March 2, 1975
March coming in, half lion and half lamb. Sunshine in bright bursts while fluffy sheep clouds and wind roar, playing through the tree tops. I would love to feel energetic enough to go to the woods. But if I do, I’ll be too tired to start the week at Hook, so better lay low. I’ve got to get over this damn virus that drags on even when the acute stage is past.
But I can see all the fresh grass and new branched leaves in my mind, and smell the wet damp scent of growth beginning. But I must change the boys’ bed linen. Guess I’ll bake a Bundt cake for tonight’s dessert.
Just remembered I promised Dad I’d write today. He called last night so I’m committed. He’s as full of blandishments as an April morning in Ireland! So, must do as promised.
Have slept in gloriously for two mornings! What luxury. But bad dreams. Meeting evil forces and false religions, having to challenge and counter-challenge the enemy. Not so much frightening as exhausting.
Must get at those beds now! And dress. Write Dad, bake, and start dinner. It’s already 2 p.m. Oh damn! And we have daffodils in bloom!
March 3, 1975
A wet gray morning and the last thing I want to do is go to work. But Duty calls. Why, oh why is Duty so often unattractive? Guess it is too often at variance with one’s personal needs or desires. Was it Emerson who said he ‘envied not the beast of the field in any clime’ or something similar? Well, I wouldn’t seriously change places, but those ‘beasts’ have something most humans lack—the right to sleep when sleepy, eat when hungry, and play when playful. We humans are ever at odds with ourselves. We work when we’re tired or sick—go to bed when we want to stay up, and remain in occupations any self-respecting animal would have abandoned when boredom or pain first struck. Now I must finish that letter to Dad, hurry through the chores and get to work. If I didn’t have these three days off, I think I’d drop dead.
The bridal wreath has tiny leaves of pale green, and the crocus are purple, white and yellow.
March 4, `975
A song sparrow is singing outside in the pale blue morning. PJ plays with Nush while waiting for the school bus and Joey hovers by the heater until he’s called.
Another upsetting day yesterday with Pete. Money trouble as usual and misunderstandings. [I won’t describe them here]
I hope today will be better and so on—if only we can reach a place where these financial crises are past. Well, had best get to work. Another day and hopefully a few more dollars.
March 5, 1975
Another blue dawn after fog, but a golden half-moon hangs over the black-lined trees. The song sparrows are warbling, and Nush barks.
Later: starting breakfast for Pete and me…nine o’clock advances on running feet. I have goosebumps even though I’m by the heater. Fog drifts in and out. The sun has now chased the moon down or at least out of sight. I can see frost on the ground. Water-color blue skies make me want to stay home. Then I could wash the windows and clean house and maybe do some poking in the yard. Picked a bouquet of daffodils and Lenten roses for the table yesterday. So lovely. I now believe in Spring!
March 6, 1975
Dental appointment at 10 this morning! Shaking in my boots—hope my most fantastic fears are unfounded.
Played a little tennis after dinner with Joe, but not much. Rotten headache.
Clear today but still nippy.
Have to record a quote from Ted Mahar’s column in the paper. “Whether a diary is interesting, of course, depends on one or both of two things: who wrote it and what they did and saw. If the writer is an intelligent, witty or insightful person, unspectacular events can seem interesting. Even a dull writer can be worth reading if, say, he or she watched the Sack of Rome or arrival of the millennium.”
I’d better be one of the three mentioned, or this journal is doomed to be an exercise in trivia.
Well, off to the wars!

Published in: on January 20, 2019 at 11:01 am  Comments (5)  


