MEMORY TRACKS: The Diary of a Depot – Chapter 9 – The 1970’s

EDITOR’S NOTE: There are just a few chapters left of the Diary of a Depot. If you didn’t see all the chapters, links are below. The story of a family as told by their home – the Rockaway Beach Train Depot.

By Virginia Carrell Prowell
In the meantime, the girls were up in Alaska working in the crab canneries. They were doing well up there by the letters they had written. One of them had met a young man up there that she described in her letters as the “neatest thing since peanut butter.”

At the end of the summer, both girls were back home. They had smuggled two parakeets on the plane and had hidden a kitten in her coat to bring home. What a menagerie! those darned parakeets flew all over my insides and landed on the curtain rods all the time. The kitten wasn’t quite such a nuisance, but it sure had its eyes on those birds. The two girls didn’t stay home very long, one was off to Portland to work and the other was going back to Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. Her new found love was also attending school there and she was floating on cloud nine. Yes, both girls left, but they left their pets behind for Diana and Virginia to care for.
The newly found love got his draft notice so he decided to join the Navy. They also decided they would be married in the fall of 1970 after he graduated from boot camp in San Diego. Another wedding! This one, however was really going to stir up the old “let’s re-decorate the house again” fever in Virginia. It was her first daughter’s wedding and she had great plans. I guess Willard finally got used to her redecorating moods, at least he went right along with the whole affair. This time, though, there weren’t any wall tearing experiences, just covering all the floors upstairs, and all the walls of my stairway and the bedrooms up there. Virginia worked like a dog papering and painting. She would come home on her lunch hours and start papering another wall or put up new curtains. She really had this old place spruced up for that wedding. That wasn’t the only thing she was doing, she also was making all the dresses for the three brides-maids and the two flower girls. She was home for a while to help her with the sewing but before it was all finished, she left for California to see her fiancé graduate.
November 20th, 1970 was the big day. Everything was in tip-top shape around here and the aroma of food being prepared for the reception was really permeating my walls. There was ham, turkey, salads of all descriptions and so many beautiful decorated dishes of food on the table, I don’t see how they could even think about eating them.
There were wall to wall people and again I have that nostalgic feeling about the good old days when I was a real depot. The groom’s folks were here, his mother, stepfather and four brothers who were all going to be in the wedding. Many of Virginia’s relatives and all of Willard’s relatives, in addition their many friends were here as well. Yes sir, this was one busy household.
Everyone had a great time and the bride and bride-groom was a beaming pair if I ever saw one. They stayed to open their gifts and then left on a short honeymoon. Many of the visitors left but a few stayed to reminisce about how fast the children were growing and leaving home. When the last visitor had gone, Virginia sank in her chair and started crying.
“What in the Hell is wrong with you?” asked Willard. “I’d think you would be happy the whole affair is over. Now you can relax a little.”
“Oh, I don’t know I guess I’ve worked so hard for so many months and then all of a sudden it is all over and I feel so let down.”
“Well, you’ll feel better in the morning, why don’t we go to bed and get a good night’s sleep.” Willard consoled her and they went off to bed.
Things settled down to a more normal routine around my premises … that is as normal as can be with this family. Diana was the only one left home now and she didn’t stir up much fuss … only an occasional girl staying the night brought back memories of her sister’s escapades sneaking fruit from the fruit cupboards.
Willard bought half interest in a crab boat with a fellow from Bay City by the name of Hubert Chase. That Willard loved to fish so much, he couldn’t get enough of sports fishing, he had to try his hand at commercial crabbing. It was the perfect pastime for him and the rest of the family enjoyed the fruits of his labor, too. He would often bring home a bunch of crab for the family or company gatherings.
Willard would get a big pot of salt water boiling out in the back yard and cook the crab with a little touch of spice thrown in by Virginia. The table would be covered with many layers of newspaper, then the crabs were brought in and dumped in a pile in the middle of the table. A bottle of catsup, a box of crackers, cold beer and pop and a few nutcrackers, pliers and some paint-brush handles (for cracking crab) were added. The feast was ready to begin as everyone bellied up to the table and started cracking and drinking and laughing.
