches and corn from Florence’s garden for dinner. There was just enough of Wednesday’s cobbler for dessert.

Called my dad in Seattle and he said my mother was having physical therapy but a lot of pain. The doctors think she will walk again. I sent her a terrarium, thinking that when she got home it would be nice to be able to take it with her.

Monday at 8:30 pm I was writing that I had just come up from the creek about 45 minutes before. Bob was on his way. That morning I’d fixed breakfast, washed dishes, peeled peaches and made a one-crust pie and started some meat marinating before I went down at 9:00. Dinner was ready. “My hands are still stiff f rom hammering and sawing and my biceps are sore and so is my neck and my legs ache. Yuck! Bob just d” rove up so I stopped whining. We had gone into town Friday and done the picnic with the Fields on Saturday, I think up Swift Creek.

After dinner we went back down around 10:00 and stayed till 2:30 a.m. We had a light running from the portable generator. I held the light for a while as Bob worked and then he put it up on a pole so I could be loading scraps of wood onto the truck when I wasn’t directly helping him. Had to hold nails between two fingers on the other side of the form while he nailed them, when he was putting in anchor bolts on the pier section. It was chilly when not working and I got cold when I was holding the nails. We’d taken the dog down with us because she caught up with us at the barn and also because I thought it would be better for her not to be home at night late without us. She chased bugs in the water. Brrr. We put her in the car because she was distracting. Came home and took a hot shower. Was in bed by 3:00 m. and up at 6:00.

Tuesday we were down at the creek by 6:45. I went over to open the gates and on the way back cleaned out rocks. When I got to the lower gate John Scott was there, just turning around, with his truck and backhoe. Larry Anderson and his helper caught up with me just before I reached the creek. Jack Simmons got here and they began. At first I just took pictures and talked to Jack. Later I was cleaning off tools and boards with the hose and got thoroughly wet and cement spattered. Bob and the others were really spattered though. I went up to the truck, parked on the turn, and brought down two pairs of goggles for them.

After everyone left I went up to the house and fixed lunch. Left around 12:30 and stopped at Big Bar for air and gas (took over 12 gallons). Bob had siphoned gas out for the portable generator. I got into town about 15 minutes before Jeff got home (I’m guessing the children had stayed with grandparents that weekend).

The children had been in school a week. Clarke had gone with Scot Lindsey the first day, and Kelly Sheen; waiting by the doctor’s office. Thursday he left from there also as I had to go out to the ranch to water the cement. Wednesday and Friday he caught the bus at our driveway. He left at noon every day and got home when Rebecca did at 3:00. He was very tired by then and cross and dragging until bedtime. There were 17 in his class.Jeff had Mrs. Rourke and 26 in his class. Rebecca’s teacher was Dale Kennedy and there were 34 in her class.

I was taking care of nursery school business and trying to begin cleaning the Weaverville house.

And then some exciting things started happening. I received a phone call from a man who said I was being considered for a position on the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board! A second call gave me an appointment for a phone call for that Monday. The board meets in Eureka and Santa Rosa so I was concerned about transportation “but I’m determined to do it if possible.”

We were getting hot weather again and were getting corn and tomatoes from our garden at the ranch.

Swift Creek- Clarke

We had a marvelous thunderstorm at the ranch in the late afternoon. Lots of lightning and thunder, curtains of rain coming across the canyon toward us; ozone heavy in the air; a cool breeze flowing across my bare arms. Later there were salmon colored clouds and mist rising from the canyons. Driving out there were thunderheads piled on top of each other—great, white cauliflower puffs up into the sky and, as we neared Big Bar we drove through strips of sunlight and shade cast by the clouds over the highway and river.

After dinner Bob asked me to go up and try to get some pictures, which I did, but I thought it was too dark. I sat up in the meadow and watched the thinning clouds darken and the hills melt into a purple, dreamlike shadow as the first bat flew up against the clouds, then plunged downward.

Thursday was a long day. Jeannie Meyer rode out to the ranch with me when I went to water the cement. When we got back I dropped her off and went over to Lowden Park to talk to George H. and Don L. about the additional room that was going to be added to the recreation building for the nursery school and small meetings. Then took Jeff to the dentist and went to the school to pick up Rebecca and Clarke as they both had dental appointments. That evening I had a nursery school board meeting at Kathy Barnes’ house and didn’t get home until after 11.

Friday I had a postponed birthday party for Jeffrey. I’d sent out coonskin hat invitations made from construction paper. Made a cake Friday morning. At 2 I was downtown getting favors and passed the bus going up the hill. I got home about 15 minutes before Jeff and Keith arrived. Put them both to work helping and then sent them down to the bottom of the driveway to keep people from driving up and creating a traffic jam. Rebecca stayed only long enough for a glass of punch and then went to a friend’s party over near the elementary school. There were seven guests plus Clarke. We had only one organized activity. I’d hidden four stuffed animals in the garden and they had to find them. I’d taken some large cardboard boxes from the hardware store in the big truck Thursday afternoon and had drawn lines on them to represent logs in stockade. They didn’t play with them much.

Anne Marie gave him comic books and after he’d opened all his presents he and Anne Marie and Josh read comic books. The others became restless and rowdy so I took Jeff aside and told him he had to participate. I suggested kick the can. None had played before so I showed them how to play and they did that for almost an hour. Took everyone home and picked up Rebecca from her party on the way back.

Mid-August 1975

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August 19th 9:30 p.m.

Just got Rebecca and Jeffrey to bed after reading three days worth of “Survive the Savage Sea”.

The previous day had been partly cloudy with a few showers and at one point there was a lovely rainbow behind the house, arched over the creek, lengthwise.

I picked a big bowl of green beans and froze a quart and picked a gallon of blackberries. Made a blackberry pie and about a quart of jam. We had baked chicken and our first corn, one ear each, from the garden for dinner.