Marching on with March 1975
Exhausted but with a nice sense of virtue. Cleaned house thoroughly and it rewards me with the shining, well-cared-for glow of a loved child. Stew is stewing and the only things left to do are folding towels and baking apple pies for Margret and Diana’s visit tomorrow.
A Strauss record is spinning romantic waltzes, and I find myself succumbing to a pleasurable melancholia like the ones suffered in adolescence. Ah, the pain of unrequited love! In those far off teen days I prayed for romance—I, whose outstanding mental characteristic is a need to analyze and understand. No, I longed then to be submerged in that delightful frenzy called romantic love. No crudities, please—only strong, despairing passion. Does everyone experience such infatuations? The melting desire called up by the curve of a mouth, the vulnerable nape of the beloved’s neck—a look of laughter or weariness.
I tell myself I’m glad to be done with such nonsense. But sitting by the fire I let Strauss revive old feelings. Me, 37 years old, and still susceptible to dreams. And stubborn fantasy colors my exquisite ball gown, as a handsome stranger whirls me around the dance floor. There is magic in his ardent eyes and smiling lips.
Of course, there would be danger in this scenario, a tragedy, for after all, our affair would be the stuff of Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard!
How silly that sounds now. But at 17, the future glimmered with possibilities. Here there is no future. Only the present that extends to the grave. Still, the naivete of these dreams does not dim them. Bright as the first snow, piercing as the cry of the first robin, they remain, jeweled as the dew drops in the heart of a rose.
Such is the power of first love, the feeling that one is part of something larger than oneself. Perhaps it also explains the core of sadness in all love—because, like the rose, its glory will fade.
So I muse that realists may be the fortunate ones. Do they not see life clearly, without undue expectation? Able to accept what comes to them, they are not easily dashed by life’s offerings. “Well,” they may ask the dejected romantic, “what did you expect?”
Yet I wouldn’t trade the heights for that pedestrian path. No, even though I plummet again and again, like Icarus into the sea. I’ll regrow my singed wings, because I fully expect to love again and go soaring upward to touch the sun!
Later: My romantic fit over, I look at the clock. One. Pete and the boys are taking off, leaving the coast clear for girl talk. Glad he didn’t back out at the last minute—but at least I feel more like the house might be half mine—equal rights and all. Paige just came home, whipping into the driveway like Mario Andretti, the race car driver!

March 9, 1975
Sitting atop a huge eroded stump overlooking the ruffled shirt of the green-blue Clackamas River. Nush and I came down to River Mill Dam in the pick-up this afternoon. The partially sunny day was too potent to resist but I didn’t want to squander my returning energy walking down River Road. As it was, I’m glad we didn’t, for we saw a lot of people and their dogs congregating about the newly occupied, but still tumble-down cabins. Where went the solitary lane of seven years ago?
Still, the shore here is the same. I see the “writing rock” from my perch and remember how Paige and I pushed Chip into the river from it. He thought we were wretches and wouldn’t come near us for most of the return hike.
As I thought about this, I noticed a crackling in the brush. Nush looks inquiringly in that direction. I catch a glimpse of a man rather aimlessly walking back toward the cabin trail. Nush growls warningly, and I place my hand on his collar. I shouldn’t feel so possessive about this little patch of wilderness, but I do—it’s where I can feel alone.
Above a white mountain of cloud, the sky is intensely blue, and the sound of running water is musical, rather like thin silver bracelets softly clashing together. We’ll go back up into the park and head for the Preserve area.
Later: In a grassy little inlet on a deer path. An owl flew lazily off to another tree as we approached, and I can still see him if I stand up. Blue gorse flowers bloom in the feathery green-gold moss at my feet. The Oregon Grape is studded with tightly curled blossom buds, while the leaves are polished as though with wax. Glancing up, I see that the sun has dropped a little closer toward the horizon, and clouds with bellies full of rain are gathering, driven by a westerly wind. Time to head for home.

Published in: on January 13, 2019 at 10:30 am  Comments (5)  

