Saturday, September 30, 2017

My Childhood Home - Then

I spent most of my young growing up years in Central Oregon, in a (then) little town high in the Cascade Mountains.  Bend, Oregon was nestled on the banks of the Deschutes River.  When the pioneers came to that spot they named it Bend because there is a big bend in the river there and it was a good way to describe their location.  I loved living in Bend. I was four-and-a-half years old when we moved there and eleven years old when we moved away.  My father was a minister at one of the churches and I felt at home almost the moment we moved into the parsonage next door to the church.  I loved that house!  I still love that house and I would love to build a little craftsman style home just like it. The home was built in nineteen-twenty five and several pastors' families had called it home before us.  It is now on the National Historic Register of Homes in the Historic Downtown area of Bend.  I'd love to share a bit of my childhood home with you as it was then.  These photos are from my mother's photo album.  I treasure the memories that these photos bring.

Without further adieu - welcome to the home of my childhood.  It was a happy home, a home where laughter and joy welcomed all who entered.  It was a peace-filled home where prayer and faith were lived out every day.  It was a home where the door was always open and there was always room at the table for more.  It was a home where I learned what homekeeping was all about and where I learned how to be a thoughtful, giving, loving person.  It was a home that knew loss and grief but that sheltered us safe together inside through tough times.  It was home - my home - and it will always be a special place to me.  Welcome to my childhood home!
 I thought the yard and porch were very big and I remember the first time I returned when I was a young adult only to discover that everything really was quite small.  But, in my young life the front porch became a playhouse that was filled with dolls and tea sets and things that make pretending seem real.  The front yard was quite small but there was a larger side yard that became my playground.  It was on a hill and it was the perfect place to lie down and roll side-over-side all the way down near the rock wall at the bottom. Above the side yard were two rock terraces that weren't landscaped.  A bath was always required after I played on the terraces.
That was my house in the late Spring, Summer and early Fall months.  It was great but it became a magical place - a winter wonderland - in the Winter!  Snow angels, snow forts, snow balls, sliding down the side yard on whatever I could find that became a makeshift sled.
My father faithfully shoveled snow from the front walk every day through the winter. You can see the snow coming down. I wouldn't be surprised if he had to shovel it again later in the day.
If you look closely at the photo of my house in the snow you will see a 'little person' standing in the driveway.  That's me! All bundled up for the weather.
That's my dad's car.  I don't remember what make or year, but I remember that car.  It took us to places near and far and I thought it was the finest car ever.  My mother had to bundle up for the cold, too.  That's the next car we owned.  It was a ninety-fifty-something Ford.  Light green.
Here's a glimpse of the side yard.  Laundry day meant hanging the clothes on the line outside no matter what the weather was like.  My mother said she hung things out to dry and it didn't take long because they ended up being freeze-dried!  That's a very dear friend who stayed with us for awhile.  She was a very helpful person and always did what she could to help with daily tasks.
Oh, there I am again! Wonder what I was doing.  I didn't have my hood or gloves on so I must not have gone far.
I didn't copy many photos from inside my house.  This one has special memories.  It was taken on Christmas morning.  There was no fireplace or mantel so my Christmas stocking was always hung on  the French doors that were between the dining room and kitchen.  This Christmas stands out in my memory because there was a large paper bag thumb-tacked beside my stocking on Christmas morning.  Late on Christmas Eve my father realized he hadn't done his Christmas stocking shopping so he quickly went to a nearby store and bought something for my mother's stocking and for mine.  Late that night my mother pointed out to him that what he had bought for my stocking was w-a-y too large to fit so he left it in the bag and tacked it up beside my stocking.  It was a little, red, round doll suitcase that I used for a long time to store my dolls clothes.  Oh, how I wish I still had that little suitcase today!
This picture always makes me smile.  Not just because of my dad's 'silly' Christmas stocking gift but because it shows the French doors I always loved.  And it shows my dear, little mother's desk that was always so special to me.  I have this desk in my home now.  Someday I'll share it's story.  And that chair beside the desk?  Not such happy memories there.  I spent what felt like hours and hours sitting on that chair.  It became my timeout chair!  I didn't like sitting there but I learned a lot of life lessons on that chair so I think it played an important role in my life - and my childhood home.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to my childhood home.  My sweetheart and I recently visited Bend and when we drove by this little home I was surprised by what I found there.  I'll share that with you soon.  I think you'll be amazed, too.

My dear mother taught me to love poetry.  This is a favorite that she quoted through the years.  It perfectly describes my childhood home.

It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,
A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam
Afore ye really ’preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind.
It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.

Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ livin’ in it;
Within the walls there’s got t’ be some babies born, and then
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring ‘em up t’ women good, an’ men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn’t part
With anything they ever used—they’ve grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could ye’d keep the thumbmarks on the door.