Today was foggy until around 11:00. I got up at 7:30 and around 9:30 we all went down to the creek so I could help Bob who had been there a couple of hours already. I made plugs for three holes in the form, using the coping saw—nailed two in place. By then it was lunchtime so Rebecca and Clarke and I came up to fix lunch. Jeff stayed down to paint the plywood forms with oil. Rebecca stayed at the house while Clarke and I took lunch down. We met Jeff on his way up and I gave him an apple to sustain him. All three children hauled tie bolts (?) from across the bridge to this side this morning, 47 of them.

After lunch Bob and I hauled the forms over to the abutment and he tied them in place with the ties through the holes. Then I started cutting small strips of edging and nailing it in place. Couldn’t seem to get the idea of angling the corners so just did straight ones. Clarke helped me for a while and played happily by himself the rest of the time. We left at 4:00 to come home where Rebecca and Jeffrey had been all afternoon.

I cleaned the bugs out of the pool and mowed the lawn. Half way through the lawn mowing I stopped to scrub beets and put them on to boil and later to stick the ham in the oven. After dinner we reversed our bedtime roles with Bob reading to Clarke while I washed, swept floor while he washed; I read to Jeff and Rebecca while he washed, etc. Beautiful big, puffy clouds around all afternoon. I should have taken pictures.

I’m nearly through with “The Making of an Un-American” by Paul Cowan.

On Saturday, August 23rd I said that Wednesday I helped Bob again—measured, cut and fitted six small edging boards and nailed them in—this took a couple of hours. The children loaded scrap lumber with some assistance from me into the rack truck. During the afternoon they stayed at the house for a couple of hours (playing in the shade on the back porch) while I took lunch down to Bob. After we ate I cut 23 six-inch 2 x 4 pieces for the form. Made blackberry ice cream.

Thursday morning we went into town. I bought groceries, presents for Jeff’s birthday, did five batches of laundry, took the children to Van Matres where I got shoes for Clarke and a shirt for Jeff (both on sale) and new suspenders for Clarke (for 75 cents). We also went to the library. Ate a dinner of hotdogs and buns, potato chips, grapes and ice cream sticks for dessert. We left for the ranch around 7:00 p.m.Bob had called from the ranch just before we left to go out saying he was coming in for another load of gravel, after having unloaded the first batch. We passed him on the highway as he was heading into town.

Friday he and Rebecca unloaded the 2nd batch and went into town to bring out a 3rd. That day I did some damp mopping in the kitchen/dining room area, folded clothes, picked blackberries and made several pints of jam. Worked with Clarke a little on reading. Cooked a chuck roast and cleaned stuff out of the refrigerator.

Saturday we all went down to the creek around 10:00. Bob an hour before that. I’d fixed a big breakfast—scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, tomato from our garden and slightly green peaches.

We worked until 1:30 and then the children and I came home to fix lunch. We were hauling concrete cribbing. Bob would lift them with the boom truck from up on the turn and haul them down to the bridge site. Sometimes I’d run the winch and sometimes he would. We worked out a system where he did most of the rigging and I guided him in the truck and ran the winch a lot. The first four pieces were hard because they had to be exactly placed and level on their gravel bedding. The other pieces were not so difficult but still it’s slow work and we finally quit at 7:00 when we were both making mistakes. The children played quite well – with trucks and bulldozers in a pile of dirt along the road and down at the creek. They enjoyed playing on the cribbing as we built it up also. It would be impossible to do all that lifting (the big pieces weighing about 1500 pounds) without the boom truck.

I don’t really mind helping out too much except I resent the whole project for making it a laborious summer with no pack trips and no time for me to be by myself. At least with the cribbing you can see progress being made and I think Bob really appreciates the assistance.

Dinnertime was kind of a hassle but I told the children on the way up that they would have to take showers while I fixed dinner. Bob got a shower too and read to Clarke before dinner so that was taken care of. All three children had showers last night and washed their own hair, even Clarke, so they were a little dubious about two nights in a row, but they were really dirty.

We had spaghetti, green salad, French bread and, again, slightly green peaches. Bob washed the dishes.

While we were u p on the turn, a big hawk flew down above the stream, appeared confused and lit in a tree across from us, then flew again above the road on our side of the creek. I called to the children who also were able to get a good view.

Sunday we were down at the creek by 9:30. Bob and I hauled the last three big beams and two little ones, struggling to fit them in. There wasn’t much room to maneuver the truck and we had to do a lot of shoving. It’s amazing how much can be done with a crowbar. With the last beam on the creek side we could only put it half way along its course. Bob built a ramp out of 2 x 4s to hitch it the rest of the way with the “come along”.

After lunch (which was at 2:00 again) we unloaded the racks from the back of the boom truck into the concrete bin. Then went up the road and loaded the truck. Unloaded. Loaded and unloaded. By this time it was after 6:00. I brought the children home and fixed dinner. Got them fed; got Clarke read to and the floor swept (including ten minutes for broken dessert bowl). Bob got home around 8:30 and we ate. Had lots of leftovers, fortunately, so we had those plus corn from the garden and salad. I was so tired during dinner it took a lot of effort to not start crying.

Had a restless night what with aching muscles, many trips to the bathroom because I was so thirty in the evening, and dreams of the whole cement structure drifting with a grating noise and clouds of cement dust rising.
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There are many photographs of the whole bridge-building process, at least four slide-containers, but I don’t want to mix any of them in the wrong order with wrestling them out of the metal holders. Someone, someday, may want to chronicle it and I hope they do.

Cousins visit–August 1975

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My new camera arrived and I was so excited. I was a little scared by it just because it was so expensive, around $300. It had a macro-lens, which meant I could take close-ups as well as distance shots.

Friday I bought more groceries, took Rebecca over to Florence and Leonard’s to water the houseplants, picked vegetables and berries–I’d dropped Jeff off at the barbershop. It ended up taking me an hour–and-a-half to get back to pick him up. He said he read a lot of comic books. Finished getting the last of the laundry done, the car packed and we got out to the ranch late that afternoon. Drained and cleaned the pool, cleaned the settling tank, mowed the lawn and chopped up a piece of wood for stove wood. Picked tomatoes and green beans from our garden.