Glorious Snow 1948

Winter Memories….
Excerpted from January 25, 1974
The year is hurrying by again, cut into snippets by weekends and chores. Whatever happens to one’s perspective of time? When I was a child, summer stretched before me like an ocean, vast and uncharted. I swam in faith, like Columbus. Eventually, of course, the warm land of summer would give way to rain and wind, rubber boots, and school bells.
But there was always Christmas, when the Sears catalog people might bring riches to our doorstep. Or failing that, unknown aunts and uncles, ancient relatives forgotten or believed dead, would clog the mail with packages for our delight. This could be the year!
Of course, it wasn’t, as such expectations are dashed by the iron boot of reason. But there was one magical season. Not Christmas, but New Year’s.
It began on a cold, dark day when I accompanied my father and stepmother to a New Year’s Eve party. The bells rang at midnight, and everyone ran outside, banging pans, and blowing whistles. I didn’t join them but searched the sky.
“Don’t be silly,” my father said as I explained myself. “It isn’t going to snow.”
“Yes, it is. It is! See, there’s one! There’s more! Oh, yes! It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” I spun around, arms outstretched in welcome.
And snow it did. It was 1948, the year of the Big Snow! In fact, it snowed so much Daddy was barely able to drive me home to Mama. All through the valley, schools were closed! How wonderful! An extra two weeks of vacation. My neighborhood pals and I were delirious with joy. Snow forts were constructed and snow balls stockpiled for red-cheeked combat. We ran and slid on the tracks left by automobiles. Those who owned sleds generously shared with the less fortunate.
We scorned plowed roads for travel, opting instead to lurch in and out of huge snowdrifts that were at least 4 feet deep. It took us an hour to go two blocks—red-faced, breathless with laughter, and the effort of pulling each other out of holes. But we triumphed, picking up Nature’s gauntlet while older folks, who’d forgotten what life was all about, grumbled, and walked on scraped, flat sidewalks.
We played at night, racing over the white fairyland, making snow angels, creeping about woodpiles transformed into mountains—drunk with laughter and running. Each night, to the last child, we prayed for more snow. We couldn’t get enough of it!
But, inevitably, the thaw came. A gloomy drip of eaves marked the change, sending icicles and spirits plummeting. Adults wore superior smiles, remarking that the bad spell was done, the cold snap over! Things would get back to normal. Ha Ha, you kids will go back to school.
We lay in our beds, somberly viewing the future. Once again we would be confined to the classroom, tied to dull arithmetic and sleepy geography. Desperate prayers wafted heavenward, promising good behavior. And lo, in the morning the world was encased in a glittering glass coffin. Trees groaned and split, branches crashed fracturing the icy sheathing below. The sun sent splinters of light and color into the dullest eye, penetrating even the adult mind with a sense of wonder.
Electrical wires were transformed into ropes of crystal. Walking was hazardous but not to be avoided. Our boots made jagged trails that crushed the snow beneath. One could have made a case for monsters roaming through the neighborhood. The ice held for two days, but at last our resolution grew weak. Ice was not as pleasant as snow—it might not be so bad to go back to school and play jacks and jump rope—and escape to the Saturday matinees on weekends. Spring would bring baseball, croquet and roller skating—along with biking for rich kids who had wheels. So, as the ice melted, our wills weakened. It was the news that school might be extended at the end of the year that broke us completely. We gave up. Our wonderland was reduced to winter’s familiar gray rains. But satisfaction still lingers as I recall that wonderful season.
Here in my kitchen, I wonder. Where did they all go? Those dreams and memories that sped away into unknown galaxies? Ah. The day’s half gone, and an inner dragon bites my conscience. Yes, I must get busy. But someday, I’ll reclaim the jeweled nights and golden days that filled my childhood imagination, and go sailing through time just like Christopher Columbus!

Published in: on January 6, 2019 at 11:47 am  Comments (4)  


February 9, 1975
Sunday. I’ve been up for two hours now. From my window I see damp gray air and gold plated clouds. My eyes feel good. I’m almost well now. It’s as though I’ve escaped from prison or the hospital. Nushka lies on the gravel drive as though it was soft as a bed. His plushy gray fur has a beige tinge—he needs a bath although after a day outdoors, he’d need another.
Need to type new labels for the fishing tackle at Prom when it re-opens. Went to see Jo’s kitchen. Her remodeling and redecorating have made it a show piece. It’s done in blue, but not at all cold as blues can sometimes be.
We had a pleasant day yesterday until the boys came home from skiing. Joey had a sprained thumb, just like mine, but not as bad. My poor old digit is not completely healed yet.
I wonder about this particular volume of journals. I have recorded a lot of frustration, anger, and disgust. Now I question the judgment of letting it fall into the keeping of the children one day. I don’t want to damage their opinion of their father, but my bitterness is too plain to be mistaken. This is the nature of ambivalence. I vow myself to silence, and then burst out. It seems the honest thing for inwardly I’m crying, by god, I shan’t bear it any longer, hear that, world?! Then comes the desire to erase whatever mars a temporary euphoria. But I can’t erase the hurts, the fears, the upheavals. I wear them like a rosary of resentment.
Well these journals reveal my real emotions. Can you understand it, you who read this? I hope so. Because you can love and hate someone – admire and censure them—support and destroy them. We humans are capricious, ephemeral creatures whose moral yardstick is probably the most unforgiving measure ever devised. It stands like a rock in a sea of change. But if we can’t let go from time to time when overwhelmed by the inevitable storms of life, will we not perish? Yet, we must not lose sight of that rock, lest we drown in our excesses.
February 15, 1975 Wednesday
The flu returned with full force on Saturday. Don’t remember ever being so miserable. At least four days into it, I’m beginning to feel tolerable. Enough to tackle some household chores. It has rained almost all day and the wood pile’s getting low. We ought to order some more.
February 17, 1975
At the orthodontist’s, waiting for Joe to have his braces removed. He wasn’t well last night but after medication, improved, thank goodness. PJ and pal George have come along with us. No school as it’s Washington’s birthday.
There was snow in Springwater this morning. Otherwise damp and cool at our elevation. Nushka was wild and full of energy and the cats raced through the front room, rattling all the bric-a-brac. Spring must be a strong premonition.
Want to finish this journal today as it’s almost used up—then I can begin a new one. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could start whole new segments of life so easily—fresh and clean—at Day One!
Joey came out of the “inner sanctum” flashing a brilliant white smile!
End of this volume!

