Friday, May 16, 2008

Stories from my childhood

I was thinking a lot the other night as I was suffering from insomnia. I was thinking about all of the things I have done, both extra-ordinary and well the quite ordinary. I was thinking about how I would love to know things about my family, the lives they lead, and what it was like to be a child in the 1940's (my mom and dad) or what life was like in the 1920's (my grandparents). My grandparents are gone, it is too late to ask them. I plan on spending time with my Mom and Dad and asking them about what they did growing up, but it is time for me to do the same.

I am a scrapbooker and I own a scrapbooking business, yet I find it is so easy to get caught up in the hype that surrounds the industry, that I forgot why I started. I wanted to tell stories. So, in the interest of saving the stories, here is one from my childhood, doing something I loved, riding my horses.

When I was in Jr. High, probably around 15 or so, maybe my sophomore year in High school, I still truley enjoyed riding horses. I used to saddle up Bobby, my first horse and just ride. I would often head off our property and head down Orchard View Road towards Pheasant Creek Road. Orchard View, at that time was mostly good size homes, a few older but mostly built in the mid-seventies, on larger lots of 5-15 acres. Our neighbors, the Milton's had around 20 acres with a real barn and an older Orchard. Thier house, built in the 50's was probably one of the reason's Orchard View had its name. The orchard itself had long declined out of prduction and was a good place for windfall apples to feed the horses and sheep a snack or too. (As a side note, I loved late fall when the Milton's cows would get all drunk on the semi-rotten apples and you could see the glazed look in thier eyes and watch them stumble around.) Anyway, I would ride down the hill, on the road and it was a rare day that a single car would pass me. I would ride past the Milton's house, down around the corner past the Nelson's (not to be confused with Doc Nelson's place, which was around the next corner and up the hill). A few hundred yards further, past the gully as I called it was the Bunn's house, perched on the edge of the road and over the gully, I don’t recall the name of the people that lived next to them.

Continuing down the road to the left of me was the large field and man made pond that was owned by Gary Squires dad. Gary was a skinny kid, but a great swimmer. He should have never been as good as he was, as he was really too slight, but he made All American and I thought he was pretty cute, but I digress. Gary's parents divorced when we were in High School and his father moved out to the land he owned on Orchard View. I am sure he has subdivided it all now, but at the time, it was a gorgeous huge piece of land that went from Orchard View all the way down to Berry Creek Road. If I cut across the land, on foot, I couldn't ride there because it was fenced, I could get to Cara and Cam Brand's house in 20 minutes. The drive was almost as long.

Once I got to Pheasant Creek, I would ride up the hill a bit and turn onto somebody's property. I don't know who owned the land, it was vacant and while I knew I was trespassing, but at the time we all did up there. The field itself was worth the transgression and the possibility of someone catching us and yelling at us to get off the property . The field was open (and has now become a gated section of McMansions on a hill with no property, it makes me cry) and lead up to a new stand of trees. Following along the driveway (unpaved and unpassable but by horse or 4 wheel drive) you reached the top of the property. I would ride my horse over the top, pass through a stand of trees, and reach the field. That field was so worth the ride, although the ride as only about 20 minutes. I would dismount and sit down and think. Bobby would happily graze, but being well trained, I dropped the reins to the ground and he never strayed far. In all of my early teen angst, my mind would find peace up there. A view from the top, going over towards the coast range, the Trask Mountains, I think. These things are impossible now, at least on Orchard View. Maybe there are other parts of McMinnville where kids can still go and “trespass a bit”. Take your horse up there, or maybe a boy. Think, or not… but simply enjoy the connection between the earth and oneself.

These are the things I want to remember about my childhood. The stories I would love to have heard about my family when they were young. The stories I think that need to be saved.

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