The cousins, Jessica and Cedric, were to arrive Monday with Bob to stay for two days. Sunday night I was so tired and wrote that I felt as if my “blood was made of water”, deciding I’d probably had too much sun the day before. And was wishing for more time to myself. I also noted that Margaret Meade whose book, “Blackberry Winter”, I’d just finished reading, had a nanny to help her with her one child plus numerous friends and relatives to help.

Jessica and Cedric arrived with Bob when he came home from work. I worked a lot on Monday to make sure there wouldn’t be too much to do besides children for the two days they would be there. Got the bugs out of the pool, mowed the lawn, cleaned the grass out of the water ditch, brought in the laundry, etc.

Jessica and Rebecca stayed upstairs that night and Jeff and Cedric downstairs. I put up a stepladder and the laundry rack with our quilt over it to make a sort of wall.

Bob brought out two small I-beams and unloaded them down at the creek after dinner.

Saturday John Scott went to Eureka, leaving Weaverville at 4:30 a.m., to get concrete cribbing and got to the creek with it around noon. He had to make one more trip over this summer. It’s for the retaining wall.

I was writing to myself that next summer that I needed to get some sort of firm commitment from my spouse for me to have at least half a day a week to myself. That out at the ranch there was no one else but him who could help me with that endeavor.

On Tuesday, Cedric and Jeffrey woke up while Bob was upstairs in the shower. So I was feeding him around 6:30 and everyone else kind of as they appeared after that.

The children played badminton all day—between going for a walk around the loop, swimming, playing cowboys and Indians, and feeding grasshoppers to a large garden spider. I made ice cream and everyone took a quick turn at the crank. Cedric and Jeff made breechclouts

out of towels and belts and I made a stick bow for Clarke and one for Cedric. Rebecca and Jessica were being “squaws” (and here I wrote ‘a shudder for Women’s Lib’). I used up a whole roll of film and hoped that I got some good pictures. They all seemed very tired that night, Clarke probably the most, being the youngest.

Tuesday there was less activity. They boys played with trucks and water in the sand pile and the girls mashed up green apples, and had a pretend campfire, using pans- living a House on the Prairie type of existence. They used a long straight stick for a water pump. Clarke had disagreements with Jeff and then went off to play with Rebecca and Jessica. I took crackers and lemonade up to them. Got some housework done.

Thursday we took Jessica and Cedric into town—so there were five kids, a dog, and a ton of laundry to haul in the VW van. Took them to Joneses and then the rest of us went up to the house to unload. Went to the grocery store, made root beer. Rebecca and Jeffrey helped with the capping, Clarke with the stirring.

I started reading “Survive the Savage Sea” by Daryl Robertson, finishing it fairly quickly. Then started reading it to the children.

My mother was having more surgery for her hip and I spent some time talking to my dad and to two of my brothers, separately, about the health issues.

The following Saturday Bob and the boys went out to the ranch while Rebecca and I scurried around in town finishing up some things. I cleaned that house, did the last of the laundry and, went to the library and post office. Then we went to Brown’s for milkshakes, hot dogs and grilled cheese to go. Stopped at Big Bar for cream, milk, ice and the Sunday paper.

Here’s a good one to look back on: “ Bob got the children started trying to play music on saws this afternoon. He, himself, did pretty well with Red River Valley. So things were pretty noisy all afternoon. Bob played his banjo and we had saws and spoons going and some times my harmonica. Clarke danced a lot—he really has a good sense of beat, hangs loose—and dances with his dark glasses on.”

Rattlesnakes, Backpacking and More 1975

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Killed a little rattlesnake near the mint patch when I went out to get a sprig for my iced tea. Looked for a shovel and couldn’t find one so whacked off its head with a splitting mall. It was rather pretty and innocent looking except for that diamond-shaped head and the single button on its tail.

Wednesday night I helped Bob get the pump out from near the creek. We went down around 9:00. Took the children of course. I ran the boom truck while he did the tying, etc. We lowered it into the trunk on his car. Got home and I was just getting the children ready for bed when my father called. My eldest brother and his wife were visiting them. Clarke started bouncing on the bed and fell off but fortunately Bob got home and headed up the stairs about then. So it was after 10:00 when the children got to bed.

July 30th, a Wednesday, Bob called from Utah. He was going to Idaho that day and would be home the next night. I’d taken the children to Weaverville Monday for swimming lessons and the whole family, including Bob, had gone to the pool for half an hour that evening.

Tuesday, after swimming lessons, I’d gone to Florence and Leonard’s and picked some vegetables. Then went to Hal Goodyear’s to give him a request from Bob and up to the Wood’s to leave a list of steel for Herb. Much cooler that night so we could have all the windows and doors closed and have a fire that morning.

We went up to the top of the meadow where I cleaned the bathtub-settling tank. Clarke and the dog and I continued our walk around the loop but Rebecca and Jeff went back to the house where they started making chocolate chip cookies. In the afternoon I cleaned the pool and mowed the lawn. I had purchased a badminton set and we put it up that afternoon. The children and I played for about an hour, practicing. Even Clarke did pretty well. He could serve much better than I thought he would. After dinner Rebecca and Jeffrey played until nearly 9:00. Clarke got frustrated with it so I got him in the shower and read to him and had him in bed just before they came in.

Sunday evening Bob went to the cellar and got buzzed by a rattlesnake. He called me and asked me to poke at it with a long pole — it was curled up on the rock shelf right near where he was reaching. All I did with the pole was cause the snake to crawl away so “I guess we still have a snake under the house.” Got thoroughly mosquito bitten in the process.

I looked in the generator relay box and found four little light -beige eggs with brown spots. The wrens were raising another brood!

August 4th –Monday
On Sunday Pat Powell and her daughter, Irene Nunn, and Linda Ohde came out. Doris and Dave were up on Hayfork Bally and Eric and Charlie had left for Canada. Linda was going to stay at home by herself. They stayed for lunch and then left, leaving Linda with us.

The previous Friday we had a birthday party for Clarke in Weaverville. He had a watermelon cake with green frosting on the sides, pink on top and raisins for seeds. The children unwrapped presents, ate and ran through the sprinkler. (Guests included Stephen Echols, Michael Little, Amy McClurg, Molly Simmons, Robin Meyer (for Rebecca). Jeff must have been elsewhere?