Published in: on December 30, 2018 at 1:29 pm  Comments (2)  


January 23, 1975
My frightful lungs, throat, and sinus still bad, though felt better yesterday. That is until evening. Woke up about 3 and just lay there listening to my sinuses drain, trying not to cough.
Have now restarted the fire and washed all the snack dishes from last night. Hear Paige coughing too.
Put Nush in the over-night ward at the Clinic where he’ll be x-rayed this morning. Maybe we’ll discover why it’s so painful for him to move. Need to take PJ to the orthodontist to pick up his new retainer. The cut he received from a rock while skiing is healing, thank goodness. Joe’s braces come off on February 17th.
Feeling grim physically but might as well scribble in my journal as to sit doing nothing. So irksome not being able to sleep when I seem to never get enough.
January 24, 1975
What a gray Friday to be home. Pete got the boys up yesterday, but waved me back to bed when I ran downstairs in a panic because of oversleeping. He even made an appointment with the doctor for Paige and me. The cause was laid to a virus, but got some prescriptions filled.
Nushka home from the vet’s. That diagnosis worse than ours; a fractured pelvis. Vet says it’s painful but not serious; takes about 3 weeks to heal. Meanwhile keep him warm and “abed” as much as possible.
As for me, reading by the fire, though I have stripped the boys’ beds and put on fresh linens. Laundry going and ironing done. But nothing else, except for hoisting Nush up and out when the time comes.
January 25, 1975 4:15 a.m.
Another wee hour entry before the sun is up. Outside black night covers all and the rain sluices down in great silver rivulets. No, I’m not sick as I was two mornings ago; at least the medication is helping.
Pickwick, rain jeweled, crouches at his food dish and Nush pants, trying to muster the courage to lie down.
Well, he wanted out –so after a full evacuation, came in for a bit of sustenance; milk and puppy chow. He’s ready to lay down while I have a cup of tea.
I see dark circles under my eyes in the window’s reflection. My skin is pale, so they show like bruises.
I was bitchy this afternoon. Nush wet the rug, but I kept cool because it wasn’t his fault. I hadn’t carried him out earlier. But later when I tried, he kept yipping and snapping at me until I actually gave his nose a swat. Not hard, but an unworthy act. Naturally, he began to wet again, so I had to carry him out despite his protests. Then I had to clean the floor and bring him back inside. Was not in a good mood.
I wonder if my medication is too strong. My ears ring and I feel stopped up, only slightly improved. I was tired after laundry, ironing, bed-making, dish washing and dog carrying and clean up. I’m writing this to show that I’m aware of being a person with a lot of faults. I don’t suppose to know them all, but maybe if everyone knew all their faults, it would crush them too far down.
January 31, 1975
A queer buttermilk gray sky. The fir trees are wuthering in a high wind. Patchy snow still frozen over the ground and sun deck.
Thank God it’s Friday and my day off. Felt poor yesterday afternoon again and slept for about an hour before fixing dinner. Back in bed at nine and read scarcely a half hour before closing my book. I then prayed until falling asleep. God, if He’s a Person, must hate it when I’m sick because when I feel ultra grim, I pray monotonously. It’s the only thing that keeps me from outright dying. Or so it seems.

Published in: on December 16, 2018 at 12:52 pm  Comments (1)  


