Coming out of the Salmon – Elmer meeting Leo and Pansy Hagel
As the spring of 1933 approached, living conditions on the Salmon had begun to deteriorate. There was little food left. Gmpa Smith had run out of chew, which he had been using since he was 14. “He was wishing he had some.” The smokers had run out of cigarettes. Dad had talked his father into leaving before their planned departure sometime in the summer. There was still ice on the river. Dad felt that Gmpa could walk out easier, using his crutch, if he could walk at least part-way on the river ice, then they would scramble over the river rock and get up on the trail into the town of Shoup, and there hopefully they could catch a ride into Salmon City. They would have to camp out in the snow and cold for one night, but Dad figured they could do the trip in two days. They did not tell the others. Dad had spent February building a bear trap up on the cliff overlooking the river. They had used smooth half logs on the inside to prevent the bear from clawing out. They were looking forward to having some fresh bear meat. But unfortunately, only a cub was caught, and the momma bear tore the trap apart from the outside and releasing her cub.
Gmpa and Dad had talked and agreed to leave the day the trap was finished. When Dad got back down to camp he found out that Gmpa had not packed up and had changed his mind. He did not want to chance the trip. “I was really ticked off.” Dad had built a small sled to haul their stuff over the river ice. He wanted to move on with his life. “I knew my dream girl was not down there. I came out (of the Salmon) and found her the first thing. I knew I had found her because I had been thinking about her for a long time.”
Dad stayed another month as the near starving crew gathered a small grubstake of gold dust that was enough to buy food for another couple more months. As Clyde, cousin Don, and Dad were walking to the boat to be rowed to the other side of the river to hike out for provisions and supplies, Dad announced his intention of not returning to camp. Uncle Clyde was a bit put out. Gmpa was not a hugger, so when Dad said goodbye to his dad, they shook hands.
The three hiked the first day on the river trail, camping out the first night. Clyde had taken Dad’s tools out his car, so Dad packed them back out in his knapsack. By 10:00 the next morning, they were able to catch a ride to Mr. Moore’s cabin at Shoup. By this time, with the warm weather, Dad’s feet were being to hurt walking in rubberized shoes. As they hit civilization, Dad spotted an apple orchard with last year’s apples. They picked a peck to eat. Even as a youth Dad loved his fruit. “ Mr. Moore was a friend to mankind. Everyone knew him.” He helped everyone who came by. Gave them all a warm meal and a room to stay. The Smiths stayed with him every time they came out. They were never charged. Dad helped them start building a boat for the return, but he knew he had to get a job soon and earn some money for his return to Kalispell.
They had been so isolated all winter that they did not even know that FDR had been elected president.
On the first of April Dad talked about finding a job to Mr. Moore, whose cabin sat at the mouth of the North Fork, about a mile from the Hagel Ranch, who suggested checking out Leo Hagel to see if he needed a ranch hand. Dad walked down to the Hagels and asked if he needed any help. “Yeah, I guess we could use you, but I need to check with Pansy my wife.” Dad was then invited to stay with the Hagels. They gave him board and a room in the bunkhouse/creamery room. Leo felt so sorry for Dad’s tattered look that he went immediately to town and bought him clothes.
In a June 1981 conversation with 93 year-old Leo Hagel, Leo told me that Dad’s clothing was barely hanging on him because they were so worn. “He was a starving boy. He hadn’t eaten for some time when he got to Moore’s farm near North Fork asking for a farm job.” Leo took Dad down to the North Fork Store and bought him a new pair of pants for 75 cents, a new shirt and shoes. Leo and his wife, Pansy, were witnesses at Dad’s and Mother’s wedding in Salmon City in 1935. Leo took pictures. He asked the caretaker, who was mowing the lawn, to please take a picture of them all together. He still had Dad’s wedding pictures and recounted these stories as though they happened yesterday even though it has been 45 years. Leo is now 93 and living 8 miles north of North Fork. Linda and I spent several hours visiting with him and his “new wife.” Pansy had died. Leo told me about strip-mining his place near the river. According to Don Smith, Leo made a lot of money off the operation. Back in 1933 Leo had offered to share the profits of the operation if the Smiths would stay and mine his field, but they instead chose to head on down the Salmon River.
Dad helped Leo herd cattle, milk cows, bring in hay, did farm type chores, cleaned out Leo’s two mile-long irrigation ditch that Leo had dug several years earlier, and cleared land for a new alfalfa field by using a team of horses to pull out sage brush. They used a “stone boat” to collect and remove the rock. At one point, as the Hagels headed into town, Dad asked Leo to bring back some CCC enlistment forms. Dad had been thinking hard about enlisting. “It was the middle of the Great Depression.” Leo came back empty handed, but offered Dad a $1/day if he would stay, which was the same wages as the CCC paid. He must have gotten the hint of paying a wage from the enlistment form.
While Dad was working at the Hagel’s, the owner of the Safeway store in Salmon City, where the Smith did their trading for their trip down the Salmon, fell to his death and drowned when the cable car he was using to cross the Salmon River broke during a flood.
Dad stayed on with the Hagels from April to August. Grandma Smith was sending Dad letters asking him to come back to Kalispell. Dad had left his little “Puddle Jumper” parked alongside some guy’s barn, so when it came time to leave, Dad walked down and retrieved his dead battery. Gave it to the postman who took it to town and brought it back the next day charged up. Dad had said his goodbyes to Leo and Pansy, so was waiting for the postman when he arrived. He reimbursed the postman 50 cents the service station had charged to recharge the battery. Dad installed the battery, and headed north to Kalispell. Dad had saved up about $100 to begin this new phase of his life.
Dad is a bit remorseful that he did not think about going after his Dad with Leo’s horses. “He would have loaned them to me. It would have made it easier for my dad to come out by horseback. I did not even think about it.” Gmpa stayed down on the Salmon River for another winter. He spent the winter in the new cabin that had been finished after Dad pulled out. Grandpa Smith left the Salmon River camp, August 1934 for Kalispell.
After pulling out of the Salmon River
and life with Elmer’s sister, Fern Kraft.
Dad went to work for his brother-in-law, Harry Kraft, Sr and sister Fern, in the Flathead Valley at Lakeside. About two miles from Flathead Lake. Harry was living at the place free while working as a caretaker on a small farm with an apple orchard He wanted Dad to help him pick the crop. The crop did not sell and Dad never was paid. They were supposed to split the cost. Dad spent “ two to three months there working his head off.”
The following stories are from Aunt Fay Smith Schmidt and
Cousin Harry “Mickey” Kraft, jr.
Uncle Harry among other things worked as a camp cook for lumberjacks. Because of his skill he usually did the cooking for their large family of four boys and two girls. He could rustle up big long lasting meals for the whole family.
Uncle Harry was gassed in World War One causing sickly lungs. This probably contributed to his death in 1943 at the age of 51 in a VA Hospital.
It is ironic that Uncle Harry’s youngest son, Peter Raymond Kraft, (1942 1947) died of bad lungs during an asthmatic attack.
Unfortunately Uncle Harry spent every extra cent on drinking. “He spent his paycheck at the bars.” When he was not drinking he was really a nice guy. “The life of the party”, as Dad put it. One of his sons, Bernard “Barney” (Dad’s nephew), 39 years of age, was working as a bartender in Kalispell, (March, 1971) when he was beaten over the head and killed by a disgruntled customer waiting in ambush in an alley behind the bar because Barney refused to serve the drunken man any more liquor. Barney was married with three kids. (Two others had died.)
Aunt Fay recalls walking home with cousin Mickey Kraft during school lunch breaks. Aunt Fern, Fay’s sister with 6 kids, would still be in bed at noon. “The younger kids would be crying out in hunger. Mickey would round up cold pancakes, slap lard and sugar on them and feed himself and the other kids. I never ate any.”
When Fern was dying of pancreatic cancer in 1980, Dad shared his faith with her. “She did not think God would forgive her for all the things she had done.” Aunt Fern Smith Kraft Shepherd died in Flathead County, Montana, age 71 – December 1, 1981, six months after we saw her lying on her deathbed.
Dictated by Elmer Smith – October 15, 2006
After being a year on the Salmon River I returned to the Flathead Valley and I was harvesting a crop of apples on the Flathead Lake Shore. The owner of the orchard had a dude ranch about 30 miles East over a range of mountains and he offered a young pony for use at the apple orchard so I rode the horse that we had over to get the pony–stayed over night in the bunk house and left the next morning–riding the pony and leading the old horse. When we got into the hills the climb was too much for old horse and she wouldn’t lead. So I had to ride her and lead the pony. As we neared the top I felt a tug in his rein and looked back and he was standing on his hind legs–wild eyed and nostrils flared. He fell on the down hill side of the trail on his side and took off like a toboggan on a very steep slope and ended up in the trees below. I scrambled down the hillside to him thinking I had a dead horse on my hands. Just as I arrived he jumped to his feet and was raring to go as if to say, “Let’s try that again.” I’ll never know what really happened to him unless it was altitude sickness. We made it fine over the top and down the other side–arriving after dark. The pony turned out to be a fine horse –holding his head so high that I could ride him bare-back holding onto his neck and reins at full speed but–some time later while a neighbor boy was feeding the pony in the manger he knocked down a 5 gal can of gopher poison from the hayloft into the manger and not knowing what it was the boy did not clean out the manger and the pony ate the hay and died.
Elmer B. Smith
age 93 plus 10 months
Gmpa Aaron Smith eventually ended up living out on the Lakeside farm with Fern and Harry after he came out of the Salmon and he continued living with the Krafts until they moved to Kalispell around 1939 or 1940. He “retired” at that point. Died at age 81, in 1957. He loved playing his violin. It was a tragic turn of events when he lost his arm in 1951. Years of using a crutch had destroyed the nerves and crushed the blood vessels of his under arm bringing on blood clots and gangrene. Without his arm he could no longer play his beloved violin and could not use a crutch. From then on he was confined to a wheel chair. I remember seeing him 1948. He still had both arms. When Lloyd and I visited him in 1951, he was in the County Home, minus his right arm. He talked about how it continued to itch and was not there. He was in really good spirits. Was happy to see Lloyd and me.
Ruby Helen Lucille Rasmussen Smith
Born: January 7, 1917, Kalispell, Montana
Died: February 4, 2008, Phoenix, Oregon
Christian Hans Rasmussen, b. May 22, 1877, Ringe, Denmark, d. April 15, 1952, Kalispell, Montana, of a stroke, Immigrated to the U.S. in 1889, settling first in North Dakota.
Married: December 25, 1900, North Dakota
Dagny Marie “Mary” Jorgensen, b. October 19, 1882, Oslo, Norway, d. October 3, 1963, age 81, stroke, Enumclaw, Washington. Immigrated to the U.S. in 1897, rejoined her father in North Dakota who had come on ahead.
Lydia Mabel – born in North Dakota in 1902, d. December 1, 1957, Kalispell, Montana
Esther Minnie – b. 1905, d. May 29, 1992
Iva Gladys – b. Oct. 11, 1906, d. Feb. 22, 1995
Pearl Agnus – b. January 15, 1910, d. February 21, 1979
Ruby Helen Lucille – b. January 7, 1917, b. Kalispell, Montana, on the farm.
Arthur Donald “Don” – b. 1921 – b. Kalispell
Rasmussen family bits and pieces as shared by Ruby
Great Grandpa Rasmussen, Ramus Rasmussen, came to live with my grandparents after his wife’s death. He became quite senile before he died. He would try to ride Uncle’s Don’s hobby car, would fall off and get real mad at it. At times he would head down the street, carrying his “slop jar” (toilet) muttering to himself.
Somers Beach, on Flathead Lake, was ten miles out of Kalispell. The Folks would go out there frequently to either swim or ice skate. Very sandy. The water was shallow enough for a person to wade out for hundreds of feet. Great for ice skating because the lake froze solid enough to drive a car onto the ice. Somers Beach was flooded with the completion of the Flathead Dam at Poulson, about 1938. Uncle Harland Smith and Uncle Don Rasmussen, as teenagers, would ride their bikes down to the lake and meet the Folks. One day, after riding out on their bikes, Harland accepted an invitation to ride back in the Folks’ new 1937 Plymouth. Don instead chose to ride back to town in his swimming clothes. He was so badly burned he spent a week in bed.
Uncle Don went to 8th grade and dropped out and worked for Harry Hoiland in his store candling eggs for a year without pay. Harry said the boy needed to learn before being paid. Mr. Hoiland was so cheap he would not give my grandmother Rasmussen a discount even though her son was working for free. Grandma R would not even use the store’s free delivery service because she did not want to bother them. She carried her own groceries 10 blocks from the store to home.
Uncle Don was a conscientious objector during WWII. Grandpa Rasmussen had him sign up as an objector. His job was behind the lines where he served in the South Pacific. Many boys from Kalispell never came back from the war. The Draft Boards “cleaned out the farming towns of Montana.” From Elmer Smith – July 13, 2009 – age 96
Lamar, Uncle Don’s only child, fell through the ice while winter fishing at age 42. Left a wife and three boys. B: August 3, 1951, D: November 17, 1993.
Uncle Ted Ross died in September 26, 1986. Ted Ross’s brother, Alan, was killed in a slide while building the Flathead Dam. He had a store at Apgar on Lake McDonald in Glacier Park.
Mother does remember seeing baby Don in bed with Grandma R after he was born. She was four. Gmpa gave Don $5 because he was the first (and only) boy.
The family planned to call Mother, “Ruby Helen”, so that is the reason for the extra middle name of Lucile. But “Helen” was soon dropped and Mother ended up with two middle names. Then she dropped the Lucile. Grandma Rasmussen, for some reason, felt that Mother needed the extra name. Born on “Helena Flats”, across from the schoolhouse. (Evergreen?) The Rasmussens lived across from the local school “and all the kids came over to see me”. Dr. Bottorf (a lady doctor) told Grandma that Mother was a perfect baby. Soon after the delivery, Dr. Bottorf, during a house call, was out at her car mixing up medicine out of her trunk what a car came speeding along hitting her and cutting off both legs.
Gmpa Rasmussen had a small farm at the time on which he raised hay, and stock. It was the old “Paulsen Place”. The Paulsens had come out from North Dakota about 1900 and homesteaded the place. “Gmpa Paulsen” was killed by a stump puller while clearing the land. Hit in the head when the chain snapped. The family quickly lost all interest in farming and wanted to return to North Dakota, so my grandfather Rasmussen offered to trade his homestead in North Dakota with the Paulsen place in the Flathead Valley of Montana. Straight across. Family stories claim that the Rasmussens were cheated. The place, house and the furniture had been misrepresented. Some of the family fumed over the dirty dealing for the next 80 years. Gmpa and Grandma Rasmussen never mentioned the story.
Even with all the set backs of the time and working at many different jobs, Gmpa Rasmussen seemed to prosper. Always owned a car. Started with one in 1906. Grandma would drive from the farm to the “Stand Pipe Hill” and then stop and let Gmpa take over. She did not want to drive in town. (As if Kalispell was crowded with traffic in 1906.) The town had only existed for 5 years.
In 1921 the Rasmussen family moved from off the farm into Kalispell to 501 9th Avenue West. Traded the farm for a house in town. Mother says that Gmpa R did “real well on the trade.” Moving to town was a defining moment in Mother’s life. I remember her talking about life on the farm and then life in town. The Rasmussen family house burned down soon after Grandma R moved out of it in 1963. Grandma Rasmussen had moved in with daughter Pearl when she could no longer run the house by herself. I remember her still cooking and heating her water with a wood fire when Lloyd and I visited in 1951. The family eventually got together and raised the money for a hot water tank some time after that. Before the hot water tank was installed, Grandma would walk through the large garden behind her house to Uncle Don’s little house to pick up a couple of buckets of hot water for our tub bath, rather than starting up the wood cook stove during the summer. She took real good care of us during our almost two week visit. We had traveled up to Kalispell with Uncle Harland and Aunt Judy and our two girl cousins, Linda and Sandra.
In 1927 Gmpa Rasmussen burst a carotid artery in his neck while stacking 100-pound sacks of potatoes. His neck and chest filled with blood, and puffed out in massive swelling. He would not go see a doctor. Mother doubts if a doctor in those days could have done much for him anyway. His face and chest became purple and swollen from the blood that had poured into his chest cavity. Lots of prayer from the church went up for him. Gmpa sat up for weeks and slowly recovered. He was unable to sleep comfortably horizontal again. Gmpa suffered from intense migraine headaches since he was a child in Denmark. Mother remembers him sitting for days in a darkened room with a cool cloth over his forehead.
From Elmer – December 2009 – When Grandma Dagny received the Holy Spirt, she was praying on her back, looking up. She could see a flock of doves flying over head near the ceiling. A profound vision.
When Ruby was 12 years –
When I was 12 years old–I was walking home–winter time–dark at 6:00 p.m. –carrying my violin–after a lesson–I can still see the exact spot–which I “look” at real often. It was on 5th Street in Kalispell–just after you cross the creek and then an alley–a brown house on one side and the house across faced the street. A car came along with two men in it and asked me to get in the car and I said, “No!” They went around the block and came back and asked me again. In those days they didn’t grab you and put you into the car like they do now-a-days. Well they went on their way and I was shaking like a leaf. I was about four and one half blocks from home. All these years–and I still think about it. (June 6, 2002)
When Gmpa and Grandma Rasmussen came to visit us in 1947, Gmpa accompanied us to help Dad haul firewood from a dumpsite near the present day Medford Armory. I remember Gmpa began to get a headache about mid morning because he said he needed his coffee.
Gmpa Rasmussen died – April 14, 1952 in Kalispell, Montana and is buried in the Conrad Cemetery.
Grandma Rasmussen – Died on Oct. 3, 1963 in Enumclaw, Washington, while visiting Aunt Iva in Black Diamond and is also buried in Kalispell in the Conrad Cemetery.
Mother started school in 1923 and graduated in 1935. “Loved every minute of it.” Played the violin for one year in the Flathead High School orchestra. Sold it for $3 to raise money for the move to California after Dad and she were married. Dad traded his 22-rifle, given to him by his father, for a 32 Colt auto pistol, which he still has.
Ruby and Elmer meet, November 23, 1933
Aunt Violet, Dad’s sister, who was a school friend of Mother’s, had been telling everyone that her brother was returning to town. Many of the girls were excited, but Mother really did not care. After coming out of the Salmon and working for the Hagles, Dad stayed briefly with his sister Fern on the Kraft farm just out of Kalispell where he offered to put up the apple harvest. Never got paid for his work so Elmer headed back to Kalispell to live with his mother and went to work for the PWA (Public Works Administration). The PWA was involved in rerouting Ashley Creek around Kalispell. Grandma Smith attended the same Assemblies of God Church ** as the Rasmussens. Elmer had attended the church several times before and had spotted Ruby passing out the Sunday school papers when she asked him if he wanted one. “I thought she was awfully cute.”
On this particular Wednesday church night, after the service, the youth gathered around and started chatting. Dad went upstairs to leave, but when he reached the sidewalk he found Ruby Rasmussen approaching. She had spotted him leaving so she quickly joined him on the sidewalk. “She was much better than anything I had seen before.” They then started walked down the street. Elmer’s mother lived on 5th Avenue and Mother lived on 9th Avenue. She thought he would stop at 5th, but he kept on walking to 9th. When they arrived at the back gate, they continued talking for a bit before Ruby went across the garden and into her house. Dad said that he walked home that night, “On air…I had found the girl of my dreams. When I told Mom about meeting Ruby, she was all smiles. His sister came into his bedroom that night and wanted to know all about it.
By the next church service on Friday, November 25, Dad was ready to go back to church. Again after the service, Elmer found Ruby had broken away from the gaggle of youth and again joined him on the sidewalk for a repeat of Wednesday. “When I reached the sidewalk, here she came.” After talking at the back garden gate for a while, Elmer leaned over and kissed Ruby.
On Sunday, November 27, Dad was more than ready for church. After the morning service he offered to again walk Ruby home. At the gate he asked her what she wanted to do? So, after dinner he picked her up and they walked over to sister Lydia’s house where she provided a light snack for the two love birds. Walking back home along a board fence they came to a break in the boards. Elmer reached out and pulled her behind the fence. Dad says they kissed and kissed. “Quite a few times – I did not keep track.” Mother says, “It was one long one.” As they came out of their love nest, Deacon Snyder spotted them and wanted to know what they were doing. The deacon was trying to match up his daughter with Dad, but it was too late.
When Ruby told her Danish father about Elmer, he asked, “Are you sure he will be good to you?”
The following story was written by Lloyd following an
October 22, 2008 conversation with his father:
On the way home from the vet’s office Dad talked about meeting Mom for the first time. He told me that when he went to church and was sitting in Sunday school class Mom
passed out the papers. That was the first time he saw her. He knew the
Rasmussen family and knew about her. He really fell for her. After church
was out that night they fell in step together and he decided to walk her
home. The next time he went to church he wanted to walk her home but was
held up talking to somebody downstairs. He looked around and she was not
there. He thought she had walked home. He went upstairs and nobody was
around and he was disappointed. Then he spotted her lingering around
outside. waiting for him to walk her home. I asked him when he first kissed
her and he said it was that night. I looked over at him and he was really
smiling. (Mother passed away February 4, 2008)
**(The Assembly church sat on 2nd Avenue and 4th Street. “It had been built in 1921 by Uncle Lunde, but he was not the best designer. One big room with no entry, and with a set of steep steps to climb. The church was founded in my grandfather’s living room, by his brother, Uncle Jim Rasmussen.” Uncle Jim eventually ended up pastoring the Assembly in Spokane for 25 years. They have a “Jim Rasmussen” room dedicated to his memory.)
The Kalispell Church began in 1915 when Rev. James Rasmussen came from North Dakota to conduct meetings throughout the Flathead Valley.
In 1926, a building in Somers was purchased, moved, and re-erected on the corner of 4th Street and 2nd Avenue West in Kalispell (now the Senior Citizens Center). Rev. Alfred Scratch became the first Pastor and on August 15, 1929 and the church officially affiliated with the Assemblies of God.
During Rev. O.W. Klingsheim’s ministry, the church remodeled and added on to the original building in 1953. Then in 1966, under the leadership of Rev. C.M. Johnson, property on Buffalo Hill was purchased for a new building.
Rev. Ellwood Grissom became the Pastor in 1968. During his ministry, the congregation broke ground for a new church on the Buffalo Hill property on Easter Sunday, 1972. After a little over a year of construction, primarily by church members, they moved into the new 18,000 square foot building with a 400 person seating capacity in September 1973.
The church’s continued growth under Rev. R.D. Ross, elected Pastor in 1978, created a need for two Sunday morning services by 1982. The church then purchased property on Summit Ridge Drive for a new building. In 1984, the property was paid off and plans were drawn for a new facility. Construction began in September 1985, and the new building became the home of Christian Center in June 1986.
In January 1999, Rev. John S. Gregg was elected Pastor. He, his wife Carey and their four children came to lead the church into the new millennium. The church has continued to grow under their leadership and in April 2001 broke ground to remodel and expand our 22 acre campus. Included in this building program is an Activity Center and Gymnasium to better provide for the needs our Children’s and Youth Ministries. (From Kalispell Christian Center’s Web page.)
Elmer went to work for the PWA (Public Works Administration) in November1933. The PWA crews spent most of the winter building county roads, rerouting creeks but then the program ran out of money and he was laid off. The men were paid with groceries and clothing. They built a new road bridge near where Mother lived. Often it was 10 to 15 degrees below zero while Dad worked outside. They also trenched Spring Creek that ran through town to begin covering it over. (I am sure that during these below freezing days, Dad had memories of the warm, spring-like days he had left behind in southern California and yearned to return.)
Ruby writes on July 3, 2001 – Elmer and I met on November 23rd, 1933–in Kalispell, Montana–he walked me home from church–he was 20 and I was SWEET 16.
In June of 1935–after I graduated from High School–we went to Salmon, Idaho to visit friends. We were married on June 10–came home a week later and kept it a secret for several months.
Dad writes on June 3, 2007 – A long and wonderful life with my sweetheart.
When I discovered the love of my life and I mean my entire life, I did not realize I was choosing the lady that would be my caretaker over 70 years later. It might seem I was lucky but it was not luck at all, it was the Lord’s choosing–all glory goes to Jesus.
Then there was the factor that we loved each other so much there was no chance for deviation. Love is the glue that holds us together.
She has always been sooo pretty and attractive she could have dropped me a long time ago. I have always been proud to show her off even though I was taking a chance
Now we are enjoying over 70 years of wonderful memories that are so dear to us and thankful to Jesus for our loving family–wealth beyond measure.
To top it all she still loves me.
The lucky guy who hit the jackpot.
From the Salmon City, Idaho newspaper – RASMUSSEN – SMITH Ruby H. Rasmussen and Elmer B. Smith, both of Kalispell, Mont, were united in marriage here Monday afternoon, June 10. The ceremony was performed by Probate Judge Emerson Hill in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Hagel of North Fork.
The story jumps back several years to pick up correspondence between Elmer and sister Addie.
Kalispell, Mont. Dec. 28, 1933 (Elmer is 20 years old)
My long neglected Sis, (Addie Smith)
I have no alibi or excuses for myself, but from the bottom of my heart dear Sis I apologize. If I never get an answer, I’ll know I didn’t have any coming. I’m sorry I couldn’t send you a Xmas present, but it keeps us guessing to make $18 a week go around such a crowd. I’m working under the NRA program, five hours, six days at 60 cents an hour. Let me say there’s not a lot of comfort riding 8 miles in the back of a gravel truck with the thermometer around zero. Never the less the weatherman has been very considerate so far this winter up here; we had a perfectly green Christmas and only a thin skim of snow.
I am in lots of places and have had an abundance of experience since I last saw you, and in the 8 months I spent on the Salmon River in Idaho, I feel as though I have aged 10 years. The way we had to live down there was enough to kill some people and make men out of others. I went down there seeking adventure and was glad to get out and back among Godly people.
A year ago last July I left Kalispell, then 360 days later I returned. Until the last month I have been at Lakeside (Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park) most of the time, and since I have been home, this is the only convenient time I have had for writing letters.
Even now it is hard to find time; supper is always a hubbub with such a bunch of youngsters, (Dad’s family) but you know, I like being back with them. A place without children is certainly dead. Then it’s a race to get to church on time. We’ve been having a lot of prayer services lately. After church I always have to take her (Ruby) home then can never get back to 233 (5th Avenue West where Dad lived with his mother) until 2 or 2:30. It’s never “good night” with “us”. It’s always good morning. It has been as bad as five but I always enjoy those last couple of hours before going to work. Can you imagine my efficiency? But, Sis, if you know her, I’m sure you would not blame me. You would love her too. We have been going to the same church but up until six weeks ago I was going with another girl that wasn’t so nice. (Emphasis on the wasn’t) in fact there was no comparison. About a week after I found that I did not care much about her she was removed from the church roll for indecent behavior with a variety of boys. I am glad for appearance sake, I shed her when I did. But I have the nicest girl in Kalispell now, and if that’s hard to believe ask my mother, she knows a good thing when she sees it. I get a kick out of showing her off on the street because every one says nice things about her. You can see a ruby sparkle a long way off. (By the way her name is Ruby Rasmussen.) I could tell you a lot of nice things about Ruby, but that would take a long time. She certainly is my ideal. As you can see I cannot write about anything except Ruby so I’ll quit.
Will write again sometime. I’ve written long letters to you before then torn them up instead of mailing them. I’ll try to get this one mailed.
Your Big Bud
501 Ninth Ave. W Kalispell, Mont. June 29, 1934
I suppose this letter will come as a real surprise to you. I have thought about writing for a long time, in fact I started one before school was out but didn’t finish it. Elmer has wanted me to write for a long time.