Bob came out to the ranch Friday night. Rebecca stayed overnight with Anne Marie. We went out to the ranch around noon. Made homemade ice cream during the afternoon.

Sunday morning I helped Bob down at the creek for a couple of hours. Took nails out of some boards and cut corner moldings and hammered them in the form—a yucky job because there was no room around the rebar to swing a hammer. Today I worked down there for most of the day with time off to go home and fix lunch and take it down. We had cucumber sandwiches, with cucumbers from our garden, carrots from Florence’s garden, lemonade and watermelon. We’re getting tomatoes, lettuce and summer squash and green beans. I was cutting with a hacksaw and shaping rebar, making two bends at the top and curves at the bottom, called stirrups. Went into the creek a few times to cool off.

Jeffrey spotted a rattlesnake by the creek after lunch and Bob pinned it down with a shovel. I took the crowbar and smashed its head. He cut off the rattles for Jeffrey.

Linda took care of the children a lot today. She is really a good person to have here. Does lots of imaginative things with the the children, is interesting to talk to for me also.

Am starting to read Margaret Meade’s “Blackberry Winter” again. Bob leaves tomorrow from the Weaverville airport around noon. He’ll be back Thursday.

Candie and Carin plus me with my three hiked into East Weaver Lake.They arrived at our house around 5:30. I barbecued a chuck roast outside. It was delicious but we didn’t start eating until 7:30. At that time I went over o the park to leave a sketch with the park board. The children didn’t get to bed until 9:00 and Candie and I not until 10:30. They had a very cute, three-month old puppy with them named Chelli.

I noted that she really seemed to need to get away from Willows and that I had enough food, etc. for all of us. They had their sleeping bags and a stove though. Rebecca needed film and Candie needed to drop her car off at Miller’s so we did that the next morning. I had to get dog food for our dog and leave it at the house so Lawrence Forero could feed our dog while we were gone. Candie’s puppy was going with us. And we didn’t pack until the morning of departure.

The VW van did fine going up Weaver Bally road; just a little spinning. When we got as far as the spring we saw Dick Morris’ truck parked there. We drove up as far as the trees where Linda Ohde had said there was a good place to park, turned around and parked there so we were facing downhill. A little before 1:00 we were sitting by the lake eating lunch.

Jeffrey carried his and Clarke’s sleeping bags and pads. Rebecca carried all her things and Clarke carried his bushbaby and a change of clothes. Carin carried her doll.

A snow slide of some sort had partially filled the lake and broken off some trees. It wasn’t nearly as pretty as it had been when Rebecca and Jeff and I had camped there three years ago. Thick mud lay on top of the snow and ice which floated, along with fir needles and logs, from one end of the lake to the other, depending on how the wind blew. Still, it was a nice setting.

The children found a windfall up on a rocky point where they wanted to sleep. It was some distance from the lake though so we went over to check where the small stream runs in. It was a pretty spot—shooting stars and heather blooming. We met Mary Figarton and her daughter, Lauri and friend JoAnn. We talked with them for a while and then went back to the windfall. The wind came up and we could see big thunderheads off toward the valley. We hauled water for dinner and then had a brief visit from Dick and Sandy who were on their way out from Rush Creek Lakes. They left us a bottle with a good sip for we two adults. (We found out later from Brad Miller, who we met on the road, that their truck battery was dead when they got to their vehicle and they had to hike up to the lookout to summon help.)

It was cold that night. We didn’t even wash dishes but went right to bed shortly after 7:00. I didn’t sleep at all—too cold. Candie even traded sleeping bags with me but it didn’t help for long. Everyone else had insulate pads but I had an air mattress.

We had to break ice on the lake in the morning to get water. The children really seemed to have a good time. Thursday was Clarke’s actual birthday. He was a little concerned about no presents but Candie organized a surprise party for him—everyone popped up from behind a rock saying “surprise” and sang Happy Birthday. He was presented with flowers, sticks and rocks. Both legs on his pants were ripped and I cut them off into shorts with a pocketknife. I sewed up a hole in the rear with needle and thread. Jeff had his cook kit, which we used with ours, and his coonskin hat and was off on many adventures while Rebecca and Carin were a little more family oriented in their play; Rebecca making doll clothes out of the legs of Clarke’s pants.

The hike out went quickly and Rebecca and Jeff walked rapidly. Once we got them to wait for Clarke who was trying desperately to catch up, and Carin—all four made rapid progress. We ate lunch by a small patch of snow near the top of the ridge. Had snow, water (which I carried up from the creek in a plastic jug) and powdered lemonade mixed. The little dog had to be carried about the last quarter mile because its feet were so sore. Candie walked with the children down to the spring while I walked up to get the car.

Once in town we went to see Bob for a few minutes and then Candie treated the kids to frosties and she and I had root beer floats at the A & W. We got her car, went to our house for a few minutes and then she headed for her parents’ place in Trinity Center.

I showered and washed my hair, put stuff away and was about to go buy groceries when Jeffrey stepped on a rusty nail. Fortunately Bob came home about then and I asked him whether he could take Jeff to see Dr. Nielsen, which he did. I took the others to get groceries and stopped at the pharmacy where I also got Clarke a pair of sunglasses for his birthday. Went home and fixed a birthday cake for Clarke and we had hotdogs and salad for dinner.

Found out a few days later from Doris Ohde that, the night we were at East Weaver Lake, a very rapid cold front had come through. Helen Gravette told Bob it got down to 36 degrees in the East Weaver subdivision. No wonder we froze up at that elevation!

The Second Abutment Summer 1975

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Life continued to have daily living events:
Rebecca had a 10th birthday;
Jeff stayed overnight at Florence and Leonard’s to play with Kent;
Jeannie Meyer gave us three- dozen eggs from their chickens. She and Robin went on a backpack trip even though she had the same miserable germ that I had.

But for several summers the main focus in our lives was on the construction of the bridge. This wasn’t just a bridge- it was a legacy, and I’m sure a one-of-a-kind. It was truly an amazing accomplishment, but there were costs involved, besides the financial ones. There were also lessons learned and character that was built!

