Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Oh What A Week!

(Disclaimer: All photos were taken with my cell phone. Quality is what it is! 😊)

Life has been busy for us over the last few weeks but this last week has been a very busy - and exciting - week in a lot of ways. And we've had some sad memories, too. 

I've shared through the past few years about our oldest grandson who was a high school football and basketball star.  He's a fine young man and we are so proud of him.  Through the spring and into the summer he was actively recruited to play football by three mid-sized universities and he spent a lot of time talking with the coaches on the phone and in person and checking out the schools. When all was said and done he made a commitment and he signed a letter of intention to play football for Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. He graduated from high school last spring and made a decision that was a hard one, but wise. He chose to stay at home for the Fall Term so he could work and save some money. His plan was to go to Missouri to begin school this month so he could go through Spring Training with the football team and begin to play football next Fall.  Part of that decision was influenced by the fact that there will be more athletic scholarship funds available to him this spring than what was available for last term.  Last week that plan became reality. Our son and daughter-in-law traveled to Missouri with him to help him move into the dorm and get settled so he could begin classes. We were happy that this day had finally arrived for him but it was hard to tell him goodbye and know he will be so far away.  We miss him but we're so happy he is pursuing his education and we know he is exactly where he is supposed to be. Thanks to technology we are staying in touch!

Last Tuesday was a big day for us. It was a day filled with some sad memories and excitement at the same time.  A year ago last Tuesday my dear, little mother walked through Heaven's gates! Our memories of that day will always stay very clear in our hearts and we reminisced and shed a few tears and missed her all over again. At the same time we were very aware how much healing has happened over the past year. That's just what she wanted for us - healing and for us to move forward with life. A few weeks ago I told my sweetheart that I wanted to do something special on that day. I didn't want to sit at home and be sad. Little did I know what God had planned.  Only He could have orchestrated the events of that day!

If you've been following my blog you know about the fire that destroyed our travel trailer last August. Long before we had settled with the insurance we knew what we wanted for our next trailer. We have always planned to upgrade one more time and, in that process, we have enjoyed going to big RV shows in Portland and Salem for several years. During that time we quickly narrowed it down to the dealer we wanted to work with and we ruled out a lot of RVs and amenities that we did not want.  We visited our favorite RV dealer often through the years so it was easy to know where to start. Shortly after the fire we began our search. Long before our insurance claim was settled we knew exactly what trailer we wanted. In October we ordered a brand new trailer that was scheduled to be manufactured in Eastern Oregon shortly after the beginning of this year.  We ordered it - and then we had to wait! And wait we did. It seemed that it would be such a long time before our trailer arrived but while we waited we planned and bought things we knew we would need. We were getting ready!  A couple of weeks before Christmas we drove to the dealership to sign the final papers before our trailer arrived. We didn't need an appointment, we just chose a day and and went in unannounced. The salesman we were working with saw us coming and he met us at the door with news. The factory had started production of our trailer model right after Christmas! In December - not in January, as planned. Just that morning the factory had called to tell them the date that our new trailer would be completed and when it would arrive at the dealership. When our salesman asked if we would like to pick up the trailer the morning of January 9th (the anniversary of my dear mother's passing) I immediately said yes. My sweetheart questioned me - he wanted me to sure of my decision. I told him I was sure - it was time for us to make a happy memory on that date. And I knew if my dear, little mother could talk to me she would say, 'Don't you dare put your plans on hold! You get that trailer and you start going again!' And so that's what we did.