I read the letters you wrote to Elmer and Violet and I like you very much. Elmer certainly thinks a lot of you, so you know I would like you too. Anything he likes I like. Elmer is in the C.C.C.s now. He joined the latter part of May. He works in the Park near Belton. He goes out Sunday night and comes in Friday night. It certainly is lonesome. He writes letters once a week and of course that helps some. I received a letter from him yesterday saying he has to work Saturday to make up for a day they didn’t work this week because of rain, so that means I won’t see him this evening.
We started going together the 21 of November. A little over seven months and oh what wonderful months. They go so fast. We think the world of teach other. I wouldn’t give him up for anything. I guess you know how nice he is. He thinks he has the nicest girl in Kalispell and I think I have the nicest boy in Kalispell, in fact I know it. I really think he is too nice for me but he don’t think he is nice enough for me.
We are going to send you some pictures of us in the near future. They are taken at my sister’s place. They aren’t very good of me, but they are swell of Elmer.
I told him not to have any finished until we had some better taken but he insisted on it. I look awfully crabby on them but I’m not really that way. I told him I wanted to make a good impression on you, but I guess I’m out of luck this time.
Perhaps you would like to know a little bit about me. I was 17 the 7th of January and 16 when I met Elmer. I will be a Senior in High School next year, but I wish I was through. I liked school very much until I fell in love. ha. I weigh 117 lbs. and I am about 5 ft 1. I am a blonde. In some of those pictures my hair is curly but the reason is I have a permanent now. I got it May 19. The rest of the pictures were taken before that. My hair has a natural wave anyway. I have brown eyes. I play the violin and the piano some. I play the violin in the church orchestra. I used to p.ay in the school orchestra too but I quit. I am also secretary and treasurer of the Sunday school and have been for three years. I have four sisters (all married) and one brother 13 yrs. old. I am next to the baby. (I am the baby girl.) Elmer says I am his spoiled baby. I also have six nieces and no nephews. One of my sisters is leaving for the coast tomorrow or the first part of next week to live. She has two little girls. I guess that’ll about all I know about my family and me.
I am all alone in the big house and it’s a grand afternoon. The sun is shining in the window on me. Mother is up town and Donald, my brother is out with Harland, your brother, riding their bicycles. My dad is working.
What are you going to do the Fourth? We are going to have a Sunday school picnic and also a baptismal service at the same time.
I have been sick this week. Monday and Tuesday I didn’t feel very well and Wednesday and Thursday I was in bed all day. I threw up all day Wednesday and was quite sick but I feel good today. All I wanted was Elmer. ha
You have heard about Violet and her boy friend of course, so I can’t break the news. He is in the C.C.C.s too, but he was transferred across the mountains so he can’t come home any more I guess. That’s quit hard on Violet. I stayed all night with Violet Saturday night. *** Conrad Mansion. Her bosses were gone on a trip. She works in an awfully nice house. An estate really. The house and the ground take up a half a block. It is brick and is either three or four stories high. She likes her job quite well but she has to stay home most of the time with the children, so, as a result don’t get to church very often.
(Violet earned $3 per day, worked seven days a week. Did get board and room. Did not go to high school. Aunt Bonnie was the only Smith girl to graduate from high school. I asked Dad why such a prosperous and prominent family would trust their children to a 16 year-old, Dad answered, “She had lots of experience from her own family.”)
I suppose you know your Uncle Lee is coming up this way. Your mother expects them this weekend. Violet can hardly wait because she wants to go back with them. Your mother thinks it would be a good change for her. (Because of Wayne mostly.)
Do you like California? I wish we could take a trip down there. Maybe we will some day. I want to get acquainted with you awfully bad. Before Elmer joined the C.C.Cs we were together most of the time, so you can imagine how lonely it is during the week. If I didn’t get those awfully sweet letters I don’t believe I could stand it. Everyone says we are an awfully cute couple but I guess they must mean Elmer.
Imagine I had better quit before you get sick from reading such a long letter. It is quite hard to write to someone I don’t know but let’s get acquainted by writing letters. Elmer said I had to write to you to represent our family so he thinks he is exempt from the job. I will make him write some of these fine days. I wish he was here to go to church with me tonight.
I’ll close now and I shall expect a long letter from you in the very near future. Greet your husband and baby (if possible).
*** Conrad Mansion: The Conrad Mansion in Kalispell, Montana sits proudly today on the edge of the original town site, atop a bluff overlooking the valley and the Swan mountain range. When Charles E. Conrad, founder of Kalispell, arrived in the Flathead Valley in 1891, this lovely town with its tree-lined streets was still but a dream. Conrad had vision, though; he felt that not only had he found a good investment opportunity, but also a permanent home for his descendants. Along with establishing the Kalispell Town site Company and eventually the Conrad National Bank, he had this gracious Victorian home built for his beloved family in 1895 in what was then a wilderness.
Charles Conrad’s youngest daughter, Alicia Conrad Campbell, actually lived in the home until 1964. In 1974, she made the decision to give the Conrad Mansion to the city of Kalispell in memory of her pioneer parents.
Charles Conrad was born in 1850 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia near Front Royal. The name of his family home was the Wapping Plantation. He was raised in the refined tradition of the Old South. He was one of thirteen children born to James and Maria Conrad; he was the third oldest child, the second oldest son.
The Civil War interrupted this gracious way of life. Charles fought with his older brother, William, with Mosby’s Rangers of the Confederate Army. They all returned safely from the war, to find that the plantation couldn’t adequately support their large family. Like many young men, William and Charles worked at odd jobs around the country; and finally in 1868, four years after the war was over, the brothers decided that the only way they were ever going to prosper was to go West.
They traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, boarded a steamboat there, and traveled upriver to Fort Benton, Montana Territory, the head of navigation on the Missouri River. They arrived in Montana with a silver dollar between them; and flipped the coin to see who would stay in Fort Benton and who would travel to Helena, the territorial capitol, to look for work. Charles stayed in Fort Benton, unloading boxes and crates on the docks. He was noticed by a man named I.G. Baker, owner of the local mercantile and grocery establishment. Mr. Baker hired Charles to work for him doing odd jobs. Eventually William came back to Fort Benton and also went to work for Mr. Baker.
Four years after their arrival in Fort Benton, the brothers were offered partnerships in the I.G. Baker Mercantile Company, and very soon thereafter they bought the company outright. They owned their own steamboats and ox-drawn freight wagons and plied their trade all over the region and up into Canada. They lived and prospered in Fort Benton for more than 23 years.
During his early years in Fort Benton, Charles met and married a Blackfeet Indian woman whose name was Sings-in-the-Middle. While Sings-in-the-Middle eventually returned to her father’s tribe in Canada, where she died of influenza, her union with Charles produced a son: Charles Edward Conrad Jr. Charles Jr. remained with his father in Fort Benton, eventually attending Canadian boarding schools and Canadian institutions of higher learning. He settled in the Montreal area, and though he never came to live in his father’s Kalispell home, he was supported by his father and was also named in his father’s will.
When the Great Northern Railroad was built across the United States, the Conrad brothers could see that land transportation would soon supersede that of the river, so they sold their river freighting business to the Hudson’s Bay Company, their main competition. William moved to Great Falls, and Charles came to the Flathead Valley and founded the city of Kalispell in 1891. He and William continued to be partners in cattle-raising, real estate, banking and mining.
One of Mr. Conrad’s projects when he arrived in the Flathead Valley was establishing the Conrad buffalo herd. As a Missouri River freighter and trader, Charles Conrad saw hundreds of thousands of buffalo hides being shipped down river to St. Louis. It concerned him that the buffalo were fast-disappearing from the American plains, so when he moved to the Flathead, he purchased about 50 animals and pastured them on what is now Kalispell’s Buffalo Hill golf course. In 1908, his farsightedness paid off; his widow sold 34 head of the best breeding stock to the American Bison Society. Those animals were taken 80 miles south to Moise, where they formed the nucleus for what has become our national bison herd.
Charles met his future wife, Alicia Davenport Stanford, in 1879. Her brother, James Stanford, was a member of the Northwest Canadian Mounted Police; he was also a friend of Charles Conrad, who operated trading posts in western Canada. James introduced him to his sister Alicia who had moved west from Nova Scotia with her widowed mother. A romance ensued, and Charles and Alicia were married in Fort Benton in January 1881. Their first two children, Charles Davenport and Catherine, were born in Fort Benton (1882 & 1884 respectively). Alicia Ann was born in Kalispell in 1892, and came to the new family home as a three-year-old toddler. It was she who would own and live in the mansion, and eventually give the house to the city of Kalispell in 1974.
Charles Conrad lived in his beautiful home for only seven years. He died in 1902 at age 52 from complications of diabetes and tuberculosis. (From the Conrad Mansion Web site.)
Elmer and I are a year older since I wrote you last.
He is 22 and I am 18.
501 Ninth Avenue W.
January 24, 1935
Well the third time is said to be a charm. I have torn up two letters that I started to you in the past month because they didn’t suit me. I really haven’t any excuse for not writing but I just kept putting it off. School hasn’t taken any of my time because I haven’t taken a book home all year. So many things have happened since I wrote to you last that I don’t know where to begin at, but I suppose you have heard most of the news from Violet.
I suppose you are enjoying lovely weather down there but we haven’t been. Last week we had a blizzard and it snowed and snowed and blew and blew and the snow drifted higher and higher. The coldest it has been was 30 degrees below last Sunday morning. This week it has been thawing and now it is so wet and where it isn’t wet it s so slippery that it is very difficult to walk but I have no reason to complain.
The last two weeks Elmer hasn’t been able to work because of the weather so we have been together as much as possible. For about three or four weeks before that he has been batching out in the woods about 16 miles from here and just came in over the weekends so you can imagine how lonely it was. I sewed and embroidered to pass the time.
Sometime before Christmas I had my senior picture taken. I will send you the proofs and you can send them back again. They are quite faded now. The proof I turned in for the annual was better than these. The photographer enlarged it in a big frame and had it in the window for advertising. Elmer was so crazy about it. He went up and bought it. He sure thinks it’s nice and tells everyone it’s a picture of the best looking girl in town. I wish you could see it because it really looks just like me. Speaking of pictures the one you sent to the Folks is sure swell and the one you sent Fern is real good. I admired it all day Christmas. We were all down there for Christmas dinner and we sure had a good time. And maybe you think Harry (Kraft) can’t entertain just ask Fern. You should have been there.
Just think I have a new nephew. My Folks’ first grandson and are they proud. It is my next to oldest sister who had the baby. They named him Robert Duane (Ross) and are going to call him Bobby. They have one little girl and her name is Betty Ann. Elmer is real proud of his nephew too. Ha. Of course you know Elmer has a car. It is so cute. I learned to drive the first night. It is lots of fun. I have taken it alone several times. It is a Chevrolet coach. It you come up and you see us we will take you for a ride.
Did you know I am wearing glasses now” I got them Sept. 24. I don’t have to wear them all the time, mostly when the sun is shining and when I am around strong light. They are colored a little.
Harry came in town Friday for groceries so Elmer and I took him home Saturday afternoon, and when we got down there they wanted us to stay all night so we did and no one at home knew we were going to but we surprised them. We came home Sunday afternoon and we had lots of fun, always do when we go down there.
And I suppose you have heard about our engagement, the most important thing of all. I am just crazy about my ring. It is yellow gold. This all happened Christmas Eve.
And Addie what’s this I hear about you? I hope it’s a girl and if it is give her a real, real cute name. I would suggest two short name together for example, Donna Mae, Donna Jean, Melba Jean, etc. Maybe that kind don’t appeal to you. It would be nice to have a boy and a girl. We just want one, but maybe will change our mind.
Violet is still working. She comes home over the weekend. I usually wave her hair when she comes in. We had our semester examinations last week and I passed all of them of course. It won’t be long until graduation now, about 17 weeks. I am so glad. I don’t like school at all anymore. Elmer is going to take a special course in radio right away from the National Radio Institute at Washington E.C. and study at home. In the spring he is also going to take a Civil Service Examination. We have some good plans ahead if everything turns out as expected. Isn’t it a lot of fun to plan on such an important subject?
I think I have written all the news so will close for now. Elmer will be down pretty soon. Answer real soon and tell me all about Kenny. Your mother is still working and is feeling quite well.
I wouldn’t be caught dead using a spell check – never ever – unless I deteriorate to where I cannot spell anymore. I will tell you my teachers used to use my spelling test when she stood up in front of the room – after papers had been exchanged – to check the tests. I loved spelling and grammar plus other subjects but I loved the subject of Elmer Dear most of all!! Ruby – 2002.
After cutting trees in the snow for Mother’s Uncle Lunde the winter and spring of 1933/34 and after piling wood with Grandpa Rasmussen at a mill, Dad began thinking about joining the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). He hitch hiked up to Belton, just outside of Glacier National Park and signed up on May 22, 1934.
RECORD OF SERVICE IN
CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS
From 5/21/34 to 5/24/34 under War Department at GNP #1 Belton, Mont.
Type of work: Awaiting disposition Manner of performance Satisfactory
From 5/25/34 to 8/1/34 under War Department at GNP #8 Belton, Mont.
Type of work Labor Manner of performance Satisfactory
Honorably Discharged October 10, 1934 – Expiration of
Term of enrollment for the convenience of the United States.
Camp McDonald Creek, Belton Montana
October 10, 1934
Final Pay paid in full: $10.00
R. S. Sollman Captain 364th Inf. Res
Discharged October 10, 1934 at GNP #1 McDonald Cree, Belton, Montana
Motor Transportation furnished from Camp Anaconda Creek, to Belton, Montana
Alfred G. Homan, Captain Infantry Res.
By this all will know
Served his country well as a member of the
Civilian Conservation Corps
That magnificent Army of Youth and Peace that put into
Action the Awakening of the People to the facts of
Conservation and Recreation: and that with all honors
He completed his tour of Duty at GNP #1 McDonald Creek,
Belton, Montana, on October 10, 1934
Tom L. Gardener Robert Fechmen
Camp Superintendent Director of Emergency Conservation Work
Alfred G. Homan Arno B. Cammerer
Company Commander Director of the National Park Service
Captain Infantry, Res
Certificate of Discharge
Civilian Conservation Corps
TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT Smith, Elmer (CC0-133715) A MEMBER OF THE
CIVILIAN CONSERVATION COPRS, WHO ENROLLED May 22, 1934 AT
Camp McDonald Creek, Belton, Mont. IS HERBY DISCHARGED THEREFROM BY REASON
OF Expiration of term of enrollment for the convenience of the U.S.
SAID Elmer Smith WAS BORN IN Moscow
IN THE STATE OF Idaho WHEN ENROLLED HE WAS 21 YEARS
OF AGE AND BY OCCUPATION A Woodsman. HE HAD blue EYES.
Brown HAIR Fair COMPLEXION AND WAS five FEET
Seven INCHES IN HEIGHT. HIS COLOR WAS White
GIVEN UNDER MY HAND AT GNP #1 Belton, Mont. THIS Tenth DAY
Of October, ONE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND Thirty four.
Alfred G. Homan Captain Inf. Res.
Church was two nights a week, plus Sunday morning.
Mother insisted that Dad visit her every night. Dad says it was interesting that before he came into her life, Mother was always working on homework, but after meeting him; she never had homework, but still kept her grades up.
Dad would come into town in the back of an open CCC truck from Glacier National Park each Friday night to visit his mother. Had enrolled in the CCCs, May 1934. It was supposed to be a two-year enrollment, but he managed to be discharged after only 7 months. Job prospects were so slim. Dad went to work for the Civil Conservation Corps so that money would be sent home to his mother to help with the family living in Kalispell.
Dad lived for a while at the CCC’s HQ at Apgar on Lake McDonald and at Camp 1 and at Belton on the railroad. Dad would go swimming in McDonald Creek next to the Camp. Discipline was lax or non-existent. Lights out at 9:00. Dad remembers one guy, a few bunks down from his, one night awoke to find a drunk peeing on the guy’s clothes. He woke up the whole barracks screaming at the drunk. Lots of drinking going on.
While in the Three Cs, Dad’s group spent weeks preparing for President Roosevelt’s visit to Glacier National Park. The men cut down dead trees along the park roads to “beautify the roadsides”. They also rolled fallen logs down to the roadway and removed them to prevent them from rolling onto the Presidential Car. They spent weeks preparing and making sure that Glacier Park looked like a park.
On the weekend of the scheduled visit, August 5-6, 1934, Dad left Glacier for Kalispell so he could visit his sweetheart. Not even a Presidential visit could stop him from heading to town to visit his sweety.
From the National Park Service at Glacier National Park:
It appears the President was on a return trip from Hawaii and was on a western tour visiting dam projects in the Columbia River Basin and the Fort Peck Dam in Montana. His visit to Glacier National Park was seen as an opportunity to promote and give a speech (by radio address from Two Medicine Chalet) on the Nation’s great parks. The President briefly visited one of the CCC camps stationed in Glacier Park (Roes Creek at St. Mary). Charles Smith of the Olney Conservation Corps preceded the President’s visit, where he selected and rehearsed a chorus of CCC boys who performed as part of a program for the President at Two Medicine. Four boys were picked from each of eight camps in Glacier National Park and four from each of the two camps in adjoining forests to make up this chorus.
After all the work and preparation by the CCC boys for the presidential visit, the President only made a five-minute pause at CCC camp GNP-11 at Roos Creek. This camp was the only one in the park to be visited by the President. It was just as well that Dad went to visit his sweetheart.
Leave the train at Belton, Montana for automobile drive over Logan Pass 9:00 a.m.
Arrive at Going-to-the-Sun Chalets 11:15 a.m.
Leave Going-to-the-Sun Chalets 11:30 a.m.
Arrive at Many Glacier Hotel (lunch) 1:00 p.m.
Leave Many Glacier Hotel 2:00 p.m.
Arrive at Two Medicine Chalets
(Dinner, program, and radio broadcast 4:15 p.m.
Leave Two Medicine Chalets 8:30 p.m.
Arrive at Glacier Park (train) 9:00 p.m.
Monday, August 6, 1934
Leave Glacier Park Station 8:00 a.m.
President Roosevelt’s special train arrived at Belton, across the river by bridge from Glacier Park, about 4: a.m. But remained in the yards west of Belton until 8:45 a.m. when it steamed into the station. The auto tour consisted of eight touring cars and six busses. Each driver had been given his car the best possible shine and polish.
A crowd of about 2000 persons was assembled at the station when the train pulled in. The party was delayed one hour and 20 minutes. Eventually 20 cars joined the caravan.
The President was met at Two Medicine by 40 Blackfeet Indians in full regalia and a like number of CCC workers. The CCC chorus entertained with several songs and the quartet of Negro boys offered a number. Then the President and Mrs. Roosevelt were inducted into the Blackfeet tribe. The President was named, “One Chief” and Mrs. R was given the name, “Medicine Pipe Woman”.
At 7:00, President Roosevelt delivered a nationwide broadcast from his room in the chalet. This was the first time a Presidential broadcast ever had originated in any national park.
But Dad had left the park to spend time with his new LOVE and missed all the celebrating
CCC wages were $1 per day and all you could eat.
Also included was a clothing allotment and blankets. On Friday nights the crew would catch a ride on a CCC truck into Kalispell. Dad would spend the weekend with his mother. He spent as much time with our future mother as he could. They courted each other by doing lots of walking around town. Did not cost anything to walk.
Dad had a friend in Kalispell who had a “pile of kids”. After the guy was mustered out of the Corps and no long eligible for a clothing allowance, he would bring his old, worn out CCC clothes to Dad and Dad would turn them in for new ones. Dad would not wear his CCC issued clothes in town, but this guy was so poor he had no choice.
Dad sent his pay check home to his mother each week, but rather than spending it, Grandma saved it for him, so he had about $210 saved when he was discharged from the CCCs. Dad used the money to buy a car from a local bank teller. Dad had gone shopping at a local “car lot” but did not find anything he wanted or could afford. The salesman suggested he check out the banker’s car. A 1929/1930 (little change between the years) Chevy. sedan. Paid $225. Used his savings from his mother and borrowed the rest. Dad also borrowed $25 from the same banker to buy gas and food when he and Mother went to Salmon City, Idaho to get married.
When I asked Dad, “Why did you only serve seven months?” He answered, “Winter was coming. I had had enough.” Dad left the 3 C’s in November of 1934, just after his father had walked 40 miles on his crutch, to come out of the Smith camp on the Salmon River.
A CCC follow-up story 75 years later
The following story is from Lloyd – June 25, 2009. Dad was up in Longview, Washington visiting Lloyd and Helen.
Helen and I attended Nancy Driscoll’s (a friend) Americorps’ Pledge Ceremony today where she was inducted into Americorps. One of the speakers, Bill Basl (Executive Director Washington Commission for National and Community Service Office of the Governor) mentioned in his greeting that the Civilian Conservation Corps was the last program the government had started to help out-of-work men and that Americorps is the first government program since then. Bill went on to say that the men made $10 per month and they had to send $5.00 home. All of sudden from the audience I heard my 96 year-old father speak up. Elmer said that he was in the CCC’s in 1933 and he made $1.00 a day and they required $10.00 per month sent home. But since he did not drink or smoke he sent it all home. Bill was so blown away by Dad’s response that he went over to Dad and shook his hand and the audience erupted in applause. When it came time to pass out the certificates Bill went over and kindly escorted Dad to the front of the room to have the honor of standing next to a former CCC worker and to have him “help” pass out the certificates. He was so kind to Dad.
Working for Uncle Lunde
After mustering out of the CCCs Dad went to work for Uncle Lunde (Eilert was married to Mother’s sister, Lydia). They would cut down and saw up 8-foot logs, lodge pole, and heave them into a truck. Uncle Lunde would then drive the logs to houses and using a buzz saw powered by a car motor, would saw up and split the logs into firewood. Uncle Lunde eventually cut off his thumb. This was during the winter of 1934 and the spring of 1935. Just before getting married, Dad went to work with Gmpa Rasmussen piling fire wood at the Kalispell Lumber Mill. The trucks would dump the wood in the yard and the men would pile it. “We piled it so there would be room to dump more.” The piles helped measure the amount of wood for selling. The truck drivers would then come in and throw the wood back onto trucks and haul it out to people’s houses.
Sunday, June 1935, Mother and Dad left Kalispell with the spoken intention of “visiting” Leo and Pansy Hagel in Salmon City, Idaho. Instead they had marriage in mind. The Hagels did not know they were coming. They just showed up. I wonder if Grandma Rasmussen had noticed that the two of them had dress up clothes with them. Great Grandma Smith had it figured out before the young couple left for the Salmon. She was real pleased Dad was marrying Mother. Margaret Snyder had been chasing Dad, and Great Grandma Smith was glad Ruby had won. (Margaret later took off for nightclubs and become an entertainer. Musically talented.)
Aunt Fay, age 7, noticed that Dad had purchased new shoes for his trip with his girlfriend (Mother) to the Salmon. “You are going to get married aren’t you?” she asked. Dad was a bit perturbed that his little sister had figured it out. Their wedding plans were supposed to be kept a secret.
Grandma asked Dad and Mother, while preparing to head to the Salmon, to please drop sisters Fay, 7, and Ramona, almost 6, off at Fern’s Lakeside ranch. The two little girls were dropped off on the road and allowed to walk the long driveway back to the farmhouse. “We were in a hurry to be on our way.” It was early in the morning with the sun just beginning to show when the two sisters began their long driveway walk.
Ruby and Elmer were married June 10, 1935 at the County Court House in Salmon City by a presiding judge. Leo and Pansy were pleased to be the witnesses. They later sent copies of the wedding photos after the newlyweds left Salmon City to return to Kalispell.
During their “honeymoon” Dad and Mother spent much of their time riding horses and even tried their hand at herding cattle. The two horses were perfectly unmatched. One was a big black beautiful mare well over 2,000 pounds – ready to go at the slightest command – anxious to get the job done. The other, a sorrel, same size, with nothing on his mind but eating. His feed bill was probably twice the other horse’s. His side of the double tree was always slack with the chains rattling.
As they were leaving the Hagels, Pansy said, “If you have twins, we get one.” After we were born, Dad wondered which one he should send. The Hagels had lost their only son when he was about five or six. About the same age as Dad. That is one reason they liked Elmer so much.
Notice from the Salmon City, Idaho Newspaper – 1935
RASMUSSEN – SMITH
Ruby H. Smith and Elmer B. Smith, both of Kalispell, Mont. were united in marriage here Monday afternoon, June 10. The ceremony was performed by Probate Judge Emerson Hill in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Hagel of Northfork.
A grandson and his blog about his grandparents
Our son Keith just got back from visiting his 94 and 90 year-old grandparents in Medford, Oregon. After he got back he posted this note on his blog. (Web Log)
I thought he summed up my parents pretty well. Lloyd
Posted by zangoceoblog on October 22nd, 2007
I spent the weekend in Southern Oregon with my kids visiting my aunt and uncle, cousins and nephews but mainly my Grandparents. My Father’s Father is 94, his Mother 90 and both have the body of someone 10 years younger and the mind of someone even younger still. Their healthy eating and clean living has provided amazingly uncomplicated health for both of them. This weekend my Grandmother reminded me that during her 12 years of schooling she missed a week with the flu in the 7th grade. And that’s it! She never missed another day beyond that. “I liked school” she says summing up an attendance record that would likely win a place in the Guinness Book of records. She also informed me that she’s never yet taken an antibiotic. Ever. It makes me wonder what these people are made of.
And while all of that is impressive, what really makes one wonder what these two people are made of is the magic of their relationship with each other. At one point during the weekend I asked my Grandfather what his proudest accomplishment was during his lifetime. The question made him look at the ground and ponder and then thoughtfully respond, “Well, I haven’t accomplished much in my life – but the best thing I ever did was to find this wonderful lady here. She has changed every part of my life.” Grandma blushes at hearing this and begins to rebut his response with a long list of amazing things that he has in fact accomplished during his life.
I’ve long been amazed by their 74 year love affair so I continued with this line of questioning for most of the weekend, trying to get to the bottom of how in the world two people could be this devoted to each other and still be this madly in love after all this time.
After hearing story after story of blissful love between the two of them I finally replied, “It couldn’t all have been wonderful. Didn’t you have some difficult times with each other that you overcame?” They both looked at each other perplexed and kind of shrugged. Then Grandpa summed it all up very simply, “She always made it easy to love her.” He then went on to explain how from age 16 on Grandma had continually sacrificed her own wants and needs for him. Always putting her desires aside in order to stand behind and support him and their family. He simply can’t understand how you couldn’t always love someone who does that for you, and I guess neither could I. Of course this was not a one-way street. Upon hearing this response my Grandmother quickly responded that he was the one who deserved all the credit. After all it was Grandpa who had toiled all these years, earned all the money and never stopped supporting his family. “And he was never satisfied” she said. “He always wanted to make things better for me, no matter what”. Listening to them banter back and forth I pictured each building a bridge from their shore to the opposite shore. Each bridge being able to support the weight of the entire relationship and each built without any regard to whether the other was building their bridge or not. Neither was waiting to see if the other was as far along in their bridge, but instead just set out in faith and confidence to build a relationship supporting bridge of their own, sacrificing their own personal desires for the good of the person they loved. This kind of selflessness has created redundancy and security in their relationship, complete with two fully sustainable bridges. Their argument continued for some time, each claiming that the other was the reason for making their relationship last – completely disbelieving that they themselves could be responsible for the 72 years of wedded bliss they have each been enjoying.
With arguments like this you start to get a sense of why their romance continues untarnished and stronger than ever.