Apparently I’ve misplaced the journal that described building the first abutment but there are slides that record the entire project from beginning to end. The whole process would take a book to describe so I’ll mostly be hitting the high spots, and of course mostly from my viewpoint. There is no way I could separate myself out far enough from my daily living to give an accurate description of all that was involved.

Little French Creek’s steep, rocky canyon access always seemed to “want to be a trail” as Bob said, more than once. We had four miles of road, originally put in as a logging road, to maintain. Trees and rocks fell, rock slides occurred, all the usual things one would expect I suppose.

There was an original log bridge, which washed out in 1965 when we had to access the house on foot, via the one single log that remained. Then another log bridge was put in. Various slides occurred that had to be cleared out with large bulldozers, plus smaller slides that our little John Deere tractor could clear.

At one point, when my eldest brother was visiting, he noticed a large Douglas Fir on a rocky bluff high above the proposed bridge site and called it to our attention. So Bob somehow figured out the approximate mass of the tree and how much weight could land on the bridge if the tree fell. Plans got revised. After all these years much of that is kind of a blur, although some I have recorded in this diary.

As this narrative begins, the first abutment had already been put in the previous year on the far side of the creek. I’ve not been able to find a description of that and am kind of “winging” it on the order of the slides. I have quite a few pictures of that original abutment and family participants but don’t have many pictures of the second one. The narrative does show the effort that went into it though.

In mid-July Bob hired Eric Ohde and Charlie Jopson to help for one weekend and he was taking the following week off as vacation time.

At 10 p.m. on Friday, the 18th, I wrote that he was still down at the creek working, and the next day a backhoe would be there. He didn’t get up to the house until midnight. The two teenagers helped all day Friday and Larry Anderson, who was going to boss the pour, and Virgil DeLapp, came out to look at the bridge site and also came up to look at the house.

It took me years to figure out that those who achieve great accomplishments probably have a similar focus –scientists, writers, artists, etc. I’m sure some have made room for others in their lives and some haven’t. And some have found the stress of their focus overwhelming. Most probably didn’t have other fulltime jobs to juggle as well.

I had to leave the next day with the children before the cement truck came, or at least have the car out of the way.

Clarke took a bad tumble down the stairs. He had some scrapes on one shoulder but otherwise seemed ok. When I asked him where it hurt he sobbed “All over”. And I’m sure it did.

The Monarch butterfly caterpillar became a chrysalis yesterday.

Florence and Leonard were staying down at the creek with Bob until he finished that night. I stayed up until 1:00 a.m., which was when Bob got home Sunday night. At 4 a.m. he got up and went down to the creek to fill the pump with gas. At 5:30 we both got up. I fixed him a big breakfast and he went down to the creek. By 7:30 I was down there with the car loaded and kids fed and dishes washed. I left the children there and started up the road. Met Bob coming down. He backed up a ways and I parked the VW where he leaves the road drag. Helped him some putting braces on the bin he’d made the night before. The cement truck was supposed to get there between 8:30 and 9:00. Jack didn’t arrive until 9:20. He’d had smoke coming out of his brakes coming off Oregon Mountain, so had stopped for a while. Larry Anderson, John Scott, and a helper had arrived around 8:30. I started walking to the car with the children (hadn’t wanted to meet Jack on the way out) and saw one loader scoop of cement go in. We just barely made it into town for the children’s swimming lessons, which were at 10:30.

The children saw Jack’s cement truck go by while I was in the grocery store, around 11:30. In town now, I made another batch of root beer, did laundry and tried to call Bob. I’d left a sandwich for him at the ranch for lunch and some leftover spaghetti. I finally reached him around 1:30. He was going to eat lunch and then take a nap. He said the pour had gone well.

I got my hair cut, took Clarke to stay overnight at Florence and Leonard’s, fixed a sandwich type dinner. Called Bob again and finally reached him at 9:30. He’d gone to Big Bar for a milkshake earlier.

Tuesday there were swimming lessons again. I went to a Board of Supervisor’s meeting and found they’d already dealt with my issue and $3,000 had been set aside in the budget for a nursery school and small meeting room to be added on to the recreation building. Had a good visit with Doris, taking advantage of having Patty Forero at the house with the kids. Took Patty home on our way out of town but had to go back to get Bob’s shaving kit. He’d already started a salad and we ate the spaghetti I’d left for him.

Thursday there were more swimming lessons and Clarke had to jump off the diving board. He was scared but he did it. I’d left the car at the service station to be lubed and walking back we met Barbara and Karen Austin and Christi McChesney. Barbara invited us to her house for a cold drink so after I got the car we did that. It was a really hot day so much appreciated. We watched the Apollo splashdown from there.

Summer 1975

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May 28th
Got bread started. Bob was home sick in bed. Wrote a letter to my parents. Clarke and I went to the library to run off a copy of an article to send to my parents. I took some of Clarke’s outgrown clothes to Miller’s; took clothes to the thrift shop; took ironing to Mortimeyer’s ; went to the post office, went to the Shell Station to order seat belts; went up to the Standard Station to have the mechanic listen to a noise in the right rear wheel. Went home and ate lunch out on the lawn with Clarke, after putting the bread in the oven.

After lunch I sanded Rebecca’s shelves and put a coat of varnish on the bottoms. At four took the children to Van Matre’s and got socks for Rebecca and tanktop shirts for Jeffrey. Came home and put a second coat of varnish on the shelves. Washed my hair, got the paper and read it. Fixed dinner. Washed dishes; helped Rebecca rearrange her room. Got kids to bed. Finished five certificates for nursery school. Was cross with Bob and him with me.

Monday out at the ranch I pruned brush along the road for a couple of hours in the morning and mowed the lawn in the afternoon. Took the children down to the creek to play for about an hour after lunch. Clarke learned to climb the little maple that weekend while I held my breath.

Tuesday I taught nursery school and then cleaned house. Rebecca is excited because she and Cindy are going to put on a puppet show for the nursery school children. They had a chance to go Shasta Dam with the rest of the 4th grade but chose to stay in town.