Ye’ve got t’ weep t’ make it home, ye’ve got t’ sit an’ sigh
An’ watch beside a loved one’s bed, an’ know that Death is nigh;
An’ in the stillness o’ the night t’ see Death’s angel come,
An’ close the eyes o’ her that smiled, an’ leave her sweet voice dumb.
Fer these are scenes that grip the heart, an’ when yer tears are dried,
Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an’ sanctified;
An’ tuggin’ at ye always are the pleasant memories
O’ her that was an’ is no more—ye can’t escape from these.

Ye’ve got t’ sing an’ dance fer years, ye’ve got t’ romp an’ play,
An’ learn t’ love the things ye have by usin’ ’em each day;
Even the roses ’round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they ’come a part o’ ye, suggestin’ someone dear
Who used t’ love ’em long ago, an’ trained ’em jes’ t’ run
The way they do, so’s they would get the early mornin’ sun;
Ye’ve got t’ love each brick an’ stone from cellar up t’ dome:
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home.
Poem: 'Home' by Edgar Albert Guest

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Grand Trip - The Road To A Friend's House

Someone said, 'The road to a friend's house is never long'.  I'm sure that's true but it sure does seem like a long road when you're traveling and can't wait to see your friends along the way!

We left the Land of the Palms and headed east toward the California-Arizona Border.  It wasn't long before we crossed into Arizona where we began to see the tall, stately cactus called Saguaro (pronounced 'sa-whar-o).

The Saguaro fascinated me and it seemed as if I couldn't see enough of them.  I had always wanted to see the desert when it bloomed and it was obvious that the different cactus varieties were beginning to bloom.  I had heard about the beauty of the desert when it was in bloom and I really hoped I would be able to see it sometime.

We traveled for a few hours with a couple of stops along the way to refuel and have lunch. Finally we arrived at the home of our very dear long-time friends.  This was a visit we had long dreamed of and we were greeted with hugs and a warm welcome.
The husband of the couple has a real sense of humor.  This is his version of a 'No Soliciting' sign.
Within a few minutes we were settled into their driveway - the place we would call home for the next ten days.
Our dear friends have been at our home numerous times and they have always parked at our house.  They have been our mentors for long-distance travel with an RV and we drew from their experiences as we planned for this trip.  Their very close friendship with my sweetheart and I grew from their friendship with my mom and dad.  They loved my parents dearly.  We have dreamed of the day we could switch places and travel to - and park at - their home.  That time had finally come and it was wonderful!

Palm trees swayed in the breeze high overhead. . .

And Barrel Cactus nearby reminded us that we were definitely in the Southwest part of our country. 
Our dear friends made their home ours while we were there - we did laundry, relaxed in their home during the heat of the day, shared meals and sat late into the night on their beautiful patio to talk and share hearts and hopes and dreams.  I enjoyed their front courtyard that could be seen from the dining area windows of our home-away-from-home.
I sat here in the cool of the morning for my quiet time, my devotional reading and prayer.
After we were settled in and had visited a bit, my sweetheart took my little dog for a walk.  A few minutes later he came back and told me to get my camera and follow him - he found something he knew I would want to see.  He was right!  Just around the corner from our friends' home was an old Saguaro cactus.
It was beginning to bloom!
I was mesmerized! And I walked around the corner every day to see it again.  We had more adventures while we were with our friends and we spent a lot of time enjoying the love and friendship we four had shared through the years.  We talked and planned and hoped for more times together in the future.  No matter if those plans come true, one thing is sure -

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Grand Trip - The Land Of The Palms

It's time to return to the adventures of The Grand Trip.  There are so many more things to share with you - we've only just begun.  If you need to catch up with where we were when we were diverted for a bit you can read about our adventures here and here.

We left the RV park where we had spent the night and we traveled on toward the south.  We weren't very far from our destination so it wasn't a long drive to the next place where we planned to spend the next two nights.  We had been told that there was a very beautiful way to get to the freeway where we would turn east through southern California.  We followed the route but wondered if what we were told was right - this didn't seem beautiful at all!
The road continued and it didn't get much better.  One advantage of taking your home-away-from home with you is that you can stop along the way and fix lunch when you get hungry.  My sweetheart found a place to  pull off the highway so we could stop and eat lunch in the middle of nowhere.
It's a lovely place for lunch, don't you think?  This was our view from the big back window. What happened to the road through the beautiful part of the state?
There weren't many vehicles that came along the road beside us but every few minutes we heard the sounds of loud equipment somewhere nearby.  When we went outside we looked out and saw this high overhead.
They were building a new highway and we were sure it would replace the windy road we had taken.  A few minutes after we left our lunch spot the road took us up the hill to the construction zone. We could see how the new road was taking shape and we took our turn waiting to continue on down the road.
Soon we were on our way again and it wasn't long before the scenery began to change.  Things were green and there were trees in bloom beside the road. And then we came to the place we knew had to be what we had heard of.  And they were right - it was beautiful!
Then we saw a sign that told us that vehicles that are thirty feet or longer are not advised to take this road!  Our home-away-from-home was thirty feet long! Now what were we supposed to do? - there was no place to turn around.  So, we kept going.  The turns in the road were tight in many places.
Was I nervous? You bet I was! My sweetheart said we could make it - as long as there were no oncoming cars or trucks as we turned the sharp corners.  It took both lanes to maneuver the turns - and we didn't see another vehicle on any of the corners - and we made it!  When we got to the top of the mountain the view was amazing.  There, spread out below, was the San Bernardino Valley.