My sweetheart and I counted the days and then he began to count the hours! And before we knew it, the day came for us to pick up our new trailer. To say we were excited would be the understatement of the year. Our salesman saw us drive into the parking lot and he met us at the door of the pickup. He did a fanfare with his voice and his smile was almost as big as mine! Normally, each day they park the RVs that are being picked up that day behind the service department. I was tempted to run around the corner of the building and look - but I didn't. I made myself wait! We went into the office and our salesman told us it would be a few minutes before we could see our trailer. I was a bit surprised it wasn't ready because we know their normal routine. He said because it was raining he was having one of the service men move our trailer into a service bay so we wouldn't get wet! Give that man an extra bonus!! Within a few minutes he opened the back office door and we stepped right into the service department, turned to the right - and there sat our brand new trailer. In real life! Tears filled my eyes - this was what we had waited for.  The trailer was really here and we were about to step inside and see what had only been a dream until now. We had spent a lot of time in this same model on the lot but the interior color wasn't what we wanted, plus we had several optional amenities added. As I stepped through the door all I could say was, 'Oh-h-h, I LOVE it! It's perfect!' And smile and smile and smile. Everything was just as we imagined. Plus a few small extras the dealer had added as a surprise. I know I must have touched every surface and opened every cabinet and closet door and smiled at everything I saw. One of the lead service men did a 'walk-around' with us to show us everything inside and outside, how it worked and how to maintain and handle things.  Much of that information wasn't new to us because of our previous travel trailer experience. After our tour was finished we went back to the office to sign the final papers - and then the trailer was officially (finally) ours! We talked to the dealer, to the gal in the office who had handled all the paperwork and financial business and to our salesman. I hugged each of them and told them 'thank you' didn't seem adequate for all they had done for us. In turn they said the thanks was really to us. We stepped back outside - and there was our new trailer - hooked up to our pickup and ready to take home. Even though it was raining I wanted a few pictures of it in the parking lot. Our salesman offered to take pictures with us by the trailer. And he did!

I couldn't contain my tears as we drove out of the parking lot and turned onto the street toward home. They were tears joy! My heart was overwhelmed with gratitude and it spilled out of my eyes and flowed down my cheeks. There was a sense closure to the long journey from the trailer fire - and there was anticipation of new things to come. I've told people over the past months that, without our trailer, we have felt like we had our wings clipped. The day we drove home with our new trailer we knew we were free to fly again!

It wasn't long and we were at home. In the empty spot by the driveway where my memory always saw a burned, charred, ruined trailer, now I saw a beautiful, new trailer. And my heart sang! I wouldn't be surprised if I sang out loud, too, because that's what I do.

We got busy and began to move into the trailer. Things came out of closets and out of storage places and into the trailer. We made the bed with our fun new bedding and set up housekeeping. I'll give you a tour soon. Things are very different from our last two trailers and our decor is different, too. Clue: when I asked my sweetheart how he would like to decorate this trailer, he said, 'Like a hunting cabin!' After discussing that idea we decided to make this the cutest cabin-on-wheels. Not so much 'hunting' - focus on the 'cabin'. We're still in the process of deciding and figuring things out but we have a good start.

Last year after my dear mother's memorial service we spent a week at the Oregon Coast with our trailer. We went to a wonderful RV park right on the bluff above the sea. My sweetheart surprised me the day we checked out. When we went into the office to let them know we were leaving he reserved a week for our anniversary this year. Never in our lives have we ever reserved anything a year in advance but it was fun to know that we would be back and enjoy the incredible view and the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below. When we first heard that our trailer model wouldn't begin production until after the first of the year we thought we might have to change our plans. We asked our salesman if he could find out when we might have our trailer so we could change our reservation, if needed. The day in December when we walked into the dealership and he told us when we could pick up our new trailer he said, 'you don't have to change your reservations - you can go to the coast.' So, we had two and a half days between the time we brought the new trailer home and the time we left for a week.  That's where we are now - we are watching the winter waves crash on the beach and the rocks below and listening to the refreshing sound of the surf. Here's where we are.

