Posts Tagged ‘stories’

An Almost Ordinary Sunday Drive

March 7, 2012

On a pretty spring day, unusual this year, we left our home in north Eugene, near River Road for a drive to a concert in Corvallis.  With grandchildren there, it’s a frequent excursion at all times of day and in all weather.

Still we choose to drive Highway 99 every time.  It has more interesting scenery all the way and doesn’t take any longer than the freeway.  On this Sunday we did make a slight detour to drive the original Highway 99, River Road, into Junction City.  

  Recent interviews and stories of living along that stretch of road stimulated a desire to drive it again.  We go that way often enough there isn’t much new to see between visits, maybe a few changes, mainly seasonal, along the way.  The planted fields all look green right now but the ground for truck crops is still too wet for the equipment to be out and in use. 

  None of the produce stands are open yet but the hazelnut and walnut trees have been recently pruned and the cuttings not yet picked up.  The big red barn at Thistledown looks so bright, it might have a fresh coat of paint since I saw it last.  There is a new Century Farm sign in that section still fairly close to Eugene.  The old sign showing the mileage to the Lithia Hotel in Ashland looks freshly painted too.  The sign itself looks to be in better shape than the shed it’s painted on.  There is another shed a little farther along with a very faded PRUNES sign.  A reminder of the time when Oregon grown prunes satisfied our country as well as Europe and families picking them brought much needed cash into the area.

The old deserted schoolhouse has been remodeled and is now on the market.  It would be an interesting place to live, or maybe use for a community center or a church.  Very attractive. 

Another building I’m particularly interested in, KATIE”S MARKET is in this area.  Formerly Riverview Market, I’ve been privileged to share the story of one family who ran the store and lived in the apartment in back.  Although it’s for sale right now and maybe empty, I’m seeing it populated with young children visiting their grandparents, being put to sleep by the Lawerence Welk show, and even a one eyed family dog.   

  Not far past that is a family farm where I’ve purchased green beans and peaches but also shared the stories of  boys and girls who came to pick beans to pay for school clothes.  Of families who came with groups to picnic along the banks of the river, even enjoyed a swim. A farm with a history ob belonging to a community.

  Somehow it’s not an ordinary road, it’s a road crowded with stories and populated with people young and old.  No freeway gives you that. 




January 19, 2012

Pulling together pieces of Oreon history has taken me in directions I didn’t expect nor did I have the right resources to do the research.  One of the most critical has been the right map for each job.

I did gather the road maps I thought I would need.  Highway 99 through Oregon, even after early realignments, was my starting point.  I didn’t realize I would need a map that showed how close the forests came to the road, or the elevations of the mountains.  Then there needed to be one that let me see where the ferries that were replaced by bridges crossed the streams or rivers.  A few stories from  people who lived up a particular creek when the map showed the path of the creek was south, or down, almost making a circle.  Did the creek flow uphill? 

Now I”m looking for a map that shows the plat of the origninal donation land claims.  Difficult in Oregon since some were filed and granted before the territory had been surveyed. 

Even a bigger problem, I’d need help to read many of those maps.  The letters, symbols and strange marks are not easy for a “word” person.  Some become more clear as I study them but I will probably end up trying to locate an interpreter. 

Another I badly need to find and haven’t yet is the map of the original north-south railroad planned by the Oregon and California Railroad.  It’s out there somewhere so my quest continues as my stack of maps grows.


September 20, 2011

A different kind of research last week, having an unexpected conversation with an involved person, or even a group of people.  I do enjoy the reading about the way a place grows and developes, but it’s more fun when I’m talking to someone about the place where they live. 

I made the trip to southern Oregon again but this time I visited the Phoenix museum and talked with the three volunteers sho were there.  I came away with pictures and stories.  I especially liked one of a man who shared special memories of his grandfather.   Then there was a story of a couple who left the east coast, visited the major cities and historic sites as  they crossed the country to Oregon with a wagon and oxen more than twenty years after the automobile was invented.  I admit, I wonder how the people caught in the traffic of New York City reacted to that scene.  Or maybe the early trucks coming over the Siskiyou. 

The next day I visited with a long time resident of Talent and added more stories from there.    From the beginning, Talent was a town focused on agriculture rather than business.  Interesting to see pictures and samples of early inventions designed to make farming easier and more profitable.     And to develop better crops. 

A short visit to Ashland to add some details about an old race track, a stop in Medford for suggestions of more contacts and I headed back to Eugene and home with a head full of information and pages of notes to work with. 

I know I’ll find gaps in the stories, things I misunderstood and questions I didn’t ask but this is still the most enjoyable way to do research.  Hearing the stories from the people involved helps me see the picture I’ll try to paint with my words.

On March 11, I’ll be presenting Fireside Stories at Oasis, upstairs at Macy’s in Eugene’s Valley River Center from 1:30 until 3:00. LA FEMME, my new book of short stories is in hand so we may share a story or two. I’m planning on a good discussion about the importance of stories and the affect stories have on the w

February 11, 2010

On March 11th, I’ll be presenting Fireside Stories at Oasis, upstairs at Macy’s in Eugene’s Valley River Center from 1:30 until 3:00 pm.  LA FEMME, my new book of short stories, will be in hand and we may share a story or two from that.  We’ll also look at other stories, written and told from uncommon sources.  I plan on a good discussion of the importance of stories and the  affect stories have on the ways we live our life.