And while their relationship seems like magic to the outside observer each will be quick to tell anyone within earshot that it is their foundation on Godly principles that has made this thing endure. Each has modeled Christ-like, unconditional love to the other. That is what started their relationship and is what still feeds it today. She was all of 16 and he was 20 when they met. He was an unproven but scrappy young man who had just returned from nine months mining gold on the Salmon River – trying anything he could to make a buck during the Depression. Turns out that during his nine-month stint he actually made five. That’s right, his share of the spoils was $5, which is what he had in his pocket when he returned to Kalispell, Montana – driven by something that he couldn’t quite understand, but he knew he needed to “get back”, as he puts it. Three days later, on Wednesday, November 22nd, 1933 they met at church, hit it off and then he walked her home after the service. He lived several blocks closer to the church than she did so she expected only half a walk home, but he didn’t stop there and instead walked her all the way home.
What’s great is hearing them tell the story, “It was at church” he says. Then she pipes in, “November 22nd”, clearly a day that is important to her. He smiles a bit and continues, “it was Wednesday”, as if it were last week. The way they go back and forth recounting this story leaves you with a distinct feeling that they did and still do understand the importance of those first meetings.
Their second date was the Friday two days later – again at church. Grandma again got a walk home and this time a bit of affection. This part of the story makes Grandma blush and insist that the conversation take a different turn. Grandpa simply stares off and cracks a knowing smile. That kiss sealed the deal and they’ve been sharing true love ever since. Grandma de-prioritized all else in her life and Grandpa forever had the biggest cheerleader and supporter of his life. Makes it hard to have anything but success in life when you have a teammate like that.
Settling in following their wedding
After they returned to Kalispell, Dad worked for another week or so with Gmpa Rasmussen piling firewood. He had taken off a week to get married. They were paid by the amount stacked and by the truckload. Dad worked faster than G. Rasmussen and thus earned more money. Dad piled firewood until July 1935, and then he went to work for Harry Hoiland Groceries. (July1935 – Aug. 1939) Hoiland was a family friend, but he took advantage of everybody he could. Uncle Don worked for Harry for several years part-time while in school and fulltime after Don dropped out school and was never paid. Harry claimed that he was educating Don and that is why he did not pay him. Grandma Rasmussen shopped at the Hoiland Store, but Harry never even gave her a discount, even though son Don was working free. Harry even took most of the money from the sale of Grandma Rasmussen’s house in 1963. We never did understand that deal. Uncle Don just let it happen. Harry lived in a big house on the East Side where the rich lived. The Rasmussens lived on the much more modest West Side.
Harry came looking for Dad and offered him the delivery job. It was to be the store’s first delivery position and the truck was shiny and new. Dad began working for Harry for $15/week. Six days a week, 12 hours per day. The union came in and agitated so Harry raised Dad’s wages to 8 hours/fday and $18 per week but still six days a week. Eventually his pay was increased to $24 per week. Dad often worked until 11:00 at night, making deliveries at the whim of rich Eastsiders. Often the big food companies, Delmont, Heines57, etc. would have contests challenging the store clerks to sell more of their brand. Dad often won, making the other clerks jealous. They accused him of cheating. “How could I cheat? You recorded exactly what was sold.” The prize would often be $12 – $15, which was a sizable prize award.
People did not do their own grocery shopping in these days. Most of the foodstuffs were kept behind counters. Customers came in and handed the clerk a list of what they wanted and the clerk would pick out the item and gather up the baskets. This system well worked because there were so few choices and prices were set.
Places that Ruby and Elmer lived – Question From Lloyd:
Answered by Mother
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006
I noticed you lived in a lot of places in Kalispell.
625 Third Ave West, Kalispell, Montana (Grandmother Gertrude Smith’s house)
233 Fifth Avenue West, Kalispell, Montana (Grandmother Gertrude Smith’s house)
146 8th Avenue West, Kalispell, Montana (Elmer & Ruby Smith’s apartment for a short while)
1012 Second Ave., E., Kalispell, Montana (Elmer and Ruby lived here just before they moved to Southern California. The pictures of the barn and Elmer on the high bar and them by their new 1938 Plymouth in the snow were taken here. “We lived there quite awhile – liked the place – rented from Harry Hoiland’s mother-in-law. Harry was Elmer’s boss/owner at the grocery story.)
Aunt Fay – telephone story – September 3, 2001 and a personal interview, April 2002: Some time after the Folks got married, Aunt Fay remembers being out on the ranch with Harry and her sister Fern Kraft. Looking up they saw a man approaching them on the lane, walking with a crutch. Fay asked, “Who is that old man coming up the walk?” Fern exclaimed, “That looks like Papa!” Fay asked, “Who is Papa?” “Your father, silly.” It was the first time that Fay realized that she had a father. Fay and her sister rushed out to the walk and grabbed her father’s leg and hugged him. “After all he was my father and I loved him even though I did not know I had a father.”
Gmpa Aaron Smith had just returned from two winters on the Salmon. Back at their house in Kalispell, Fay remembers looking out the window and seeing her father limping up to the house. He came in and sat down in the living room. It was time for dinner. Grandma Smith did not know what to do, so she invited him to stay for dinner. Then when it got time to go to bed, Elmer volunteered to go to Ruby’s house so Grand Dad could have a bed. Sometimes he would stay several days, or even a few weeks. He was very kind. Never yelled at the kids. Sometimes when the kids got noisy, Gmpa would say, “Mother, your kids need attention.” One day, while Great Grandma was working in the cannery, slaving over a hot cooker, the kids were home with Gmpa. Fay thinks they were sick with something. There was no food in the house, and they were hungry. They asked their father to go to Hoiland’s Store, which was five blocks away, and get some soup. He did not want to go out into the light snow that was falling and he put up a protest. Fay remembers getting really upset that he would not go. Finally, he was persuaded. At least once a year the Welfare Department would come out to the house and checked to see if there was a husband living there. That winter, as the time for the yearly inspection approached, Grandma had to ask Gmpa to leave because his presence would jeopardize their welfare payments. Grandma had Ethel, Harland, Bonnie, Fay and Ramona and occasionally Elmer living with her.
“One day in Essex your dad was being picked on; Mom had said, ‘Don’t start the fight, but do defend yourself’. He came home that day and announced, “That kid is not going to bother me again!’ “Your father had beat the kid up.”
Ethel had to stop going to school for a while because of not having any shoes. Her hand-me-downs were causing terrible blisters.
One time Fay remembers coming home and finding her sister Eva sitting on the front step of their Kalispell house. Fay did not know she had a sister living at the local hospital/home. As Fay remembers the story, Eva did not have a bowel movement the first several days after being born. Great Grandma caught on and removed the rectum blockage; Eva remained partially paralyzed from birth on her left side. Because of her disability, Eva was placed in a state hospital for much of her growing up years because Grandma had to work and was unable to take care of her. She eventually had a tendon operation that allowed her to put her heel down on the floor and walk normally, but her arm and hand withered. Also, her temperament did not allow her to be left alone with the other kids. At times she would strike out and hit the kids with her withered arm. After several days, Eva returned to the state hospital. Fay saw her sister Eva only a couple of times in her life.
Harland and Ethel stayed at Twin Bridges Orphanage for a year. While living in California, before returning to Montana, Fay remembers hearing Dad called “Buddy”. She did not comprehend that Elmer was her brother and that he had a real name.
At age 15, Aunt Fay moved from Montana to San Francisco, California with her sister Violet, and brother-in-law Marion Caton, “the Devil in human form”. The plan was for Aunt Fay to take care of the children. The Catons had moved from Kalispell so Uncle Marion could work in the War industry. Marion beat his wife and kids. ** One time his beatings put Violet in the hospital for a month. After one severe beating, son Johnny vowed to get even. Uncle Marion used belts, cords, and board for the beatings. Marion did spend time in jail because of his abuse, but it did little to change him. Johnny did keep his promise by eventually beating up his father.
On 3/1/06 7:16 PM, “Beverly Pinelli” <email@example.com> wrote:
**Marion beat his wife and kids.
This is a major understatement.
While I was very young, (four or five) still living in Kalispell, one of mom’s sisters was taking care of us while Mom and Dad were “Out”.
I heard something outside and I thought, “Angels were singing”. The sound got louder and more shrill. Then I saw Dad drag Mom out of the car by the hair of her head. A police car pulled up, (had apparently followed him home) and arrested him. The next day Mom was crying because “Poor Daddy” was in jail. He needed clean clothes and shaving equipment, so she asked me to go to the jail with her. At that young age, the memory of my Dad behind bars, crying like a baby because he had to answer for his actions burned itself into my mind.
Grandma Smith always set such a wonderful example of living by Bible standards. I know my Mom was raised that way. I know it pained Grandma and Fay to see her allow the abuse.
One time his beatings put Violet in the hospital for a month. After one severe beating, son Johnny vowed to get even. Uncle Marion used belts, cords, and boards for the beatings.
Marion did spend time in jail because of his abuse, but it did little to change him.
Mom would not call the police or press charges.
I (Beverly) would not hesitate to call the police. He could usually talk them out of taking him in, telling them he was a “Poor man with ten kids and could not support them if he was in jail.” When they finally caught on and jailed him, they put him on probation for five years. He would leave her alone, but still beat the kids. As soon as the probation was up, he would beat her again.
Johnny did keep his promise by eventually beating up his father.
Mom had remarried Marion after being divorced for five years.
After a few years of having finally forced all the kids out of the house, and treating her well, he beat her up again so badly that a neighbor checked in on her and called the ambulance, because she couldn’t tell if Mom was still alive.
She divorced him again.
She came to visit me in Napa some time later. She said she was worried about Dad because he had Cancer Surgery and a complete Colostomy five years earlier (Before he beat her up and left her for dead). They didn’t get all of the cancer and it was spreading.
Bob and I sold them our Mobile Home (for the $2,700.00 balance with small monthly payments) because my family had out grown it when Bonnie Faye came to live with us and my third daughter was born. Violet’s kids made sure Dad’s name was taken off the title after the last divorce.
She said, ” I know the kids are going to be mad at me for letting him back in, but I guess Love is Blind”.
My response was a quick, “But does it have to be deaf, dumb and blind?”
This was the essence of their relationship and of my impatience with it.
Fay once made the statement to me that she had reached the conclusion long ago that Mom allowed Dad to mistreat her and the kids. That too was an understatement.
I was convinced at a very young age that I would live my life and raise my children by Bible principles.
Bob and I never wanted our girls to have to deal with what we had both been exposed to as children. However, we did not shelter them. They were aware of their grandparents’ choices and are grateful for being raised in a Christian home.
The girls always showed their grandparents respect, and loved them.
Dad’s relationship with his grandchildren was all it should have been and could have been with his wife and children.
Unlike some of my siblings, I never expected revenge.
I knew that Judgment belongs to Jesus.
Beverly Pinelli – March 6, 2006
From Bev Caton Pinelli – September 2006.
After a night of drinking Aunt Violet and Uncle Marion came home late and started arguing. Marion grabbed Violet by the hair and drug her over to the gas stove, turned on the gas and tried to shove her head in.
The two younger boys, now awake, jumped on their father’s back and beat on him until their mother was released from their father’s grip. Marion then called the police and had the boys hauled away to detention. “He was a master at talking himself out of a situation.”
If Uncle Marion found a cup lying out of place after the kids left for school, he would go get the kids out of school and drag them home to clean house. He demanded a clean house or someone would get beaten
One morning after Marion had left for work, Aunt Fay moved a stool by the door to put some dishes up on an overhead shelf. Marion returned home unexpectedly and hit the unseen stool with the door. In his rage, he slapped Fay. Fay quit that day and moved to Southern California and back with her mother in Venice.
Ruby remembers seeing Marion Caton “around” Kalispell. He did not go to school and was usually smoking. The cigarette smoke bothered him because he would shut his eyes when puffing. Little did she realize that he was going to be her future brother-in-law.
After marrying Aunt Violet, they lived next door to Grandma Smith in a sort of duplex. Marion beat Violet so bad. He would drag her around the house by her hair. They had 10 kids together. After years of a stormy marriage, they finally divorced. The two youngest kids were sent off to live with an older sister. After a few years, Marion and Violet began living together, but did not remarry. Marion was killed in a car accident driving home drunk from working the lettuce fields.
From: Beverly Caton Pinelli, Marion’s daughter, 2 March 11, 2006
The police report states that a Hi-way Patrol Car was following two cars behind him. It was just before dark. Marion came up on a flatbed truck with no clearance lights. When he saw the truck, Marion tried to swerve to miss it, over-corrected the steering wheel, and went across the lane of on-coming traffic. People in two of those cars were killed, others injured.
One car hit him, throwing him out of the car onto the pavement. Marion’s autopsy report was pretty graphic. The cancer they were not able to remove seven years earlier had spread to every part of his body except his heart and brain. The sad part for the family was that this had been his third major accident on that part of the hi-way between work and home.
We all knew he would die driving drunk and take other lives with him
October 22, 2001
My Memories of Aunt Fay by Beverly Caton Pinelli –
The first Five “Caton Kids” were born at home in Kalispell with just Daddy and the two Grandmothers assisting in the births.
Daddy moved to San Francisco after WWII broke out. He was an Electrician in the Richmond shipyards. He lived with Grandma and Grandpa Caton until he could find a “Flat” to rent. It was in the basement floor of an old Victorian on Height Street.
In February of 1942 Mama packed up her five children for a train trip to move to San Francisco. Grandma Smith knew there was no way Mama could handle so many small ones for the long trip, so she gave permission for Fay to come with us. This was quite an undertaking, since Fay was only two months away from her 15th birthday.
The ages of the children were; the Baby, Lewis – 2 mo. old, Connie – 2yr. 6 mo.,
Darlene -3yrs, 9mo., Donna – 4yrs. 11mo and Beverly – 5 yrs 11 mo.
There was a stopover and a change of train in, I think Mom said Seattle.
Mother had Lewis in her arms and Fay had charge of the 4 girls. It was the middle of the night in a big Train Complex, with many tracks. Connie was scared and confused and wandered away. Fay found her, crying “ I go home” and toddling down the tracks. Somehow Fay was able to catch up with her and pull her out of the way, as a train came up the tracks.
Mother would never have been able to make this move alone. Fay helped her get settled in and went back home.
The year Mom was pregnant with Little Larry, Mom was bedridden with Rheumatic fever. She also was very ill from the poison draining into her system from badly diseased teeth and gums. She had to have all of her teeth pulled, even though she was pregnant.
Fay missed school to come live with us and help Mom with 5 kids. She never complained about all the hard work, from cleaning house, to changing diapers, to doing laundry, to getting the kids up in the middle of the night and marching them down the hall to the bathroom. All of the girls had a bed-wetting problem, so Fay would head a couple down the hall while she woke up the others. At times the girls were still half asleep and would go “squat and pee” in the alcove next to the bathroom by mistake. I’m sure she wondered if this ritual was worth the effort, but any dry sheets the next morning meant fewer loads of laundry. She was truly Mama’s “Right Arm”.
She was like a second mother to us, and yet like an older sister.
Fay always made things such fun. Even our baths on Saturday night were a big adventure. She bathed us in pairs, youngest first. We shared the bathrooms (one with a tub and one with a toilet) with two Secretaries who lived in the front flat. I remember a few times they were upset with us taking so much time in the bath tub and using all the hot water.
Fay was such a responsible person that the apartment owner asked her to manage the apartments by collecting rent and finding new tenants. Once the upstairs apartment was vacant and a man rented it from her. He was pleasant, liked to talk and Fay included him in some of the games she played with us. She put a button in a dish and told him to try to blow it out of the dish. He tried a couple of times without success. She said it worked better if you shut your eyes. He tried it and got a BIG surprise. When he opened his eyes, he had flour all over his face, eyebrows and beard. Fay had replaced the button dish with a flour-filled dish. He was REALLY upset. I don’t think he liked to talk much after that.
One day the Police came around asking questions about the man, who had just moved out. Fay answered the best she could but had no answers for them. It seems he was the notorious “Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas’ that the song had been written about. He was a bigamist who would marry women, leave them and then re-marry without benefit of a divorce. Fay was embarrassed about the whole thing.
There were some stressful times for Fay. It was hard for her to witness the harsh measures that the girls went through because of Daddy’s quick temper. One day, I (Beverly) was late from school, having stopped to play at a friend’s house on the way home. It panicked Fay because of all the strange things that happened in San Francisco during that time period. Dad worked until midnight, and when he got home, Mom told him what had happened. He pulled me out of bed, took me out on the back porch and beat me with the drain hose from the Washing Machine. That just about broke Fay’s heart.
The four girls all came down with the Measles. Fay really had her hands full. One day she realized that Connie was not in the Flat. She frantically searched, and went out the door, and down the street. When she rounded the corner, there was Connie going down the hill toward the Ice Cream Parlor. She was cold and shaky. The weather was very damp and foggy. Fay carried Connie home and warmed her. Connie was a very sick little girl and started having trouble with trying to walk.
The Dr. said the Measles had settled in her hip and she became paralyzed. She had special therapy at home, which included picking up marbles with her toes. She struggled for a long time, but was getting stronger by the time she started school. Eventually she lost her limp.
After Larry was born and Mother became stronger and Fay went back home. She never had a chance to finish school because she went to work to help Grandma with household expenses.
After the War we moved to Larkin Valley on a Ranch where Daddy was the Foreman and the family lived in the Ranch House. Sometimes Fay would drive down from LA and bring Grandma Smith for a visit. Fay would do our favorite thing; put a mattress on the ground and sleep under the stars. She would talk to us about the stars until we fell asleep.
Once she came to visit in the winter and we were wishing we could sleep outside, but it was too cold. She said, “That’s OK, we can see stars through a coat sleeve.” We would take turns, but only one of us could be in the room at a time. She had us lie down, put a jacket over our head and position the sleeve by pulling it up straight until we could see her face through the other end. Then she would have us close our eyes and tell her when we were ready to open them and see stars. Then the stars would fall… all over our face. She had used Mama’s Laundry Sprinkler Bottle and shaken a spray of water down the coat sleeve.
Fay and Grandma’s visits were always a surprise. We never knew when a knock on the door at 2:00 am would signal a visit. Fay would say they had driven all that way so she could eat some of “Violet’s Tamale Pie”.
Daddy loved to take Fay with him when she came for a visit. He really loved
his “Little Sister”. Mother would laugh when people told her that they saw Dad driving around town with a “Red Head”.
A few times in the summer, we would visit Grandma, Ethel, Fay and Bonnie when they were living in Uncle Harland’s house Venice, Calif.
Beverly and Donna both graduated from eight-grade at the same time. We were surprised with a gift of money from Fay and Bonnie for Graduation clothes. The next year we both graduated from Jr. High and were sent a graduation gift of a typewriter for Beverly and Donna to share. Fay and Bonnie said that who ever graduates from High School keeps the typewriter and if we both graduated, they would buy us each a new typewriter.
Donna got married and moved to New York just before her senior year. I loved that Old Smith Corona Portable and used it all through High School. After we were married, Bob went overseas and asked me to let him take it with him. He was really upset when he had to write and tell me that it was stolen out of his barracks.
I will always remember Fay’s gentle nature. She had a shy little laugh like Grandma Smith’s. I can still see her blush and say, “Oh, My Word” or “ Oh, my aching back” when you told her something. You would see her clench her tongue between her teeth and know that she war really concentrating on something. There was always her gentle Grace at meals.
October 25, 2001
Remembering Aunt Fay and Uncle Ray on their 50th wedding anniversary.
By Larry Smith
As I began to become aware of the adult world contributing to my child-oriented universe, I remember Dad telling me about his mother having had 10 daughters and two sons.
Enveloped in my 5 year-old perception of how the world works I began to wonder how Grandma Smith could keep 12 bottles going at the same time. I pictured, in my mind, bawling babies, all in their cribs lined up along the bedroom wall, crying hungrily at the same time for their bottles. In my mind’s eye I could see Grandma running from crib to crib taking care of each babe’s needs.
This was my introduction to the knowledge that my father had 10 sisters and one them was named Fay. I eventually figured out that Dad’s family, and the baby bottles were stretched out over 22 years (from 1906 to 1928). Dad was number five (Jan. 4, 1913) and Aunt Fay was number eleven (April 23, 1927).
Our first contact with Aunt Fay was when we were about four years of age. Aunt Fay and Grandma Smith would pick my twin brother and me up and take us to church out near where they lived in Venice. Lloyd and I eventually started going to a church closer to home in Santa Monica.
My main early memory of Aunt Fay was in either 1950 or ‘51 when she brought Gma Smith and Gma’s sister Aunt Winnie to Oregon for a visit. Since she was the only driver, she would have made the drive by herself. A strong lady.
Aunt Fay was so friendly to my brother and me. She would visit with us but most of all she would answer my questions. One day I noticed Aunt Fay crawling underneath her car with a grease gun. I joined her and questioned her on why she had to go from point to point. She explained to me that the grease zerks on cars were located where the grease was needed. I then proposed that maybe the carmakers should locate all the zerk fittings at one location and run tubes out to where the grease was needed. She thought that would be a good idea and that I should write a letter to General Motors and let them know about my proposal. I never did get around to writing that letter.
I remember Aunt Fay’s freckles; her wearing pants most of the time, her reddish hair, her smile, and her penny loafers. She showed me how she stuck pennies into her loafers.
Interesting what a child remembers.
When Aunt Fay married Ray Schmidt in 1951, I remembered a family story that Gma Smith had told me. She said that the “Smith” family name had originally been “Schmidt”, so Aunt Fay was just changing her name back to the original family name that had originated in Germany.
During the past 50 years we have visited back and forth. A couple of times Fay and Ray have visited Oregon. Other times Linda and I have visited their home in Placentia, California. Our two kids first became acquainted with their Great Grandma Smith in the back yard of the Schmidt home. Brian was about seven and Amber was around three. We took a number of photos of the kids with their Great Grandma.
The Schmidt yard always looked picture perfect. So did their garage.
In 1987 we brought Linda’s father, Jim Reb, along for a visit and spent the weekend with Fay and Ray. Jim had pastored the Assembly Church in Fullerton and he wanted to attend his old church on Sunday. Fay and Ray treated the aging pastor with such kindness and joy. Jim appreciated the attention and the chance to see his former church after 50 years.
Linda and I stopped by the Schmidts for a visit last March. I was surprised at how much Fay and Ray remembered about our family. They certainly read, and remembered my mother’s weekly letters. Ray especially enjoys Brian’s many stories about his mountain climbing adventures.
Congratulations to Aunt Fay and Uncle Ray as you celebrate 50 years together. We have been blessed to have been placed by the Lord into your family.
Larry and Linda Smith
Uncle Ray Schmidt loves baseball. His devotion to the Anaheim Angels has been the subject of several newspaper articles. This story ran in the Orange County Register on April 13, 2004.
BY JEFF MILLER –
PLACENTIA, CAILIFORNIA — They write poems about baseball this time of year, sappy poems on romance and rites of spring and hopes reborn, the words sugary enough to stick between the teeth of even a jack-o’-lantern.
And just about the moment you’re ready to rage like a cleanup hitter on’roids, you meet Ray Schmidt.
He might not be the Angels’ most die-hard fan; he attended only two games last season. He might not be their most obvious fan; he usually sits in the upper deck. He might not be their most dedicated fan; he wasn’t at one postseason game in 2002.
But Schmidt just might be this team’s most steady fan. He’ll be there again Tuesday, when Seattle visits. His 42nd consecutive Angels’ home opener.
“I told my wife (Fay) the day Mr. Autry bought the team I was going to be an Angels fan,” Schmidt, 82, said. “I have been ever since.”
And he is never a bigger fan than he is at this point of the year –first pitch time. Schmidt missed the franchise’s initial two home openers but has attended every other one, beginning in 1963. He has the ticket stubs to prove it. He also has the wife to prove it; Fay has gone to each opener with him.
“I don’t know exactly how this has happened,” Schmidt said. “We started it and just kept it going.”
They’ve never been out of town or too busy or too ill. The last two seasons, though, Ray and Fay did need help from a friend to secure tickets, the Angels becoming almost too popular for their most consistent fan.
But they will be there again, guaranteed, at the stadium where Schmidt watched in 1964 as Autry officially broke ground. He has the pictures to prove that, too.
If you’re beginning to think this is a passion for Schmidt, you have the right idea. You also have no idea. Not yet anyway.
Two years ago, moved by an advertisement for the book “Baseball As
America” — not the book, understand, just an advertisement for it —
Schmidt sat down and wrote two pages about why he loves baseball.
The letter’s opening included the sentence; “I have become addicted to our national pastime.” It ended with the sentence, “Go Baseball and Angels!” Go Baseball? Hip, hip, hooray for apple pie and teddy bears, too.
As a 6-year-old, Schmidt carried around a picture of Babe Ruth. One of his grade school teachers called him Raymond Baseball. As a 9-year-old, he started saving box scores from the Sporting News.
Think this stuff is corny? Well, we are talking about a man who’s from Corn, Okla., for crying out loud. Corn has a population of 591 and covers less than one-half of a square mile. For excitement, the folks in Corn — Cornians? Kernels? — go to the big city nearby, Weatherford.
The Schmidt family moved to California in 1938. Thirty-five years later, Ray and Fay moved from the San Gabriel Valley into this house — so they could be closer to the Angels. Honest. As soon as the Southern California Gas Co. had an opening in Anaheim, Schmidt jumped at the job.
“I never liked the Dodgers much,” he said. “It has always been the
Angels.”(It must be noted here that in his job, Schmidt read gas meters, including the one in the backyard of Tommy Lasorda.)
Schmidt has ticket stubs from Jim Abbott’s debut and Nolan Ryan’s last game in Anaheim. He was there to see Bo Belinsky no-hit the Orioles and there to see Joe Cowley no-hit the Angels. He has stubs from the historic — the day Don Sutton and Tom Seaver faced each other as 300- game winners — to the trivial — the day Devon White stole second, third and home in one game.
“People think I’m crazy keeping all this stuff,” Schmidt said, “but I do enjoy it.”
His sanity could be questioned perhaps but not his intensity. Schmidt keeps handwritten game-by-game statistics on each Angel’s player. He also has been charting the club’s attendance for every game — home and away — since 1966.
And he’s Rod Carew-steady with a pair of scissors, cutting out newspaper stories about the Angels daily. After the team signed Darin Erstad, Schmidt filled a giant envelope of clippings and dropped it in the mail, addressing the package: “To the parents of Darin Erstad. Jamestown, N.D.” That December, the Erstads sent Schmidt a Christmas card.
“Someday when something happens to me, they can just throw all this stuff away,” Schmidt said of the collection that now fills more than a bedroom closet. “It’s of no value to anyone but me.”
The value to him, however, can’t be quantified. It’s simply too large, too personal, too important. Much like being there when the Angels open another season.
“I’ve already told Fay that when the time comes for me to go, and if it’s close to opening day, postpone my funeral and go to the game,” Schmidt said. “Don’t miss it just because I’m gone.”
Steady right to the very end. And beyond.
#9 – Story from Aunt Ethel, telephone conversation, June 19, 2003.
When Aunt Ethel was 14 in 1934 or 35, Grandma Smith and several of the kids were living in a yellow house on Second Ave. in Kalispell, Montana. Uncle Marion and Aunt Violet had moved in with them. Uncle Marion basically took over. One day Aunt Ethel had walked over to Uncle Harry and Fern’s place to help her sister with housework. After working most of the day, Marion sent Aunt Fay over to have Ethel come home. Uncle Harry asked her to stay for a bit and share some ice cream. Aunt Fay walked on home and reported this to Marion who became enraged. He sent Aunt Fay back to Fern’s house and to demand that Ethel come home immediately. When Ethel arrived home, Marion grabbed a piece of firewood and began to beat Ethel. The rest of the family, including Grandma, stood around and watched the beating take place. Ethel tried to protect her backside with her hands, but Marion beat her arms, nearly breaking her right one. After the beating, Ethel complained to Grandma and showed her the bruises. Grandma said, “You should not have put your arms behind you.” She also justified the beating by saying, “You are a bad girl.” Uncle Marion then forced Ethel to wash all of the dinner dishes. “You can imagine the amount of dishes from that big group.”