Jeffrey picked out Yellow Submarine on the piano with one hand.

We had 71 people, counting babies, at the nursery school picnic. Went through three freezers of homemade ice cream, numerous bags of potato chips, hotdogs, etc. Rebecca and Cindy put on their puppet show and they and Bobbie Edwards stayed for lunch. We took Andy home with us and then I dropped him off at Brigitte’s on the way to Jeff’s piano lessons.

Friday I didn’t go for my usual walk but did take Clarke to Linda Lindsey’s for a couple of hours while I went to Greenwood’s for gift certificates for Linda Ohde and Patty Forero, etc. That afternoon I took Clarke over to the kindergarten room to register. Later Rebecca helped me make strawberry ice cream.

Saturday we went out to the ranch. It was very hot, the children were cross, and all three had colds. Also, the dog was hot and drooling down their backs. On the way we stopped at Big Bar at the Nunn’s so I could get my dark glasses, having left them there when we went to their anniversary party. We also bought a block of ice.

I saw a shrike that afternoon. The first I’d ever seen at the ranch. It perched on the cable on top of the boom truck and flew down to the grass to catch insects, probably grasshoppers. Also perched on top of the sprinkler at the corner of the orchard. There was a robin nesting in the green apple tree. We got back to Weaverville around 8:30 and had some of our ice cream.

The next week I spent some time in Redding getting the car checked but it was ok. Went to the Mall and got some birthday presents for Rebecca and some paperback books at Hyatt’s for myself.

That Saturday, just after Bob left for the ranch, I went out and found the right rear tire of the VW flat again. I couldn’t get the lug nuts off so had to call Miller’s and a boy came up and changed it for me. Went down and bought groceries, came home, loaded the car, went to Miller’s to get the tire put back on. They were busy so I took the tire down to the Shell Station.
The children were hot, bored and fighting so I got them each a soft drink, which quieted them down. The Friday before we went to the ranch on Saturday, Candy, Jim and Carin came by. We visited all afternoon and I was jealous of her new camera. Saturday they followed us out to the ranch. We finally got there around 1:30 and spent most of the weekend talking and watching kids. Some little animal chewed off the tops of all my peas. Jim helped Bob a lot down at the creek moving the I-Beams up to rest on the abutment so a backhoe could get in.

On Rebecca’s birthday we got her a camera, a song book (UNICEF), pajamas and a rag record. Florence gave her $10 to spend on going to Oregon. She deposited $5 in a savings account and bought some more film and was saving the rest for the trip. She had five girls come to her party. They had a good time and although antsy at first, settled down under the card tables outside for an hour, eating, telling dirty jokes (which stopped in abrupt silence whenever I appeared) and had contests with their noise makers. I gave them all rides home, then went to the bank with Rebecca and to Brown’s. Went up to Ohdes and then over to the park where Linda was with Jeff and Clarke. Took Linda home and we stayed for root beer and ice cream. Had a good talk with Doris. Rebecca’s birthday was announced on Channel 9. I’d sent in all three children’s birthdays. That was rather exciting for her.

I was getting really stressed out with preparations to go to Oregon to see my parents with the children. Linda Ohde was going to come and help out though. But I wasn’t getting enough sleep and our pace of life was getting overwhelming. I had a bad cough that kept me awake at night as well. I borrowed a VW seat from the Meyers because, with Linda coming with us, we needed another seat. I struggled with trying to install it and/or get someone to install it for me. Bob came home for lunch at just the wrong time and, instead of having a calm, firm conversation about our speed of life I blew up. Needed a chunk of quiet time afterwards to recoup and apparently the children were good about letting that happen. Also told him I was worried he’d have a heart attack at the rate he was going.

I finally was able to borrow a seat with parts (lacking with the Meyer’s seat) from the Avens. After work Bob came home and installed the seatbelts “If I were trying to do, in the time allotted, what he’s trying to do I wouldn’t want petty details (like cars) to be bothered with either” but “I didn’t volunteer for that shift”.

The three children, Linda Ohde and I left for Nehalem on the 18th and were gone about a week. I’ve not been able to find the slides that go with this trip but they are someplace in my possession!

It was a good, though tiring trip. When we got to the coast we went to the Humboldt Marine Biology Station (fish, sea anemones, and an octopus, etc.). From there we went to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park where we ate lunch and went on the nature trail, which goes along Prairie Creek. Linda and I took lots of pictures. The boys did a lot of hiding in the ferns and hollow trees and jumping out at us. Stopped in at the visitor center, which used to be the recreation building and at that time had an apartment at each end. I stayed in one when I worked there at college age. Stopped for gas in Brookings and camped the first night at Humbug Mountain State Park. Had a lunch type dinner, went down to the beach for a few windy minutes. A big help having Linda to keep an eye on the boys. Wind gusts had made driving a bit difficult. I took a hot shower to warm up.

We stopped in Port Orford for breakfast the next morning and I noted that bicyclists wearing long underwear and shorts were eating there. In mid-morning we stopped at Sand Dunes National Monument and walked up a little trail. Took off shoes and jackets and everyone ran. It was overcast but bright. “The children rolled, slid, bounced, danced, skidded and whooped their way up one dune and down the next.” We ate lunch at Carter Lake, a little park along the way. Picnic sites were tucked among thick growths of salal.

Our next stop was at Sea Lion Caves, where sea lions were out on the rocks. We rode down the elevator to see their cave and bought some souvenirs. “an interesting spot in spite of the tourist trap aspects.”

The boys fell asleep a little later and we drove on to Tillamook where we got gas, ate dinner (opposite the Cheese Factory). and I called my parents. We arrived in Nehalem that evening.

Children were tired and cranky the next day. The older three played monopoly for a while but fought. I took them all for a walk Honeysuckle and foxgloves were blooming and we ate a few salmon berries. Went down to the beach for an hour after lunch. It was foggy and we got wet so took a while to get the sand off. After dinner Linda played monopoly with Jeff and Rebecca played some with Clarke, drawing around him, etc.