January 10, 1975
The snow has been melted, absorbed into the earth. A still gray day outside my kitchen window. My mind races at breakneck speed over all I’d like to accomplish today, but know I won’t. Wrote Margret yesterday but still have 3 letters to go.
January 14, 1975
Fine rain floating like cobwebs over the road and trees this morning. Another day of waitressing at Hook coming up in an hour and fifteen minutes and here I am with coffee, breakfast dishes, and still not dressed.
More letters to write and laundry to finish. Felt a bit more energetic yesterday as compared to my 3 month slump. Hope I recover my zeal for action one of these days.
Everyone in an uproar yesterday at Hook. $70 missing from the till. How do these things happen?
January 15, 1975
Silvery light outside the kitchen window. Crystal drops from an almost invisible drizzle outline the little evergreens and decorate the Mt. Laurel. Yesterday was very busy. Worked two hours but made almost $2.00 in tips! Stopped at the store for a few items and saw that a quart of mayonnaise, once 59 cents, is now 91 cents. Prices keep climbing.
Cleaned the fireplace while PJ chopped kindling. Got the fire going, did laundry, put towels from Hook to soak, and made the boys’ beds. Then cooked a quick lunch for the kids and their friends and afterwards, took George home, a seven mile trip.
Wrote something for Paige on the Civil War, then slept for an hour.
Hate this feeling as though every day is a dragon to be slain.
[much of the following entries have been passed over as too depressing and repetitive in the foibles, fits, and frustrations of my life at this period of time.]
January 17, 1975
A dreadful day yet nothing really outstanding. Constant bickering and unrest both at home and at Hook.
Saturday, and a faint sunbeam splashes over my hands and face, a mild patina of light. If the weather holds, I may take Nushka to the woods tomorrow. Too late for today—too many chores to do and dinner to fix for hungry skiers.
January 19, 1975
A foggy Sunday. E. says she’s going to quit. I’m afraid it will be the same old story, Pete versus all my friends. Felt pretty low about everything. Went to Jo’s—we walked to Metzler Park through the fog and had a fine visit. Coming back it was dark and the fog felt like wet gray wool.
Yesterday the boys came home from skiing. PJ with a cut in his head from a tumble on the slopes, and Mike T. with a broken leg. Some three days!
But the crocus and hyacinths are coming up in the front bed by the planters. A cheery note in a dark world.
January 21, 1975
God, what a frightful several days. Nushka was hit by a car. The dodo went up onto the highway. Sherry and Chuck saw the whole thing and called. Nush came howling down the hill. We got him into the car and to the vet. No bones broken, but he screams when he tries to move. He hasn’t gone to the bathroom or eaten since and the vet is gone today! Very worried and upset. Took PJ to the orthodontist because he lost his retainer on the mountain.
January 22, 1975
Not as cold as last night but still nippy. Coaxed Nush to eat and drink but he still screams when he tries to move. Stood him up outside last night twice so he could wheedle. Which he did, thank goodness.
This morning, though he seems better in his appearance, he screamed frightfully when I tried to help him stand up. Thought he’d be a lot better. I can’t bear to think of losing him. I don’t know how I’d get on. I’ve become less willing to risk my heart as time goes on. I despise this trend but seem unable to change it. Maybe true nobility (or humility) is the heart that goes on loving all it can, no matter how often it’s broken.
Must take Nush to the vet before going to work. Struck by sore throat and infected bronchial tubes. Better today after taking Vitamin C last night. Have letters to write again this week. I wonder if people write letters in the after-life. I devoutly hope not! Just send thoughts direct.

Published in: on December 9, 2018 at 12:01 pm  Comments (4)  


January 8, 1975 Wednesday
A million things to do today after working Monday and Tuesday. Laundry, bills, banking, vacuuming, housework, and letter writing. Found Teddy, the hamster, who’d escaped the night before. His eyes were all stuck with mucous—washed them with boric acid and one is clear now. Must attend to him again. Talked astrology on the phone this morning with E.
Raining at present with periods of wet snow that blanket the air in shifting patterns. The alders at the edge of the clearing across the street are gray and ghostly. Oh, hurry, hurry, hurry. Too much to do and too little time.
4p.m. It’s snowing for real. Rumor has it that we’ll have between 4 and 6 inches tonight. If it does, will want to take Nush to walk in the woods.
Up much too late for a school night. Am just out of the shower and with a wet head to dry yet.
Finished reading a book Kinds of Love and was thinking, as I bathed, about the cry of the young city boy—one of the “new generation” who repeated–”I just want to be, to live. Exploring this a little further, it occurred to me that being is linked to doing. Life demands it. Equally necessary are the twins of patience and meditation. Through them, one’s actions and experience are digested and assimilated. Life is a composite, I think. Maybe that’s one of its “secrets.” The realization that existence is a series of phases.