Uncle Harry noticed the bruises the next time Ethel was over to the house and asked what happened. Harry in turn told Dad who went to Marion and told him “to never touch her again!” Ethel says that Marion never again hit her.
Ethel married Aaron Perkins in 1946.
Ethel Smith Perkins was widowed after 10 years of marriage. (1946 – 1956) Quentin Wold was married to Ethel’s sister, Addie Smith Wold for 50 years (1931 – 1981) Ethel and Quentin married, September 18, 1982 and were married for 16 years before Quentin died of Parkinsons.
Ethel and Aaron had one son, Duane, born in 1948. Duane was only 8 when his father died of a heart attack while mowing their yard.
Duane was born with limited hearing, which has necessitated additional and continual retraining throughout his life. Duane and his wife Judy live within both a hearing world and a deaf culture. Duane has also overcome significant sight problems.
On March 8, 2007 Duane Perkins wrote:
What is a surprise to hear from you? Now I can contact you at anytime. I am glad that Larry sends a picture to you. It was June, 1979 that I went to Portland for deaf mission conference as my friends and I stopped to visiting you guys at Crater Lake before arriving to Portland.
Judy (my wife) and I are doing fine but keep busy. Judy was supposed to retire now but she preferred to retire until she is seventy years old which means less than five years. Because she wants to keep busy without losing memory. Her father had a bad memory when he was late eighty years old. I don’t remember what it called the losing memory, not like Alzheimer’s.
I am college student now for Drafting Technology. I was a Draftsman and have changed new career by my doctor suggested. I worked as Graphic Artist for community newspaper for seven years then to yellow page advertise for four years. After the Yellow Page USA closed my company and laid all artists off. I went to college to take the drafting class. I doing good for drafting and others but Intermediate Algebra is hard and confusing to figure it out.
We attend at the Saddleback Church; you might heard Pastor Rick Warren who wrote the popular book of Purpose Driven. He is a good pastor to us.
I supposed Larry has told you about my mother that she already moved out from L.A. to Placentia (close to Fay and Ray). She has a good mood and happy in new home.
Hope to see you and Helen if we have our vacation to drive north in May. I will try to encourage my mother to go with us to visit your parents and Larry and Linda. Wait and see if we can go.
A letter from Ethel Smith Perkins Wold – October 2007
Dear Elmer and Ruby,
I am so thankful Elmer is doing better. It has been a long hard 9 months. I’m also thankful Elmer had such a good caring nurse that took care of his every need and was even sure he had all the grapes he could eat. She never complained about having to take care of you. I am convinced you were meant for each other.
I don’t know of another couple that has lived together for as many years as you have (62 years) that are as much in love as you two are. You are an example for every married couple.
Thank you Ruby for doing such a terrific job.
Ruby and Elmer – their early years together
The Folk’s first apartment in 1935 was $15/month. The landlady was an ornery lady. She would not allow them any heat during the winter. Said it was too expensive. She kept sticking her nose into their business. She finally asked them to move. For a few months Dad and Mother rented an upstairs room above Uncle Ted and Esther’s house. They had the extra space, so they sub rented it. The rent was $6 per month. They then moved to 1014 2nd Avenue East. It was in the “richy” part of town. Paid $16 per month.
Visiting Southern California – During the summer in 1938 Mother and Dad drove to southern California and spent 10 days with Aunt Addie and Uncle Quentin. This trip gave them a taste of the beauty of southern California. California was like Paradise to Dad after spending 10 years at the crest of the Continental Divide. (Addie and Quentin met while attending Lincoln Heights Four Square Church. Quentin was a bit too wild for his pastor father. Mama Wold thought Addie Smith would be a good anchor for Quentin Wold. Addie and Quentin married, July 6, 1931 in Los Angeles.) And she provided the anchor that Quentin needed for the next 50 years.
On their way back to Montana, Elmer and Ruby brought Addie back to Kalispell to visit her mother and family. On their way north, the three of them stopped off at Butte, Montana to visit for a few hours with their sister, Eva, at the Montana School for the Feebleminded. Aunt Eva was not happy with her situation and begged them to take her with them. But there was no place for her at home and Grandma Smith could not afford another mouth. Eva remained at the school for another 10 or 12 years before going to live with her sister, Fern, in Kalispell.
Sixty years later, Dad still thinks with remorse about having to leave Eva behind. (Sept. 2007)
Elmer’s Beer Glass in Foot by Ruby Smith Mon, 20 Mar 2006
Lloyd, did the piece of beer glass that had been in your Dad’s foot work into your museum? Were you happy to get it? He carried that in his foot –painful working in the grocery store–from Montana to southern California. I remember when it happened–late on a Saturday night at Somers Beach on Flathead Lake–we had been swimming–mid summer–1939–stopped at a 7th day Adventist Hospital in Kalispell–where a doctor checked it (got him out of bed) and he swabbed it out which pushed it up farther–sewed the wound up with the glass inside and away we went. So Elmer walked with the glass inside for at least 4 months until it became so painful he could barely walk on it. He was attending school –when he saw the doc. in L.A. I can still hear the glass hitting the floor when the doctor flicked it out of his foot. The doctor put it in one of their office envelopes that had his address on the outside.
Samuel H. Pettler M.D.
Suite 407 Professional Building
1052 West 6th street
Los Angeles, California
“Dad just said that the doctor got down on the floor to retrieve it and said, ‘You will prob. want to keep this”, and he then put the piece of glass in an envelope.” gg
While working at Hoiland’s Grocery in Kalispell, Dad read an ad for California Flyers, a private training school for the Air Craft industry located in Los Angeles. After sending for information, Dad decided to move to LA to attend school.
The Folks packed everything they owned into their almost new 1936 Plymouth sedan and headed south on the old Dalles – California Hwy, now Highway 97. At this time the Highway swung close to the old East Entrance to Crater Lake National Park. They wanted to visit the Lake, but looking up the unpaved road they saw nothing but pumice dust a foot deep, and since their car was rather heavily loaded, they ate their lunch at the road junction and then continued south never realizing the important part Crater Lake would play in their sons’ lives.
In 1926 Grandma, Aunt Bonnie, and Aunt Addie traveled by train to southern California to visit Grandma’s sister, Aunt Winnie (Winifred). They stayed most of the summer. Addie decided to stay. It must have been hard for Grandma to head back to the snows of Essex and leave a child behind.
Aunt Fay Schmidt remembers that Aaron and Gertie, her parents, permanently split up between 1928 and 1929 when Fay was about 9 months. (Fay b. April 1928)
Moving to Southern California and Uncle Chet. Written by Ruby Smith, June 18, 2001 –
I was just thinking about this today. Re: Uncle Chet, Grandma Smith’s brother. It was either the very end of August or the first part of September in 1939 when we left Kalispell to move to L.A. Your dad was registered for classes at California Flyers.
So we stopped in Spokane and spent Sunday night with Uncle Jim Rasmussen and then on Monday we looked up Uncle Chet. He was in his office in a government building where he worked as a warrant officer. We visited with him for a while–didn’t see Aunt Bonnie–his wife–and then we headed south to begin our new life in southern California.
Then in the spring of 1940 Aunt Winnie (Grandma Smith’s sister) told us Chet would be coming south. And would be leaving for the Philippines. Your dad alerted Harland and Harland called Chet and asked if he could ride south with him. I don’t remember what month it was, but they appeared at our apartment door in Santa Monica. I was quite pregnant with you guys. Cet said something about the “change of climate must have had something to do with this.” So Harland stayed with us until his mother moved down in 1942. Chet spent about a week with his sister Winnie and then he headed for the Philippines and was killed in 1942. He is buried in Spokane. Did you ever hear this before? I hadn’t thought of it for a long time. gg.
Uncle Harland went to work for Douglas Aircraft and worked for only a short time before he enlisted in the Army Air corps in 1942 at the age of 22. Grandma and the girls moved from Montana to Culver City after the bank deferred his house payments while he was in the service. The bank wanted a lump sum after the War, so Uncle Harland was forced to sell the house.
Name: Smith, Harland C
Serial Number: 19161802
Residence: Los Angeles, California
Enlistment Place: Los Angeles, California
Enlistment Date: 14 October 1942
Grade Alpha: Pvt
Grade Code: Private
Branch Alpha: Ac
Branch Code: Air Corps
Enlistment Term: Enlistment For The Duration of The War or Other Emergency, Plus Six Months, Subject To The Discretion of The President or Otherwise According To Law
Source: Civil Life
Birth Year: 1920
Race and Citizenship: White, Citizen
Education: 4 Years of High School
Civil Occupation: Skilled Occupations In Building of Aircraft, N.E.C.
Marital Status: Single, with Dependents
Army Component: Army of The United States – Includes The Following: Voluntary Enlistments Effective December 8, 1941 and Thereafter; One Year Enlistments of National Guardsman Whose State Enlistment Expires While In The Federal Service; Officers Appointed In The Army of The United States Under Army Regulations 605-10
Box Number: 0316
Reel Number: 3.38
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California
Ignore if old info.
Mother and Dad arrived in Los Angeles, September 1, 1939, the day W.W.II broke out in Europe. The Folks remember newsboys standing on most street corners hawking the headline, “War Declared!” Britain and France had declared war on Germany after Hitler’s invasion of Poland.
They headed for Inglewood, the home of the California Flyers School and found a brand new apartment for $12 per month. It was so tiny they had to pull their bed out at night. The aircraft drafting school lasted from Sept. – December 1939. Dad got such good grades he was rewarded with several airplane flights, accompanying student flyers. The students flew Waco’s and Steerman trainers. Dad chose drafting because he had taken a class in high school and enjoyed it. He also took math classes at UCLA and tool and die making classes at Santa Monica High School.
Mother and Dad moved to Santa Monica in January, 1940. Another new and much larger apartment for $30 per month. They were mostly living on savings and unemployment from Montana – $12 per week. The couple lived on 50 cents a day for groceries and food.
California Flyers guaranteed a job upon graduation, so they dutifully submitted Dad’s name to Douglas Aircraft Corporation. Dad went to work in January 1940, at Douglas, in the tool and die maker and tool layout department. He frequently saw David Douglas, the founder of Douglas Aircraft, walking through the plant. Dad’s department made the tools and dies that allowed for the actual manufacture of the airplane parts. They sent their tools down to the production department. The DC-3 was just finishing up production. He also worked on the A-26 and the B-26 bombers and the Douglas Dive Bomber. Dad worked mostly in the El Segundo plant.
Elmer just missed the draft. Within two months after leaving Montana in September 1939 – the local Selective Service Draft Boards swept through the small towns of Montana drafting every eligible young man. By the time they located Elmer in southern California, he was working for Douglas Aircraft and was exempted from the Draft because by that time he was working in a critical war industry.
In September 1939 Elmer and Ruby moved to Inglewood, California where Elmer attended school. (California Flyers)
CALIFORNIA FLYERS, INC.
L.A. MUNICIPAL AIRPORT, INGLEWOOD, CALIF. PLEASANT 3330
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT THE BEARER – Elmer Smith
HAS SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED OUR COURSE IN Aircraft Drafting
AND IN THOROUGHLY QUALIFED FOR THIS TYPE OF WORK
Remarks: Recommendation upon request.
Los Angeles Airport CALIFORNIA FLYERS Inglewood – California
SCHOOL OF AERONAUTICS ORegon 8-1271
January 12, 1940
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
This is certify that Mr. Elmer B. Smith has satis-
factorily completed our Aircraft Drafting course.
SUBJECTS HOURS FINAL AVERAGE
Mathematics (primary and Advanced) 40 94%
Sheet Metal (Theory) 40 95%
Mechanics Drafting 10 89%
Aircraft Drafting 597 96%
Mr. Smith in addition to his knowledge and experience
gained in the schoolroom, libratory and ship has proved
himself a man of correct conduct and has an excellent
reputation. This man has our recommendation.
any consideration shown to Mr. Smith for employment will
Be greatly appreciated.
Yours very truly,
CALIFORNIA FLYERS, INC.
By GEORGE S. OBERDORF,
CALIFORNIA FLYERS IS APPROVED BY THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS AUTHORITY IN ALL DIVISIONS IN WHICH APPROVAL IS EXTENDED
After ELMER graduated from CF we moved to Santa Monica where he started working at Douglas Aircraft.
DOUGLAS AIRCRAFT COMPANY, INC.
OCCUPATION: TOOL PROOFER “A”
SUMMARY: Make or direct a functional check, after in-
is complete, on all major and minor
tools, dies, jigs and fixtures to insure proper
design and practicability before releasing to
production. Work is to include all tools, dies,
jigs and fixtures supplied by outside sources
or manufactured within the company. Maintain
records and make sketches of all advisable or
necessary revisions for proper corrections by
the tooling and/or engineering departments.
WORK PERFORMED: Set up and make tryouts of all tools, dies, jigs
and fixtures. Check result with operation sheets,
tool sketches and prints.
Approve sand and permanent mild castings including
proofs for forgings.
Make complete analysis for any corrections nec-
essary including the resulting part to print con-
formity, time, or material savings, production and
Maintain records, prepare sketches, cooperate and
consult with tool designers on changes and ad-
visability of new designs.
QUALIFICATIONS: Normally, six years’ training and experience in
tooling, tool design, production and planning is
required. (Elmer only had six months of trade school training)
Ruby continues their California story
When we “noticed” I was pregnant I visited a doctor in Inglewood and everything was fine, but he did ask me if there were twins in my family and I told him no and he said not to worry about it. We didn’t worry about it and I didn’t ever see that doctor again.
So in L.A. Elmer had a cousin, Harold Alexander, who was in medical school and he insisted that I get under the care of one of his favorite practicing instructors–Dr. Reynolds. His office was in L.A. and we lived in Santa Monica—a long way to drive so he said when he saw me once a month that I was doing so well I didn’t need to come more often. I would pick Elmer up at Douglas at 6:00 and we would head for the doctor’s. Elmer would change his clothes and shave etc. in the car. Down through the years that has happened hundreds of times when I would pick him up to go some place.
So in 1940 there was a long waiting line for a telephone–war time!! We didn’t have a phone even but lived in a new apartment. So late evening, on July 2nd we decided we had better head for the Good Sam Hospital–started out about 1 a.m. on July 3rd, down Olympic Blvd. – 8 lanes– the widest and main highway from Santa Monica into L.A. There were no freeways in those days, but they were on the drawing board. Elmer just slowed down at the red signals–not much traffic then!!!—Soon here comes a cop and stopped Elmer for not making complete stops. Elmer told him we were headed for the hospital and he looked over at me and let us go!!!
At 8:59 Larry arrived–5 lbs. 13 oz and at 9:01 Lloyd followed along and weighed 4 lbs 11 oz. In those days they used something that erased your memory–so the nurse woke me up at 11:00 a.m. and asked if I knew I had delivered twins and I told her I didn’t even know I had had one. They woke Elmer dear up in the waiting room–no one was allowed in the delivery room in those days. No one knew twins were arriving–no X-rays–no ultra sound. Everything went very fine. I “dangled” on the 6th day and went home in 10 days. The doctor thought I should really stay 14 days.
I nursed them for 4 and 1/2 months–had enough milk for two more, but we decided to put them on the bottle. In fact I started swimming lessons when they were two months and that really made the mile flow. Elmer wouldn’t let me wash clothes even–he washed diapers for one year, before disposable. We pretty much stayed home with them–didn’t even have a runny nose–until they were over a year old. When they were one year-old we moved into our new house, which was in L.A., but right next to Santa Monica. I thought we would stay there forever. I LOVED California, but just before they turned 6 we moved to Southern Oregon for which we are thankful. We wanted to raise our sons in a less populated area so in June of 1946 we moved to Southern Oregon and the rest is history. We will always be so thankful we have such wonderful sons.
This is Ruby Smith—mother of outstanding 61-year old sons/twins writing this on their birthday — July 3, 2001.
A memory from Dad: age 97.
On 3/22/10 3:22 PM, “Lloyd Smith” <Lsmithtwin@Comcast.net> wrote:
I took the twin test. I spit into the cup and mailed it off. I checked the box for fraternal or identical. Did you? That will be interesting. Dad said there was only one placenta.
Dad said they had no idea there were twins in Mom’s belly. He could hold his ear close to Mom’s tummy and could hear a lot of blood flow. They were puzzled. They heard a lot of heartbeats, they were puzzled. There was a lot of moving and action in the belly. They were puzzled. They never had a clue it was twins.
Dad said after we were born we had developed our own language and could chat with each other.
On 7/13/09 5:32 PM, “Lloyd Smith” <Lsmithtwin@Comcast.net> wrote:
That Uncle Don was a conscientious objector during WWII. Did you know that? Grandpa Rasmussen had him sign up as an objector. His job was behind the lines. Many from Kalispell never came back from the war. Dad missed the draft by a few months. He headed to CA and then the draft hit Kalispell a few months later. Then he worked for Douglas and was exempted.
I always thought that they moved to OR because Dad wanted to raise his boys on a farm. Dad told me the other day that he wanted out of L.A. after the war was because of the wife swapping that was going on. He had mentioned it to me earlier. I guess the guys he worked with were really into it. I did not quiz him to how close he was to it.
“If I had stayed in Montana, I would have been drafted. I knew lots of fellows who were drafted and were lost in action.” “The draft boards empted the small towns of America of their young men.” Mother’s brother, Don, was sent off to the South Pacific. Uncle Harland served in India and Burma. Mother remembers seeing the long “missing in action” or “killed in action” lists sent out from her high school. Dad eventually became a “lead man” in his department. This designation made him too important to be drafted. Dad’s important supervisory position gave him an automatic draft deferment.
From Mother, October 5, 2001 to her two sons: “Dad graduated the end of December and was hired at Douglas in Santa Monica–so we moved from Inglewood–where he had attended school–and we rented an apartment in Santa Monica. We bought our floor model radio in January from Sears and you were born in July–so the radio is six months older than you are. We paid $49.00 cash for the radio. We didn’t ever run up bills. We had a 25 or 30-year contract on our new house in L.A. — Paid it off in four years. I remember the day I carried the last payment into the bank and the banker said we could now sit down in a rocker and take it easy. We bough all new furniture when we moved from the furnished apartment to our new house–paid cash. You were 1 year old–moved in July 1941.
Dad was earning $2/hour when he quit in May of 1945 to move to Southern Oregon. One thing that drove Dad out of L.A. was the wife swapping that was going on among his coworkers. Dad felt that Southern Oregon was a safer place to raise his boys.
The birth of the twins on Wednesday, July 3, 1940: On the night of July 2, 1940 Dad was at UCLA continuing his night classes – math and airplane industry connected studies. (Mother says that he was always the top in his classes.) Mother’s water broke while in bed at 1:00 or 1:30. Because of the War they did not have a telephone. Dad called the doctor from the corner grocery. “Bring her in”, the doctor said. Lloyd and I were coming a month early Mother estimates. Dad got Mother into the car and raced for Good Samaritan Hospital on Wilshire Blvd. That was where Dr. Reynolds worked. He had been recommended by Harold Alexander, a good family friend and extended relative, who was in medical school at the time. Dad rolled through every stoplight and stop sign. (“At 2:00 a.m. there was no traffic.”)
Mother was administered a knockout drug immediately and she went “night-night”. While waiting for the baby to arrive Dad drove over to Aunt Addie’s house to announce that his kid was on its way. He ran up 120 steps, two at a time, to the Wold’s hillside house.
Larry Bennett born at: 8:54 a.m. – 5’ 13”
Lloyd Christian born at: 9:03 a.m. – 4’ 11”World Events
- Winston Churchill becomes Britain’s Prime Minister.
- Trotsky is assassinated in Mexico.
- Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania annexed by U.S.S.R.
- Hitler invades Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Luxembourg.
- Lascaux caves with Cro-Magnon art discovered by French schoolboy.
President: Franklin D Roosevelt
Vice President: John N. Garner
The first Social Security benefit checks are paid out (Jan 30).
The Pennsylvania Turnpike opens. It is the first multilane U.S. superhighway. The first Los Angeles freeway opens.
The first McDonald’s hamburger stand opens in Pasadena, Calif.
Federal spending: $9.47 billion
Federal debt: $50.7 billion
Consumer Price Index: 14
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.03
Dad had a buddy from high school named “Larry”. He liked the kid and he liked the name. “Bennett” is Dad’s middle name and was Grandma Smith’s maiden name. Lloyd was named after a family friend, Lloyd Alexander, the brother of the guy who recommended the doctor that attended to Mother during her pregnancy. Lloyd Alexander died in Hawaii sometime in the 1940’s, probably of cancer. “Christian” is Mother’s father’s Danish name, named after the Christian Kings of Denmark. In Denmark Gmpa Rasmussen’s name was “Hans Kristian”, but for some reason after coming to the US his name was changed to “Christian Hans”, but was called “Chris”.
“Colleen” was the name chosen if we had been a girl.
Mother woke up at 11:00 a.m. The nurse asked, “Do you know you have two boys?” Mother answered, “I did not know I had any.” She thought, “I did not know what I was going to do with one, what am I going to do with two?” A nurse informed Mother that Actress Janet Gaynor, a 1928 Oscar winner as the first “Best Actress” award, was across the hall from us. She supposedly had a boy on the 5th. (She died in 1982 as the result of a car accident. Age 77.) Mother “dangled” on day six. Went home after 10 days in the hospital. The doctor wanted her to say longer. The medical approach was sure different back then.
The Douglas Aircraft plant was shut down on July 4th and 5th, so Dad only missed one day of work. Uncle Harland, Dad’s only brother, lived with the Folks for several months when he first came down to California. He had ridden down from Montana with Uncle Chester Bennett, Grandma Smith’s brother. He then bought a house in Venice and went to work for a while at Douglas Aircraft. Grandma Smith and Bonnie and Ramona moved into Harland’s house. Ethel was living with Addie at the time. She had left Montana for California several months before the Folks did, traveling with a preacher’s family with 7 kids. She acted as their nanny. Aunt Fay was living with Violet taking care of her kids.
Aunt Violet was musically talented. Could sing and play the organ.
Mother came home on the 13th of July. Aunt Winnie Frizell, Grandma Smith’s younger sister came over and helped with the babies for a few days. Mother always walked with Dad to work every morning. The neighbors had figured out that Mother was pregnant. When Dad walked alone while Mother was in the hospital, the neighbors noticed immediately and wanted to know what she had had. Dad passed out two cigars to everyone, as was the custom. “Can you imagine me doing something like that now?”
“You were perfect babies. We never had to get up in the night after six weeks when you began sleeping all night. Even then, if there was a whimper, I would just roll you over and you would go back to sleep.” Potty trained at 17 months. Did not wet at night after that. Walked at 13 months. Both at the same time. Started reading at 4 and attended a six-week kindergarten at 5.
Mother remembers the time she was delayed by a few minutes getting home and we had walked home from kindergarten alone. We had bought some War Savings Stamps at school and had pushed a stool over to the service porch door and were licking and sticking stamps on the glass window. Mother arrived in time to pull the stamps off before the glue dried.
With the added needs of a growing family, the apartment was no longer large enough. In the fall of 1940, the Folks contracted for a custom built house on Barry Avenue, two miles inside the LA City line from Santa Monica. We moved in June 1941. The purchase price was $3,850, with a 25-year loan, which they paid off in four years. Sold the house in June 1946 for $12,500. Dad said, “I wish I had bought several houses.” The going interest rate was 7.5%, but Dad gave the lady 6% interest.
Upon moving into their new house, Dad set to work immediately improving the house. A bookcase was installed in the fireplace; Dad cut a door from our bedroom out to the backyard. Before the step could be finished, Larry took a tumble, landing on and scarring his chin. Dad built a chain link fence around the property, which still exists. (2007 sighting.) Play equipment was built, including swinging bars, and swings. Peggy, a full-blooded, cream-colored German shepherd puppy soon joined our family. Peggy loved to run after us and knock us down. She also enjoyed digging up the yard. Dad would fill her holes with water and stick her nose in the water. She got the message. Preceding Peggy was Skippy, a black Cocker Spaniel. Skippy would climb over the chain link fence and head next door and would not come home. After several weeks the neighbor came over to Dad and presented him with a vet bill for cleaning foxtails from Skippy’s ears. Dad said, “Just keep him”. They then went shopping for Peggy.
From Mother: When Larry and Lloyd were one and a half years old we dropped over to see a fellow Elmer worked with at Douglas and just as we drove up the fellow came out to the car and told us Pearl Harbor had been bombed.
When we were either 3 or 4 Mother decided that we needed curly hair like Dad’s. So she dutifully put our hair up into curlers. I remember the embarrassment of trying to hike behind bushes out in our yard as other kids walked by in hopes they would see us. The curl job did not take. Our hair was just too straight. One of our earliest memories.
Dad’s car history:
1932 – A 1928 Chevy – P.J. (Puddle Jumper) – $25 – from Uncle Lee – used to be a homemade motor home. Uncle Lee first lengthened the chassis to make the motor home and then took the living portion off and shortened the chassis and put a box on the back. While Dad spent the winter on the Salmon River, he left his little “Puddle Jumper” parked alongside some guy’s barn, so when it came time to leave, Dad walked down and retrieved his dead battery. Gave it to the postman who took it to town and brought it back the next day charged up. Dad had said his goodbyes to Leo and Pansy, while waiting for the postman to return. He reimbursed the postman 50 cents the service station had charged the postman to recharge the battery. Dad installed the battery, and headed north to Kalispell to begin a new phase of his life.
1934 – 1930 Chevy sedan – $225. Dad bought it from the local banker. Mother learned to drive in this car.
1937 – A new Plymouth – $925 – During WW2 it was impossible to buy a new car, so the Folks kept the Plymouth for 14 years. Cars were still hard to come by after WWII because of the start of the Korean War in 1950.
1945 – GI 6×6 Army surplus truck. Used to move the family to Southern Oregon in 1946. Bought for $1,800, sold it in 1953 for $2,500. Dad and Uncle Harland used it on the farm and for logging to obtain lumber for their new houses.
1948 – Case tractor – $1250 – new – Burned up in a tractor shed fire in about 1990.
1951. – Chevy- new – $2200 – 1950/51 Chevy. The models basically did not change for a couple of years. Dad had to wait a month or two for their new car to come in. The Korean War slowed car production. It was an exciting day when we drove into Ashland and picked up our new Chevy at Selby Chevrolet; where part of the Shakespeare theater are now located. Dad drove the old Plymouth out to Hwy. 99 and put a for sale sign on it. Sold it almost immediately. It was like selling a member of the family.
1953 Chevy – new – $2500
1955 Olds – new – $2700
1957 Chevy – new – $2300 – discounted $500 because of the end of the model year. Gift to Larry and Lloyd for being “such nice kids” for our senior year in high school. Dad, always being the practical man, only allowed us to drive it one day a week to school. Why drive, he reasoned, when the school bus drove right past our driveway. Our new Chevy was the talk of the school. The folks had been looking at a little Metropolitan. Held two people, barely. It was so tiny it looked like it would tip over. Dad had planned to buy it from one of the Tucker sons. But then they began looking at Chevy’s and decided it would be much more practical for us. Looked at the 1958s, but found a new 1957 in Klamath Falls which was sent over to the dealership in Medford. They saved a couple hundred bucks over the 1958 model; never realizing the car would become a Classic. (Several Chevy 210s have been listed in the Internet recently for $35,000 to $50,000) Two door, black/yellow with a 283 cubic inch engine and a four-barrel carb. No wonder the car was the talk of the school. Lloyd and I would always divide the driving. I drove one way, and he the other way. We NEVER had a disagreement about the self-imposed rules of using the car. The gift was a complete surprise. Mother had told her friends at work at Harry and David, in hopes they would not tell their teens and it would get back to us.