The next day my mother wanted to know where we might go, very enthusiastic, my dad not so much. I’m sure it was hard for him to have all of us there with him having to take care of my mother with her disabilities, even though I think he was glad to see us. I fixed a lunch and my dad drove us all to Ft. Stevens, which I noted, was kind of depressing. Then we went to Ft. Clatsop. By the time we got there we were all hungry. Everyone really enjoyed exploring here and finally, around 4:40, we ate lunch in the picnic area, which we had all to ourselves. Back on the main highway there was a Scandinavian Festival going on that I would have stopped to visit but with my parents having already had a long day it wouldn’t have been a good idea.

Finally got the children fed by about 8:30 or 9:00 and Linda helped by getting the boys to bed. We didn’t finish until nearly 10:00. My father got cross when I tried to help with the dishes and we yelled at each other but “I think things were ok by the time we finished. “ I did decide we should leave the next day though.

The next night we stayed at a motel in Florence. We had stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory where we got a box of cheese and some smoked salmon. We ate lunch at Gardener Beach, eating in the car because of the rain. From there we drove to Newport and visited the Undersea Gardens—a touristy sort of place that included a rather limp octopus. After that we went to the University of Oregon Marine Laboratory, where we should have gone in the first place. And no charge. It was terrific and included sea creatures that the children could touch.

I’d planned on going to the animal place near Wilsonville, but decided against it because of the price, plus kids were acting as if they were coming down with a cold so we just drove. Ended up in Grants Pass for the night at an older motel for $18. Took the kids for a walk so Linda could have half an hour to herself. Ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Watched the news and then everyone went to bed.

Breakfast at the Chinese Restaurant, with fortune cookies, then went to Oregon Caves National Monument. When we got there we found that no one under the age of six was allowed to go through. Well, I wasn’t about to leave Clarke with their baby sitting service so just made sure he hustled right along with the rest of us and he kept up pretty well.

We ate lunch at Jedediah Smith State Park and then went on down the coast to Patrick’s Point. I hadn’t planned on that but the boys were pretty restless so we went to the beach. It was really beautiful. Got gas at Trinidad and drove to Willow Creek where we stopped for a bit to eat and I called Florence to see if she would call Bob. We got home around 8 pm.

Cleaning the car included sand mixed with orange juice and a few seagull feathers.

Shortly before July 4th Linda Ohde sat with the kids while I drove to Castle Crags and hiked up to the dome. It had been years since I’d done that. Brought back all the memories of having lived there as a child for ten years, 1947-58.

Left the trailhead at 9:30 and was at the top by 11:00, including going out the Indian Springs trail and back. “ It hasn’t changed much, the trail is wider and deeper in some places.

It was a good day for hiking, fairly cool. Because I was hurrying, I was really sweating. I ate lunch at the overlook above Root Creek. Where I could see out to Mt. Shasta, with the dome on my right, and hundreds of feet straight down to Root Creek.” There were lots of people on the trail. I was back at the trailhead by 1:30 and hiked out the Root Creek Trail and back, stopping to eat an apple in the pitcher plant bog. Got home in the middle of a cloudburst from a thunderstorm. Stiff and sore for a few days.

May 1975

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on May 1975

Clarke rode on the tractor with Bob down almost to where we cut the tree yesterday. Then Jeff rode for about ¼ mile, doing most of the steering. Later, Rebecca had a ride. Bob dragged the root and stump down the bank onto the road. Pushing it off the road was something else. I put a chain around it so he could try to drag it once but the road became so wet and mossy from the spring that he had a hard time. He finally shoved it off and then spent a couple of hours working on the road. Once again we ate at Big Bar, getting home around 8 o’clock. About 8:30 Bob remembered that he hadn’t drained the tractor so he went all the way down there again.

I didn’t write again until April 24th saying Bob was writing a letter to Biz Johnson and that I’d just gotten back from a nursery school board meeting. “We didn’t get much done.” Then George Halcomb called to tell me that the Board of Supervisors had turned down our request for $3,000 to add a room onto the recreation building. I didn’t know it was on the agenda or I would have gone.

The previous Sunday we had gone out to the ranch where I vacuumed the house—took about 4 hours—and Bob pulled up the grapevines with the tractor.

Barbara Mallett brought a two-day old calf to nursery school, much to the children’s delight.

May 2nd–we spent our first night of the year at the ranch. I was writing by candlelight, having just gotten the two older children to bed. Clarke had been asleep by the time we got there and I carried him upstairs and tucked him in. We’d left town after dinner.

That morning I’d answered the phone four times and called twice, done the dishes, etc. Then driven over to the park where Rebecca and some other children were meeting with Cary Conway (U.S.F.S.). They spent the day there. I left her camera, which she’d forgotten, and took Clarke to Linda Lindsey’s. Started up the Garden Gulch trail and went up to where the old cabin is and tried to follow the old road up. Part of it had been worked on and just past that section came across a fairly new outhouse. Scrambled up the creek quite away and then decided to try to go up on the ridge top to come home as it was getting late and I thought that would be faster. I was getting discouraged but though I saw a road across the hill, then saw an old rusty can and decided I might be right below a road—which I was. Took me a while to get oriented. I was on the road. Weaverville was to my right and should have been to my left. I kept walking and finally things straightened out. Where the road took a sharp turn down and to the left (into East Weaver drainage) I kept going straight and went up on an oak and digger pine covered ridge and knew where I was and how long it would take to get home. Had been up on that ridge a couple of times before. At lunch at Pinky Gulch and didn’t get home until 2:36. Jeff had been home half an hour by himself but didn’t seem to mind.

Took Jeff downtown, picked up Rebecca and Robin at Robin’s house, dropped them off at Lindsey’s so they could get Clarke. Florence and I went down to shovel manure. Got seven bags and put them in the barn.

The children were excited about sleeping overnight at the ranch and Jeff was anxious to try out his new “ranch” sleeping bag.

That Wednesday I’d taken the children to Redding to get new tennis shoes–$37.00 for all of them. We had root beer floats on the way home.