It was fun to watch the different methods of cracking and eating. Some would crack, pull out the meat and pop it right into their mouth. Others would crack, pull the meat out and set it aside until they had a sizable pile and then eat it with crackers and catsup. Occasionally pandemonium would arise when one of the crowd would snitch a piece of the more succulent legs from another’s pile of picked crab. It was all in fun, and that seemed to be the name of the game for these people.
The couple loved to have friends and family over and so they decided they would have a huge party on the 4th of July weekend, 1972. They invited all their friends from Portland who had told them they would be back in Portland within a year. They thought 21 years was fair proof that they were here to stay. They also invited relatives and friends they had made since they have been here on the coast.
The invitation stated the Carrell’s were having a seafood party. They would furnish oysters, crab, salmon, both fresh and smoked, and clams. The visitors could bring a salad or dessert and anything they wanted to drink.
This would have been another opportunity for Virginia to start remodeling my interior but thank goodness, there really wasn’t time … just a thorough cleaning had to do.
Let me tell you, that was one successful party. Everyone showed up and a few even brought additional guests. It was a perfect day so the yard was full of blankets, chairs and people were everywhere, running in and out my many doors.
Willard was in charge of steaming the oysters, and cooking the crab. Virginia fried mounds of clam fritters and baked the salmon. What a feast they had. People showed up with all different kinds of salads and one couple brought lots of strawberries, homemade biscuits, and plenty of whipped cream for strawberry shortcake.
Virginia and Willard were really enjoying all the friends and family and telling them about the new grandchild. They had moved to the East Coast where he was in the Navy in Norfolk, Virginia.
In the middle of the festivities, the phone rang. It was the son-in-law, announcing the arrival of Michael Aaron Moore on the 2nd of July. This made the day even more special for everyone. Virginia announced she was flying there in two days to be with her daughter and new grandchild. Diana wasn’t going to be left out either … she accompanied her mother. It was Diana’s first plane trip and she was really excited.
Willard was left home alone and that didn’t suit him very well. He liked having his meals prepared for him. The kitchen was foreign territory to him. Virginia fixed a pot of beans and cooked a roast so he wouldn’t have too much to cook. He didn’t mind making his own lunch for work, but he hated coming home to an empty house and no smell of dinner being prepared. Lucky for him, some of their friends invited him over for dinner several nights while Virginia was away for the 10 days.
Willard had to wait until November to see the new grandson, when she came home for a few months while he went overseas. It has been a few years since a baby stayed within my walls for more than overnight.
Little red-headed Michael was a good baby and he got plenty of attention from Willard and Virginia as well as Diana. She kept busy while they were working, keeping up the house, but she got bored so she asked her mother to get her started on an afghan. Virginia was willing to help her. “You know, you could make a granny afghan and use up all my left-over yarn.”
“That sounds like a winner.” she said and she got busy with her project.
This year, Christmas was a big occasion because all the kids were going to be home. Danny would be home but he and his wife had separated so little Jeff wouldn’t be here. Claudia had a job in Portland and came down for Christmas Eve as well as Christmas.
After Christmas, Virginia took all three girls and the baby and headed for California to take daughter and the baby to see Mike’s parents. If Willard had any objections, he didn’t vent them. I think he was glad to have everyone gone … anyway, it was steelhead season and to him, that was the most important time of the year.
When Diana and Virginia returned home in about a week, things seemed to get back to a normal routine. Everyone was back to work and Diana went back to school. It seemed a little quiet during the day without that little redhead and Susy scurrying around. At least it wasn’t cold inside because Willard always built a good fire before he left for work and Virginia banked it good before she left for work. The cold winds of January don’t seem to penetrate my walls the way they used to. It is good to be occupied.
It is the spring of 1973. Diana graduated from high school and immediately moved out. She was surely an independent child. She had a job at Karla’s Krab and I guess she really wanted her independence.
