It was indeed a valley. It got dark awfully early at the school level. Look at that sagebrush. Who needs landscaping and grounds keepers?
When we walked into the little house where Mother was to stay during the week, there was such an interesting smell - forest, damp wood, etc., like the windows needed to be opened to let in some fresh air. That smell is still embedded in my memory, if a smell can be that. I remember how it felt every Sunday afternoon when Mother would load up the car with a week's rations and clean clothes, and bravely head the car down the road. At first it was an adventure, but after the first couple of weeks I really wished for it to be over. Friday afternoons were the best, when the car would come back towards Penrose. The anticipation was wonderful, and Mother would pick up where she had left off on Sunday, with house cleaning, clothes washing, and talking like crazy about school - hers and ours - cows, farm, Dad - you know, all the important stuff. It was as though we were all refueling our minds and spirits for the next week. That was an amazing year.
Last summer when Cheryl and Lynn took me to Powell for my class reunion we drove up South Fork. It was the first time I had ever been up that road (can you believe it?) and I enjoyed the scenery. I was glad to actually see the little school. It's in a beautiful setting with that huge mountain for a backdrop. (Elizabeth had given me a picture of it.) What was amazing was to see the little cabin where Mother stayed. It is all boarded up and full of junk, so it was hard to imagine her living in it. The other thing I wonderd about was how she drove that road in the winter. How old were you girls that year? You said it was an amazing year, Ann,, but at the time it was probably pretty tough. It goes with "you gotta to, what you gotta do" And somehow you make it. You deserve credit for making it. Thank you, Ann, for writing what you remember.
I think the amazing part was we survived. There were two or three weekends when Mother didn't make it home. One weekend, to deal with the unpleasantness of it all, Dad took Judy, Steve and me to the Hyart Theater in Lovell to see a movie - (was it Lady and the Tramp? Judy/Steve, help out on that one). The snow was so bad on our way home, we got stuck on the hill outside of Lovell, where the road split just across the river bridge and going north led to Cowley and going west led towards home. I was absolutely petrified, but Dad finally persuaded the car up the slippery slope and we made it home. Remember the intermittent window wipers? Not good in a snowstorm, or any other time!The weeks were long and lonesome. Judy tried really hard to keep things humming at home, I washed the milkers for Dad and Steve became Dad's right hand man in the barn. We all had things to do, which really helped, but Dad was lonely and we all felt a little lost. However, I think we all felt like pioneers. Mother had worked so hard to get her teaching degree and the fact she would get to put her efforts to work was important for all of us to give our support. Financially, that year was a turning point in my mind, where there were no longer the late night conversations between Mom and Dad, when we were supposed to be asleep, about survival. In the end, being able to breathe without a sense of financial panic must have been sweet indeed.
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