May 3rd—rain and sunshine alternating all morning. We should have built a fire in the big stove last night but hadn’t, just in the cooking stove, and it took a long time for the adults to go to sleep because we were so cold. This morning Bob got fires going in both stoves.

Florence and Leonard were going to come out and around noon Leonard called, saying he couldn’t get in the gate. I drove over to let them in and was glad to see how pretty the drive was—redbud starting, oak leaves uncurling. Sunlight most of the way over to the gate, rain most of the way back. Bob burned a pile of brush and boards in the morning. While Leonard rotortilled the garden this afternoon Florence, Bob and I piled up grape vines and other branches and Bob started burning that. Florence and Leonard ate lunch with us before working. They left around 4:00. They’d brought some trout that Leonard and Rupert Asplin caught last weekend. We decided this morning to stay one more night so Bob could burn—although I hadn’t brought extra food. So for dinner we had the fish, canned pork and beans, string beans, biscuits with blackberry jam or honey and, carrot sticks—really very good! Florence left cookies so we had those for dessert.

Around 5 pm it started snowing and “has been snowing off and on ever since’’-a light skim on the trees. Really very pretty to see it snow out there.

We found some old bottles down at the barn, two broken and one ok.

I found a lizard down there and Rebecca and Clarke collected it and kept it in the house most of the day. It kept getting out of the pen they had it in.

I kept the milk and things like that in the ice chest out on the back porch where it would stay cold. There were lots of birds around in spite of the cold weather, mostly robins and juncos. The pear trees were in bloom and the plums.

On May 15th, the next time I wrote, I’d just returned from attending a music program put on by the elementary school that evening. There was band music, chorus and two plays. Rebecca sang with the chorus and also played the piano for Yellow Submarine. The children did well and seemed to enjoy it. The building was packed. Rebecca did beautifully and seemed quite calm.

That was a busy day. After nursery school I took money for pictures up to Brigitte and talked to her for a few minutes. Came home and had lunch. After Jeff came home we went over to the elementary school where I attended a “tea” for helping mothers, for 15 minutes. Took Jeff to piano lessons and drove out East Weaver to get Clarke who was at McClurgs. Picked up Jeff and went home to fill out my time card and the attendance sheet, that had been due the previous Friday. Went to get Rebecca from her piano lessons, 20 minutes late, and took my papers to the high school. Came home and had a glass of wine and read the paper. Started dinner…left over pizza, salad, carrot sticks and a berry cobbler that I made before dinner. Then we went to the music program.

The previous day I’d gone out and pruned along the ranch road for a couple of hours. The day before that I’d gone to the Board of Supervisors again. And that time they said our building hadn’t been submitted on the Park Board budget—which it had. I talked to George Halcomb and he called J. Larken who talked to the board—still no go. So George had to write them a letter.

The previous weekend was the March of Dimes Walk-a-thon. Rebecca entered and walked at least 10 miles; she was marked down for the 12-mile checkpoint. They got rained out. So now Bob and I each have to pay her $10 because we pledged 50 cents a mile, not thinking she’d go very far. She stayed that night with Florence who also invited Robin Meyer and the two played there all the next day. Bob and the boys and I went out to the ranch. “It is so pretty out there this spring. The apples are blooming, as is the redbud and down on the gulch below the house, the dogwood. Lupine is beautiful this year. On the Knob above the house it looked as if someone had painted purple near the fence and pink (from a little pink flower) in a band next to it.”

I got tomatoes, more peas, summer squash, radishes and cucumbers planted and shoveled up some more space for the strawberries. Also mowed the lawn.

Bob worked on stovepipe. He went to replace the piece that fits into the ceiling on the big stove and found it was too small so drove all the way back to Weaverville Saturday afternoon to get the right size. Sunday he worked on the roof with both chimneys but still needs to finish the inside part on the cook stove. We ate dinner at Big Bar.

At some point, on a Friday, I substituted at Douglas City. The kids were really bickering a lot so it was a long day. Saturday I had laryngitis.

May 21st I hiked up Garden Gulch and by the time I got the van to our driveway knew I had a flat tire. Couldn’t get the lug nuts off so went up to the house and called Bob who came home and changed the tire for me.

Saturday we went out to the ranch. Mowed the lawn. It was a warm day but windy and Bob made parachutes for the kids out of Saran from our lunch. They had a marvelous time with them all afternoon. By wrapping the string around a small rock, or in Rebecca’s a little doll (and Jeff later around a one—legged doll) and throwing it in the air the parachute would fall and then open up.

Sunday, morning I planted a lot more in the garden—beets, chard, lettuce, green beans, another row of corn, etc. We ate lunch down at the creek, except for Rebecca, who decided she didn’t want to go down. It was cool and pleasant at the creek in the shade of the alders. Jeff and Clarke played in the shallow side pools but Clarke eventually fell into his little pool. It was cold!

Bob finished fixing the kitchen stove pipe and spent a lot of time down at the creek figuring out whether the trees on the bluff would fall on the new bridge after it is built.

We had another flat tire Saturday, the same one as last time. When I took it to the Shell Station Monday I was told both holes were in the side of the tire and were undoubtedly from an ice pick.

Monday I also went over to the nursery school and took pictures of Brigitte’s class. She taught Mondays and Wednesdays.

Tuesday night I drove to Big Bar for a Forest Forum meeting—a good presentation on the history of logging in Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties. Only 16 people were there.

Bob called from Bakersfield where he’d gone on Monday and would be back Friday afternoon. The previous Thursday he had talked to the children in Jeff’s class and Friday had shown a few at a time how his computer worked.

The next weekend we were out at the ranch again. We stopped on the way at Irene and Abe Nunn’s 40the wedding anniversary party for a couple of hours. After all the snacking at the party I just fixed soup and bread for dinner. Saturday morning I had made bread and chocolate chip cookies as well as packing clothes and food for the weekend. On Sunday I planted more in the garden, trimmed all the grass across the front of the house and around the rose bushes and started the water running down the little ditch through the orchard. Bumblebees swarmed around the place where the pipe exited into the ditch in the orchard and I thought maybe they had nested in there. Bob spent most of the day down at the creek doing calculations for the abutments.