Virginia was shocked and visually upset with her daughter’s move. She was sitting on the davenport one evening feeling really depressed when Willard said he needed to go to the store. This was unusual for him to volunteer to go shopping but he said he needed some gloves for work.
When he returned with his gloves, he also had a half gallon of ice cream to help Virginia over her sadness. Not only did he bring her ice cream, he handed her a little ball of white fur, saying, “Here, do you want this damned thing?” A little white kitten with blue eyes looked up at Virginia and gave a pitiful little squeak.
“Where did you get this?” asked Virginia.
“Oh Eva down at the store had a whole litter of them and she wanted to get rid of them, I thought you might like another white cat since yours died.”
Virginia gulped and tried to hold back the tears.
“What’s the matter don’t you like it?”
“Of course I do, you know me, I’m just a little emotional at times.”
The kitten just curled up in her lap and went to sleep. “I guess we’ll have to name her squeaky, she doesn’t seem to be able to meow.”
“Yeah, whatever,” said Willard as he sat in his chair and started watching TV.
To hear him, you’d never know that he was a big softie, he was afraid he was going to show his true feelings I guess, but he made sure that kitten was in every night even if he had to go outside and find her. His claim that he didn’t like cats didn’t correspond with his actions.
One evening he came in with his feet all wet and his pant legs wet halfway up to his knees. Virginia asked him how he got so wet.
“Oh that damned cat was out there chasing frogs and I had to go get her.”
The truth of the matter was that he was out there sneaking around to watch that little kitten catch the frogs. She came to him as soon as he was tired of watching her and called her name.
With all the family gone, Virginia got herself involved in local politics as well as being involved in her work at the clinic. She got herself so busy outside the house that she decided to have a lady come in once a week and clean for her.
Bernice May would come in every Friday morning just after Virginia left for work. She was a happy worker and I really enjoyed it when she came to clean my interior. She was always singing and whistling while she worked.
One day, Virginia’s Mother was visiting for a few days and Virginia forgot to tell her Bernice came in to clean house. She also forgot to tell Bernice that her mother was there. Bernice entered through my doors while Grandma Schultze was still asleep. Grandma was a little hard of hearing and didn’t hear her come in. Bernice started her cleaning routine and her usual whistling and singing. Grandma woke up and listened, wondering if Virginia had stayed home from work. It didn’t sound like her daughter’s voice. She quietly crept into the kitchen where Bernice was busy with her chores. When she opened the door, Bernice jumped a mile and yelled, “Who are you?” and Grandma jumped and yelled back, “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“I’m Bernice May, I clean for Virginia on Friday’s.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m Virginia’s Mother. She didn’t tell me you were coming. I’m sorry if I scared you but I was afraid someone had broken into her house.”
They both had a big laugh and then sat down and had a cup of coffee together.

Virginia was elected to the city council in November of 1974. She had been appointed to the council a few months earlier when the Mayor and all but one of the city councilors resigned. This put me in better contact with what was going on in the city. Sometimes she would come home from the city council full of hope and the next time she would be as mad as a wet hen. Willard was always a good listener and would give her suggestions of what she should tell some of the citizens, but she didn’t think a lady should say those things so she declined his suggestions.
The city had water problems for a long time and now the city is constructing new water mains from Ne-donna and is building a 1 million gallon reservoir. They also voted in a bond issue to fix the streets. Railroad Avenue on my east side had always been graveled but Virginia says they are going to pave it now. There were stories circulating the only reason they were paving this street was because she lived there and she was the street commissioner; but this wasn’t true. There were many streets in Rockaway that had never been paved and the plan was in before she was elected.
During these trying times, Virginia lost her Mother in February, 1975. She told Willard, “You know, we lose someone every ten years … first my Step-dad in 1945, your Dad in 1955, your Mom in 1965 and now my Mom in 1975. I hate to see what will happen in 1985.”
“Oh, it will probably be me,” he jokingly said.
“Don’t say things like that … it might come true.”
“Oh, don’t be so superstitious.”
Happier times happened for the couple. Claudia brought home a nice young man that liked to hunt and fish as much as her Dad. She thought she had found the perfect mate. Greg was a tall good-looking young man and he and Willard hit it off right away. Fishing was their main objective and they were out of the house early every morning.
Greg had a little Beagle named Floppy, which they brought along. The cat, Squeaky, wasn’t too happy about the whole situation. How dare they bring something in like that to invade her household. She would arch her back and hold her own against that little pest. He didn’t scare her a bit when he barked and tried to chase her. By the time the week was up, the cat and dog were laying on the floor all curled up with each other.
Claudia and Greg decided to get married but they were having a hard time setting a date that didn’t interfere with Willard’s and Greg’s hunting and fishing schedule. Finally the date was set for September and Virginia started her remodeling frame of mind again. Fortunately for all concerned, especially me, there wasn’t too much time for all the things she had planned so just a thorough housecleaning and a little painting was all that happened. She was too busy with preparing all the food for the reception.
The house was full of people again for the reception. The table was full of good-looking food. The cold turkey plate was garnished with lots of parsley and the salads looked like they came from a picture book. From the way everyone was going after it, it must have been good-tasting food, too. Virginia was in her height of glory entertaining all their friends and family with good food. Willard was flying high, too. He loved an excuse to have a mixed drink or two and what better excuse than his daughter’s wedding. He made a good bar-tender and everyone was having a good time.
After the wedding, things settled down to a more normal pace. Virginia was getting herself more and more involved in city politics. The city was growing somewhat, too. She brought home news that the city was annexing property to the east of the city limits at G Street and up to Publishers Paper Co. line. This doubled the area within the city limits. Things surely have changed since I was first built but I guess that is what they call progress. To me, progress would be to put the passenger train back on.
They just keep making things better for the auto, though. The city leased some property from Southern Pacific east of the tracks to put in a paved parking area. In 1977 they put curbs and planter boxes around the parking strip to add some beauty in the downtown area.
There is a new development going on all around the state to regulate land development. An agency called the Land Development and Conservation Committee was formed. The letters LCDC are battered around a lot in this household and all over the country. There is much discussion about its ramifications. The state legislature finally made it a law after many months of public hearings.
In December of 1978, Virginia fell and broke her leg. The entire family was coming home for Christmas but Virginia was in the hospital with her leg in a full cast and couldn’t come home. The family fixed dinner without her but they all agreed it wasn’t the same without Mom there.
She stayed in the hospital for about two weeks. Willard was beginning to think they were keeping her up there for a pet. Finally she was able to come home but she was having a hard time managing those crutches with that full leg cast. She complained it was so heavy she would almost fall over backwards. Willard got her a walker and a wheelchair and built a ramp from the kitchen up the one step she needed to negotiate to the bedroom and bathroom.
He was really glad to have her home. He hated to live alone and certainly wanted his favorite cook back home. She had a little difficulty standing up to the stove, but with help, she got his dinner and he was most grateful. He even volunteered to do the dishes and clean up any mess she might make. She was known to make a big mess when she cooked.
The second or third day she was home, Willard had to go back to work so he built up a big fire in the stove before he left and then shut it down. Virginia was asleep when he left but when she awoke, she smelled that hot stove and became a little panicky. She struggled out of bed and wheeled herself into the living room where the fire was really hot. It wasn’t any danger, but in her frame of mind, she felt afraid and alone. Willard had not opened any of the drapes and she couldn’t reach the drapery ropes to open them. She felt trapped and began crying and then talking to herself.
“What would happen if I fell, no one could see me or hear me. What if this old place catches on fire, how would I get out of here?”
Then she took hold of herself and remembered one of the summer neighbors was still down from Portland. She called her on the phone and ask her to come over and open the drapes for her. Jan Stone was a sweet girl and realized how frightened Virginia was so she stayed for a few hours until Virginia was calmed down.
When Willard came home, I guess you know he really got an earful.
“Don’t ever build that fire up so hot, it nearly scared me to death. Also please fix those drapery ropes where I can reach them. I really panicked today after you left.”
Willard assured her he wouldn’t build such a hot fire and he fixed the curtain ropes so she could reach them. She really didn’t have to worry about people looking after her … she had more company while she was recuperating than one could imagine. One of her friends, Adelle Scovell, who taught kindergarten at the old grade school, dropped in about every day to see if she needed anything. She was afraid Virginia would just sit there and have nothing to do so she brought her some rope material and taught her to macramé. That was all Virginia needed was another hobby. She followed Adelle’s directions and before long she had a hanger which hung in my living room for some time with a big glass float in it.
One day while Virginia was sitting watching TV, a car drove up and a man got out. Instead of knocking on my door, he was peering through my windows. When Virginia looked up and saw him, she recognized him as Jack Scovel (no relation to Adelle) who owned the Chevron station down the block.
“Jack, what are you doing? Are you looking for someone? Come on in, the door isn’t locked.”
Jack entered and looked a little embarrassed. “Are you all right?” he asked Virginia.
“Sure, why, what’s the matter?”
“Well, why don’t you answer your phone?” he asked.
“I do when it rings.” she said with a grin on her face.
“Well, the girls at the clinic tried to call you and they said the phone rang and rang and you didn’t answer, so they called me to come check on you. You had better give them a call because they are all upset and think you have fallen or something.”
“I’ll do that, and thanks Jack so much for your concern. I was wondering why you were peeking through my windows.”
Jack left and Virginia immediately called the clinic to let them know she was all right and that her phone had not rung … maybe they dialed the wrong number.
If Adelle Scovell didn’t stop by, Lucky Kelly did or she would call to see if Virginia needed anything at the store and then she would bring groceries to her.
After a couple of months, the big cast finally came off and Virginia was better able to get around and she was getting a little cabin fever. Willard did take her to Portland to visit the grandchildren but she found that was an exhausting trip. She thought that maybe she could drive herself to the store because her left leg was the broken one and she could still use the right leg. The big problem was that she had misplaced her driver’s license and didn’t notice it until just before she broke her leg, so she had to go to Tillamook and apply for a duplicate.
Lucky agreed to take her there to get the license. That evening, Willard asked, “Well, did you pass the test?”
“Test? I didn’t have to take any test. I just applied for a renewal. I told them I lost mine.”
“You mean to tell me they saw you there with that cast on and will still let you drive?”
“Yes, smarty, I didn’t fracture my brain, just my leg and it is my left leg so I can still drive. I did have trouble negotiating those two steps up to the office. The handicap entrance is through the police station and I didn’t want to go struggling through there. Anyway, Lucky helped me and I did fine.”
Spring was in the air and also the thoughts of taxes was beginning to invade Virginia’s thoughts and since she wasn’t working she had a lot more time to think about those things. She began gathering their tax papers and did a lot of calculating on the kitchen table.
One day when she was in the middle of her calculations and grumbling about all the money they were giving to Uncle Sam, Jan Vanderpool, the neighbor who had purchased Mr. and Mrs. Danin’s old place, came in.
“What are you doing? Looks like the same thing we’ve been doing, getting taxes ready.”
“You hit the nail on the head,” snapped Virginia, “I’m up to here with these damnable taxes. I worked nine months last year just to pay our taxes. I’m either not going back to work or I’m going to open a business of my own so I have some tax right-offs. Now that all the kids have left home, we don’t have enough deductions.”
“I know just what you mean, I’ve been thinking about the same thing.”
“It’s too bad you live in Portland, we could go into business together.”
“You know,” replied Jan, “that isn’t a bad idea. I could stay down here a week at a time and you could take care of it the other week.”
Oh boy, those two were really getting excited about the whole thing. I’m wondering what their husbands are going to think of this brainstorm.
I didn’t have to wonder long, that evening Virginia told Willard of her conversation with Jan.
“Oh yeah? And just where do you think you’re going to get the money for all this?”
“There you go again, throwing cold water on everything. Don’t worry, I’ve got a few dollars and so does Jan and we can make it work if you and Jerry will go along with us.”
“You’re right, if you want to do it bad enough, you’ll do it come hell or high water.”
By George, I think he has finally figured her out!!
“Well, I’ve always wanted a business of my own and besides, I’m tired of working for Uncle Sam. Do you know I worked nine months last year just to pay our taxes? With all the kids gone, we don’t have any deductions and with a business, we would have a few tax right-offs.”
“It sounds like you have thought about this for quite a while and you think you have all the answers; but where are you going to have this business of yours and how is Jan going to help you when she lives in Portland and you down here? You’re sure as hell aren’t going to go to Portland and set up any business.”
“No, no I wouldn’t think of going to Portland, she is going to come down here every other week. We already talked about that.”
The next day Jan was back and the two discussed what their husbands had said. “Jerry said to go ahead and try.” said Jan, “What did Willard have to say?”
“Oh you know him, he was a little hesitant at first but in the end he said OK if we could swing it.”
Well, those two gals really took off on this project. They decided to start a store with a kitchen theme. Although Virginia still had a half cast on her leg, they went to Tillamook and found an empty house and convinced the owner to let them rent it for a business. Jan was Virginia’s legs. She pushed her in a wheel chair all over the city of Tillamook and then they went to Portland and came home with huge bags of scraps of material. The idea was that Virginia would make tablecloths and place mats and pot holders for their store. She spent hours at the sewing machine hemming tablecloth material and making place mats and pot holders. Then they made a trip to Seattle to order their merchandise. Willard was beginning to wonder if this entrepreneurial adventure of Virginia’s was such a great idea. It seemed to him she was spending more time away from home now than when she worked at the clinic.
In May, 1979, they opened their store they called Kitch-N-Ideas and Wood Stoves. They had decided they needed more diversity so since wood stoves were really the rage; they got on the band wagon too. Of course those wood stoves were too big for the two women to handle so this really involved Willard and Jan’s husband, Jerry.
Virginia soon found that running that store was a full-time job. She didn’t have anymore time to make place mats and tablecloths, so there were those huge bags of material stacked upstairs in one of my bedrooms. This became a big worry on Virginia’s mind and one night she was really tossing and turning and talking in her sleep. In the morning she told Willard she had a dream that she was in a room with all those bags of material and they were coming in on her from all sides and she couldn’t fight her way out.
“No wonder you were thrashing all over and talking in your sleep. Well forget about them, we’ll sell them at a garage sale.”
Virginia did just that, she just left those bags stored there in my upstairs bedrooms for months. In the weeks and months to come, she worked long hours and came home late in the evening. It was not working out well with Willard’s dinner schedule and he became a little grumpy with her about his 7:00 p.m. dinners. He was used to dinner at 5:00 p.m. because he had lunch at 11:00 a.m. She decided to make him a sandwich and leave it in the refrigerator so he could have it when he got home at 4:00 p.m.
Things seemed to smooth out for the couple and then one day in 1980, Virginia came home and ask Willard if he would like to move to Tillamook.
“Move to Tillamook? I suppose that would be ideal for us but you could never sell this place to pay for one in there.”
Whoops! I don’t think he should have said that … he should have learned by now he shouldn’t tell Virginia she couldn’t do something.
“Well,” Virginia started to explain, “Do you remember Shirley Smith that I used to work with down at the clinic?”
“Yeah, what does she have to do with us moving to Tillamook?”
“She came in to the store today and ask if I knew anyone that would like to buy her place. I remembered seeing her place out on Long Prairie Road when they first moved out there. It is a nice little place and I think you would like it out there. It is right on the Trask River and close to a lot of your fishing holes.”
Boy, she really knew how to pull his string. Just mention fishing and he was all ears.
“That sounds OK but you would still have to sell this place first and I don’t think you would get enough out of it to buy another house …”
I really wish he wouldn’t keep challenging her that way. These folks have lived here almost 30 years now and I’ve really grown accustom to them if not a little fond. After all, I’ve watched the whole family grow up. It wouldn’t be right for them to desert me. I may be left vacant again and I just wouldn’t like that one little bit.
“Well before we make any big decisions,” Virginia cautioned, “let’s go out to Shirley’s house and you can take a look at it.”
“Fair enough.” replied Willard, “we’ll go Friday night when we go out to dinner.”
When they returned from dinner that Friday night, Virginia asked Willard, “Well, what did you think of Shirley’s house?”
“It’s nice enough and I sure do like that garage, we could even park our trailer in there, but, like I said before, you have to sell this place first. Just don’t get your hopes all up until you have a buyer for this place. By that time Shirley will have already sold that one.”
This was Mr. Negative and she was Mrs. Positive. She had something up her sleeve, I could just tell by her attitude … after all, I’ve really come to know this family and I know all their little tricks they play on each other.
“I’ll make you a bet,” Virginia said with a smirk, “that I can sell this place in less than a month.”
“You sound too confident; I don’t think I want to take your bet. What do you know that I don’t?”
“Well, when Mr. Martes bought our cottages down on Miller, he made a remark to me that I haven’t forgot-ten. He sat right here in this living room and told me if I ever wanted to sell this place to let him know. I’m going to write him a letter tomorrow.”
“Good luck, but he probably won’t want to give you anything for it.”
He shouldn’t make such negative remarks about my value. He should know I was built with good sturdy lumber and he has kept me up well and remodeled me a half dozen times. He said himself I was made of better lumber than they cut today. I don’t want her to sell me but it would serve him right if she got her price. We’ll just have to wait and see.
It wasn’t too many days later that Mr. Martes called Virginia and said he may be interested in purchasing me. This really made Virginia happy but I must say, I met it with bitter emotions.
He came down from Portland that very weekend to talk with them about their price and look at my physical condition. He knew a bargain when he saw one but he was shrewd, too, and wanted to negotiate more than Virginia was willing. That sounded good to me, maybe she would give up the notion of moving … maybe was right, she wasn’t about to give up that easy.
A few days later, she received an earnest money agreement from Mr. Martes with the stipulations that an inspection of my underneath area be inspected for bugs or worms.
Virginia was really excited and started making plans with the house in Tillamook. She hired a man to inspect my under structure but that was not good enough for Mr. Martes … he wanted it sprayed. She had it sprayed and that stuff smelled atrocious … if there were any bugs in my timbers that would surely kill them or drive them into the next state.
This Mr. Martes was one particular fellow. He wouldn’t believe she had the spraying done even though she showed him the receipt for the job. He wanted another individual to crawl under me to see if it was done right. I could have told them it was done … I was the one that suffered through it. Bill Bess, our one-time neighbor and now the building inspector confirmed that the spray-ing had been done and that satisfied Mr. Martes.
I wasn’t too happy about the outcome. They were really going to move and Willard had to eat a little crow. The feverish task of sorting through and moving things around was just beginning. I know she will be sorry to move into Tillamook. They said that was a smaller kitchen and only had two bedrooms. She’ll really miss my spacious rooms and it hasn’t been that long that she re-modeled the kitchen. I just wonder if she realizes what she is giving up. She even had to get rid of some of her furniture.
Twenty-nine years of accumulation is one big under-taking to sort through and decide what to take and what to sell and what to just plain take to the dump. They decided to see what they could sell at a garage sale. It took more than one sale … they had two. People who came couldn’t believe the Carrell’s were really moving away and I agree that they should just clean out and stay put; but the deal was made and I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.
After the two garage sales, Willard took about two or three loads to the dump. Everyday he would take a few more things out of the rooms and move them to Tillamook. I was beginning to hear echoes in the rooms and it made me sad to recall my empty days of the past. Finally the big move day came, June 1, 1980 … they loaded everything that was left into two pick-up trucks and they even took the cat … I was empty again.

Here are the introduction, and Chapters 1 through 8 …