January 9, 1975 Thursday
Snowing. Very little accumulation during the night so the kids went to school though buses were an hour late. It’s 32 degree exactly. The mud flat where the woods used to be is frosted white. There are pockets of snow on rocks and shelves of earth. Chimney smoke from the house on the hill is trailing off in a big plume to the southwest. I teeter on the edge of trance mesmerized by the sweep of falling snow. Sleepy too as I didn’t sack out until 1:30 a.m. and then Pickwick clawed on the bedroom door, waking me at 5. Staggered downstairs with threats and curses to put him out, jammed my sore thumb in the dark—then back up at 7 to find school would be an hour late.
Now have more letters to write and more books from the library to read. Biographies that look fascinating.
As I go through these days, I think and think, wondering, probing, and examining life and events. Things flash into my mind that I want to put into this journal, but the moment passes and the recollection seems too lengthy, and so it vanishes into the recesses of memory, perhaps never to be consciously recovered.
Evening of the 9th
Well, Judge Surica let Dean, McGruder and Kalmbach, Nixon’s personal lawyer, out of prison—wonder what he’ll hand out to Mitchell, Haldeman, and the others. A strange coil this Watergate mess. Guilty, convicted, pardoned. No wonder Justice wears a blindfold.

Published in: on December 2, 2018 at 2:38 pm  Comments (2)  


Took this journal with me into the snow country yesterday but never wrote a word. Too busy. Paige begged off skiing so the boys and I dressed for warmth, letting fashion run a poor second. Yesterday’s rain storm, or I should say the-before-yesterday’s storm, of course, generously produced snow in the higher elevations. We left bare pavement about 5 miles before our journey’s end, creeping past lines of motorists chaining up. We had snow studs on our rear tires so ignored the warning – “snow chains required.”
Reached Summit where A-frame ski shops were over-run with winter enthusiasts. School and church buses disgorged hordes of apple-cheeked youngsters. The closest parking was about a quarter mile down, so our walk to the ski rental shop was made against hard pellets of snow. As luck would have it, another trip was required as I.D.s were needed for rentals. I’d taken only cash, having locked my purse in the car trunk. When we were finally in the customer line, we fell into conversation with two friendly blond boys, neither apparently affluent; one tall, one short, but both with merry eyes and smiles easily earned. They too were uninitiated in the art of skiing.
Struck by this similarity, we mirthfully exchanged prophecies and pledges….such as calling ambulances or undertakers should this prove necessary. The tall boy was Jay and the shorter, Paul. By the time we reached the counter, boots in our sizes were out of stock though Jay offered to try an 11 over his usual 10 and Paul opted for a 4 instead of his regular 5. Wishing them well, we gloomily wended our way through the crowd of snowy, laughing people, noting especially those clad in regulation outfits, zippered nylon pad-pants and jacket, matching caps like World War I flying aces complete with goggles jauntily turned up and, most significantly, wearing the clumsy, thick, status-symbol—ski boots!
Another shop proved a bust. A third could be seen about a half mile down. It was snowing like crazy and I was getting antsy, suddenly afraid of being stuck on the mountain. As one grows older and becomes responsible for other people, one’s adventuring takes a beating. The glory of conquest and lust for experience is often over-shadowed by more-than-likely consequences. Perhaps, that’s why bachelors and “spinsters” make the best explorers. Although that may include married people who retain a oneness of self –
The boys were dashed and I was sorry, so we checked in at a kind of Swiss Alpine ski shop. We got equipment there but at $10 apiece, not the $4.50 that Summit offered. I felt a very scrooge-like crunching of willpower that peaked on hearing the ski lift tickets were to be purchased separately.
Off we trudged to Multopor Ski Bowl – wearing those much admired ski boots that resembled their medieval counterparts, the iron boot. Snow everywhere, great drifts banked beside the icy roads. We finally got to the ski center, climbing past a rope to get tickets at $3 a piece. The smallest slope looked damn steep to my uninitiated eyes. As children whizzed past us, we knew we were outclassed. Still, we struggled into our rented skis. Any slight depression sent me skittering downhill in odd positions; sideways, front ways, and backwards.
Novices who periodically cracked up were now looked upon with a kindling eye of sympathy. PJ took the downhill first and wiped out, halfway down, skis up and orange hat frosty with snow. Once vertical, he completed the descent with only one other spill. Joey cruised clear to the bottom, but on trying to stop, went head over tea kettle. Awed by this display, I only watched their efforts to use the rope tow. “That’s the hardest part of it,” they told me later.
Standing at the top of a small hill off to the side, cross-country skiers tracked past me, as well as a young couple instructing their infant. When two youngsters pulling sleds appeared, I stood aside to watch the older boy glide down. Then, as the younger readied himself, my skis began to slide. I fought vainly but was unable to stop my downward trajectory. Dreadfully, one ski picked up both child and sled, rolling them aside. I continued, upright but covered with humiliation. Returning to the top, I spied the snowy little victim cheerily climbing out of a drift. He greeted me with a smile and a friendly hello. He was either accustomed to such eccentric behavior, or he didn’t recognize me.
The huge, white slopes above held daring athletes doing the slalom courses–the trees were heavy with mounded snow – lovely to see but clearly beyond the novice. After several, less dramatic cruises down “my” modest hill, I noted the cold increasing and time passing. Retrieved the car keys and money from PJ’s pack and stowed them safely in my mitten. Told the boys to meet me at the ski rental. Then, summoning a kind of desperate courage, decided to risk the big one as I had to get to the bottom of the run anyway. After waiting for a relatively clear course, I took the plunge. But halfway down, my acceleration became alarming. Hoping to slow my frantic descent, I dug a pole in, an act that resulted in a spectacular somersault. My right thumb was yanked backward while my skis kept going. After an ignominious trip to the bottom, I limped to the shop where I turned in the whole shebang.
The bliss of stepping into my waffle-stompers was exquisite! The free movement of ankle released from the cruel grip of those iron ski boots! Joy! The boys were still to be tracked down as they hadn’t showed up at the appointed time, but once reunited, we crawled into our snowy car and drove home. As the snowbanks and fields receded in our rearview mirror, it seemed as though the whole day was already fading into memory. Reality rose to meet us in the rain wet streets of the valley.
Well, it’s Sunday morning and everybody is in bed. My right hand is worthless and there’s a twinge in my left thumb in certain positions. I wonder how I’ll do as a waitress tomorrow!!??

