January 1976

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Week ending Friday, January 9m 1976

This week went by very fast. Monday I vacuumed the whole house, got my hair cut and hauled about 8-10 loads of wood from the woodshed to the porch. Also developed an aching shoulder, which by tonight has extended down nearly to my wrist.

Tuesday there was nursery school. Wednesday I wrote a letter to my parents. Oh, and Monday morning I wrote thank you letters. Clarke and I went over to visit Sue Rose and children for about an hour. Drizzling all day. Ran some stuff off at the high school. Thursday, after nursery school, I went down to Heryfords to get some estimates for our new nursery school room and spent about an hour talking to George Halcomb about costs paid for and expenses still going on. Must appear before the Board of Supervisors Monday. Picked Jeff up from piano lessons about ½ hour late.

Thursday night was nursery school night class. It was snowing but not sticking. Out East Weaver there was snow on the ground. Marcia Lane and Shirley Bishop came in from Junction City but left early. Lorena Bassham came in from Trinity Center but we sent her right home again.

This morning I took Clarke over to Florence’s and took a walk. Sweated while I was walking but got cold sitting eating lunch. Weaver Bally is coated with snow—including the trees. There were places along the trail with a skim of snow on the ground and quite a solid skim where I ate lunch up on the cutover hill above Garden Gulch. Got a couple of lichen pictures.

I saw a hawk circling and calling–lovely. Saw some chickadees and a nuthatch in the same tree. Lots of deer tracks. Someone had gone up the trail but apparently taken the right-hand fork, thank goodness. They were back before I was. Heavy, sweet smell wherever there were manzanitas. They have clusters of flower buds, tightly closed, and yet individual leaves and individuals clusters seem to have no scent. Strange.

I got back to town about 1:30 and rushed to get ready to go to Cubs. I had to be there because Linda Covert had a wreck and wasn’t feeling up to it. Fortunately Jane Belden was there to help and I was bit late what with getting refreshments and getting poster board for a skit. We got the faces drawn for their skit and the boys made get well cards for Linda, which I later took to her.

My sister-in-law Charlotte Twight’s book arrived yesterday (I’d asked Hyatt’s to send up a copy). Bob is reading it tonight (“America’s Emerging Fascist Society”).

I’ve been reading some in ”The Forest Killers”, which Bob’s parents had given him for Christmas.

Florence and Leonard brought Nancy and David’s children back with them from Quincy after Christmas. So ours played some with them. Rebecca stayed over there one night with Noel and Clarke stayed one night. I wasn’t going to let Rebecca or Jeff stay over because they always stay awake too late but gave in with Rebecca and then it was too late in the week for Jeff. He really wasn’t that concerned about staying with Kent, just wanted to stay at Grandmother’s and Grandfather’s. Rebecca and Noel played in the attic room a lot with their dolls.

The day of Bob’s birthday we went over there for breakfast. Nancy and David had come over and were taking the children back to Quincy.

Bob has been reading “Gift of the Eagle” to Jeff. The Ohdes loaned it to us. He loves it and of course associates it with the little rubber eagle he got for Christmas.

On Saturday, 10th, I spent about an hour downtown buying groceries and running a few errands. Rebecca went over to the McMillens for the afternoon. I got Jeff to practice throwing a baseball for about 15 minutes before we went to pick her up.

Seems as if weekends are mostly cooking, washing dishes and yelling. Bob worked with Clarke on his airplane this morning. The children and I watched Tom Sawyer on TV.

I spent a lot of time working on my letter to the Board of Supervisors today. Difficult because the family expects me to be interruptible.

Now my other shoulder and side of neck are bothering. What a nuisance.

Monday morning I went to the Board of Supervisors to ask for more money to complete the proposed Nursery School Room. Took Clarke with me. Didn’t get much comment but have heard that there was further discussion which sounds promising.

A few days later I took Clarke to the new post office and to Brown’s for ice cream, as a bribe to get him to go to Linda’s so I could take a walk. It was very foggy but by noon I was up on the ridge out of it and it was all burned off by the time I got back to the car.