Christmas Eve, 1957, is most memorable. Dad disappeared just before we opened our gifts. Having him out of the house was not that unusual because he was always working on something. He had gone out and set up a step ladder over at the neighbors (the Slopers), hooked up a spot light and ran an electrical cord out to it. They had brought the car home that afternoon and had it hidden under some brush and cardboard. Even though we could have seen it from the back yard, we did not spot it. During the opening of our Christmas gifts we kept getting empty boxes with both our names on them with notes inside saying, “No, it is not this one.” Mother had hatched quite an elaborate plan. There was an electric feeling of excitement in the air but we had not one clue of what was about to happen.
Finally came the last box. A tiny one. We opened it and inside was a single key. An electric jolt ran down my spine, but still was not sure what was happening. Mother then summoned us to the back yard. Dad disappeared and went to plug in the spotlights. Suddenly the Sloper’s back orchard was flooded with light. The Walkers, BonNell and Keith appeared out from behind the pile of brush and cardboard. They began to tug away the stuff and a gleaming 1957 Chevy appeared! We took a quick ride and then back to house with the Walkers for a Christmas snack.
We had not been sitting down for more than a few minutes when we heard fire sirens. Looking out the door we could see the rotating red lights heading down the Walker’s long driveway. They ran out the door and I wanted to look for a place to hide because of all the sudden commotion. The Walker’s house was on fire! Finally I forced myself to join the gathering crowd. Their poorly built fireplace had set the end of their house on fire. A motorist had spotted the fire from Hwy. 99, stopped and alerted a neighbor, knocked on the doors. Finding nobody at home he located a garden hose in their shop, in the dark, and began to pour water on the fire while he waited for the Talent Rural Fire Department to arrive.
A most memorable evening!
1961 Light Green – Ocean Foam Pontiac – (which Larry bought from the Folks when they traded it in just before Linda and Larry married. In 1966.)
1966 Mist Green Dodge new – $3,800
1963 Tan VW Bug. – slightly used – in 1963 – $1300. Mother found it at the West Main Medford Fire station. The Folks’ first second car. Dad usually rode with other guys or sometimes used the car to get to his work, but with Mother working at the doctor’s clinic, they decided they needed a second car.
1969 – White Corolla Toyota – new – $3200 –
1972 – Orange Corolla Toyota – new – Dad retired in 1975 and went to work part-time for Irv Knapp’s Machine Shop.
1976 White AMC Pacer- new – $5500 – Mother really liked the way it drove. A good solid car with A/C that Mother enjoyed. But the car soon became unreliable. Kept quitting, and they could not locate the problem. So they sold the car to grandson Kenneth. Who in turn, after a year or so of problems, sold it to an acquaintance. The car was last seen parked along a remote part of I-5, somewhere between Medford and Grants Pass.
1980 Tan Toyota pickup – new – $4000 – Dad had always needed one for the farm but never did buy one. He finally broke down and bought a real pickup when he was 66 years old. As of this writing (2009) Dad still owns the truck.
1985 White Buick – new –
1994 Red Olds – new – $15,000 – I remember Dad calling me soon after Mother got the “bug” for a new car. He wanted me to talk Mother out of the purchase, but it was of no avail. Dad was soon convinced they needed a new car also.
Dad’s House/Real Property History
1941 Bought first house in L.A., 2561 Barry Avenue, next to Santa Monica Ave. for $3,800.
1946 Sold for $13,500
1946 Bought 8 acres at 4758 South Pacific Highway, Phoenix/Medford for $4,000
1946 Bought 20 acres of timberland on Anderson Creek above Talent for $2,000.
1948 After cutting & milling enough lumber for three houses, the 20 acres was sold for $2,000
1974 Bought three adjacent hillside acres from Harold Sloper for $4,000.
1965 Folks move to new mobile home place in the back “five”.
1966 Tried renting out the duplex down on the highway, but too many problems. Sold for $20,000
1982 Moved into new manufactured home on hillside 3 acres
2003 Sold 1965 mobile home rental and one acre of land for $74,000, adjusted property lines.
As of 2006 Dad has 7 acres remaining from the original 11-acre home place.
Moving to Oregon: 1946
Sunday afternoons were reserved for visiting relatives and friends. I remember the Folks going out to visit a relative only to find out that they had moved to Oregon. Evan and Eileen Rasmussen (Mother’s cousin) had moved to the Fern Valley of Southern Oregon. He had been a farmer in N. Dakota and was going to try it again. He bragged and bragged about Oregon weather. “You can sit outside in the sun in January”, he claimed. Evan tended to be an exaggerator. Dad talked with Mother’s Uncle Will Rasmussen, Evan’s father, who also filled them in on the wonderful virtues of Oregon.
An idea had been forming in Dad’s head about moving to Northern California or possibly Oregon. He wanted his sons to grow up on a farm. An Oregon connection was forming. The conditions in Los Angeles had been getting worse every year, especially following the end of the World War. It had been nearly 20 years since Dad first moved to Southern California, and Paradise was crumbling. Smog was getting increasingly worse. Eventually the whole Rasmussen clan – mostly Mother’s cousins and extended family, ended up moving to Oregon.
After the War Uncle Harland returned to California and rejoined his family. Dad dispatched him to the Rogue Valley to check out the possible purchase of land. Harland stayed with Mother’s cousin Evan and Eileen Rasmussen for several weeks. The four of us drove north in April of 1946 and Dad purchased eight acres of land on Hwy. 99 that Uncle Harland had located. (Rt.3, Box 263 GG, later changed to 4758 South Pacific Hwy.). Spent $4,000 on 8 acres of rich farmland. $500 an acre. Within a year or two the prices for land jumped to $1,000 an acre and stayed there for nearly 20 years. After that land prices began to skyrocket.
We spent the week at Ever Shady Auto Court in Phoenix. I remember playing in the creek with Lloyd behind our little cabin. Even in 1946 the auto court was old, but with big trees, thus “Ever Shady”. We bought our land from Fred and Taffy Bohm. They had two boys about our age, Barry and Peter. It was called the “Old Chandler Place.”
Land Sales Contract between the Bohms and the Smiths
April 25, 1946
Received 150.00 Dollars from E.B. Smith deposit on property located along the South line of my property on 99 highway. Description agreed upon by both parties is as follows.
Starting from the South East corner, the East line extends North on 99 highway 200 feet. As the property extends West it tapers to 100 feet wide at Anderson Creek. It retains this width of 100 feet as far west as where the main irrigation distch crosses from South to North on this property. It then broadens out to 250 feet to the west line of my property.
Deal to be completed in 30 days. Both parties agreee to half of surveying fee. The price $4,000.
Mrs. Ruby H. Smith
After a week we returned to southern California where Dad sold our house in a couple of weeks to an older woman and her adult daughter, bought a surplus 6×6 army truck using Uncle Harland’s veteran access to Army surplus, and built a travel trailer. I remember the many evenings Dad spent out in the driveway working on the travel trailer. I remember him going to his drafting board and drawing the oval shape that a travel trailer of those days needed. Lloyd and I tried to match Dad’s ovals. Never could get them to come out the same. Meanwhile Uncle Harland bought and moved a tent -house onto the backside of the Oregon property, next to Anderson Creek. Parts of this first house are still on the property.
I remember moving out of our house on Barry Avenue, loading the big Army truck and hooking up the little trailer. We stayed that night with Dad’s uncle and aunt, Gma Smith’s sister, John and Winnie Frizell.
We left in a caravan, Mother driving, with one of us riding n the front seat, on June 8, 1945. The other one of us would ride with Dad in the Army truck, along with Peggy, our beautiful German shepherd dog, sitting upright on the truck seat. I remember the new Army type smell of the truck. Dad says it was a gel that was smeared on everything to keep the truck preserved on its trip to the South Pacific. This truck had been built for use in the South Pacific, but was never shipped.
I remember driving into our new, empty home site in Oregon, with the white-topped tent house standing fore lone and lonely snuggled next to Anderson Creek. The Bohms came out and greeted us. Our 6th birthday was celebrated several days after our arrival. Taffy Bohm put on a party for us at their house. I remember Peter giving me a 50-cent piece wrapped up. I don’t think Mother was much into a big celebration because of our camping out situation. But because of the kindness of a neighbor we had a real birthday party. The Bohms were fascinated by our twiness. Fred called us, “Ike and Mike, they look alike!” It about drove us crazy. Mrs. Taylor, the next house down would call us “Twinie”. Uck!
Dad went to work putting a solid roof on the tent house. I remember a heavy rain once pounding on the tent. Since my bed was on top of the bunk, (the older always got the top) I could reach up and touch the wetness on the canvas. Once the roof was put on mildew became a problem. Dad had to drill holes in the closets that he had built. I remember Mother yelling a bit when she saw her first earwig the night we arrived. The pinchers really scared her. After our new, one bedroom duplex house was finished; the little cabin became our bedroom for about five years. Dad eventually added two upstairs bedrooms above the middle garage, one for each house side. Uncle Harland and Aunt Judy, who had been living in the duplex returned to Montana soon after their second daughter, Sandra, was born, joining her sister, Linda. A preemie that had arrived about six weeks early.
Nothing is ever simple. Lumber was hard to come by after the War, so Harland located a new, portable saw mill patterned after the famous Bell Portables for Dad bought it for $1,200 ($2,500?) from a Mr. Darby of Medford. He helped the guys set it up and taught them to use it. Dad and cousin Jim Rasmussen bought 40 (20?) acres of steep, north facing timberland from Evan Rasmussen for $2,000. They sold the logged over land a couple of years later for the same price to the Cotton Mill of Ashland. (Their son’s name was Peter…) Lloyd and I spent most of our time up at the mill site playing. No chain saws. All of the trees were cut down with a crosscut handsaw. The felled trees were winched down to the mill site using the Army truck. I remember the time Dad spotted a snake and took a gun out of the truck’s glove box and shot it. The summer and fall of 1946 was spent sawing up enough lumber to build three houses and some to sell for expenses. The little mill was later sold to a drunk who never paid Dad. Finally Dad reposed it, but by then it had been trashed. The power plant was gone. The remains of the old mill sat for the next 20 years rotting and rusting in our back pasture.
Dad sold the Army truck in 1953 right after Uncle Harland left for Montana. Had bought it for $1800, sold it $2500. Dad had planned to go into business with Harland on a motel complex on the front acre, but it did not work out. So the duplex was enlarged by adding a front room and two upstairs bedrooms. One for each side of the duplex. Dad then rented out the other side of the duplex for the next 20 years.
(I sure used a lot of “I remember…” in this segment.)
BUILDING A HOUSE IN THE ROGUE VALLEY AFTER WWII
By Lloyd Smith
My father and mother, Elmer and Ruby Smith were the children of the teens and twenties; my twin brother and I were the children of the forties and fifties; my two boys were the children of the seventies and eighties. This is quite a span of time for only three generations.
Being the direct product of the Great Depression, my parents had nobody to “hold their hand” as they stepped out into the uncertain world of the nineteen thirties. However, during the nineteen eighties my parents helped their four grandchildren start their adult life by giving them monetary gifts, cars, computers, loans and any other help they felt their grandkids needed.
There was no such help for my parents in the summer of 1946.
After WWII my folks decided to move out of the Los Angeles area and raise their twin boys on a small farm in the Rogue River Valley in Southern Oregon. Building materials were scarce in those days. If you could find any, it would have been on the Black Market. Our parents could not just run down to the local building supply company and purchase lumber to build a house. The only lumber my father and his brother Harland could find was on 40 acres of standing timber up on Anderson Creek, above Talent, Oregon.
Mother’s cousin – Evan Rasmussen, owned the timberland. Jim Rasmussen, another cousin, and my folks each purchased 20 acres of Evan’s timber for $2,000; or $100/acre. (Ruby and Elmer have been married for over 70 years and have never been in debt and have always paid in cash. I do not think they even own a credit card).
My father purchased a Bell Portable Sawmill powered by an old Nash car for $2500 from a nice Baptist man named, Mr. Darby. So, with a surplus WWII South Seas 6×6 army truck purchased from the government for $1800 the Smiths and the Rasmussens went into the logging business. The brand new G.I. truck was Army surplus, just out of the crate, and still covered with a protective coat of cosmolin.
The men felled the trees and skidded them down the mountain slopes using the winch on the front of the 6×6 and then hand-canted the logs onto the small mill’s carriage. One memorable time as they were cutting a large pine, on a steep hill, the felled log skidded on its own down the slope and headed right for the mill, but just in time it hit a large madrone tree and was diverted from the mill. They proceeded to cut dimension lumber; true 2×4’s, 2×6’s, etc. because none of the lumber was planed. Three houses were built (a duplex and a singe house) out of their rough-cut lumber. Some lumber was sent to an Ashland mill to be planed for siding and some to be sold to help cover costs. I once asked Dad how he knew how to do all of this and he told me that he once helped build some houses when he was in high school. The timberland was later sold to Cotton Mill in Ashland for $2,000. The mill was sold to an alcoholic who carted it off and never paid for it. Dad did go and retrieve what was left, but by then the mill had been scavenged and not much was recoverable. The old mill sat for the next two decades in our back pasture rotting into the ground.
Dad’s brother, Uncle Harland: Left for Kalispell, Montana after the sawmill was set up on Anderson Creek. When Uncle Harland left for Montana he took the little travel trailer that Dad had built in California. Harland’s reason for returning to Montana was to propose to Judy Presby, a Norwegian Lutheran girl he had met in high school. They married; Linda was born; returned to Oregon in the completed trailer; helped build part of the house; and then left again for Montana. The plan when they left was to get into the trucking and Christmas tree business with Judy’s brother. This did not work out so they returned to Oregon where they finished the duplex apartment. Harland worked at Snyder’s Dairy making butter, then was hired at Tucker Sno-Cat Corporation located in Medford. They had another opening for a machinist, so Dad quit Snyder’s and went to work for Tuckers where he worked for 14 years – from 1948 until the spring of 1962. Harland, Judy, Linda and Sandra returned to Montana in the fall of 1952, leaving Oregon this time for good.
Backing up a bit – Uncle Harland had returned to Kalispell, Montana in 1946 to propose to Judy Prestby. Harland stayed until they were married on June 26, 1946, . The newlyweds then returned to Phoenix, Oregon. Meanwhile, Mr. Prestby had completed the inside of the trailer. Harland and Judy lived in the trailer until the second half of the duplex was finished. Hans Prestby came down to our place for several weeks and helped finish their side of the duplex.
I remember Uncle Harland saying that his favorite song was: I’d Rather Have Jesus, composed in 1939 by George Beverly Shea based on a 1922 poem..
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold:
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands.
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand
Refrain Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything This world affords today.
2 I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame.
I’d rather be true to His holy name.
3 He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all than my hungering spirit needs.
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead
Dad had helped build houses for a guy while in high school in California, so he knew something about building. . Dad had a draftsman draw up the plans for the house, but since he had the skill and the training, he wonders why he did not draw the plans himself.
He used a book from the library on wiring a house. The house was built with full width, unplanned lumber.
I remember Mother kept saying at the dinner table in our little cabin, while the house was being built, “When I get into my new house we will……”
We first carried water from a facet at the Bohm’s house. We had a small metal tank with a facet on the bottom that we would fill. We used Anderson Creek water for bathing. Shortly after arriving, Dad went across the Hwy. and talked to Mrs. Bonham, a wise old-timer, about the best place for a well. She remembered seeing water running out of our property from a spring. She pointed out the spring source, so Dad went to work hand digging a well with Harland’s help. They would work far into the night using lights. The Army truck helped place the cement rings. A 10-foot, hand dug well eventually supplied water to both houses. Creek water was used for outside watering. Sometimes a rat or mouse would drop into the well. Dad was nonplused. He would just dig the offending rodent out and pump the well dry and let it fill up again. Seemed like were had more than our share of well problems
In the spring of 1947, after we had moved into the new house, Dad went to work for a neighbor, Tommy Thompson, in an apple orchard. Dad also picked a few pears. It was that fall that he went to work at Snyder’s Dairy in Medford delivering milk. He drove a route that extend all the way to Union Creek. He eventually moved up to making ice cream. I remember stopping by and visiting him while he worked. I was fascinated by all the smells of the ingredients.
Peter Kraft – Aunt Fern Smith Kraft, along with her two youngest, Peter (5) and Mildred (7), came out from Montana to visit us in the summer of 1947 in Oregon. We really liked Peter. He was such a nice kid. We were shocked a few months later when Grandpa Rasmussen wrote that Peter had died of an asthma attack. Aunt Fern about lost her mind in her grief. She never fully recovered from Peter’s memory, even though she raised 9 other kids.
Mother went to work for Harry and David’s in 1946 while Dad was building our house. She attended fruit packing school to learn the trade. Only packed pears for half a day. Hated it. Moved on to being a stamp girl. Both Harry and David (Holmes) would stop by and comment on Mother’s clean white blouses. Jewish men noticed this type of detail. David jr. would spend hours visiting with Leila Rasmussen, a cousin. It was mostly seasonal work during the fruit-packing season in the fall. Mother also worked in the novelty room during the Christmas pack making candy attachments for the Christmas fruit baskets. The women were paid by the piece. She also worked in the box room. Hand-folding thousands of boxes took a toll on Mother’s hands and she had problems for years after. The box folding wore out her thumb joints.
It was during her first season at Harry and David’s that Mother met and befriended Laverne DeYoung (Davidson). Laverne was 19 at the time and was attending the Assembly of God in Ashland. All of the Rasmussens were attending the Medford Assembly. Laverne arranged for her dad, Henry, (an old Dutchman) to pick us up for Sunday school. Dad was sawing lumber and working on the house, racing to get it done before winter.
We attended the Ashland church for 27 years. Lloyd and I both met our wives at the Ashland Assembly, and the rest is history. Interesting that a young 19 year-old fruit packer could have such an impact on our lives. Her invitation to church determined what our grand kids would look like since we both met our future wives at the Ashland church.
After moving to Oregon in 1946, Dad spent the first year sawing lumber and building our house. One day, while in Medford, Dad spotted the Snyder’s Dairy plant and walked in and asked for a job. Uncle Harland also worked at Snyder’s briefly and then went to work for Tucker Sno-Cat as a machinist. At Uncle Harland’s suggestion Dad went to work for Tuckers as a machinist in 1948 and worked there until 1962. It was interesting work because of the uniqueness of the company. There was little production work. Dad especially enjoyed using his design and machinist skills, but the owner, Emmett Tucker sr, and his three sons, Emmett Jr., Morris, and Jasper (Jim) made life miserable for most of the men working there. Dad let most of their junk roll off of him, but at times we could see he was really uptight because of their stupidity. I guess gifted and creative people such as Old Man Tucker are just difficult to work with because they have no people or management skills. Dad did lots of work for the Tucker family on weekends and after work. They seemed to really like him and appreciated his skill. Lloyd and I always had jobs with the Tuckers – helping Mr. Tucker with his latest harebrained idea such as farming along the Rogue River, or working for one of the “boys” and helping with their lawns and landscaping. Dad always took us with him when he went out on the weekend Tucker family jobs.
Dad did not work for a while after leaving Tuckers in 1962. After all of his years of devotion and service, the Tuckers fired him because he had turned them in to OSHA for health violations. Steel was being tempered in the machine shop, using cyanide, a deadly gas, without proper ventilation. They refused to provide proper ventilation, so Dad had written a letter to the State.
Skilled machinist jobs were hard to find at the time in the Valley. Uncle Don Rasmussen, back in Montana, offered Dad a job in his grocery store. Lloyd and I were in Texas at LeTourneau College. We still do not know how they made all those school payments without borrowing any money, including pilot training. Lloyd and I worked every summer at Crater Lake National Park and we worked part-time for the college, but Mother mostly banked those wages for us. That was the money we used for our house down payments after we both were married in 1966.
Uncle Don wanted to open a Laundromat next to his store, so Dad worked with and for him between August – October of 1962. The Folks put their house up for sale, but fortunately it did not sell. Mother was enjoying her job at the Orthopedic Clinic and did not really want to move back to Montana. Dad had left Montana in 1929 to get out of the snow many years ago, so it was a struggle for him to go back to a climate that he did not enjoy. Dad stayed with Aunt Pearl Bowman who was also housing Grandma Rasmussen who had just sold her house. He also stayed for a time with Uncle Don. Mother was alone in their house for the first time in her life. When the house did not sell, Dad returned and went to work briefly for a hand truck manufacturer in Talent. The hand trucks did not sell, and they eventually went out of business. Dad really liked the owner. It would have been a dream job.
Dad and Keith Walker ran a custom farming business during the summer of 1963. They mostly ran off of Dad’s investment. Lloyd and I worked for the company that summer rather than heading back to Crater Lake National Park. We had just graduated from LeTourneau and still did not know what we wanted to do.
I headed to Lincoln, Nebraska, on August 28, for a three-month training course with the Peace Corps at the University of Nebraska. Linda and I had met at church the day before I left. This was the same weekend that Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech on the Washington Mall. I remember talking with a black guy on the plane that was headed to the rally. We really did not know too much about MLK at this time out in Oregon. Lloyd worked through the summer for Dad and then started a secondary educational teaching program at Southern Oregon College in late September.
Dad then went to work for Kliever’s Machine Shop on Front Street in Medford in late summer, 1963. Klievers specialized in doing customized machine work for lumber mills. Dad enjoyed the job because of the uniqueness of each job but the building was old and poorly ventilated – lots of welding smoke, the equipment was old, and the heating system was inefficient. Dad secretly added a ventilation system around his work area to bring in heated, fresh air. For some reason Old Man Kliever did not want any additions to his ancient building. So Dad snuck down one Sunday and installed his blower and vent pipe and then proceeded to paint the new installation with paint mixed with dirt from off the floor. Mr. K never noticed.
Dad retired from Klievers Machine Shop in 1975. He has worked at odd jobs, including a couple of years at Knapp Machine Shop in Gold Hill until he began to lose his eye sight. He enjoyed this type of challenging work.
June 1948, Mother, Lloyd and Larry went for a three-week visit with G/G Rasmussen in Montana. Traveling on the bus through Portland we saw the ruins of hundreds of houses along the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Huge piles of walls and roofs were smashed against the riverbank. The giant floods of 1948 had destroyed Vanport, a temporary town built by Henry Kaiser to house workers for his Liberty Ship Works during WWII. Many of the families working for Kaiser were from the Midwest and lost everything they owned.
The invisible city
Vanport, the 2nd largest city in Oregon and the largest public housing project in the nation was flooded when a dike holding back the Columbia River gave way at 4:05 p.m. on May 30, 1948. Vanport, 15-feet below the Columbia’s water level, was completely underwater by nightfall. Fifteen people died in the flood. Houses were washed off of their foundations and the entire town was lost.
Vanport, a combined name of the nearby cities — Vancouver and Portland — has been erased off maps and all visible traces of the city have disappeared. The houses and the town were swept away, but memories of the community, which once housed 50,000 people, remain strong.
In 1942 Americans were gearing up for war production, and Portland became a shipbuilding center. The shortage of available labor was so acute that the Kaiser Company recruited workers from the East and South, bringing them to Oregon on trains dubbed “Magic Carpet Specials”.
At one time, as many as 80,000 people lived in Vanport – a complete city with schools, a hospital, bank, theater and markets. Following the end of World War II, people gradually moved away, and only about 20,000 remained on Memorial Day in 1948 when the city was completely flooded. The Corps of Army Engineers cleaned up the site and sold it to the City of Portland in 1960, the only stipulation being that it was to be used for recreational purposes.
1948 Trip Highlights: Mother got very “sea” sick. Threw up in front of the driver. A woman gave Mother some pills that helped settle her stomach. The driver kept going to sleep. I remember asking Mother why we had traveled through Idaho so quickly. I could not comprehend her explanation of the narrow Idaho Panhandle. About half way through our trip a car suddenly passed the bus, and forced his way over in front of the bus causing the driver to hit his brakes. At the next straight section of highway the driver passed the offending car and then slowed down and forced the car to stop. The bus driver then got out with the luggage door crank/key and smashed the car’s side window. I remember how scared everybody was as the bus got underway once more. We felt we were being driven by a madman. We all sat there in the darkness afraid to even speak. It was deathly quiet on the bus for the rest of the evening, except for quiet whispers as people shared what they had witnessed.
We really enjoyed our visit with our grandparents. Grandma Rasmussen was a great cook. She kept telling Lloyd and me that we were too skinny and needed to eat more. We got acquainted with our Montana cousins. Uncle Don, Aunt Doris and Lamar lived on the same property, across the garden. We loved playing in Grampa’s old shed/garage. It had not been disturbed for probably 50 years. Wonderfully musty. Had some great smells. Grandma had a huge garden that Gmpa hand shoveled and cultivated every spring. A group of relatives took us to Glacier National Park. This was THE thing to do when relatives showed up from out of town. (For our family it was always a trip to Crater Lake National Park.) Mother would write to Dad every day. I learned the difference between a fountain pen and a ballpoint pen. (The ballpoint pen had just been invented so it was still a novelty. What? No inkbottle?) Gmpa showed us his famous mint bush. Ever since I could remember Gmpa would include a pressed mint leaf in each of his letters. So we pressed some mint leaves to take home. Whenever we asked Mother if we could take something home with us she would say, “There wasn’t any room left in the suitcase”, I would respond, “But we can put it on the bottom”. Mother’s response was, “The bottom will soon be on top.” In one of Dad’s letters he wrote, “My tooth brush is getting lonely.” Mother did not enjoy the trip completely because she was so lonely for Dad. But Lloyd and I really enjoyed our selves.
We did get to visit Gmpa Aaron Smith who was living in a large army-type tent that summer out on “railroad land” He was cooking over an old wood stove that sat outside. He was very friendly to us. Greeted us warmly. We were only there about half an hour. Mother cannot remember how we got there or who took us. It seems to me that there was a river nearby along with tall brush. Grandma Rasmussen seemed to keep track of his location.
The Train Wreck, December 1950. Mother went, by train, to G/G Rasmussen’s 50th wedding anniversary in Kalispell. They were married December 25, 1900 in North Dakota. I remember we cried real hard after putting Mother on the train. Dad kept making jokes about “Mother taking the crain down the crack….” Practical Dad drove straight to Wards from the train depot and we dried our tears while Dad bought paint. He spent every night while Mother was in Montana painting the whole house – painting late into the night. Dad also built and installed additional kitchen cabinets. We delayed our Christmas until Mother got back. She sure was surprised to find the house completely painted. I do not remember going to the train to pick her up, but I do remember her walking into the house with Dad and being so surprised. We must have stayed behind.
While traveling north on their second night out, after leaving Portland and heading for Whitefish, Montana on the main Great Northern RR line, following a spell of heavy rain, a landslide hit the train at about nightfall and pushed part of the train into the Kootenai River. The slide halted the train immediately and the lights and heat went out. The train had barely crossed the state line into Montana. There was 3 – 4 inches of snow on the ground. The locomotive and two other cars were shoved into the Kootenai including the engineer and a train worker, but they both survived. Mother’s car was the next one. It had derailed, but it was still sitting upright. Large slabs of rock were piled up against the train cars. The rocks had ripped a long slash in their rail car. They sat for 17 hours, without heat or hot food, eating only sandwiches, before a relief train, sent out from Missoula, could be brought to their rescue. It was a very old, rickety, hard seated train. As daylight lit up the narrow river canyon, Mother and some of the other passengers got out of the derailed car and looked at the damage. It was a little scary knowing they were now at the front of the train. In order to reach the rescue train the passengers had to walk over the landslide. Before they left the derailed train, company officials required the passengers to sign papers saying they were not hurt and would not be making claims against the Great Northern.
