1954 - 1957
Grades 1 through 3
I started First Grade at Englewood Elementary.
The principal of the school was Mrs. Dorothy Dougherty.
In my first years at school, I took circuitous routes home,
down alleys and through yards, to avoid a bully.
One time I spent too long at a girl's house looking at
some tiny crabs in her back yard that she had brought
home from the coast, and my Dad had to come looking
We had a Carnival at the school for a fundraiser.
There were photo booths (the photos were taken
with an early Polaroid camera), cakewalks, musical chairs,
and other things.
My second grade teacher was Mrs. Stevenson.
She had bright red hair and I had a crush on her.
In the summers, my brother John and I would take turns staying with my grandparents (Dad's parents). They
had a small farm on the west side of Wheatland Road just north of Clear Lake, which is north of Keizer,
Oregon. It was a narrow wedge-shaped piece of land between the road and a steep drop-off to the flood plain
below. The narrowest end of the wedge, south of the house, was a large food garden: corn, vegetables, etc.
The house had a mown lawn of grass between the house and the road, and another between the house and the
wire fence which ran along the top of the escarpment. There was a dog house on the house-side of the fence
and a small cow-shed on the other. They had one or two cattle for milking. Grandma made her own butter and
cream. There was a large garage for grandpa's pickup and tools between the house and a second garden. This
garden had several kinds of berries (boysenberries and raspberries, especially), a fig tree, and more kinds
vegetables. There was a chicken coop behind the garage and a pigeon coop at the far end of the second garden.
There was a duck pen on the downhill side of the fence behind the garden.
At first, my grandparents house had an outhouse by the corner of the garage and I bathed in a large galvnized
tub filled with buckets. Later, they had plumbing put in the house for a real bathroom. I remember the house
was heated with a wood stove in the living room and Grandma cooked on a wood stove in the kitchen. When I was
there, Grandma would be up before me and stoke the stoves to warm up the house and prepare for breakfast. I
slept on a davano, a couch that unfolded into a bed for company. Grandma taught me to clean up my plate by
wiping it clean with bread and butter. Some of my favorite foods when I visited were custard, scones, scrambled
Grandpa usually seemed gruff and stern. He kept a leather razor strap on the wall as a threat for disobedient
children, though I don't remember him ever using it on us. He did use switches, which he had us choose for
ourselves. He worked for years at Willamette Cherry Growers.
Mom's Diner, SAWYER'S LUNCH
For a while, Mom ran a diner on Mission Street near 17th. She had a counter with fixed stools and tables
with red and white checkered tablecloths. She had Boyd's Coffee for the customers. There was an electronic
shuffleboard game in the front corner with sand to smooth the way for the heavy puck. Dad cut the letters
for the sign on the front out of masonite and painted them red.
Dad was working at McMillan's, a restaurant on State Street overhanging Mill Creek. He would sometimes ride
John and me on the back of his bicycle over to Mom's diner. One time, John's shoe
got caught in the spokes. The shoe was damaged but John was OK.
The summer after third grade, I broke my arm rough-housing with a larger boy in his yard behind my
mother's cafe. Mom closed her cafe and took me next door to a small grocery store, Chapelles', where the
owner's wife splinted my arm with a magazine and drove us to the doctor's office. I remember the doctor
putting an ether mask over my face and asking me to count backwards from ten and he would give me a dime.
I donít know if I made it, but I probably didnít. I remember throwing up when I woke from the ether. I
had to wear a cast on my arm for about three months. I remember feeling left out when others went swimming
because I couldn't get my cast wet.
I also remember Chapelle's because it was there I got my first Canada Mints, the round pink wintergreen
losenges. I still love the flavor.