We drove down the mountain highway and soon we were on the freeway!  Just a short time ago we were on roads where we saw no one else. Now we were in a traffic jam!
We found the exit we needed to take us east toward our next destination.  Things changed almost immediately and we were in the land of wind turbines that produce electricity from the power of the wind - modern day windmills.
When we saw this sign we knew we weren't far from our destination.
A few miles farther down the road we found the RV park that we would call home for the next two days. We settled in and made ourselves at home and enjoyed the shadows of palm trees as night began to fall.
We enjoyed our days in the Palm Desert - Palm Springs area.  We enjoyed it so much we extended our stay an extra night!  Palm trees fascinate me and I loved the tree-lined streets all over that area.
If you've been following my blog for awhile you know I love mountains!  Palm Desert and Palm Springs are right up against beautiful mountains.  They are very different than the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, but they are gorgeous and they tower above the buildings. The cities are built right up next to some of the mountains.  Some homes have them in their backyards. . .
And some homes are built right into the rocks of the mountainsides.
I wanted to see the mid-century modern homes that are famous in Palm Springs.  They are part of the historical drive through the town. We drove along streets lined with beauties that had been well-cared for. I wish I could show you the wonderful homes we saw as we drove up one street and down the next but I couldn't take photos of most of them. There were people all around and in and out of the homes. I felt I couldn't intrude.  Many of the homes are behind hedges and gates but this one sat high above the street and I just couldn't help but take a photo of what we could see. I loved the landscaping.
But there was one home I wanted to see.  My sweetheart was pretty surprised that I wanted to find it but he was a good sport and followed my directions until we came to the home.  Now I've never been an Elvis fan, but I wanted to see the house where he and Priscilla spent their honeymoon and where they lived for the first couple of years of their marriage.  Isn't it cute? Very unique.
We really enjoyed our time in the Palm Desert - Palm Springs area.  Our time there went fast and we knew it was time to move on.  But first, there was one more sunset before we headed on down the road again.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

At Home And Away

My sweetheart and I returned home after a wonderful week away on a new-to-us adventure.  We took a cruise to Alaska!  We have dreamed of going to Alaska for a long time and this is only the first of more planned adventures to the land they call The Last Frontier. We had a wonderful time with my sweetheart's family on board the ship and on land.  We celebrated his sister's fiftieth wedding anniversary in style with a wonderful dinner and a big cake.  We were well cared for and pampered and entertained and dined with fine food.  We loved Alaska - and we plan to return again.
We are moving forward with the insurance process after the fire that destroyed our travel trailer.  My sweetheart's pickup was parked nearby and it was damaged in the fire.
Early this week we brought the pickup home.  It looks like new!  The canopy had too much damage to be repaired so a new canopy will arrive from the factory in a week or two.  It's good to have this part of the process complete.
This week we had more insurance forms to fill out for the big trailer! We hope that's the last of the paperwork but we're not holding our breath on that. In the meantime, we've been looking and shopping for our next trailer.  We've prayed for direction and done a lot of 'homework' to find what will work well for us and we believe we've found 'the one'! Very soon we will make that decision final and will move toward bringing home a new cabin-on-wheels. Here's the empty spot where our trailer sat. We live on a corner - our driveway and this spot are on the side street. We've had plans to revamp this area - and the time is now. The gravel pad where the trailer sat is black from the fire. The photo doesn't really show the damage to the neighbor's Mountain Laurel bushes or our little tree.  The neighbor's bushes can be saved and are already showing signs of green where they were scorched. The tree will come down and the few roses along the edge of our property will come out. The old shed that was on the property when we moved in will go away and the fence will be extended toward the street so the new trailer can be completely secured behind the fence.  We hope to have that finished and ready for the new trailer when we bring it home.
We will share more as things begin to happen. One of these days I'll be able to show you our new cabin-on-wheels. I can't wait to give you a tour and tell you all about it.  Now. . .we will return to tales of The Grand Trip we took last spring. There's so much more to share. When that is complete I'll share our Alaska adventure with you.  I'd better get busy.  I need to catch up - I'm w-a-y behind!