Published in: on November 23, 2018 at 11:43 am  Comments (2)  

Journal -Crossing into 1975

December 28, 1974
Have been tramping about the game preserve for a couple of hours. Fixed a big breakfast late in the morning for the boys and all. After dishes and beds, got ready for my freedom march. My headache is finally gone, at least almost.
The sky is filled with a diaphanous gray overcast. Nush continues to be my faithful companion though twice I have put out my hand and called him Chip.
I’m sitting on a rock at present in the clearing I always think of as being a natural site for a cabin. Pools of water in a nearby rocky basin reflect tree and grass. The damp is penetrating but the air is as bracing as a cup of well water. As always, after long absence, I wonder why I have not been walking. The somber gray shapes and funereal greens of the firs and cedars are beautiful and austere. This doesn’t mean the scene lacks elaborate detail and even the unexpected. Some slender trees display tiny buds on their branches—or perhaps these are only bushes—but no matter. Their skeletons are brimming with spring plans and their secrets are showing. The Oregon Grapes are purple-red like summer plums, though some leaves are dull burnished green as well. Saw a few snowberries, a scatter of scarlet rose hips, and the sprouting of yellow and brown mushrooms. I love to be out here alone with my dog. It roots me in a soaring kind of way.
Last night went to sleep contemplating a great theory—probably acknowledging what psychology has already explored. How one’s childhood is so instrumental in the developing personality and that the kind of memories we hold on to, can tell us something of what we are, what we mirror in in our approach to life. A happy, confident childhood, I think, would tend to perpetuate some inner belief that helps us face failure and keeps hope alive. And yet there are those with resilient spirits who are beacons of hope no matter their childhood sorrows. I could go on and on, but am now too cold and sloppy to continue dripping down incoherent impressions.
The gray sky is darkening, so guess I’ll pack up my journal and head for home.
January 1, 1975
Have failed to write a lengthy introspective entry for the last day of 1974, but will at least compose a few notes for the first day of the New Year.
The boys scattered last night – Joe going to John’s and Pete to Tony’s, while Paige went with K.M. to a New Year’s Eve celebration. Friends dropped by for a brief visit and invited us to visit them this summer at their home in Nehalem. A pleasant enough prospect providing it occurs before I’m busy writing. The summer will I hope, see me in a fury of creative joy comparable to that experienced when working on Volunteer. But until then, have a lot of research to do and I must get to Salt Lake for that.
I see my characters from a great distance, but they are alive and moving. Now I must maintain my place until I have the necessary background to move into a close-up.
Watched It’s A Wonderful Life on TV last night. I won’t spend time outlining the story, but it did send me to bed full of thoughts. The story made me wonder how the lives of those around me, family and friends, might have been if I hadn’t been born. Or if they hadn’t. This exercise brought the realization that perhaps our individual and unexceptional lives are important, and even positive. And, oddly enough, that our less desirable deeds can sometimes, in the fabric of life, be put to positive advantage—though one should obviously try to the best one can. But it might be a psychological exercise that those who suffer from depression should try. Most of them, I think, would feel much better afterward.
“Feeling seems to be the root out of which thought comes.” Van Dusen/Persona to Person – The Problem of Being Human by Rogers and Stevens.
January 3, 1975
What a rain storm tonight! Thunder and lightning and occasional wind gusts tossing hard driven rain and hail against all things outside our cozy house. I’m taking the kids skiing at Summit, providing the roads are open. Paige went with K. today and did very well so we’re all going to try it except for Pete. I’ll begin work at Hook on Monday, 10 to 4, four days a week (sob). But it will save money, and so ease the pain.