And our view from the back of the trailer on the driver's side.
The first two days we were here were gorgeous - almost unheard of on the Oregon Coast in January. The morning after we arrived we woke to sun and warm temps. And this was our view from our big dining area window. (This window is one of two exit windows if both doors are not available to exit in an emergency.)
A couple of evenings ago we were out for a walk with my little dog, Joey. We stopped and had a good, long visit with some other RVers. Late in the afternoon the clouds had started to roll in from far out at sea and it wasn't long before all traces of sunshine were gone. The cloud cover was getting thicker by the moment and we knew there would be no possibility we would see the sunset that evening. But were we ever wrong! As we stood and talked to our RV neighbors all of a sudden we looked and were totally in awe of the scene we saw.  It was obvious that God had taken out His paintbrush and painted the sky!
We knew that the maiden voyage of a brand new RV can reveal problems or adjustments that need to be made. We thought we had arrived with no issues but when my sweetheart came inside to sit down after he had all the outside setup things finished he discovered something that had happened as we  traveled. The big shade on the window behind our recliners had fallen down. It wasn't just the shade that fell down - both of the brackets that hold the shade in place had come unscrewed. At first he thought we would have the dealer repair it when we got home but new neighbors arrived that evening and their living area windows looked directly into that window. My sweetheart decided to look things over and repair the shade himself. The next morning he drilled two more holes in the bracket so he could add extra screws. Then he put it back up and it has worked great without falling down ever since then.
There were quite a few options we could choose to add to our trailer. There was no question that we wanted to add a fireplace! Early in our RV show experiences a dealer had told us one of the benefits of having an electric fireplace in an RV. Electricity is included when we're in a park with full hookups. He told us it makes sense to use the park electricity to heat an RV instead of using our propane (furnace). We liked that idea, plus I love the cozy feeling of our fireplace. And Joey thinks it's absolutely wonderful, too! I'm sure he thinks we did this for him. (You can see the reflection of the rug I added in the living area but this gives an idea of the fireplace.)
The best part of our week was yesterday when we celebrated our anniversary. Number forty six! Forty six years and I'm often asked the secret of a long marriage. I always say, 'the grace of God and a very patient man!' We are just a few miles from where we spent our honeymoon all those years ago so yesterday we went there for a late lunch in their wonderful restaurant. We were the only ones there at first so we were given the corner table with the best view. After lunch we drove to a neighboring city to the south where we stopped at an antique mall to browse, made a few other stops, drove to a parking area that overlooks the sea and we ended up at a favorite restaurant beside the beach. We had a wonderful dinner and a decadent dessert - something we don't do very often. It was a sweet day - we were together and in a place we love.
These mugs were a Christmas gift from my dear cousin. We thought our new cabin-on-wheels would be a good place to enjoy them.

Very soon I will share a couple of long-overdue posts and then I will return to The Grand Trip so I can share the rest of the journey we took last Spring.  And I will give you a tour of our new trailer. When I share it with you I think you will understand why we are so in love with our cabin-on-wheels. We are appreciating every little detail about this place that is going to take us to places that up till now have only been a dream.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Winter Trek Toward Home

In my last post I shared about a few days we spent with our son and his family at a wonderful vacation house in Central Oregon.  When we all said our goodbyes and exchanged hugs we headed different directions to get back to our homes.  My sweetheart and I took the northernmost route home over Mount Hood, my favorite mountain in the Cascade Mountain range of Oregon.  The roads were clear when we started our trip home. We traveled down a steep grade to the bottom of the gorge where we passed through a Native American reservation.
Not long after we passed through that little town we drove up another steep grade on the other side of the gorge and drove on a flat plateau for awhile. It always seems as if we're on top of the world here. The sky seems so big!
We began to notice more snow along the side of the road and we were pretty sure there would be quite a bit of snow on the mountain pass ahead.
It wasn't long and the terrain changed.  We were in forest land - and beginning to climb to higher elevations.  The world around us was beautiful. Snow-covered trees stood in the shade on side of the highway while trees on the opposite side stood tall and green in the sun.
The scene kept changing as we continued to climb the mountain pass. We were definitely in a winter wonderland!
It wasn't long before we came to a line of trucks and cars alongside the road. A highway sign let us know that tire chains or traction devices were required for the road ahead.
My sweetheart is a very good driver in snow and ice. He knows how to handle the vehicle - and he's not a fan of putting chains on the tires of our car. But, when it's required, he complies. I felt bad because he wasn't feeling well and there was nothing I could do to help.
While my sweetheart worked to get the chains on our car I walked my little dog. He's not a big fan of snow - especially when it comes up to his tummy! Across the highway from the chain-up area where we stopped was an area for cars and trucks that had come over the top of the pass to take off their chains. I noticed a family across from us. The father had already taken the chains of of their car and he patiently waited while the kids finished making a snowman beside the road!
Soon we were on our way again. Slowly we made our way up the mountain pass. The road was packed with snow that had frozen. My sweetheart taught me long ago that it's wise to drive slowly when chains are on the tires. And that's exactly what we did!
We got to the top of the mountain pass safely and began our descent down the other side. It wasn't long before the pavement was bare. Chains were no longer needed.  The sun was setting as we drove down the mountain and into the valley below.  Our time away with our family was wonderful and our winter trek toward home had been beautiful but we were very  glad to get home again. No matter where we go - there's just no place like home!

