Tag Archives: childhood

A few things I want to remember

Driving along the Gorge

Driving along the Gorge

I will take a few minutes to write about the Merners visiting and IronMan Coeur d’Alene and how Wilma is, but having only a few minutes, I wanted to type up a few things before I forgot them again. Some probably of interest to you, and some not so much.

First the “not so much for most people” – Wilma remembers hanging out with Corwin and his sister Agnes. Corwin was a well-dressed man, but often quiet as he had a stutter. Neat to hear about him, as one of my very favorite collected pictures is of him.

Moving on.

I grew up going to Coeur d’Alene to visit family. In the summer, when we were kids, Bill would take us to Hayden Lake where we would swim in its icy waters (but soooo clear! And felt good on a hot summer day). Gretchen and I would swim out to the landing, where I’d regale her with stories of the whale shark, largest shark in the whole world, which was fresh water. She’d be out of the water so quickly Bill would swear she ran over the top of it. I was a mean older sister, if Gretchen hasn’t told you that yet.

Wilma mentioned this last time but I forgot to write it down so that I remembered it – she said that no one knows how deep Hayden Lake is. Neat!

And also on the interesting end of things – she said the natives in the area, the Schitsu’umsh (also known as the Coeurs d’Alene people for which the area is named) would not go near Hayden Lake. They stayed close to Coeur d’Alene where they fished and hunted, and other areas around there, but they would not go near the lake in Hayden. I can’t find any internet information on this, but I think it’s really fascinating and I will need to look into this more.

Off to accomplish stuff, have a beautiful summer day.

Just call me uber-healthy girl


Just got back from the farmers’ market where the strawberries are out in full force. If you’ve never had an Oregonian strawberry before, you are missing out, just like with the peaches.

When I was 10 or so, I got my first job picking Oregon strawberries at some ungodly hour in the morning. Mom would walk me to the school bus stop, where a bus would come pick me up. It was kinda scary at first, going to work without my mom. Who would tell me what to do?

Mostly no one, you had to talk to the people around you to find out how it worked. O sure, the farmer would give a nice speech, but the real information came from the older (like 13 or 14 year olds) people around you. You found out that this was a good farm because they paid out 7 cents a pound. The one across the way only paid 5 cents. You found out it was fine to eat the strawberries as you picked, but that they got really mad when the kids would do strawberry washes (grab a handful of strawberries and mash them wildly on someone else’s head. Getting a strawberry wash meant you were liked. Of course, it meant that you had flies around your head for the rest of the day, and everything was sticky, and holy hell was the farmer pissed, but you were liked).

I ate so many strawberries that summer that we found out that I have a fruit allergy. It’s mild enough that I have to eat a good amount of fruit to trigger it, but once it’s triggered, I can do enough damage to myself to scar my face. Or so the doctor told my mom. The fruit allergy went away thankfully when I hit my early teens, only to resurface after a particularly fun margarita party with the neighbors when I was 26. Sob. It’s gone again, and I have to say I don’t want it back. I love fresh organic fruit more than chocolate, cake and ice cream.

I picked enough strawberries that I was the richest kid I knew. And since I was a bookworm, that meant only one thing. I could buy any book I wanted. I bought first edition Oz books because they were all out of print by that point (except for Wizard of Oz and one or two others). I still have them too – pride and joy of my library, mostly earned from picking strawberries (my sister helped me supplement it eight years ago with a beautiful set found on the East coast).

We bought many veggies today at the PSU farmers’ market, and I am starting to get giddy with what is in season. We will be having a fennel and radish salad on the side of fennel steamed fish (what ever is fresh and good when I go pick it up). I’m really dangerously close to eating 3 pints of strawberries well before they make it into the pie I promised Brian (I don’t eat pie, and I dislike warm mushy fruit). I’m starting to learn who the farmers are, who I like and I am glad that I went with the CSA we did. We bought a mint plant from them last week (yes, you will hear a resurgence of “Gotta kill the mint”) and three basil plants this week. Our farmer told us how to water them (I’ve been doing it wrong for a long time) and how to pick the leaves so the plant still grows (that’s what I’ve also been doing wrong).

I’m trying to talk Brian into a hike today, and I think he wants to work so we probably won’t. I’ll have to start finding hikes I’m comfortable doing on my own – he’s been surprisingly reluctant due to being over-worked and generally too busy. I’ve got approximately 4000 hikes I want to do this summer, so I’m worse than a dog who hears the word “walk.”

YAY summer, YAY farmers’ markets, YAY OREGON the best place ever.

The Claw

Annnnddd…maybe a lack of access to my blogging software will actually make me write more.

Great thread on one of the websites I read about were you bullied or a bully. I don’t think I was really either, but there were one or two incidents where I came up against a bully. One of those times really stuck with me.

There was one point where a fifth grade bully and his friends would try to bully my friends and me. He was a big oversized guy, with his arm in a hard cast, and he was really rotten. He developed the nickname “The Claw” due to hitting other kids with his hard cast (nope, not joking either).

One day he trapped my friends and me on the monkey bars, and one of my friends fell off. He did something to her that made her cry, I have no idea what anymore.

And I, who had been bullied with the rest of my friends, was so angry that I jumped off the monkey bars and hit him as hard as I could right in the nose, just like I had seen on TV. Gave him a bloody nose, knocked him down (which makes no sense to me. I was a skinny thing then).

We both were hauled off to the principal’s. He was given a month of detention for bullying. I was given a week of helping the kindergardeners during my recess times. I HATED recesses, and that was much more fun. I think the principal realized The Claw was a bully and I was just fighting back.

I remember being completely terrified taking the note the principal wrote to my mom telling her that I had been caught fighting. I have no idea what he said, just that my mom kinda laughed softly under her breath and talked to me about not hitting people, but kinda gently, so that I knew I wasn’t in too much trouble.

After that, The Claw became Mike, and whenever other boys would try to tease me, he was always there first telling them to step off or they’d deal with him.

My sister and I laugh about that story a lot – it’s so funny to me that he became my friend because I popped him in the nose.

For your awe and entertainment

(aside) As I type out the HTML to create these, I feel so old-school. That’s how I used to update my webpages, by hand, before I developed a database for them. And once blogging software was released, I eventually moved over to that, conceding that while I could write my own, I might as well be writing words than code for something like this and just use what is already there.


One sunny afternoon in May, my mother gathered my sister and I and led us into our backyard. Our backyard, you see, had a beautiful view of Mt. St. Helen’s. I can remember where we stood in the yard, and even what I was wearing. She wanted us to be able to watch a volcano erupt with our own eyes. I remember standing there, watching it, and thinking that it just looked like a large dark cloud had gone near the mountain. And I remember how it looked, as it grew and grew.

I remember people being afraid that they were going to damage their lungs, and going around in surgical masks. I remember days where you weren’t supposed to go outside because the ash blow was too bad. I collected ash with my mom from our driveway and sidewalks to put in jars to remember this. And after things quieted down (months and months), we traveled to see the damage, which was surreal. All that timber, and that was a river once? I have a great picture somewhere of my sister and I standing in front of ash-banks that look like a huge bank of dirty snow, only it’s ash from the eruption. It’s much taller than we are in the picture.

Moving back here, I’m surrounded by beautiful mountains again, and Mt St Helens is one of them. I can see it each time I drive along the Gorge, or when I go to the airport to pick up new visitors. It’s lovely, and interesting.

It’s also rebuilding itself. This is timelapse photography over the course of three years, and it’s very clear the mountain is coming back. Wow.