Monday, August 5, 2019
Off To Washington
I had always lived in Nebraska. We lived in many little towns and on many farms but they were all in Nebraska.
Then Daddy got a job on a dairy farm just outside of Spokane, Washington. He went ahead and Mom took care of packing and getting everything ready for the move.
We were all excited. We were going to Washington on the train. My youngest brother at the time wanted to ride in the caboose.
Mom was busy rushing around trying to tie up all the loose ends. Since she was not going to be at home she had my aunt come to keep an eye on us. My uncles were there to help moving boxes. A couple of cousins came along too. They were around my sister's age.
Mom was gone and we decided to play outside for a while. Some of us were sitting on the hood of the car talking. I was there because I liked to hang out with the older kids and my aunt and uncles were kind of a captive group that day.
We were watching the weather because it looked like it might rain later. Off in the distance we saw something unusual. It was a tornado.
We sat on the hood of the car forever it seemed. We watched that tornado for well over half an hour. We later learned that it had almost completely destroyed a town between 50 and 100 miles away.
Then we watched the train. It seemed like we always lived near train tracks. In the summer the train engine would come through every so often with the little flame throwers that were attached and burn off the weeds that grew up too close to the tracks. Sometimes the smell of the hemp weed burning was unbearable.
It was a hot, muggy day. We did not get any rain but the humidity made us uncomfortable.
My aunt suddenly realized we had not seen my sister and cousins for a long time. She sent me into the house to find them. They were not there.
We looked around the yard. No girls. My aunt sent some of us up the train tracks and some of us down the train tracks to see if they were there. No girls.
There was a lake in the woods just outside of town. We were not allowed to go there because we did not know how to swim. I decided that they had gone there and drowned. I was a melodramatic child.
My uncle and I rode bicycles to the lake to look there. I knew we were going to find bodies. But the girls were not there. We went home.
My aunt was becoming panicky. She started screaming the girls names. So we all did the same. She told us to be quiet because she was sure she heard them in the distance.
She yelled again. She listened. She heard them We did not. She was sure they were answering her. She followed the sounds she thought she heard. We followed her.
My aunt went around the house. Now we could hear the muffled sounds that my aunt had been hearing. They were far away.
As long as we were passing the outhouse (outdoor toilet that I detest) my brother decided to make a stop there. He could not get in. But the girls were screaming from behind the door.
The girls had gone to the bathroom together as girls tend to do. They hooked the hook into the loop that locked the door to keep unwanted visitors out. When they got ready to go out they were pushing on the door and trying to lift the hook. The door would not open because the hook would not unhook due to the pressure of them pushing at the same time.
The more they tried to lift the hook, the harder they pushed on the door. It would not open. They were practically hysterical from thinking they would never get out. And they were soaking wet because of the heat of the day. They poured out when we finally got the door open.
When we finally were finished with everything at our house, we went to my grandparents' house. Our train was to leave in a few days and we got to stay there until then.
It was late when we got there. We just had time to eat and go to bed.
We were settling in for a good night's sleep when Mom rushed in and told us to get dressed right away. The train station had called. They had enough seats available on the next train if we could get there in time. We had not quite an hour to do this.
My uncle drove as fast as he could to get us there. The train was almost ready to leave. We had to hurry.
My oldest brother was having trouble dealing with the escalator. We had never seen moving stairs before. But with a lot of pushing and rushing we just barely made it.
My youngest brother was screaming that he wanted to ride in the caboose. Mom told him we would be in the car next to it. Actually we were fairly close to the engine but he was satisfied and we got on the train.
The car we were in was a double-decker. In the upper portion you could look out and see a lot of scenery that you could not see from the windows in the lower part. And riding the train was nice for us because we could go from car to car. I do not know how much the other passengers liked our mobility but we loved it.
Mom was sick for the whole trip. She had a migraine headache for one thing. She had them from time to time and they made her miserable. Later she found out that she was also suffering from motion sickness. Because she needed eyeglasses her eyes did not see the passing scenery correctly. Her brain tried to correct so things would appear as they should. Her brain became confused and made her sick.
Luckily there was a nice younger couple who helped her out. They were very much in love but they were nice enough to try to keep us occupied. They even got off at one stop and came back with bags of candy. It was the first time I ever had candy kisses. I still like them a lot.
We arrived in Pendleton, Oregon, at about 9:00 at night. Daddy was going to pick us up in the morning. Mom wanted to get us a room at the hotel. Unfortunately she did not have enough money left. The food on the train had cost more than she had expected.
The management of the hotel were nice enough to allow us to spend the night in the lobby. I'm sure they felt bad for the young mother with five children. One of the younger children even got sick all over the lobby floor. They cleaned it with no complaint. Mom was so grateful.
Daddy was there first thing in the morning. He was so happy to have his family with him. We were just as happy to have our father again.
He took us to get something to eat and we started the last leg of our move to Washington. On the way we stopped for ice cream. What a treat.
Finally we reached our house. It was at the very top of a small mountain. There were evergreen trees everywhere. We had all sorts of space. And our whole family was together again.