Friday, December 29, 2017

New Traditions In The Making

So many of you shared your lovely Christmas decorations on your blogs and I was inspired! Inspired, yes.  Motivated to do more than I did, no. This Christmas was different - far different - than planned. It came quietly and here we are facing the end of the year and looking forward to turning our calendars to another new year.

This Christmas was the first one without my dear, little mother and, even though I knew it wouldn't be easy, I had no idea how very hard it would be! I had plans - oh, how I had plans - but we didn't do any of them. Instead we did some other things. New traditions, perhaps.  Good things with family that helped all of us celebrate time together. 

 Mid-December found my sweetheart and I traveling to the South Coast of Oregon to visit my dear cousin and her hubby. We visited them early in December last year and had such a good time. During that visit she and I became aware of an annual event in their community that we wanted to do. We missed it last year so we started planning to do it this year. And we did! A gorgeous, old silent movie theater in her town has been restored. The original pipe organ that was played during the silent movies era is still there! It was in need of restoration and many long hours have gone into restoring the pipes and bellows, the miles and miles of connections and cables. One Saturday afternoon each December a free Christmas concert is presented to the community by two organists who know the old organ very well. And that's where we wanted to be on that Saturday this December!  We arrived early enough to choose good seats. I played some pipe organ in my college years and I knew I wanted to be where I could see the organists hands and feet and watch as keys were played that made the music resound through the pipes high overhead. There is nothing quite like the sound of a pipe organ - unless it is the opportunity to play one!  There is was. The Mighty Wurlitzer!

Photos taken inside the old theater with my cell phone don't do the organ or the theater justice. I  walked over to get a closer look and the anticipation of what we were about to experience began to seem real.
It wasn't long before the first organist - a very talented lady - stepped up and began to play. She has a special history with this old organ. She grew up in the area and spent many hours at the theater during her high school years so she could play the organ. She went away to college to study music and then returned to teach music in her hometown. She is part of this special concert every December and has been for many years.  The music she played filled the theater with such happy sounds.
The next organist was introduced. Not only is he an organist - he's the man who has done the restorations so he knows this old organ better than anyone else.  His style was very different than that of the first organist and such a complement to what we had already heard. He had an amazing sense of humor that rang out loud and clear through his music.
After a brief intermission we joined him for a Christmas sing-a-long. The sound of our voices and the mighty organ filled the theater.
As we shared the rest of the day with my cousin and her hubby, we four decided this just may have to be a new tradition for our holiday season for years to come.

Soon after our return home we began to prepare for more travels out of town.  Our son and daughter-in-law had invited her parents and the two of us to share a vacation rental home in the central part of our state. What fun we had for three days with our dear ones, including four of our grandkids plus our oldest grandson's best friend.  The home was wonderful and just perfect for us.  Five bedrooms. Four bathrooms. A living room. A game room. Huge kitchen. Something for everyone. Room to spread out and relax. We stayed in the room with the bay window on the left.
The house had been decorated for the holidays and Christmas music filled all the rooms when we arrived.
This vacation rental home is part of a large resort. This home sits along the golf course and nearby are other activities - swimming, racquetball, a full-sized gym, fitness rooms and more. The teen grands spent a lot of time in those activities and the younger grands enjoyed swimming and a short game of golf on a smaller course. 
When the older grands weren't out and about they were busy finding things to do back at the house. There were board games and card games and memory games and ideas thought up from below and above.
And in the family room - a pool table. Hours and hours of pool games. Games perfected. Some not so much. While the younger set was out and about the grandpas ruled the pool room.
And in the kitchen - food.  And more food. Christmas goodies galore. Snacks and nutritious meals. A walk-in pantry temporarily filled during our stay.  In the evenings it was interesting to see the grands and some of the adults retreat to the living room for quiet activity. Adult coloring books took center stage. Some handcrafts were on the docket and, of course, a silly game or two. There were treasured conversations sprinkled throughout our time together and the bonds of relationships secured tighter than before. The evening before we left a light dusting of snow began to fall. I will never forget the excitement in our youngest granddaughter's voice when she looked out the window and then turned and squealed, 'Grandma - it's SNOWING!!!'  Early the next morning the sun began to shine as preparations were made to head home.

