Here we are close to the end of the second day of our walk through our past. I am not sure how I want to start this story. Some of the things we used to do as kids all revolve around where we lived, who we visited, how we played and what our parents did. Our first trek of the day took us to find where Loren and Louise Partin lived. I was very hopeful when we started out that I could find the place where we turned off of Hwy. 30. To my surprise I found it we made our way south to the end of the road and turned west for a couple of miles. I had the uneasy feeling I was going the wrong way so a three point turn later sent us back to the nearest corner and off in the right direction again. About 5 miles later we found the long lane the house on. The wonderful right block wall the once bordered the house on three sides is crumbling. The huge row of lilac bushes was now only one. The grounds are run down and unkempt and much much smaller. Isn't it funny how things seem to shrink as we get older. Okay so we turned around from there and made our way back to Hwy. 30. We decided the house was located about 7 miles from the highway. Now that we were back on the Hwy 30 we turned west again to Hwy 93. Several miles down the road we turned east on the road that would take us to the Ralph Ward place and where many many early memories were formed. The house is gone but the garage is still barely standing. We all have some very warm memories of that place. Mom and Dad were happy and we all said we loved it out there. One of the things I remember was going with Mom to the burn barrel. As she was starting the fire and putting the trash in I stood leaning again the light pole bumping a brown purex bottle with my heel. Well as you can guess it broke and I cut my heel requiring seven stitches. Carol remembers the strawberry patch, when Red and his partner drilled a new well in our front yard, the old wooden hay wagon we all used to play on. Connie was still really little when we lived out there so she does not remember the place at all. We did a turn around the place and headed back down the lane and on to the next location. Back on the road and straight across the highway and further west to where Loren and Louise lived for the longest period of time. Connie remembers that place much better. We used to pick asparagus out there, made ice cream, played hide and seek with the Partin boys, Nick and Mike. I met Richard out there when he lived there helping haul hay and work the farm with Loren. Mom and Dad were still happy. By this time in our lives we had moved closer to town on the 4 lane highway.
From there we headed back north on a gravel road to go by the place that Jerry and Pauline Kruse lived as well as their 3 boys, Rick, Randy and Rex. Jerry farmed and raised Berkshire Pigs. They also had a couple of big dogs, St. Bernards one that I remember was named Pal. He was a big old lolly dog that would rather lick you to death than hurt anyone. We drove past the place then made our way back east to Hwy 94 and further south to Hollister. Carol, Teri and I went to the school there. We drove up there to the school and once again I remember it was much bigger. From the school we made our way east again to our old swimming hole, Nat Soo Pah. We all have very fond memories of the beautiful teal blue pool and it's total surrounded pool. There is still a large fence covered by ivy that surround the place and now it costs to even spend the day in the park. Mom would fix a meal of fried chicken, potato salad, and some sort of goody. They would turn us loose in the pool and check occasionally on us. There were always life guards on duty so we were very safe. From there we went further south to Rogerson and off the road to the east and the South Hills to the favorite haunts of many camping trips and wading in the creek. We drove on this long dirt road hoping I could bring from memory or just sheer luck how to hopefully get to where we used to camp. After a quick game of eneey meeny miney moe we took the road to the right. It did not take me to long to decide it just felt wrong. Okay so after a 5 point turn, afraid to go to close to the edge of the road and get into something soft I got turned around and headed back the way we had come. A couple of miles down the road on the left began to feel familiar. Soon I knew we were going in the right direction. I took my car into places I probably shouldn't have. Meaning I drug in a place or two. Probably put scratches in the finish but it was all worth it. The first place was not it, it was not where we camped. Okay onward we went. I am not sure what the direction was because I have this directional challenge. I can get lost walking through an airport. LOL! We found another spot after I had passed a bunch others and with some walking around and really looking we came to the conclusion that yes this was it. This was the place we camped once or twice in our childhood. One of the last times we went as a family Richard went with us. He made us a bed on the ground by cutting pine boughs and laying our sleeping bags on top of them. We had bacon, eggs and fried potatoes for breakfast, played for hours in the creek, roasted marshmallows over the fire at night and slept under the stars on a bed of pine boughs.
We headed back to the main road and began singing just like we used to when we drove the many miles we did as kids with our parents in the car. The songs we sang were from various aspects of our up bringing. Church songs, church camp songs, songs from school and wishing all the while Lucy was with us singing laughing teasing and helping us remember the words to the song about a Billabong. It took us clear the hotel and a nap to remember it was Waltzing Matilda.
Anyway back to our adventure, we got back to the main highway and went back into Rogerson and decided to have lunch at the little cafe. The gal who runs the place was not there but it was being manned by her Mom. A little old lady that could barely see over the counter. I was first to order and wanted a chicken club sandwich and was told she had none, okay so I will have a cheese burger with home cut fries, Carol was next and ordered the Tuesday special, tacos, well she did not make tacos so she ordered the cheese burger with tots, Connie ordered the cheese burger with tots. Teri was still feeling full from her breakfast so she was content with a glass of ice water. We finished our lunch and headed back into to town. Once we got there we drove by the house on Martin street and on Filer Ave. We attempted to go by the house where Stan and Joanne Owens lived. Unfortunately we could not get close due to the road construction in the area.
We dropped Teri off at her apartment and came back to the hotel. We have all had a long day and needed a nap. We decided to stay in the room and order something we could eat in our room.
Carol read the blog that Lucy had written and cried through it. I feel the same way. We all miss Lucy being with us and wished with all our hearts that it was different. Lucy was never afforded the memories that the rest of us were. She was so young when Mom and Dad spilt and she went to live on the Alsea River. I hope that in the years that she has had with us in and out of Oregon have afforded her many happy memories of us sisters. Losing a parent was hard on all of us in many different ways. I not only lost Dad in death but in life for over 20 years when he allowed Margaret, his wife, to keep us out of his life. I spent many years extremely mad at him for doing that and at Mom for leaving him in the first place. There is always that what if that comes when no answers present themselves. I have prayed, I have railed, I have cried rivers of tears and wished upon stars. I have even doubted that God loved me enough to make the pain go away. Remarkably with time with prayer and the love of my sisters and my mom I was able to come to grips with the way I felt about Dads leaving us. I hope that one day Lucy can find the peace of mind and heart that I have. Life is good and far to short to worry over. We love Lucy with all our hearts and miss her with every breath we take. We will all do this again before a whole lot of time passes. Until tomorrow I will say good night and on to day 3.