The actual article is a bit different from my memory of the train accident. In my ten-year-old mind the two trainmen were killed.
Bonners Ferry Herald–December 21, 1950
TRAINMEN INJURED WHEN ROCK SLIDE DERAILS LOCOMOTIVE
Two Spokane enginemen aboard the Great Northern’s eastbound Empire Builder were shaken at about 2:30 yesterday morning when the locomotive ran into a rock slide at Yaak, Mont. several miles west of Troy, Mont.
Engineer Roy Webb suffered fractured ribs, bruises and scalp wounds. Both were brought to the Community Hospital in Bonners Ferry for treatment. It was reported this morning that their condition was good and that the two would probably be released within a day or two to return to their homes.
Observers at the scene of the accident reported that passengers on the train were only shaken by the sudden stopping of the train.
According to Dispatcher William Preston at Whitefish, Mont., 500 cubic yards of rock fell on the tracks, which at that point are laid at the foot of a high bluff with the Kootenai River on the other side.
The first unit of the diesel locomotive left the tracks and nosed into the River. Both Webb and Ostness were wet when they emerged from the cab.
Shortly after 10 a.m. yesterday morning the six Pullman cars of the 13-car train were pulled back to Bonners Ferry where a two-hour stop was made to allow the passengers time to eat at local restaurants. Many of the passengers took advantage of the time to send telegrams and to make long distance calls.
Trainmen said that as many of the coach passengers as possible were brought back to Bonners Ferry on the sleeper cars. The coach passengers said they had been advised that the train would be from 24 to 36 hours late arriving at Chicago.
It is reported that rock continued to fall after the train was stopped and lodged against the coaches and other cars at the head of the train.
The sleeper cars which were brought back to Bonners Ferry were taken to Sandpoint, where they were switched to the Northern Pacific tracks and a train made up to continue over the northern Pacific trackage. The train would be switched on to the main line of Great Northern again at Havre, Mont.
The eastbound mail train, which was to have left Spokane yesterday morning, was held at Spokane yesterday morning, was held at Spokane until afternoon. It passed through Bonners Ferry at 5:45 p.m. yesterday with the first westbound train coming through shortly afterward.
Equipment and men from division points at Whitefish and Spokane were called to assist in clearing the track. In addition to the damage to the locomotive there was some damage to running gear of several coaches, the mail car and diner, the chief dispatcher at Whitefish reported.
P.S. This is Ruby Smith and I was on my first train ride–on my way to Kalispell, Mont. to help my parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Rasmussen of Kalispell, Mont. celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Christmas Day. I was in one of the front cars and headed for Whitefish so we sat there for 17 hours–no heat and no lights– waiting for a train to come from Whitefish to pick us up. They served us sandwiches. We had to walk in the snow and gravel to board the train that was not as nice as the Empire Builder. It was an older train with straight back green seats. Kalispell was not on the main route so I took another train to Kalispell and finally arrived at my destination about 3 a.m. and my brother, Don, picked me up.
When Elmer Smith was about 12 years of age he and his Dad were heading from Kalispell, Mont. to Essex. Several miles short of their destination there was a rockslide. They exited that train–climbed over the gravel and boarded another train and headed for home in Essex,
Letters from Gmpa. Aaron Smith – dictated by Gmpa after he lost his arm, and written down by a nurse.
I was so very glad to get your letter and to know you were concerned about me. I have been getting along fine, and am feeling good now–no pain or suffering. I’ll miss my arm of course, but I’ll manage. Playing the violin and guitar are in the past but there will be something else I can give my time to.
I especially appreciated your concern for my spiritual life and I want you to know I really want to make my peace with God. Keep on praying for me; I need your prayers. I’m proud of my family for being Christians. I had several of the nurses read your letter. I wanted them to know what kind of son I had and I thought, too, that your advice would do the nurses good.
I sit up in a chair every day for a few hours. The rest of the time I am in bed. I am in a ward with two other men. We have a washbowl and toilet in the room. There are nurses on duty night and day, and they all take good care of me and all the other patients. There are 39 patients in the hospital and several more living in cabins on the grounds. We are three miles east of Kalispell. A Doctor comes every morning to check on the patients, and the Superintendent’s wife is a registered nurse, as well as several registered nurses on duty at different times. There are also several practical nurses and nurses’ aides.
Eva and Fern have been here twice. Tell Harland (Smith) I’d like to hear from him.
Write again soon, won’t you? There is really nothing you can do for me. My old age pension check takes care of me here. Thanks just the same.
July 15, (sometime between 1952 – 1953, in Kalispell, Montana, County Home)
Dear Addie (Wold, his daughter) –
I surely enjoyed your letter and the one from Kenny (Wold) and Fay (Schmidt) – The cards were certainly clever – The 3 Perkins thought of me too – I like knowing what you are all doing and that you are all praying for me – We are having wonderful weather up here now. I get around in my wheel chair and out on the porch in the sunshine whenever I care to – with only a little help I can lift myself around and – with my crutch that Barney (Aunt Fern’s son. Barney Kraft fixed – I am almost as good as new.
The letter I got from Harland about his work was interesting – (probably Tuckers) and the nice picture of Johnny (Wold) with “love to grandpa”. How I’d like to see him and all of you.
I’m glad Kenny is going to Bible College – I’m proud of all my family – and the nurses enjoy all your letters too – I’m glad to have them read them all – about the Bible Uncle Lee sent it is where I live in Kalispell – I’ll have Fern (Kraft/Sheford, daughter) send it when she comes in some time.
Keep writing when you have time. I never get tired of letters –
Your Dad Smith (in his own handwriting)
p.s. We all enjoy your Dad, he is so cheerful and never complains. He certainly has an undaunted spirit in spite of his misfortune (losing his right arm to gangrene because of the crutch damage to he main artery in his arm pit) (He needs your prayers – that little last step to God isn’t easy to take – signed “One of the nurses – Mrs. Cottingham)
April, 1952 – I remember the call coming from Montana informing Mother that her father had suffered a stroke. Then a few days later the final call. Mother really cried. Dad was gone for a while comforting her. Lloyd and I just kinda huddled that evening. The house was so sad and cold. Dad and Mother left for several days with Cousin Vernon Rasmussen, who drove them to Kalispell. We stayed with Uncle Harland and Aunt Judy who lived next door in our duplex. Mother was so impressed with Grampa’s service. She has requested that the song “He the Pearly Gates Will Open” be sung at her service.
I remember after Dad built our “duplex” in 1946, whenever Mother referred to it as a “duplex” I thought that she was talking about the type of siding that Dad had installed on the house.
June, 1952 – Lloyd and I went with Uncle Harland and Aunt Judy to Montana for a week. We drove straight through going up. We went through Crater Lake National Park and I remember Uncle Harland stopping by the snow patch near North Junction. We were surprised at how hard and icy the snow was. We were used to soft winter snow.
Grandma Rasmussen was a widow by now having lost Grandpa in April. She really showed us a good time. We played with the cousins, especially Ken Ross. We spent a lot of time at the Ross’s who lived less than a mile away. Their house was near railroad tracks as I remember. Cousin Ken got us hooked on the game Monopoly. Mother bought us a game after we got back and we spend much of the next three summers playing a continuous game that we left permanently set up. Aunt Judy’s father, Mr. Presby, took us fishing once or twice on Flathead Lake and perhaps McDonald Lake. He would tell us that when we passed a certain place on the lake we would have a fish on our line, and sure enough we would. He was a master fisherman. Mr. P was an old Norwegian who spoke with a heavy accent. His old world roots gave him talented hands. Harland and Judy took us out to see Gmpa Smith at the County Rest Home. He had lost his arm because years of using a crutch had destroyed the nerves and blood vessels in his armpit. He was in a wheel chair. He greeted us very warmly and we visited for a bit. I remember his warm, friendly smile and his kind voice. It was said by the family that Grandpa Smith cried when he realized he could no longer play his beloved violin.
Heading back to the Rogue Valley, from Montana, we stopped for the night midway. The motel bill was $7.00. We had an agreement to share the expenses. Uncle Harland only charged us $2. I asked him why not half. “The basic cost for two was $5.00. The motel charged us $2 extra for you two.”
Left at Home – One day in the early 50s, Mother and Aunt Judy decided to go grocery shopping at Randall’s Market in Phoenix. Since 5 year-old cousin Linda enjoyed books – she would look at them for hours – the two ladies decided to leave her at home “reading” on the couch. Soon after they left for the store, little Linda left the house heading down the long driveway in search of her mother. When they got home they found Linda next-door, having been rescued by Sylvia Sloper.
In 1958 I remember Dr. Bunocore calling Mother and Dad into his office to discuss what he had discovered while removing three tumors off of my left breast a month earlier. (He had told the Folks that the tumors might be cancerous and be prepared for a three-hour operation while he removed my lymph glades and muscle. Mother said that one of the happiest moments of her life was when she saw my feet coming out of the operating room after only 45 minutes. Of course no one told me.) He broke the news to the Folks that day that he had detected a heart murmur. Dr. B suggested that my activities be restricted until I was checked out further by a heart expert in Portland. Mother came home crying at the though of me being a teenage invalid. As usual, Dad was cool and calm. Lloyd offered to take over my heavy duties. I continued to mow the lawn, but they would not let me push the lawn mower up slopes at the end of the lawn.
I was eventually examined by Dr. Conklin up in Portland. He felt that if my funnel chest was straightened that perhaps the murmur would go away. Dr. C thought it was the depression of the sternum that was pushing my heart over causing the heart to murmur. I was scheduled for the chest operation in June 1959, during Portland’s annual Rose Festival.
After the chest operation I worked what remained of the summer in the Packing House at Harry and David’s. Don Grimes, a friend from our Ashland church, knew of my situation, and tried to protect me by helping lift anything that might strain my chest. He was really kind to me.
In 1961 BonNell Walker, a neighbor and friend, who was a physical therapist, invited Mother to apply for the receptionist position in the therapy department at the Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic in Medford. Mother was interviewed by Dr. Ralph Thompson and was hired. When offered the job, Mother was afraid of the challenge of learning a new job, but she accepted. Mother found that she thrived in the professional climate. She really enjoyed the challenge of organizing schedules and appointments and keeping the department humming. Mother worked seven hours a day, but got paid for eight. It was an excellent job arrangement for her. Mother retired in December 1983 after 22.5 years; age 66. She enjoyed her job so much it was hard for Mother to give it up.
Columbus Day Storm, Oregon’s biggest single day disaster, October 12, 1962 – (Story from Mother- Oct. 12, 2002)
The news mentioned the Columbus Day Storm back in 1962. It really hit Oregon and Washington. Elmer had been in Montana and I drove to Eugene to pick him up. We stayed there that night and drove home in the storm. Thousands of trees were destroyed–including one from our placed down on the Hwy.
1974 – Dad and Mother bought the upper 3 three hillside acres from neighbors Harold and Sylvia Sloper in 1974 for $4,000. This is the parcel they now live on. In 2003 Mother and Dad partitioned off one acre of their 1966 mobile home site and sold it to their renter, Ron Modrell, for $75,000. The four remaining acres was added their present three-acre parcel, making their total home site 7 acres in size.
# 8 Uncle Harland and Aunt Judy were blessed with three grandchildren. Their only grandson, David “Ryan” Seregow, born: December 22, 1981, wrote several descriptive essays about life lessons learned prior to his graduation from high school. He graciously has agreed to share them with us in this collection of Smith writings. Ryan lets his love for Jesus shine through his essays.
(Speech written and presented by Ryan at the GMA Ceremony Nov 2000)
The Value of Royal Rangers
The value of Royal Rangers can be measured by the encouragement given by the commanders, developing relationships with others, gaining accomplishments of awards, spiritual growth, and grounding in the Word of God. I have gained experience in each of these areas from participating in the Royal Ranger Straight Arrows through the Trailblazers groups. At a young age, I realized the importance of developing friendships by belonging to a program where I could meet with other boys, work on badges and attend camp-outs.
The commanders, who worked with me, encouraged me to work hard on my awards and to earn my GMA. They also encouraged me to work together with the other boys in my group to establish friendships. I found that by working on my awards and by helping other boys earn their awards, gave me a sense of accomplishment, which in turn earned respect from them. Through the weekly Bible studies, I learned to apply God’s work in the areas of being hones, and being loyal to my church, family, outpost and friends. In addition, by obeying those who have authority over me (such as my commanders, leaders, and pastors), I have learned to be obedient to God as well.
After attending Junior Leadership Training Camp (JLTC), I realized that what I thought I know, was not enough training. When I got to our destination, it was different that what I pictured it to be. Instead of sleeping in tents that were already assembled, we had to work together as a team to obtain the proper parts to set up an army tent which slept 12–not an easy task! That taught me how to work cooperatively with the other boys and respect hard work. Sometimes I felt like I was in a boot camp, but soon realized that by having proper respect for the commanders and other boys taught me a discipline, which I would use during my entire life. Throughout the three days that we were there, we trained very hard, learning leadership skills and learned how to use these skills in Royal Rangers and for God–it was worth all the effort and hard work. Because of learning good discipline and striving to be excellent in character, I have grown in many areas of my personal life.
When I came into Trailblazers, I heard about an extra program that our outpost was starting. It was called the Honor/Color Guard. I joined the program and became an Executive Trainer for the Honor and Color Guard. In the Honor Guard, I taught boys how to spin, salute, twirl, pass, and guard using a rifle. In the Color Guard, I learned and also taught the boys how to hold and respect the American, Christian and Royal Ranger flags. We later used these skills in parades, Award Ceremonies, special functions, and guarding and posting the colors for combined openings once a month.
While working on my Hiking, Fire Craft, Rope Craft, Camping and Camp Safety awards and advancements, I learned how to tie knots, build a bridge and a tower, how to cook over a campfire, and to survive. While on camp-outs, I participated in relay races, made leather articles, and learned how to build different types of camp fires. At night, while around a big council fire, we sang songs, told stories, and listened to guest speaker’s share from the Bible. I learned the value of living a Christian life and how to apply many principles to my life.
There are many more camps, awards, activities and positions in the Royal Rangers–more than you can imagine. Included in this is excitement, adventure and appreciation for God’s creation, leadership, gaining knowledge in God’s Word, and many challenges. I would encourage young boys to be a part of Royal Rangers. Learning how to train boys to become leaders while earning their awards leading up to the highest achievement in Rangers (The Gold Medal of Achievement), is very valuable and will help many boys gain new experiences that will be used over their entire lifetime.
When you’re ready to work hard on your advancements, play with other boys in activities, serve your church, obey all commands and actions, worship the Lord in service, live by the Ranger Code to make it your daily rule, and do all else with confidence, then you’re ready for anything!
“If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:7-8
(written and read by Dad to Ryan at GMA Ceremony)
We’ve been eagerly looking forward to this day, it’s finally here.
Ryan, your journey to the “Gold” began in the Straight Arrows when you were five years old and built and raced your first Pinewood Derby car.
As you advanced from the Straight Arrows to the Buckaroos, to the Trail Blazers, and then to the Trail Rangers, with the guidance and encouragement of your commanders, you:
- earned 14 advancements, 29 merit badges, and 11 additional awards;
- discovered the excitement of camping and the outdoors;
- built and raced more Pinewood Derby cars, and,
- as part of the Honor Guard and Color Guard, marched in many Ranger celebrations and several Los Gatos and San Jose city parades.
But most importantly, you grew in your understanding of God’s Word and the importance of Christian service.
After achieving the rank of Jr. Commander, you learned and demonstrated responsibility and accountability as you taught and encouraged other Rangers and provided support and leadership for Outpost campouts.
While advancing through each level of the Rangers Program, you remained strong in your faith and have taken on the qualities of a leader. You have grown in character and compassion — and have developed a good sense of humor—you’re a lot of fun to be with!
With the heart of a servant, you have served in many areas of the Church, from running sound for Children’s Ministry, to working with various groups of Rangers, to being part of the Youth Ministries band. You have shared God’s love with others here at home, and away from home in Mexico and Peru. And your gift and talent for music and sound honor God and bring blessing and joy to others.
Our encouragement for you tonight and always is that you will follow in the steps of the Psalmist, (Ps 86: 11-12.) “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name for ever.”
Our prayer is that you will always remember God’s promises and what He has accomplished in your life. Let Him continue to guide your every step and make each day count for God’s glory as you serve Him and others.
I know it seemed as if the requirements for the Gold Medal of Achievement would never end. But your focus, persistence, and great effort have paid off.
Ryan, we all love you and are very proud of you. Congratulations!
Letter to mail with Graduation Invitation
(insert “keyboard” and graduating class in cap and gown pictures)
Dear Family and Friends:
My home education began five years ago in 8th Grade through The Kings Academy Independent Study Program. During my senior year, I have had the opportunity to attend San Jose City College. I desire to continue my education at Cogswell College in the area of music and audio recording.
Two hobbies that I particularly enjoy are collecting Lionel Model Trains, and 2nd edition Hardy Boys books. My interests in music began 14 years ago, and being home schooled has allowed me to pursue my studies in MIDI. Just recently, I produced my first original CD and began my own recording business called Valley Studio Productions.
I have enjoyed many ministry opportunities such as playing the keyboard for our youth worship team and am an active youth leader, holding a weekly Bible study on the internet. Last fall, I received the highest award in the Royal Ranger Program, The God Medal of Achievement. God has given me the privilege of serving Him in many areas of volunteer work within the community. On trips to Mexico and Peru, our youth team passed out over 80,000 Book of Hope pamphlets to students in public schools and held rallies in the evening, telling others about Christ. July 2, 2001, I will be taking another trip not to Peru, but to Honduras for 15 days. God is so good to all of us as we take these trips to other areas of the world.
My life verse, Psalm 73:25-28, will always be my prayer: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is non upon earth that I desire besides you…God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever…it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works.”
I would like to thank God for everything He has done in my life. I would also like to thank my parents, family and friends for supporting me in my hobbies, music talents, and church-related activities. As of May 30, 2001, I have successfully graduated from High School and I’m now continuing on to College, where I will be working hard to earn my certificates in the Audio Recording Industry.
Thanks for taking your time,
D. RYAN SEREGOW
My home education began five years ago in 8th grade through The Kings Academy Independent Study Program. During my senior year, I have had the opportunity to attend San Jose City College. I desire to continue my education at Cogswell College in the area of music and audio recording.
Two hobbies that I particularly enjoy are collecting Lionel Model Trains, and 2nd edition Hardy Boys books. My interests in music began 14 years ago, and being home schooled has allowed me to pursue my studies in MIDI. Just recently, I produced my first original CD and began my own recording business called Valley Studio Productions.
I have enjoyed many ministry opportunities such as playing the keyboard for our youth worship team and am an active youth leader, holding a weekly Bible study on the internet. Last fall, I received the highest award in the Royal Ranger Program, The Gold Medal of Achievement. God has given me the privilege of serving Him in many areas of volunteer work within the community. On trips to Mexico and Peru our youth team passed out over 80,000 Book of Hope pamphlets to students in public schools and held rallies in the evenings, telling others about Christ.
My life verse, Psalm 73:25-28, will always be my prayer: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You…God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever…it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works.”
D. Ryan Seregow To our dear son Ryan,
We are very proud today. God has truly given us the joy of our hearts, a very special gift—wrapped in a tall package—full of fun and giving us many wonderful family memories. Looking back on the past 19 years of your journey from childhood into adulthood, you have overcome so many obstacles; we have watched as God has used them to strengthen your character. While obtaining your goals in school and reaching for high expectations in your musical abilities, God has encouraged your faith and has increased your knowledge of who He is and how He can guide you in every stage of your life.
This season of home schooling has been successful because of your endless energy and desire to achieve. Your creative abilities, many hobbies and interests never end—from excelling in piano and working on various projects for your recording studio business to searching for your 1937 Vintage Ford Truck. Producing your original songs on CD, playing in the college worship band and achieving the Gold Medal of Achievement Award has realized some of your more recent goals and were highlights of your Junior and Senior years. God has used your willing heart to serve Him on mission trips to Mexico and Peru and establish an internet Bible study group.
Ryan, you have been our greatest joy. Psalm 86:11-12 reads, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” As you continue to use your talents for the Lord and reach for the goals He has placed in your heart, remain hand in hand with your Savior leading you, and make every day count for God’s glory.
We love you son, Your Mom and Dad
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF R.G. LETOURNEAU
DOUBLE AS PARK RANGERS
If you ever visit Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park you might notice a few visitors who look just a little bewildered; here’s the reason why. A family will arrive at the north entrance of the park, pay the entry fee and visit for moment with the friendly park ranger. Then they’ll drive through the park for about an hour and arrive at the Rim Village area where they will see another ranger giving an interpretive talk to a group of visitors.
As they move closer the look of bewilderment begins to show on their faces and they begin to ask one another, “Isn’t that the same man who greeted us at the north gate? How did he get here so fast? It’s impossible!” For a moment they’ll think they have seen double and their bewilderment is understandable because they have crossed paths with rangers Larry and Lloyd Smith who are twin brothers.
When you take a close look you’ll notice that though they are identical twins, Larry is slightly taller and thinner than Lloyd. Larry parts his hair from right to left and Lloyd parts his the opposite direction. Even so, people continue to have difficulty telling them apart.
The brothers graduated from LeTourneau College in 1963 with degrees in Industrial Engineering. They continued their education at Southern Oregon College where they earned masters degrees in education.
During the school year Lloyd, his wife Helen and their children, Ken, age 9 and Keith, age 6 live in Grants Pass, Oregon where Lloyd teaches in the Grants Pass mid high school and a community college. Larry, his wife Linda and their children Brian, age 8, and Amber, age 5, live in Jacksonville, Oregon where Larry teaches in the elementary school.
Lloyd and Larry have worked as seasonal rangers at Crater Lake for more than 17 years. They have performed virtually every job necessary at the camp from trail maintenance and patrol ranger to cutting firewood and digging and cleaning sanitation facilities. Since 1967 Lloyd has been a patrol ranger working in law enforcement. For the past two years Larry has been an interpreter, leading nature hikes and boat tours and directing special park programs.
The Smith brothers have fond memories and a sense of deep appreciation as they think about their days at LeTourneau College. Both agree that meeting Mr. and Mrs. R. G. LeTourneau was an important event in their lives. “When we graduated from the college my parents stayed at the LeTourneau home next to the plant and Mrs. LeTourneau cooked breakfast for them,” recalls Lloyd. “That was a real highlight for our family.”
The spiritual emphasis on campus and Bible classes helped strengthen their relationship with the Lord and prepared them for Christian service. They are currently serving as deacons and Sunday school teachers in the Assemblies of God church.
While the classroom played an important role in their education, it was extracurricular activities, which provided some of the most rewarding opportunities for personal growth. Lloyd and Larry were active in student publications and the academic Gold Key Club. They developed skill in photography and learned how to meet and relate to the public, especially campus visitors.
“Those experiences are very important to me in my everyday work.” states Lloyd. “My main responsibility is law enforcement which demands an ability to understand people and a knowledge of how to be of help to them. I’d say learning to get along with people was one of the most important things I learned at LeTourneau.”
Larry benefited from extracurricular activities in a different way. “Before attending LeTourneau I was always afraid to meet people,” Larry recalls. “The activities in which I participated helped me overcome that fear. I now regularly speak to groups of three or four hundred people at a time as a part of my work at the park. I never could have done that without my experiences at LeTourneau.”
Lloyd and Larry Smith illustrate the importance in Christian education of developing the total man. Education involves more than just acquiring knowledge about math, history or engineering. The social and spiritual aspects of life are equally important.
On the LeTourneau campus what is usually referred to, as extracurricular activities are not “extra” at all. Whether it be a part-time job, attending a worship service or participating in sports, all of the activities that take place outside the classroom are considered to be a vital part of a student’s total education. It’s one of the reasons why LeTourneau graduates like Lloyd and Larry Smith are capable of successfully assuming important responsibilities in life.
Twin Brothers, Lloyd and Larry Smith were raised 80 miles southwest of Crater Lake National Park in the Rogue Valley town of Phoenix. They first saw Crater Lake at age 7 during a family outing at which time they hiked the old Rim Lake Village Trail (closed in 1959 (with their grandparents from Montana, their parents and a host or relatives. Since their father worked for Tucker Sno-Cat Corporation of Medford Oregon and since Crater Lake was being used as a proving ground for the original Sno-Cats, the Brothers often visited the Park during the winter. They feel especially fortunate for having seen the frozen lake in 1949.
Lloyd and Larry attended LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas and Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, graduating with degrees in both engineering and education.
Lloyd began working seasonally at Crater Lake in the summer of 1959. During his 21 seasons at Crater Lake and Rocky Mountain National Parks, his assignments included: park maintenance, trail crew boss, construction, entrance and campground ranger, and law-enforcement patrol ranger, Lloyd spent 25 years teaching Science and Math in Grants Pass. Following his retirement, Lloyd operated his own travel business and has worked for a business manager for a florist shop.
Lloyd and Helen moved to Longview, Washington in 2000. Lloyd now works part-time as a licensed funeral director and is the manager of Steele Crematory.
Larry started working seasonally at Crater Lake in 1961. During his 23 seasons at Crater Lake and Oregon Caves National Monument, Larry’s assignments have included: general park maintenance, trail crew, entrance and campground ranger, law-enforcement patrol ranger, park dispatcher, and an interpreter ranger. He has spent over 33 years teaching elementary school in Jacksonville, Oregon. Larry co-authored the book, Crater Lake, The Story Behind the Scenery.
The brothers are active in the Friends of Crater Lake National Park and have spent several summers teaching field study classes in the Park. Larry presently “work” at Crater Lake as the as a park volunteer. Lloyd volunteers at Mt. Rainier National Park. (from the bio section of the Smith Brothers’ Chronological History of Crater Lake National Park – 2000)
Elmer’s and Ruby’s Wedding Celebrations
THE 65th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY OF ELMER AND RUBY SMITH
On June 3, 2000, fifty-eight friends and relatives gathered at the Fellowship Hall of Central Point Assembly of God to celebrate the 65th wedding anniversary of Elmer and Ruby Smith. The celebration started with a reception for the honored couple, followed by a sit-down dinner provided by the Smith’s two sons, daughters-in-law, and their grandchildren.
A life celebration followed the dinner. The Smith’s four grandchildren, Kenneth, Brian, Keith, and Amber Smith Shields gave speeches of appreciation for what their grandparents have meant to them over the years. Kenneth used the analogy of photography and snapshots to represent the images of his grandparents that have been imprinted in his memory.
Sons, Lloyd and Larry, presented an extensive slide program with accompanying music to illustrate 75 years of their parents’ lives.
Elmer Bennett Smith, the son of Aaron and Gertrude Smith, was born in Kendrick, Idaho, January 4, 1913, the middle of 12 children. Elmer was raised on the crest of the Rocky Mountains in Essex, Montana near Glacier National Park, where his father worked for the Great Northern Railroad. Elmer graduated from high school in Los Angeles, California in 1932 and spent the following winter, along with his father and uncle and cousins mining for gold in the wilds of the Salmon River in Idaho.
Ruby Helen Rasmussen, the daughter of Christian Hans and Dagny Rasmussen, was born in Kalispell, Montana, January 7, 1917 where she was raised. Ruby graduated from Flathead High School in 1935.
Elmer and Ruby met at a church meeting in Kalispell a year before Ruby graduated from high school. Following Ruby’s graduation, the young couple set out for Idaho under the guise of “visiting friends”. On June 10, 1935 Elmer and Ruby were married by a Justice of the Peace at the Court House in Salmon City. The eloping couple returned to Kalispell where they lived apart for six months, telling no one, “because we liked to do things differently”.
With the warm weather of Southern California beckoning, the couple headed for Los Angeles where Elmer worked for Douglas Aircraft as a tool and die maker during World War Two. Twin sons, Larry and Lloyd, were born in 1940. Following the War, the Smiths moved to Southern Oregon, near Phoenix, where they have lived for the past 55 years; moving four times on the same piece of farm property.
During his working career, Elmer worked for Snyder’s Diary, Tucker Sno-Cat Corporation, and Kleiver Machine Shop. Ruby worked 23 years for the Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic as a scheduler and receptionist.
Elmer and Ruby have two sons, Larry and Lloyd, four grandchildren and three great grand children and soon to be five.
From: Ken Smith
Sent: Monday, June 05, 2000 2:22 PM
To: Elmer And Ruby Smith (E-mail)
Subject: Here’s a copy of my speech from Saturday . . .
Grandma and Grandpa’s 65th Anniversary
By grandson Ken Smith
More than anybody else I know, my Grandparents are impossible to capture in a five-minute speech. I have enough stories to tell about them to last through several hours. Grandpa rescuing me from the side of a cliff overhanging the Rogue River. Grandpa teaching me and Keith how to shoot a .22. Blowing up blasting caps in the back field. When I was 11 years old, backing Grandpa’s brand-new — i.e., just purchased that day kind of new – pickup truck into his tractor while he was teaching me to drive.
But in the interests of time, I’d like to forego the stories for a few minutes. Our family is a family of photographers as well as storytellers, so I’d like to talk about three pictures, each of which seems to capture something specific and special about Grandma and Grandpa.
I don’t remember the first one being taken – I was only a year old. I didn’t even know about it until a year or so ago, when Larry sent me a huge collection of pictures he’d ran across. In this picture, I’m sprawled across Grandma’s lap, looking wide-eyed up a the world, while Grandma is carefully, patiently cutting my hair. That was my first hair cut, I think, the first of many to come. It seems like Grandma’s always been cutting my hair. And even when she wasn’t the one cutting my hair any more, she was first among those who seemed to think I ought to be cutting it more often.
In this picture, I have a look on my face that’s concerned, but also interested in what’s happening there at the back of my head that I can’t see. If this was my Mom cutting my hair, I’d make some comment about how mothers always have eyes in the back of their head, so they don’t need to wonder what’s happening behind them. But grandmothers don’t have eyes in the back of their heads. They’re not like mothers: it’s not their responsibility to know out what you’re doing wrong. Grandmothers only believe the best about you – sometimes so much so, you wonder if they’ve got eyes in the front of their heads.
I’m not in the second picture, but I have it hanging on my wall. It was taken about twenty years ago, I think, so Grandpa would have been in his late sixties. He and Grandma used to go camping up at Lemolo Lake in Eastern Oregon, and the grandkids would go join them there every chance we got: we’d swim, fish, raft, and waterski to our hearts’ delight. In this picture, Amber is in a tiny raft, about ten feet from the shore, and Grandpa is leaning over the raft, protective and helpful. The way the picture is taken, the light is falling diagonally across Grandpa’s frame, highlighting every muscle, every bulge and sinew and line standing out. Even in his late sixties’, Grandpa’s muscles rippled when he moved and walked. When I first saw the picture in one of my Dad’s slideshows a couple years ago, I was frankly jealous: I’d been working out for years, and didn’t look anything nearly that good. Some folks in their sixties or seventies or eighties you look at and say, “I hope I’m in that kind of shape when I’m their age.” I’ve always looked at my Grandpa and sighed, “I wish I was in that kind of shape now.”
But Grandpa would never have noticed how he looked. In this picture, his focus is entirely on Amber, and you can tell what’s on his mind: he’s getting ready to push her out, away from the shore, but he wants to make sure she’s safe. Whether in this picture, or in the rest of his life, he was never concerned about himself. His first thought was always for his family: his wife, his two children, his four grandchildren, or now for the next generation: his four and soon to be six great grandchildren.
The third picture isn’t etched anywhere on silver or paper: it’s just in my head. It happened about four years ago. I was moving up from LA to Portland, and Grandpa and my Dad drove down to help with the move. We spent a couple days camping on the Santa Cruz Islands, then spent another day and a half packing up the 24 foot truck before driving north. I was exhausted by the time we’d finished – but Grandpa didn’t seem to be phased at all. He was 83 years old, but had carried out boxes tirelessly for the entire time, and – I’m convinced – had managed to get more real work in than I had. On the back side of the Grapevine, driving out of LA, one of the cars in our caravan broke down. By the time we got it fixed, we were some twelve hours behind schedule. We finally passed through Fresno around 10:00, drove through Sacramento around midnight, and then continued on.
All this way, Grandpa and I were together in the cab of the truck. And he stayed awake, talking to me, keeping me awake. Over the four or five years prior to this trip, I hadn’t seen much of my Grandpa. And it seemed that the years had changed both of us. We were able to communicate in a way that we hadn’t before. We talked and argued and got to know each other all over again, all through the long drive north.
But the picture that won’t leave my mind is from when we finally arrived, 9:00 am that morning, in Phoenix. I hadn’t seen Grandma for over a year, and maybe longer. Grandpa had left only a few days before. But Grandma, who was waiting on their porch, had eyes for one and only one person in the cab of the truck that came bouncing up their driveway. And as Grandpa got out of the cab, Grandma rushed up to him, held on, and wouldn’t let go. I finally managed to coax her away from Grandpa briefly for a hug, but she was immediately back at his side, holding onto him “like a new bride on her husband’s arms, barely to be shook off.”
And that’s the picture I have of them. Holding onto each other through the years, holding onto each member of their steadily growing family, holding on, treasuring, cherishing, nurturing, loving. Thank you so much, Grandma and Grandpa, for holding onto each of us.
June, 2005 – THE 70th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY OF ELMER AND RUBY SMITH
Article for the Mail Tribune
On June 11, 2005, fifty-six friends and relatives gathered at the Redmen’s Hall in Jacksonville, Oregon to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary of Elmer and Ruby Smith. The celebration started with a reception for the honored couple, followed by a buffet luncheon arranged by granddaughter Amber Shields and Helen Smith and grandson Brian Smith.
A Life Celebration followed the dinner. Grandsons Kenneth Smith and Keith Smith gave talks of appreciation for what their grandparents have meant to them over the years. Linda Smith, Helen Smith, and Jeanne Jackson read three essays written by 92 year-old Elmer Smith. Brian Steller, the pastor of Calvary Church, prayed the Prayer of Blessing.
Sons, Lloyd and Larry, presented an extensive slide program with accompanying music illustrating 85 years of their parents’ lives.
Elmer Bennett Smith, the son of Aaron and Gertrude Smith, was born in Kendrick, Idaho, January 4, 1913, the middle of 12 children. Elmer was raised on the crest of the Rocky Mountains in Essex, Montana bordering Glacier National Park, where his father worked for the Great Northern Railroad. Elmer graduated from high school in Los Angeles, California in 1932 and spent the following winter, along with his father and uncle and cousins mining for gold in the wilds of the Salmon River in Idaho. After pulling out of the Salmon River expedition, Elmer enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps at Glacier National Park.
Ruby Helen Rasmussen, the daughter of Christian Hans and Mary Dagny Rasmussen, was born in Kalispell, Montana, January 7, 1917 where she was raised. Ruby graduated from Flathead High School in 1935.
Elmer and Ruby met at a church meeting in Kalispell a year before Ruby graduated from high school. Following Ruby’s graduation, the young couple set out for Idaho under the guise of “visiting friends”. On June 10, 1935 a Justice of the Peace at the County Court House in Salmon City married Elmer and Ruby. The eloping couple returned to Kalispell where they lived apart for six months, telling no one of their marriage, “because we liked to do things differently”.
With the warm weather of Southern California beckoning in 1939, the couple headed for Los Angeles where Elmer worked for Douglas Air Craft as a tool and die maker during World War Two. Twin sons, Larry and Lloyd, were born in 1940. Following the War, the Smiths moved to Southern Oregon, near Phoenix, where they have lived for the past 60 years; moving four times on the same piece of farm property.
During his working career in Oregon, Elmer worked for Snyder’s Dairy, Tucker Sno-Cat Corporation, and Kliever Machine Shop. Ruby worked 23 years for the Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic as a scheduler and receptionist.
Elmer and Ruby have twin sons, Larry and Lloyd, five grandchildren and eight great grand children.
Thinking back over 70 years of marriage Elmer writes:
“To the younger generation 70 years may seem an awfully long time but with all my vivid memories it seems but yesterday that I laid eyes on the love of my entire life. She was the girl I had been dreaming about. I could not see one flaw–in other words-she was the girl of my dreams. I knew that I need not look any farther and that thought has stayed with me for these 70 years.
With Jesus as our protector and guide and Ruby always striving to make a well managed and happy home-this has been an enjoyable journey. What it could have been without Jesus I can only imagine–all glory goes to Him. Raising our twin sons was a breeze and something parents dream about.
Now at 88 years of age Ruby watches over her flock with hi-tech equipment generously supplied by grandsons Keith and Ken so she can fulfill the desire she has to serve and keeping track of everyone and passing that information on from the comfort of her little steel-folding chair in front of her computer.
We could not understand why we were so blessed when our sons brought home two lovely ladies (Helen and Linda) they chose as their life’s partners. Now we are blessed with loving grandchildren and their mates and eight great grandchildren and we love them all very much. These blessings are all because of the love of Jesus in our family.
I must say that trying to keep our loved ones safe under the umbrella of prayer is like herding turkeys. –I never know where they might be, but our Heavenly Father knows.
It is a treacherous world out there but as long as we keep ourselves in the love of God everything will be fine and we will all be together with Jesus some day.
A proud and grateful husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.”
315 Laurelwood Drive
Jacksonville, Oregon 97530
From: Keith Smith
Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2005 10:50 PM
To: Keith Smith
Subject: Tribute to his Grandparents
Red cups. Funny tasting water. Great views. Grandpa’s tractor. Fresh air. Lots of warm hugs and little chocolate Whopper candies snuck to me when Grandpa wasn’t looking. These are just some of the flood of memories that come to me when I think of my Grandparents.
Railroad tracks. Blackberry bushes. Open fields. Guns. Birds. Squirrels. Nets and Cherry trees. Mopeds and Lamola Lake. Camping. Water skiing. Holding the flashlight for Grandpa and sneaking up on Grandma to give her a good scare. Stacking wood. Finding spare metal parts. Grandpa’s inventions and Grandma’s cooking. The list can go on and on. Each one unique, each one with its own image, sound and smell. And these are just mine. Each grandchild has their own list of memories, each as unique as we are. These images, these sights, sounds…these memories are some of the greatest treasures I have – and they are inside of me because of countless hours of investment by my grandparents. These amazing people who came from a different time and have taken the time to share their life, their wisdom, their experiences, their faith – and most of all their love…with me. How blessed am I to be born into such a gift. How did I get to be so lucky as to share in this family that they started 70 years ago when they secretly pledged their never-ending and ever-strengthening love to each other? A good question, and one we should all be asking ourselves. Why were we all so blessed to share in the lives of Elmer and Ruby. Not likely a question we can ever answer, but maybe by understanding them each a little better we can at least better understand from where we come.
This is only from one grandson’s perspective, but let’s start with Grandma. The very picture of an obedient, loving, doting and caring wife. There is no doubt who the love of her life is. And she proves it…by calling him ‘dumpy’? That’s one that we’ll never understand, but so be it. She is so loving that according to my count she has made her ‘dumpy’ over 25,000 dinners, cut his hair almost 1,000 times, bandaged his ‘owies’ roughly twice that often, and countless times has warmed his outdoor ‘showers’, driven to the store to get supplies for his latest project and has even been known to cook him a dessert or two. And let’s not forget bearing him two very…unique…sons, and caring for his many grand and great-grandchildren.
As for Grandpa. Here is a man who has never once said a negative thing about the love of his life. He has dedicated his life to his God, his wife and his family. He has built businesses and houses, barns and stables. He can fix anything you can break, and invent a solution for any problem. As a spry 92 year-old he will work circles around his grandkids, and shame anyone who tries to keep up with him. In my opinion his ethics, his morals and his character are un-matched on this earth. He exemplifies quiet confidence, and when he does speak – we all listen. Even when he is harping on us that we aren’t eating the right things or aren’t taking good enough care of our bodies. But then again, what would a perfectly healthy 92 year-old know about taking care of his health?
Each of my Grandparents are unique and amazing in their own rite, but there are certain combinations in this world that can take two things that are individually wonderful and by putting them together can compound and multiply – resulting in a team that goes far beyond even the sum of its parts. And that is the very kind of combination, team, partnership…marriage that my Grandparents have. Something this wonderful could only have been put together by God, and God has truly blessed their union. Although we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves. Conventional wisdom states that any marriage that begins with secrecy, eloping and a judge is destined for the scrap heap. So we’ll all be watching this one to see if it really does last or not.
Each of us in this room owes an immeasurable debt to these two wonderful people. As a result we are all thankful that you found each other. We are thankful that you pledged your love to each other. We are thankful that you started a family. And we are thankful for the investment you have made in each of us so that we can cherish the memories that are locked up in each of us.
“I Love You”
By Therese Marszaleh
Written November 2007, for publication in the Valentine Edition of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel (TPE) (An Assemblies of God official publication) February 2008.
I Love You
By Therese Marszalek
Love is in the air as young and old alike prepare valentines for their sweeties. Candy dishes brim with heart-shaped expressions of love that offer the sweetest ways of saying “I love you.” For more than a century, romantics have crafted love letters using hearts imprinted with endearing words like “Lover Boy,” “Will You,” “Be Mine,” “I’m Yours,” “Love You,” “Your Girl.” Whether expressed in a creative love-laced letter or through sentimental words, “I love you” is a welcomed sweet treat.
People long to hear the words “I love you.” It’s human instinct to love to be loved. Man’s innate desire to know he or she is loved is no surprise, considering man’s Creator, the Author of love, is love (1 John 4:8).
“I love you” evokes various pleasant emotions. “I love you, Daddy” can melt a father’s heart after a stressful day at the office. Heard from a first love, “I love you” is captivating, even magical. When a friend phones to say, “I just called to say I love you,” loneliness and discouragement fade. A spouse’s “I love you” chases uncertainties away and makes anxiety vanish. These three powerful words warm the heart, generate a sense of security, and stir deep emotion when spoken from one to another.
We, as humans, can weaken the meaning of “I love you” if the phrase becomes a mere habit instead of a heartfelt expression of devotion. When “Love you,” ends every phone conversation and “Love ya” accompanies all goodbye waves, the significance of the word can diminish.
God says, “I love you” countless times in countless ways every day. But unlike human love, His love never fails to retain its rich meaning and never loses its life changing impact on each one it touches.
Expressions of love benefit physical health and well-being.
“People who believe they’re loved are happy and relate better to others,” psychiatrist Dr. Adalina E. Carter says. “When people know they’re loved, they liberate endorphins, a substance that makes us feel good. It also boosts the immune system, enables the body to fight illness and helps the cardiovascular system function well.”
A healthy dose of “I love yous” a day can keep the doctor away!
Does “I love you” adequately communicate true love?
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. God agrees. 1 John 3:18 says, “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” God’s divine love, which He poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), reaches beyond emotion to unite words of love with actions of love. Natural love often falls short in effectively displaying sincere love, but God’s supernatural love, resident within every believer, is ever available to activate and put love in motion.
“Talk is cheap,” some say when they question the authenticity of people’s claim to love others. Demonstrations of love empower the expression of the words “I love you,” paving the way for people to believe and receive “I love you” as genuine. Without an exhibit of love, “I love yous” can turn into sweet nothings — hollow and meaningless words.
[author suggested pull quote: Without an exhibit of love, “I love yous” can turn into sweet nothings—hollow and meaningless words.]
Telling someone you love them isn’t enough. Gary Allen, director of Ministerial Enrichment for the Assemblies of God, agrees.
“From a biblical standpoint,” Allen says, “the highest form of love is agape love, which is more than words or emotion. Agape love is an act of the will, a choice that must be supported by trust, respect, confidence and emotional security.”
Serious consequences can result when expressions of love aren’t backed up with action.
“In God’s economy, anything that can grow can also die,” says Allen. If a profession of love is not reinforced with a demonstration of love, love can die.”
A lifetime of “I love yous”
Elmer and Ruby Smith keep love very much alive and have reaped the physical and emotional benefits of the countless “I love yous” they’ve exchanged throughout their 72 years of marriage. Both in their 90s, this amazing couple from Phoenix, Ore., enjoy remarkable health and vigor. Ruby has yet to take an antibiotic in her 90 years!
These love birds don’t take their “I love yous” lightly, and believe that their heartfelt words must be fueled with a continual demonstration of love.
Like ping pong balls, Elmer and Ruby take turns sharing cherished memories of ways in which their life partner has displayed love throughout their marriage.
“I love Ruby more than I love myself,” Elmer says. “If both mates put the other ahead of themselves, they’ll both be blessed!”
The joy bubbling from this committed couple affirms that they practice what they preach. And as Elmer says, they’re blessed because of it.
“If you tell someone ‘I love you,’ it means you’ll make sacrifices for them,” claims this adoring husband. Ruby wholeheartedly agrees, recalling numerous sacrifices Elmer had made for her and their family over the years.
“Ruby has demonstrated ‘I love you’ all these years by putting her desires aside in order to stand behind and support me and the family” he says. “She’s always ready to serve me. Always.”
Ruby is quick to jump in.
“Elmer’s the one who continually goes out of his way for me,” she says. “He’s so unselfish, always wanting to make things better for me.”
This match-made-in-heaven team claim that the key to their 72-year love affair is keeping Christ at the center of their marriage.
“We want to imitate Christ,” they both say. “His love enables us to make sacrifices for each other.”
When Elmer and Ruby chose to imitate Christ, they discovered the most significant demonstration of love the world has ever known. Writing an eternal love message on the heart of man, God said “I love you” when He sent Jesus to make the greatest sacrifice of all. “God demonstrates His love for us in that while were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV). Now that’s the greatest love story ever told!
THERESE MARSZALEK is a freelance writer in Spokane, Wash.
E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A LOVE STORY
By Linda Lee Reb Smith
In the summer of 1963, Larry had returned home to Oregon following graduation from LeTourneau College in Longview, Texas. He and his brother, Lloyd, attended there three years receiving degrees in Industrial Engineering. Larry decided to enter the Peace Corp. After training he would be going to Columbia to teach about agriculture. Plans were made for him to go to training for his assignment at the U. of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Linda returned to Oregon from her freshman year at Southwestern Assemblies of God College in Waxahachie, Texas. She chose to attend there because two of her brothers had attended there in their youth, Ernie and Floyd. Though she did not plan to return to Texas, she looked for a summer job so that she and her Texas roommate could attend Queens Hospital School of Nursing in Honolulu. Due to “lack of experience” she could not find a summer job anywhere in the Grants Pass area. She was living back home with her parents in Williams following their retirement. So she decided to volunteer her summer, helping her mother cook at several summer kids’ camps at Camp 2, near Butte Falls. While there she met Pastor Robert Cornwall from Ashland who also worked in the kitchen. Pastor Cornwall, sensing her discouragement at not finding a summer job, offered to get her a job in Ashland. Thinking she wanted to go into nursing, Linda said she wanted to find a job in a hospital. Returning to camp after the weekend, Pastor Cornwall brought news that he, indeed, had found her a job at the Ashland Hospital as a Ward Clerk and also a place to live with a family from the church, Karl and Geraldine Oeser. So Linda moved to Ashland where she walked to work each day.
When Linda and her mother and father visited Ashland Assembly of God upon her first visit to Ashland, a certain 23 year old young man was singing in the choir. In those days anyone who wished could sing in the choir and most of the youth did. Linda and her mother were both wearing “not quite so fresh” Hawaiian leis they had received from attending a Christian Women’s Club meeting in Grants Pass the previous week. Larry thought to himself, “Who is that girl wearing those dumb flowers?”
Well, the Sunday afternoon was spent with the Cornwalls, and then it was time for the evening church service. In those days we always went to both services whenever we could. It was a tradition for the youth from the Ashland church to go out to the Little Sweden Restaurant following the service, just down the street from the church. So Linda went along. The group decided to go up to the Shakespearean Festival while a play was going on to look over the wall of the theater and then to walk down to Lithia Park. Well, who got to show the new girl around but Mr. Larry Smith. It was just a first meeting but we enjoyed the evening.
Larry left for Lincoln, Nebraska, the next day and Linda settled into work and church life in Ashland. After working several months at the hospital, Linda decided that nursing wasn’t the field for her, but since there was a college in town that trained teachers, perhaps she could go back to school. Meanwhile, Linda’s parents sold out in Williams and purchased a mobile home at 301 E. Clay in Ashland, and Linda moved back home. Perfect for attending school. Southern Oregon College accepted all her credits from Southwestern, and since her parents were so poor, she applied for and received a scholarship for each quarter of school until she graduated: $99, and since she lived at home, her parents provided room and board. She found a job on campus in the Audio Visual Aids Department; at 35 cents per hour she was able to save enough money to buy her school books. Working in the AVA office was secretary, Helen Boorman, later to become her sister-in-law.
Meanwhile, Larry finished Peace Corp training in Lincoln, but due to the inability to learn oral Spanish fast enough, he was selected out of the group going to Columbia. It was a great disappointment. He returned home to Phoenix to live with his parents. His brother, Lloyd, had decided to go back to school at SOC to work on a teaching degree. Back in Nebraska Larry had independently decided to go into teaching also.
As you may guess, the girl with the funny lei was still in Ashland, now singing in the choir, and going to college. Their friendship flourished. Larry would pick her up for school, and they would attend various classes during the day. Larry soon was eating dinner with Linda at her house. After dinner they would return to the school library to study until it closed. He would drop her off at home and return to his home in Phoenix. This went on for another year until, at Christmas time, he presented her with a beautiful diamond ring, which she still wears. Larry graduated in June of 1966. On June 18th Larry and Linda became husband and wife at the church where they had met in 1963, only now the church was called Ashland Christian Center located at Garfield and Iowa streets.
September 2009 – Claudia, did you see our cake top in our wedding photos? In those days it was traditional to have a “bride and groom” cake top. On Feb. 14 (also Valentine’s Day and Oregon’s birthday), 1974 my parents celebrated their 50t h wedding anniversary. On that same day my father turned 75 years old, and our daughter, Amber turned 1 year old. It was a very special day! I took the lace off the bride on our cake top, painted the dress gold and the hair on the bride and groom gray. Then we had a friend make my parent’s anniversary cake and used our cake top on their cake. The 50th anniversary is the “golden wedding.” I still have the cake top and maybe will someday use iton another special cake. My wedding dress belonged to my cousin, Darla. It was beautiful and fit me perfectly and was far more beautiful than one I could afford to buy. It was an honor for me to borrow her dress. Our whole wedding cost $300, that was the budget and I stayed within it. Friends from our church helped us decorate. It was wonderful celebrating with our church family. We were all very close, both young and old. My parents paid for our wedding and they were retired on a small pension. Larry and I were just graduating from college and had no money of our own. Larry had not started teaching yet and after our week-end honeymoon to the Redwoods, we moved immediately to Crater Lake and rented an old government trailer house. The trailer was dirty from having bachelor park employees living in it for many summers. I spent my summer cleaning, learning to cook, and being a housewife. At the end of the summer we moved into a little apartment in Ashland where I could walk to school and Larry could drive the 20 miles each day to his first teaching job in Jacksonville. I graduated from college that December and started teaching in January. Those were good beginnings and started us off on a wonderful married life. We looked so young then, don’t you think? I do not want a big 50th celebration. I feel very uncomfortable with a big party with people coming to look at me! But I would like to celebrate with my family–children and grandchildren. A special trip or a cruise together sounds more like me! We are in our 44th year of marriage so year 50 will come up in 2016, June 18. Linda
The Lord has certainly blessed us together as a couple. Larry got a job teaching 5th grade in the old run-down historic town of Jacksonville. After going to school many nights for 5 years, Larry earned his Master’s Degree in Education. Linda received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education in Dec. of 1966. Larry only planned to teach in Jacksonville a couple of years and then we would move on. Linda was offered a teaching job at Griffin Creek. Little did we know that Jacksonville would become such an important place in our life together.
We were blessed with two wonderful children, Brian, on November 5, 1969 and Amber, on February 14, 1973. Then spouses Richard and Helen entered the family. Following that, grandchildren, Matthias, Nathanael, Chloe, Deanndria, and Everest. And this year we have Christopher. Many people have come and gone in our home, and we have been blessed! We are now 40 years down the road of marriage. We can’t imagine how it could be not to have each other! To God be the Glory!
February 7, 2005
|Larry Smith has spent the past 16 years helping create the Jacksonville Woodlands, eight miles of interpretive and recreational trails on 320 acres in Jacksonville.
Mail Tribune / Jim Craven
A local teacher takes the lesson out of doors in celebrating the woods of Jacksonville.
By SANNE SPECHT
Medford Mail Tribune
As Larry Smith discusses his twin passions — teaching kids and preserving Jacksonville’s woodlands — his eyes reflect both soft sentiment and steely determination.
“This is a lifelong commitment,” says Smith.
The youthful 64-year-old grandfather has spent more than 30 years teaching at local elementary schools and the past 16 years building the Jacksonville Woodlands Association — a non-profit organization founded to purchase and preserve parkland in the hills surrounding his hometown.
With the help of Smith’s students — and federal, state, county, city and community efforts — the organization has purchased 21 parcels which make up the 320-acre natural park.
Grants, mostly written by Smith, have helped fund the $3.5 million ongoing project that currently supports eight miles of interpretive and recreational trails.
“We’re about to make that nine miles,” says Smith with a grin.
Now Smith is about to be presented with a national award honoring his vision and leadership, says Marjorie Edens, Jacksonville resident and former Southern Oregon Historical Society field services coordinator.
At the request of state historian Richard Engeman, Edens wrote an Award of Merit for the American Association of State and Local History in honor of Smith’s contribution to Jacksonville — a town that is itself a historic landmark.
“(The JWA) preserves our view,” she said. “There weren’t many people who understood the vi44wscape is as important as the built landscape.
“Larry built his teaching career to incorporate these kinds of contributions back to the community. And I’m ever so grateful.”
Smith says JWA was born when a for-sale sign appeared in the Beekman Woods above his Laurelwood Drive neighborhood in 1988. Smith says he and another neighbor, Joe Raymond, discovered the land had been left to the University of Oregon.The tract was zoned for a 22-home development.
Determined to protect the viewshed and natural playground for the neighborhood’s children, they formed the JWA in 1989. Although they raised $25,000 at their first public meeting, it took six years for the association to raise the property’s $126,000 asking price.
“The plan,” says Smith, “was to buy the woods and go out of business.”
But by then, Southern Oregon University had also decided to sell some property in the woodlands area.
Smith couldn’t resist adding to the dream when SOU made him a great offer. The 80 acres of property went to the JWA for the bargain price of $140,000.
“They really worked with us,” Smith says.
Smith says he is proud of the numerous regional and four national awards the conservation project has garnered. He is equally proud of his community’s contributions to the JWA’s successes — particularly those of his students.