And just after daybreak, a familiar sight outside our winter retreat home. Deer! Two, at first, and then many. All watching us and not afraid as long as we kept our distance.
Our belongings were packed away in our cars. Hugs were given and promises to return again. Perhaps this, too, will become a new tradition for our family. That seems to be a good plan. Time away - time together - time to share old memories and make new. Time to step away from the busy-ness of the season for quiet time together.

Friday, December 8, 2017

My Childhood Home - Now

Before my blog break I shared my memories and photos of my childhood home. You can click here to see that post. I promised to show you what it looks like today and I gave you a sneak peek at the front of the house that showed the wonderful restoration that has been done.  This home is a vacation rental now and their website describes it like this:

Accommodating up to 8 people Lava Flo is a large three bedroom, two bath, Craftsman Bungalow located on Lava Road. The neighbors are McMenamins Old St. Francis school, a rectory, and a church! Flo also has a large, tiered yard full of lava rock and a hot tub. The front bedroom has a king-sized bed, the master at the back of the house has a queen sized bed, and the middle bedroom is furnished with two twin beds and a Smart TV. The house can easily accommodate six people but comes equipped with aerobeds upon request for an additional two houseguests. There is an attached laundry room at the back of the house with a washer/dryer, and off-street parking for up to three cars.

Now, let me take you inside.  So you don't get confused, I've used photos from two versions of their website. Some photos are older than others but they provide a good view of the house.  As you enter the house you step right into the living room.  The original front door was an old craftsman style door that was replaced with a different style but I love what they chose.  All of the windows in the house are the original windows.  They were in pretty bad shape when restoration began so the windows were sent out for reconditioning.  To think that these are the very windows my childish eyes looked through back in the day brings such pleasure to my heart.  The floors are all original and have been refinished.

Our floor-to-ceiling ‘natural’ from-the-forest Christmas tree stood between the corner windows every year.  It was decorated with strings of those old lights that got hot and burned your hand if you touched them.  And tinsel!  It was amazing how much tinsel those big trees took, and my mother insisted that each piece be put on the branches with precision.  Oh, how I would love to rent this house for the Christmas holidays and have a giant tree right there again. 