Published in: on November 11, 2018 at 10:06 am  Comments (4)  

Christmas 1974

Christmas Day 1974
The children are playing “Oil Well,” Christmas carols shake the radio, and the fire keeps time with crackles and snaps on the hearth.
Woke in the night with a ticklish throat so got up for lozenges and to put more wood on the fire. I ended up sleeping on the couch. Wept over a lost and bedraggled puppy in a dream and then 7 o’clock thundered in my ear.
I opened Dad’s gift first, the big box yielding a most divinely elegant evening coat of black velvet fastened with black “frogs.” Gorgeous! And a perfect fit! He was delighted to get my phone call and enthusiastic thank you’s. He is a treasure! So many boxes to unwrap, most for the children but some for me. A white and purple robe from Paige, steam curlers from the boys, and various other objects. Games for P.J. and Joe. Mostly clothes for Paige. A ring from Pete under the tree. I bought it with the money he gave me, so it was no surprise, but I like the simple green jade cabochon set in the plain gold band.
After getting the turkey in the oven and breakfast dishes washed, I called Anne. {my eldest sister} Wanted to reach out to my own first family—to know the old circle is still there when we were the kids—symbolic of nothing more than fellow beings irreplaceable and unique. Honoring the common ground from which we sprang—bound by memory, tradition, and blood.
I would have called middle siblings too but didn’t because I must be aware of long distance charges. The phone bill with its cruel January face always appears devoid of holiday cheer.
December 27, 1974
Thunderous rain overnight and into the early morning. Now, in the evening darkness, the moon splashes silver puddles over the parked car. It’s been one of those divided days, chopped up with people dropping by, being lazy, and then going into great activity. Paige had another date with K.M., a black haired, black-bearded young fellow but she is as cool as a September river—deceptively beckoning but chilly. They went to Timberline and out to dinner but she refused to go for the evening as well. So a half hour after he brought her home, she was off to see her girlfriends! But am glad to see her stand-offish rather than boy-mad. Her mind will decide for her when she marries. One hopes the heart will follow. I was the opposite. Heart first—then the outraged mind screaming protest.
The boys and I went to Portland yesterday and I exchanged the curler set for the curling iron which I used today. Rained buckets again. Got two books on astrology—one a table of houses.
Finished reading the biography of Mark Twain and now am 2/3’s through the one of Tolstoy. A fascinating but contradictory man–bursting with spiritual conceit while alternating with periods of self-abasement and remorse. He seems to exaggerate the “typical” Russian character. His photos show him to be a handsome, brooding man—high cheek bones, fierce smoldering eyes, and a powerful leonine head. In fact, he resembles a huge panther or African lion. One can imagine him a great cat transformed into the semblance of a man, for he has many of their characteristics—the periodic dissipations with women and cards – (tom-catting, then losing interest—cat and mouse games). There is the seismic energy and hypnotic belief in his own prowess—dislike for anything not self-generated—his fickle interests for all but himself. It seems so logical, that in theory, I could almost believe my fantasy fact.
The biographer seems somehow unsympathetic and yet, faced with the man’s own autobiographical writings and diaries—his veritable history—it would be difficult to maintain the respect and admiration one develops on the reading of his books alone. What a revelation to see Tolstoy as a man driven by furies yet able to maintain a supreme self-regard despite his acknowledged fault—and excesses.
*note: In later life Tolstoy found religion but his book, Resurrection, lacks the wonderful insights of his early works. The hero, once he had embraced religion and abandoned his charming and idiosyncratic personality, became a pale and disappointing character. This reader was not inspired to read further.
Now the Russian writer, Ivan Turgenev, seems a person of solid stature. I’ve seen his Fathers and Sons on a library shelf. I must read that as well as his biography.

Published in: on November 4, 2018 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment