Monday, March 31, 2014

Powell High School

Now, I read in the online pages of the PT that the "old" Powell High School is being torn down.  I remember in the early 1970's, when I went back to teach in Powell in Miss Harkins' English room in the REAL old high school, that this school was a state of the art high school, with wide halls, spacious rooms, etc.  Where did it all go wrong?  Has time really flown that fast?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Who Remembers the Radio Broadcasts of the Old Fashioned Revival Hour?

OK, this one has been rattling around in my brain (or little gray cells, as Poirot calls them) long enough.  So here it is:

This is radio station KGHL in Billings Montana bringing you Your Old Fashioned Revival Hour!
Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before
Every day with Jesus I love Him more and more
Jesus loves and keeps me and He's the One I'm waiting for
Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before

And with the little song, that's about as long as we ever listened to the Old Fashioned Revival Hour, so we never had an opportunity to become revived.  But how clearly I remember the song and the KGHL greeting.  One more tidbit among millions.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2 Cents From Judy

Maybe this might be something that Dwight had in mind with his last blog post.

From September of 1980, I have a letter from him of which I am quoting a snippet.

"If you can think of anything else Mom would like or would enjoy please either go ahead and get it and let me share expense or let me know so we can sent it from here.  There are so many things I have thought of over the years that I would like to send her and wish I could have or would have when she would have enjoyed them, but I don't think 'things' ever were that important to her, so at least maybe nothing has been lost.  I worry about her being warm in the night in that house, with the heat turned down."

This is just such a lovely passage, full of loving emotion.

Six Blood Siblings, Six Separate Sets of Memories

As of March 2014, we six Blood siblings are still around, meaning in mortality.  From oldest to youngest, we are Louise, Dwight, Elizabeth, Judy, Ann, and Steve.  Like the Blind Men and the Elephant, we each have a different view and a different set of memories of growing up in Penrose, Cody, and Ralston.  I (Dwight) was the first to leave, in January 1950.  Louise essentially left at the same time, since she moved into Powell to continue school at the junior college there.  I was 17 when I left home.  My memories of Penrose consisted of nine years in the little brown house, three years in Ralston, and four years in the white house that was the Blood family home until our parents moved to Washington state.  My sibling memories are most closely linked to Louise and Elizabeth, being closer in age.  I can remember the exact days that Ann and Steve were born but, for the life of me, I have no idea how Judy showed up there in our bedroom with the other three of us in the little brown house.

Thus, my memories of Penrose are most closely linked to we three older siblings, since the other three were still young when I left home.  Getting better acquainted with them during the past few years has been one of the delights of being a big brother.  Since I left home in 1950, most of my memories of Penrose are limited, first, to the little brown house where I spent the first nine years of my life.  This house today would hardly pass minimal housing standards but, to us, it was a paradise among the cottonwoods and the apple orchard. Louise started school in 1935 and I started school in 1936, riding the primitive school bus on an arduous long journey into Powell, 12 miles away as the crow flies, but many miles longer in collecting children along the route.  I wore bib overalls and had a bowl-type haircut with my blond bangs hanging in my eyes.

In 1941, we moved to a small farm a mile west of Ralston on the Powell-Cody highway.  We spent the war years there, again riding the school bus into Powell and enjoying the much shorter route and less time bouncing over the rough roads on the Penrose route.  And then in 1944, after my Uncle Orvil died, Dad moved us back to Penrose to manage Grandpa Wasden's farm, for a brief time with Uncle Norman Sorensen.

After leaving home, I was able to come home only sporadically.  During college at the University of Wyoming, I usually could not afford to come home for many of the holidays since I had to work to stay in school.  After leaving Laramie, we lived in Bozeman Montana, Fort Collins Colorado three times, Ann Arbor Michigan twice, Washington, D. C., State College Pennsylvania, Cheyenne Wyoming, Laramie again and, finally, Provo-Orem Utah.  Since our parents had moved to Olympia Washington, we rarely were able to have either the time or the resources to travel that far and, often, gaps of two or three years existed between times when we could visit our parents.

Thus, my memories of home and Penrose are restricted to a narrow early window of time and space.  It is up to everyone else to fill in the gaps and tell the stories and relive their own memories.  Judy is now writing her life story, Louise and Elizabeth have told their stories, and Judy is writing hers.  That means that Ann and Steve  remain to tell the missing stories from the times when none of the rest of us were around home and we can only fill in the gaps with our imaginations.

Besides our more formal life stories, we all have much to gain from sharing stories and reminiscences here on the blog.  Since some of cannot remember who played last night's basketball game, it matters little whether we can remember exact stories and sequences.  What matters is the spirit of the stories, the light we share from the memories, and the ties that bind us.

Ann is working on a great project with family pictures and brief family stories, and I need to finish my contribution to this project.  I hope we can all take just a few minutes now and then to share some special memory or story here on the blog since such postings tend to wake us all up and keep us in touch with each other.  And who knows how long we will be able to continue doing that?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Title picture

Dwight, don't know how else to let you know that the lilacs lend themselves so well to this repeating design along the sides, and I love the road sign.  Is that sign there now?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Wash Day in Penrose

This story by Ann needed to be brought to light, so here it is.  I hope you agree!

Dwight's post also suggests we talk about what went on in the kitchen/multipurpose room. Here are some of my imperfect memories. Since this is how I remember it, then this is how it must have been for me.
Saturdays were the most amazing. After breakfast was cleaned up, Mother would pull out the wringer washing machine from the closet, bring in the bench stand from outside, along with the tub that hung on the coal shed. It was used for rinsing the clothes in, once they were done agitating in the tub of the wringer washer. 

I was considered "too little" to be of much help, but I can remember going out to "help" hang the wet clothes on the clothes line. My job was to hand the wet clothes to the official hanger-upper.

When the laundry was washed and all hung out to dry, the washer went back into the closet and the tub went temporarily back outside. Then there was bread to make and sometimes something special to bake for Sunday. 

Cleaning supplies were kept in the kitchen closet and so we would drag (that is how I felt about that job) out the broom, dustpan, dust clothes and dust mop and clean the house. In my memory that was an every Saturday occurrence.

Then, when the day was winding down, the tub that had been previously used for rinsing the clean clothes was brought back into the kitchen. The fire in the coal stove was stoked which made the room toasty warm (most of the time), doors were closed, water was heated in both the water reservoir in the stove, as well as the tea kettle and we would start the round of Saturday night baths. The water got kind of thick as we got towards the end of 8 people, but I remember the water getting changed midway through, which probably meant either the tub was taken outside and dumped and then brought back in for round 2, or some of the water was scooped out using a bucket and then fresh, clean water was added to the tub. When the last bath was taken, Mother, who by then must have been absolutely exhausted, would get down on her hands and knees and, using the bath water, scrub the old linoleum kitchen floor. Regardless of our circumstances, she worked really hard to keep our home clean, as well as our family.

As to Elizabeth's comment about the electric stove, in my memory that was a magical time. I hadn't heard any discussion about what was going on until it happened. The stove was from the Home Ec. building at the high school. They were replacing the "old stoves" with a newer model and were selling the old ones for what must have been a good deal. And moving out of the coal stove meant the well worn linoleum would have to be replaced. I can remember the smell of the glue Dad used to lay down the new flooring, as well as the magic that happened when the wiring was done for the electric stove and it was plugged in. There were buttons on the stove that you pushed for the specific heat you needed on each burner. The buttons lite up in colors, which was "awesome". The clock had a timer on it that worked beautifully until it was struck by lightening. I can't remember who it was, but someone was standing washing dishes when the lightening struck, coming through the kitchen window and hitting the clock. It had a burned mark on it which served as a constant reminder of that event.