Looking toward the back of the house from here you can see more of the living room and the wonderful dining room where many special meals were shared with friends old and new.  There was a French door between the windows out onto a side porch and yard.  That door was replaced with this one that matches the front door.  The ceiling was flat when I lived there but I really love the way they opened it up.  My mother had a chair and a small table that held our phone where the little table sits beside the side door.  I spent so many, many hours in the corner when I was old enough to call my girlfriends and chat.  I love the French doors into the kitchen.  Remember them from the photo I shared from my childhood Christmas?  Yep, same doors!  To the right of those doors sat my dear, little mother’s desk and that ‘naughty-corner’ chair I showed you.
Let’s go through those French doors into the kitchen.  It’s exactly as it was when I lived there with a few updates!  I was thrilled that they didn’t change it.  I shed a few tears when I peeked through the back windows and saw that the kitchen was just as it was.  This is where my mother and I spent so much time – time together learning how to do household tasks, cooking, baking, cleaning and doing dishes.  There was no dishwasher back in those days, so we stood at the old sink below these very windows each evening to do the supper dishes together – she washed, I dried.  And as we worked together we played a Bible character game.  She was teaching more than ‘mundane’ household tasks.  She was teaching me about the lives and character of people in the Bible.  The window you see looks out onto the old, enclosed back porch that is now a new, modern laundry room.  Someday I’ll have to share more of my memories about that laundry room.  The little shelves between the window and door were there when I was a little girl.  My sweet mother had such pretty things on display there.  The door appears to be the same door that was there in those days.  I ran through that door, in and out to the back yard more times than I could possibly count.  The refrigerator was in a recessed area behind where the open door is in this photo when we first moved in.  A few years later the church board purchased a new, bigger refrigerator that stood exactly where this one is today.  The recessed area in the wall was sealed up, allowing a larger closet in the guestroom that you enter on the other side of the refrigerator.
Here’s a view of the kitchen from the back door.  When we first moved into the house a big, old wood cook stove stood in this corner.  I remember the curved, black stovepipe that went to the chimney appears to still be in that corner.  My little mother had more escapades with that wood stove but the heat it produced was wonderful on snowy, cold winter mornings when I ate breakfast at the kitchen table before I left for school.  An electric range replaced the wood stove and we thought we had really come up in the world!
If we step through the back door of the kitchen you can see the laundry porch.  My dear mother started out with a wringer washer and big, double cement laundry tubs out here.  No insulation in those outside walls and it got c-o-l-d in the winter.  No dryer – she hung the sheets outside as I shared in my childhood memory photos. Here’s what it’s like today.  Do you see shiplap?  She would have loved this. The original door was like the door from the kitchen into the porch but the new door provides more security.  The rock walls outside the windows were there and I spent a lot of time playing on and around those walls.  In my imagination, they became all kinds of things.  At the top of the terrace you can see an iron fence.  No fence in those days.  You’ll see more of this in a bit.
The website for this home indicates that our guestroom off the kitchen is now the master bedroom.  I peeked through the windows when I was there and it brought back such memories.  Memories of lying on the ‘big’ bed in the afternoon sun - daydreaming of adventures and making plans.  Memories of guests who came and were part of our family for a time.  And special memories of a very dear friend who became like a big sister to me when she lived with us for two years.
The guestroom had a small closet behind the kitchen wall.  From the vacation rental's description of this room and after looking at photos of the side of the house I think I've figured out where they added the master bathroom.  The guestroom shared a wall with the big walk-in closet in my bedroom.  Seeing a small window that's been added to the side of the house and from the photos from the website,my guess it that the big walk-in closet in my bedroom became the master bath.  That's a pretty wise choice, I'd say. Here's the glimpse of the master bathroom.
Let’s go back through the kitchen and into the living room-dining room area so I can show you the bedrooms. 
See that door on the inside wall between the living room and dining room?  When we go through that door we are in the hallway.  Before we do, I'd like to tell you about a door you can see in the hallway.  That door was there when I lived in this house but I don't know what's behind it now. I'm pretty sure it doesn't go where it led when I was a little girl.  The door opened to stairs that took us down to the huge, sometimes creepy, big basement. A monstrous wood furnace that heated our home stood in the middle of the basement.  My dear father got up more than once a night through the cold winter months to go down those stairs and add wood to the furnace to keep us snug and warm upstairs. I'm not sure if that door leads to the basement anymore - it could be that a coat closet was added during the renovations. It's obvious that a new source of heat was added because I see a thermostat on the living room wall.
Once we're in the hallway we'll turn to our right, toward the front of the house and enter what was my parents’ room.  It was not furnished like this at all.  It was cozy with a big brass headboard and foot-board that my dear mother found in the corner of the basement!  A bit of polish and elbow grease and it was a beauty.  If you look back into the hall you can see a bit of the doorway we came through from the living and dining area.
The front corner of my mother and father’s room had corner windows like those in the living room.
Back into the hall and just to our right we come to the bathroom.  This was the only bathroom when I lived here. They have kept much of the character of the room but have updated to accommodate modern conveniences.  The floor was like this and this HAS to be the original doorknob!  We locked the door with a skeleton key – very convenient if someone locked themselves in and couldn’t get out.  Someone like a small child.  My father had several skeleton keys because, for a long time, that’s how all the exterior door were locked!
Just inside the door, to the left, is the sink.  We had a free-standing sink with no counter but I like the way they've continued the vintage-style tile.

And above the sink is a cabinet like the original medicine cabinet.  I don’t know if they were able to refurbish what was there or if this is new.  The lights are similar to what I remember.
I must say that I was very disappointed that the old claw foot tub where I took my ‘Saturday night’ baths is not gone.  I believe the bathroom was remodeled and updated in the nineteen-seventies and this wall and tub were added.  At least the original window is there!
Let's go back out into the hall, to the right.  At the opposite end of the hall from my parents’ bedroom – was my room.  Oh, the stories those walls could tell!  So much play and imagination and dreaming and some tears along the way in this room.  Giggles and secrets shared when my girlfriends spent the night. This is my room! Don’t you think it’s appropriate that they chose to paint it yellow?
Now, I have to tell you a piece of history, trivia perhaps.  We did not have a second bathroom back in the day but there was a bathroom on the other side of my bedroom wall - the  wall you can't see in this photo.  Back then, that bathroom couldn’t be accessed from the house.  It was the ‘church’ bathroom and was only accessible from the driveway between our house and the church.  There was no plumbing in the church building in those days and since winters were harsh in that mountain town, a bathroom had been added to the house.  We moved into the house on a Saturday.  The next morning - Sunday - my mother heard voices 'in the wall' and she about freaked out.  After asking a few questions of someone in the church we found out about the 'church' bathroom.

Now, let’s go outside and see the yard and surrounding area.

Out through the front door and onto the front porch you could have seen the wonderful homes that were across the street.  ‘Grandma and Grandpa’ Duckworth lived in the house on the right.  They were such a dear couple and they became like grandparents since mine were all in California and I didn’t see them often.  On the left is the home of the owner of the ‘Piggly Wiggly’ grocery store around the corner.  These homes are no longer here.  They were moved across town and restored for vacation rentals.  A three-story hotel complex is across from ‘my’ house.  McMenamins bought the entire block where there are some historical buildings they have restored.  Their hotel is rustic and very much in keeping with the area.  
If we walk to the sidewalk and turn left to the driveway you can see the side of the parsonage and the church.  See the little house up straight ahead and up the stairs?  That’s where ‘Grandma and Grandpa’ Morgan lived.  They were an older couple in our church.  They didn’t have a car – they walked everywhere and they used our driveway to go back and forth even though their address was technically on the street above ours.  I spent many, long hours in their home.  They had the most wonderful toy box and she baked the best cookies!  They had raised two sons and were thrilled when a little girl moved into the parsonage!  Their little house is also a vacation rental now.
OK, let’s go around to the other side of the house.  We’ll go through the gate that wasn’t there when I was a child. 
And into the side yard where we spent so much time living outside.  It didn’t look like this but I do love what they’ve done.  The side yard was all grass except for the concrete steps you see that lead from the dining room door to the yard.
This photo gives you a look at the side of the house and the door to the side yard.  Of course, there was no deck, no rock patio, no hot tub!  But lots of birthday parties and gatherings and a lot of play and games and fun!
An updated photo from the website gives another view of the side yard.
Here are a few more photos that show you the size of the yard.  I loved being out here, no matter the weather.  I rolled over and over down the hill in the summer and made snow angels and tried to sled down the hill in the winter.  

If you saw the photos from my post about my childhood home back then, my dear mother’s clothesline was where the table and chairs are in the photo below.  Again, there was no iron fence around the yard and no wood fence at the top of the terrace.  The wood fence on the side of the terrace was built while we lived here.  The Catholic Church and Rectory were next door to us. The side fence was added to give privacy to the priests, to give them a quiet place to walk and meditate and pray.  When the fence was first built somehow I got my little self up high enough to hang on the top of the fence with my face peering over - and I hung there and watched the priests as they walked and prayed.  Well, I did that until my mother found out!  It never happened again.
The upper terrace is completely different than it was.  I was pleased to see what they’ve done with it.  It had never been landscaped and wasn’t used for anything except for playing in the dirt!
Another view from the terrace.
This is my childhood home! Five-thirty Lava Road in Bend, Oregon.
I loved it back then – and I love it now.  I would love to design a sweet, little bungalow home with the same footprint – and perhaps an update and change or two.  Someday I hope to return and take a tour of the house. Or, better yet, rent it and snoop through every single corner and nook and cranny.  This was the parsonage and I must show you the church.  It’s been restored, too.  I’ll save that for another time. Soon.