Saw a couple of deer. Arriving at Pinky Gulch, I startled what I think was a goshawk, which must have been preening by the water. It flew down the creek a little way, circled and lit on a large fir, which was beside the trail I’d just passed by on. It fluffed its feathers, sat for a minute, then circled back to a live oak near the stream crossing but on the opposite side. I wasn’t sure if it had perched or gone on and when I moved it flew down Pinky Gulch and across Garden Gulch. If I’d stayed still perhaps it would have gone down to the water again. It was big—about a 4-foot wing spread; curved, heavy bill with white streaks on the face and I could hear its wings whoosh as it flew. Probably the same bird I saw a year ago with the freshly killed rabbit in that area.

Got back to the car about 1:30, went home and changed out of my boots, went downtown and bought some balloons to use for the game for the Cubs and went over to the Scout House. Jane Belden arrived a few minutes later. The children were rowdy, as usual, but we got them to practice their skit a few times. Rebecca and Clarke arrived on the school bus a few minutes after we got home.

Saturday morning Rebecca went to play at Amy’s for a couple of hours. Then we all drove downriver to look at some land. Stopped at the footbridge across Jackass Gulch (?) and walked across. The children were delighted and bounced—especially Jeff. The opposite bank is steep and moss covered and I heard a beautiful bird song coming from near it. Turned out to be a water ouzel. I don’t remember having heard them sing before. Just when we arrived an elderly woman and her dog were going across. Must live in the little house we could see on the other side. It’s a U.S.F.S. trail and bridge. As we were leaving, her husband came along on a Honda and drove across, several boxes on the back. He used his feet to help the Honda get up the other side. We stopped further upriver and walked up a short road that leads to a meadow and trailhead (Ironside Mt. Trailhead I think). Got home around 5:30.

Bob and I were to eat dinner with Lucille Snyder at 6:30 so I fixed soup and toast for the kids, we changed and Bob got Linda Ohde. We got home from Lucille’s about 10:30. She seemed to be doing O.K.

The next Saturday afternoon I drove out to the ranch with Sue Rose. We had a lot of rocks to clear out but it was a beautiful day—grass was getting green in the meadow and rose hips are still a bright, shiny red. We got back about 4:30.

December 1975

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The last day of the year was clear an cold. Still no snow. We had a good Christmas except for illness.

On the afternoon of thed 24th the kids were bickering and at loose ends so we walked downtown and back. I was trying to make a wreath with the boughs all over the kitchen floor when Peter and Angenett and family came in. Bob came home from work early and we had a good visit and a mug of hot buttered rum.

After they left Rebecca complained of being sleepy. She had a temperature and a yucky throat. After dinner we went over to see Florence and Leonard for about an hour. I think it was their first Christmas Eve without grandchildren with them overnight. Christmas Day though they went over to Quincy.

We went home, read the Night Before Christmas, sang Christmas carols and got children to bed. Then I went over and got Linda Ohde and she helped me with all the Christmas things and I got her home around midnight. I was sort of keyed up and stayed up till one, reading.

Fortunately the children didn’ t wake up until almost 8:00. After doing their stockings (Rebecca hauled them into the boys’ room) they had to wait while Bob took a shower before opening gifts.

It was nearly 11 when I called the Ohdes who had invited us for breakfast. We ended up leaving Rebecca home where she admitted she’d be more comfortable. She was really miserable. We had a delicious breakfast and a good visit.

I took some pictures with my new Vivitar flash that Bob got me. He also gave me a tripod.

After we got home I took some things up to Dick’s and stayed there about an hour. Cheryl and others were there as well.

Saturday Rebecca seemed well enough to go to the ranch. We went with Jim Fields, Peter, Nick, Jessica, and Cedric. Angenett stayed home to study. Oh, and Friday Candie, Jim and Carin came and ate lunch with us and visited. Jim, Peter, Bob and Nick went up on the hill looking for a survey line. I stayed at the house with our three and Cedric and Jessica. The children played all over the meadow and then got out the badminton set. They (and I played a game with Cedric and Jeff till I got exhausted) played until it got too dark to see. The others got back around 5:30 and we were on our way home by 6:00.

Sunday I woke up sick with a sore throat and stayed in bed most of the day. That evening the Twights came over. Monday Peter and Angenett hiked up to Parker Creek. Monday I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with strep throat. We all had to have antibiotics.

And suddenly it was January, 1976.

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.

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.