Smith started teaching in 1964 and “semi-retired” in 1999. He still teaches at Medford and Jacksonville schools at least two days a week, he says.
“I missed it so much I went back,” says Smith.
Smith beams when he discusses how students helped build the JWA trails system. His students often joined him on the trail. In addition to getting a good physical workout, the students learned lessons in ecology, history, and civics.
One of Smith’s former students, Brian Mulhollen, brought the woodlands national attention when he received the Jefferson Award for public service in 1993.
The 11-year-old had persuaded the city to sell a 10-acre parcel for the greatly discounted price of $1,060.
“He asked me, ‘Mr. Smith, how do we get it?’” says Smith. “I told him, ‘Brian, we have to ask them for it.’ And he did.”
Mulhollen, now 23 and father of two, says Smith’s influence helped him find his path in life. He works with the Forest Service and was recently offered a job as a firefighter in Merlin.
“I’d walk to school with him every other day on those trails,” says Mulhollen. “I had a lot of ambition and a lot of drive. Larry helped channel it into something I can be proud of. That means everything to me.”
Mayor Jim Lewis says Smith’s work on behalf of Jacksonville doesn’t begin and end with the woodlands. Smith serves on at least eight committees and organizations, including the Crater Lake Institute, the city’s budget and parks committees and Friends of the Jacksonville Library, he says.
“He continues to instill his values and good work ethic,” Lewis says. “This town owes him an awful lot.”
For more on the JWA, contact www.jvwoodlands.org or email@example.com.
History into stories
Jacksonville Review & Sentinel
For years, Larry Smith has been Jacksonville’s unofficial historian. Come September, however, he will be officially recognized by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) with the Leadership in History Award. The AASLH Awards Program recognizes excellent achievements in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout North America.
Larry’s love of history began with his grandmother. “Grandmother Smith would come stay for a month to six weeks every summer. While we were stacking wood, we’d start talking about family, and she told me about a lot of family history.”
He confesses, however, that he doesn’t have a degree in history. “I’ve taken lots of classes, and I like to think myself as a community historian, but I’m really a storyteller.” Larry has spun his stories for over 40 years as an elementary school teacher, a seasonal ranger at Crater Lake, and a guide to Jacksonville’s history and geology.
“I’m not a natural teacher,” Larry admits. “It’s forced. I was so frightened by life in general–I couldn’t face people. My twin brother and I always did things together–from first grade up through college we only had one class separate from each other. And I always walked in Lloyd’s shadow.”
Larry and Lloyd both graduated in industrial engineering from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas. “By the time I finished my last year, I realized my last year, I realized it wasn’t something I really wanted to do, but I went ahead and finished my degree.” Then for the first time in their lives, Larry and Lloyd went different ways.
Larry recalls that period in the 60s. “We were all working under Kennedy’s idealism. At LeTourneau, I heard this talk by a guy from the Peace Corps. They had just started it. It sounded really interesting, like something I wanted to do. So when a Peace Corps recruiter came on campus, I got really excited and filled out the application, and they accepted me.”
He continues, “They flew me back to the University of Nebraska. It was the first time I had been around non-engineers. But along with six other people, I didn’t learn the Spanish fast enough, and I got sent home. I felt really defeated.”
Larry wound up working at Harry & David. “I had worked there one week when the news came that Kennedy had been shot. That sent my life in a new direction.”
Lloyd, who was 2,000 miles away, had decided to become a teacher. “I remembered how much I liked history,” Larry recalls. “I got straight A’s. So I marched into Churchill Hall at SOU with my transcripts and said I would like to become a high school history teacher. The advisor looked up at me and said, ‘Why? They’re a dime a dozen.’ So I signed up for elementary. I thought, ‘good, I get to teach science and other stuff.'”
When Larry was hired to teach at Jacksonville Elementary School, he describes himself as “scared spitless. I’ll never forget that first day. I’d never taught a whole day in my life, only half days. My lesson plans were used up in minutes. So then I started spinning stories about Crater Lake.” Larry had been doing seasonal work at Crater Lake for the previous five years.
“And that’s how I got into story telling. I can tell a story on just about any subject. Most of them are true stories. So I ended up with a career of 33 years of telling stories.”
Recently Larry was the commencement speaker at Ruch Elementary School. “I hadn’t been there in three years. They said we want to have a story teller come out. So I told three stories. When I got done, some of the kids came running up to me and started telling stories they remembered from three years ago.”
When Larry began teaching in Jacksonville, the town became the backdrop for his stories. “It was my teaching easel. Kids learn great in the classroom, but when you take them outside, you can paint the big picture a lot better.”
Larry learned that lesson from Dr. Hollenbeck, his mentor at SOU. “She loved field trips. I remember her giving the example of teachers bringing leaves into a classroom and saying this is an oak tree. She then shouted, ‘The tree is outside! Take them outside and let them look at the tree!'”
These outside classrooms have inspired Larry’s own efforts to preserve both place and history. In 1982, he co-authored “Crater Lake, Story Behind the Scenery,” and he and brother Lloyd continue to compile a chronological history of the park itself. Larry still works periodically as an interpretive ranger at Crater Lake National Park, teaching families about the natural and human history of the area.
A founding member of the Jacksonville Woodlands Association in 1989 and currently its Executive Director, Larry works to preserve and interpret this once-neglected part of the town’s cultural landscape. Over the years he has worked with groups ranging from Cub Scouts to the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and city, state, and federal agencies to bring local history to both residents and summer tourists.
Along the way, Larry researched and wrote Rich Gulch, a book for young readers based on trailside historical displays of the Jacksonville Woodlands Association. He has also produced a children’s activity book about the Jacksonville Cemetery.
Larry has been recognized for many of these efforts. He has been nominated as Oregon’s Teacher of the Year, and has received Amway Corporation’s National “Class Act” Environmental Education Award, the Medford School District’s “Service to Education Award,” and Kiwanis International’s “Everyday Hero Award.” He’s even had his own days. September 12, 1999, was officially declared “Larry Smith Day” in Jacksonville.
Larry appreciates this latest recognition, but has no intention of resting on his laurels. “I want people to realize that our historic fabric is in danger of falling apart. We need to be constantly aware of this. Having been here for 40 years, I’ve seen a lot of things slip away. We need to preserve our history–to wrap our arms around it and guard it judiciously.”
Goodbye My Son
BRIAN SMITH CLIMBING RESUME’
- Mt Rainier summit Feb 4th 1988 with RMI Winter Expedition Seminar via D.C Routed. It was the first summit in 5 months, and the first for the year 1988.
- Mt Rainier summit April 1st 1992 via Fuhrer Finger
- Mt Rainier summit March 1993 solo via Kautz Glacier
- Mt Rainier summit June 1997 via Emmons Glacier
- Mt Rainier summit July 1998 via D.C route
- Mt Rainier summit July 1999 via Emmons Glacier
- Mt Rainier summit January 27th 2001 via Gibraltar Ledges
- Mt Rainier summit July 2002 via Emmons/D.C variation
- Mt Rainier summit February 2nd 2003 via the Nisqually Icefall
- I had 24 additional attempts on Mt Rainier via Liberty Ridge, Kautz Cleaver, Fuhrer Thumb and the Tahoma Glacier both solo and with teammates where I did not reach the summit but turned back often as high as 13,200 feet due to bad weather, sick partners etc. I had a special solo permit issued from the NPS.
- Mt Adams summit solo August 1988 via the South Spur
- Mt Adams summit October 1989 via the North Ridge
- Mt Adams summit solo June 1992 via the Adams Glacier/North Face of the NW Ridge variation
- Mt Baker summit solo September 30th 1988 via the Coleman Glacier/Roman Wall
- Mt Baker summit solo June 1992 via the Coleman Glacier/Roman wall round trip from home in 1 day.
- Mt Baker summit with teammates June 1999 via the North Ridge
- Mt Baker to 10,000 feet solo winter of 1991 from Baker Ski resort
- Glacier Peak summit August 2003 via Frost Bite Ridge in one day round trip from home
- Mt Hood summit solo October 1st 1990 via standard route
- Mt Hood summit with teammates June 1992 via Sunshine Route
- Mt Hood Summit solo via variation of the standard route June 2002
- Mt Hood summit with climbing Buddy June 2003 via Cooper Spur round trip from home in 1 day.
- Mt Shasta summit solo April 2004 via Casaval Ridge
- Lassen Peak summit solo April 2004 the day after reaching the summit of Shasta
- Popocatepetl Mexico summit 17,925 feet (elevation varies by map) November 1988
- Mt St Helens summit 3 times via 2 different routes 1999-2003
- 14,255 foot Longs Peak Colorado summit May 2005 via Old Cables/North Face route
- 14,270 & 14,267 foot Gray’s & Torres Peaks Colorado summits November 2005 solo
- 14,264 foot Mt Evans summit by bicycle July 2006
- 14,265 foot Quandary Peak Colorado summit May 2006 via Cristo Couloir, Sept 2006 via East Ridge
- 14,156 & 14,014 foot North and South Maroon Bells July 2007
- 14,286 foot Lincoln, 14,172 foot Bross, 14,148 foot Democrat, 14,238 foot Cameron June 2007
- 14,255 foot Longs Peak/Mt Meeker Colorado summit via The Lofts September 1st 2007
- 14,433 foot Mt Elbert Colorado SW Ridge October 8th 2007
- 14,060 foot Mt Bierstadt with Chloe and Everest September 2007
- 22,841 foot Aconcagua Argentina January 21st 2007 via Polish Traverse
- 17,343 foot Iztaccihuatl Mexico January 28th, 2007
- 18,600 foot Pico de Orizaba Mexico February 2nd 2007 via the Jamapa Glacier
- 29,035 foot Mt Everest Nepal, summit May 24th 2007 via the Khumbu Icefall route from the south
Photo Caption – Brian Smith celebrates after climbing 14,255-foot Longs Peak in Colorado on May 23, 2005. (Photo by Brian Smith)
Brian Smith plans to answer call of world’s highest peak
By Paul Fattig
December 31, 2006
Like everyone following last week’s search for mountain climbers Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff, Brian Smith was deeply saddened that the story didn’t have a happy ending.
But, unlike those of us who dwell in the lowlands, the Loveland, Colo., resident knows why climbers brave dangers to answer the call of the high mountains.
“Mountain climbing gives you a chance to know yourself,” explains the veteran climber who graduated from South Medford High School in 1988. “You are totally alone in your thoughts. And, of course, the views are amazing!
“But you also thrive on the ability to handle hardship where others can’t or won’t go,” he adds. “There are a lot of hardships with high altitude and winter climbing. There is a calculated risk.”
Boskoff had been Smith’s mentor in planning a trip to Mount Everest beginning in late March. Boskoff and Fowler perished in an apparent avalanche on Genyen Peak in southwest China last month. Fowler’s body was discovered Wednesday, but the search for Boskoff’s was postponed till spring because of dangerous weather.
“Chris was very energetic, very serious about what she did,” Smith recalls. “She was also very humble. When my wife (Helen) and I had dinner with her, I never realized what an accomplished climber she was.
“Top climbers tend to be very humble about their accomplishments.”
Both Boskoff and Fowler, whose sister, Ginny Hicks, lives in Jacksonville, were in the top tier of the world’s best climbers.
Boskoff was the owner of Seattle-based Mountain Madness, which has a stable of 30 mountain guides. Climbers pay up to $55,000 for a guided expedition to Everest.
Smith is one of two climbers, two Mountain Madness guides and several Sherpas scheduled for the trip. The Smiths met with Boskoff in Denver late in June to discuss the Everest climb.
“At that time she was not sure if she was going to join me on the Everest climb or not, but we were going to at least spend a few days together in Ouray (Colorado) doing some pre-expedition planning and training in late February,” he says.
Boskoff later left for Russia, then Tibet to meet up with Fowler. The last e-mail Smith received from her was Oct. 25.
“Hi Brian,” she wrote. “Great to hear from you! I’m still in China, but our group would meet in Ouray the last weekend of February. I’m glad the boots fit! I’ll give you a call when I’m back in the U.S.”
She signed off, “Cheers, Chris.”
A real estate investor when he isn’t climbing peaks, Smith, 37, has long dreamed of climbing to the Roof of the World. When he was in the ninth grade in Medford, he often dashed over to the city library during lunch break for books on Mount Everest.
“I would check out every book I could find on Everest,” he says. “I wanted to read everything I could about it.”
The son of Larry and Linda Smith of Jacksonville comes by his love of high mountains naturally. He was reared in Crater Lake National Park, where his father was a park ranger before becoming a schoolteacher.
“As a kid, I climbed every crag around our cabin,” Brian Smith says. “I was backpacking by the time I was 10.”
During his senior year in high school he made his first winter ascent of Rainier, the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range at 14,411 feet.
“I’ve been to the top of Rainier three times in winter — you have the whole mountain to yourself,” he says. “Going in winter is like going from the little league to the big league. You are on your own.”
He has made 33 ascents on Rainier, where he did a stint as a park ranger after high school, but turned back 24 times because of deteriorating weather.
“I tend to be on the conservative side when climbing,” he says.
The highest peak he has climbed thus far is Popocatepetl, at nearly 18,000 feet the second highest volcano in Mexico.
Before heading to Nepal he plans to stretch his legs a bit. The veteran climber heads out Jan. 6 for Argentina to scale Aconcagua, at 22,841 feet the highest peak in the Americas. That makes it twice as high as Oregon’s Mount Hood, which he has summited four times.
That climb will be followed by one in Mexico before he leaves March 24 for Nepal as part of the first leg of his journey to challenge Everest. If everything goes well, he will be standing on top of the world by the end of May.
“I have dreamed of climbing Everest since I was 15 years old,” he says. “Hey, my dream for Everest is so big that my son’s first name is Everest.”
Their son turns 3 in January.
Smith, a former triathlete, knows the climb to Mount Everest’s summit of 29,035 feet will be extremely challenging. The long trek to the base camp at 17,500 feet upon which he will acclimate for a week or two after reaching it April 10 is just the beginning.
The toughest part may be the aptly named Death Zone at Camp 4, some 26,000 feet above sea level.
“From there, I understand you go 50 to 55 hours without sleep — you are utterly exhausted,” he says, noting it’s difficult to sleep at that elevation.
If Mother Nature cooperates, he could be standing atop Mount Everest between May 10 and the 24th.
“A lot of climbers feel they reach the pinnacle of climbing when they do Everest,” he says, then adds, “I suppose I’ll feel like that. But there will probably be other mountains I’ll want to climb.”
From: Claudia Clark de Guajardo [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 9:45 AM
To: ‘Brian Smith’
Subject: RE: Brian Smith plans to answer call of world’s highest peak
Congratulations !!!! I know this has been your dream since I know you or even before. It`s wonderful that your dream finally is coming true. We wish you the best of luck. We really hope that this year turns tobe better than the past, a lot of joy, happiness, love and peace in youf family and all your other projects and plans can come true.
Mario, Claudia and family.
De: Brian Smith [mailto:email@example.com]
Enviado el: Domingo, 31 de Diciembre de 2006 02:59 p.m.
Asunto: Brian Smith plans to answer call of world’s highest peak
It has been a while since I was in the paper, but I suppose the 15 minutes of fame that Everest brings is kind of fun. I found a couple articles from the Medford Mail Tribune, Southern Oregon’s largest news paper which I was a paper boy for from 1980-1986. Ed, thank you for the nice Christmas card. You brought back some great memories when you mentioned doing my paper route together on my Torker when we were kids. J When reflecting on my many climbs over the past 20 years, I often think about our climb together up the North Ridge of Mt Baker with Erik and Bogdan in July 1999.
Garrett and Eric, we also had some great times together climbing Glacier Peak, Baker, Rainier and our epic climb on the north side of Mt Hood, Eric on June 21st 2003. Also our ascent of the Nisqually Icefall to the summit of Rainier on February 2nd 2003 is another fond memory of one of my favorite climbs. The frostbite on the left side of your nose as we reached the summit together in a -50F wind-chill before our sketchy descent through the Ingrahm Icefall definitely concerned me for a while.
Carl, our 39 hour epic that we barely survived together on January 27th 2001 high on Mt Rainier will always be one of my strongest and fondest memories. We are possibly one of the only humans to ever stand on the summit of Rainier together in the dead of winter at 9:30PM on a pitch dark bitterly cold winter night!! It was an honor to survive that epic climb with you. You and I have barely survived several climbing incidents together. That massive avalanche that very nearly wiped us out while attempting Liberty Ridge on Rainier together with Dylan in 1999 will also never be forgotten. I can still see the huge plume of giant tumbling ice blocks and feel the 70 mph icy blast as it hit us when I close my eyes and think for a moment. Also our Mt Shuksan ascent and full traverse in October of 2003 with Eric was a fantastic climb. We also had some great times adventure racing in Utah together. We have to do another adventure race together one of these days!
Mikey, that was you and I together on the summit of Longs Peak buddy. We also have the summit of Quandary together. Great memories for sure!
Rich, we have had some great climbs together as well and I look forward to standing on the summit of Orizaba at 18,400 feet with you next month!
Ken, our childhood backpacking trips, winter ski expeditions around Crater Lake and reaching the summit of Rainier together are always reflected on with fondness.
Keith, our backpacking trip in the Marble Mountains in CA as teenagers where we were going to live off the land for several days and came home starving always brings me a good laugh while reflecting. We also had some great winter ski expeditions around Crater Lake and out winter snow camping in the park as teenagers as we figured out how to survive together in the new warm weather gear that we had just purchased.
Dave and Kelsey, I will also never forget out attempted climb on Rainier with Helen in 1998 and the fine day of ice climbing we had after bagging our summit bid. Dave, our fishing trips together in the Black Canyon have been a blast! Sharing the rope with you and standing on the summit of Rainier together in 2001 was also a great honor.
Jeff, thank you for starting the dream of taking you and other climbers to the summit of Rainier as I taught you how to climb and helped you to realize your dreams. It was truly an honor to share in your dream and stand on the summit with you on Rainier as we began the “Rainier newbie climb” tradition that lasted for 4 years. Your dream of climbing Rainier for your 50th birthday resulted in 10 people learning to climb and realizing their dream of standing on the summit of one of the most difficult mountains in the lower 48.
Tim it was also an honor to stand on the summit of Rainier with you twice as you became a climber through my annual Rainier newbie climb. Thank you for carrying on the tradition after I moved to CO. We had some great experiences together. I will never forget our winter attempt of Rainier during that incredible storm that never allowed us above Panorama Point. Having to get up out of our warm bags several times in the middle of the night to shovel mountains of snow off the tent in whiteout bitterly cold conditions to prevent suffocation, definitely helped me to become the “hardman” I am today. You have always been an honor to climb with as you are a man’s man.
Thank you Mom and Dad for instilling a great love of the outdoors and the extreme in me as a young child while growing up in a cabin in Crater Lake National Park.
Thank you all for sharing in these great experiences together. All of these fantastic experiences together have prepared me for my ultimate lifelong dream of standing on the roof of the world.
Thank you JD and Laurie for teaching me the power of the dream. Nothing is impossible when your dream is big enough and no dream is too big.
Aconcagua Polish Traverse 2007
Guide: Oswaldo Freire & Pablo Puruncajas-Diaz
Team Members: Amber Laree, Chris Brown, Clement Hey, Tachi Pesando, & Brian Smith
January 22, 2007
Hello this is Ozzy and Amber calling in from Plaza de mulas. We are happy to report 100% success for our group on our summit push! We summitted yesterday during a brief weather window. We were quite lucky, as the weather has been one storm cycle after another. After our descent, the weather closed in again and other teams are now waiting out another storm.
We send our love to our daughters in Ecuador and are excited to see them soon. Jude also sends his love to his kids and family.
January 18, 2007
Hello this is Ozzy and Amber calling in from camp II. It is extremely cold but we are all doing well. We look forward to moving to Berlin camp tommorow and going for the summit in 3 days.
We say hello to everybody especially our daughters in Ecuador.
January 12, 2007
This is Ozzy from Aconcagua Basecamp! Today everyone made it into basecamp with great health. Tomorrow we will make a carry to camp 1 to further acclimatize.
We hope that everyone is doing well back home.
I Did Not Come Up Here to Fail
When I set off to climb Mt. Everest on March 27th 2007, I was expected not to fail. I had been planning to climb Everest for 22 years. Everybody who knew me knew that someday, somehow, I was going to climb Everest. Even my son, who is named Everest after my dream, expected me to not fail. Of all of the expectation out there though, I was the one who was most insistent that I not fail.
I did fail though. On May 2nd 2007 I came down with severe HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema) and nearly died. My only choice was to accept my failure and descend the mountain in order to continue to live. Climbers do not easily accept failure, as 215 climbers who did not return from Everest found out. We are a strange breed of people anyway, but willing to die for a mountain? Do we really succeed if we make the summit and do not return home. No. I chose failure and to live.
Failure can be looked at so many different ways. To end my climb early was to fail. But to die trying to climb Everest was also to fail. Hmmm, seems like a catch 22 here. With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I chose the failure to climb, but continue to live route and began my long walk home.
Much lower down Everest at the 11,200 foot level in the Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar, I learned that my failure was probably caused by pushing myself so hard at extreme altitude for so long. After 10 days of recovering in the thicker oxygen-rich air of Namche, I felt much better and thought “could my failure to make the summit of Everest only be good fertilizer and a delay?”
I had felt humiliated after the Mail Tribune had contacted me to write dispatch articles and launch them back to Oregon from thin air and now their last article would be titled something like—“Brian tried and failed, but lived to tell the story.” Eight days after quitting my expedition, I was going to go back and give Everest another attempt, something that at the time was thought to never have been done before (summiting Everest in the same season, after experiencing severe HAPE) but, maybe this would make the story all the more interesting for the paper.
When I made the summit of Everest at 2:50 AM on May 24th 2007, my previous failure to summit with my team actually made the summit all the more exciting. My bitter disappointment had turned into sweet success. Rather that being the hometown failure for the Mail Tribune, I was a real hometown hero as the readership rapidly increased and my articles went to the front page Sunday edition. I also learned a valuable lesson on how hard I can and cannot push my body and that I need to take better care of myself.
I have often reflected on the chain of events that led up to HAPE, failure and then success. In looking back, I would truly not give up my failure for an easy success during my first summit attempt. Failing on Mt. Everest actually sent my life in a new direction, a direction that was for the better.
Celebrating Ruby Rasmussen Smith’s 90th birthday
—— Forwarded Message
From: “Ruby Smith” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2007 10:16:08 -0800
To: “Larry B. Smith” <email@example.com>, “lloyd” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Ken Smith” <email@example.com>, “Galena,” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Keith Smith” <email@example.com>, “Heather Baumann” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “jjj,” <email@example.com>, “rose” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Ellen,” <email@example.com>, “brian” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: THE DAY BEFORE THE BIG PARTY.
—– Original Message —–
From: Ruby Smith <mailto:email@example.com>
To: GG <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 9:36 AM
Subject: THE DAY BEFORE THE BIG PARTY.
At least since I was a little kid, and I think for a long time before that, my grandmother has sent regular missives to the diaspora of her family. They started as hand-written letters, copied at the local post office, and sent out manually. About 15 years ago, we bought her an electric typewriter; her letters were perhaps longer after that, and of course typewritten, but otherwise unchanged.
It was probably 10 years ago that Keith and I pitched in and bought her first computer. She was horrified at the thought, and even called our uncle in a panic: “They’ve bought me a computer, and they’re bringing it over, and I need you to make them stop!” Nevertheless, we set it up for her, and walked her through turning it on. We showed her how to point and click with a mouse, showed her how to use a word processor, and how to access the Internet with a browser. She remained unimpressed.
Then we showed her email.
Keith and I had no idea we were about to create a monster. We should have known by the way her breath quickened when she saw us adding email addresses to the “To:” line. She watched us change fonts, and then email backgrounds, her eyes narrowing. She sat down. We showed her how easy it was to reply to her emails, and how easily she could reply to ours. The look on her face grew sharp, and hungry. She wanted this.
The monster was born.
Ten years, three computers, two printers, and many thousands of emails later, we’ve learned that the monster must be fed. If Grandma doesn’t get twenty or thirty emails a day, she feels neglected. She forwards emails like a fiend. She keeps track of who has sent her emails recently and who hasn’t. Woe betide the grandson who has neglected to email his grandmother, for his neglect shall be broadcast to the entire family, and then some.
But it’s been ten years, and technology has moved on; and the monster must be fed. In keeping with the spirit of the times, we’ve set her up with her own blog: GGSmith.Blogspot.com. She hasn’t figured out posting yet, though that’ll come; until it does, I’m handling it for her. But every word is hers.
As to the blog itself: it’s just the daily life of a woman who’s seen 90 summers in her lifetime, and 90 winters; who’s watched three generations grow up in her house; who’s cooked more meals than I know how to count and fed more hungry descendants than I care to; who’s watched the husband she’s loved dearly for 75 years grow old alongside her. It’s just life; but it’s life.
I AM HAVING COMPUTER PROBLEMS–REBOOTED BUT NO HELP. DESPERATE IN SO. OREGON.
I just put Rose’s cake in the oven. (Her recipe)–Just in case anyone drops by there will be snacks.
We had a SKIFF of snow during the nite and Elmer dear took care of that quickly–but from yesterday we cannot see our driveway–we can tell where it is but it is all white.
Keith and his ENTOURAGEwill be arriving at the airport about 4:30 and he has rented a car. (He had to cancel his plans to come yesterday and then to visit G.Pass etc.)
Kenneth and his Galena are to arrive about 7:30 and our eldest son (by 4 min.) will pick them up.
Lloyd and his Helen and other passengers will be arriving this evening.
The Zornes will arrive tomorrow from Butte Falls.
The Brians arrived Wednesday. Helen and Kidlets will leave for Co. on this Wed. and on this Mon. Brian will fly to
Seattle to meet up with Climbers to attempt Mt. Rainer.
I think I will try to send this before it disappeares again. Miss Ruby (who is 90)
I do not know where the bottom of this email is nor if you will rec. it.
Seattle to meet up with Climbers and make plans to climb Mt. Rainier.
—— End of Forwarded Message
—— Forwarded Message
From: “Ruby Smith” <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2007 07:26:14 -0800
To: “jo,” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am sorry I missed sending you that email.
Last Wednesday morning Elmer was going downhill here on our property and he slipped on icy grass and one leg went one way and he sat on the other one–heard it snap. I was so glad Larry was available and this happened about 8:30 am and we finally got in to see our primary doc. about 5 pm. Of course the xray tech had gone home so we went across to the hosp. for xrays–home about 8 pm and our doc. office called the next day to say Elmer had a fractured right ankle. Try and get in to a doc. Our doc. office then called to say Elmer has an appt. this Monday–tomorrow–to see an Orthopedist. Elmer is using a walker to get around. He was in a lot of pain at first but that has subsided pretty much. So off we go to the doc. tomorrow and to the dentist on Tuesday where Elmer will get his permanent tooth for his root canal !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for being interested, Joann. How are you doing?
My entire family was down last weekend. They came from Washington, Colorado and Oregon–just our family–for 3 days to celebrate my 90th (which was in Jan. but they had to choose a date everyone could come. ) So we had a great weekend. On Sat. the BIG dinner was at the McCully House in Jacksonville. All our family stayed in Jacksonville at the J. Inn etc. Larry took care of the family as they arrived directing them to their proper places. Brian and his family stayed at Larry’s. They wouldn’t let me take care of anyone–to make it easier for me–but most everyone ended up here Sun. afternoon to have a snack before they headed for the airport. That was quite a weekend.
Ruby (busier than a cat on a tin roof) (Oh, on Sat. Lloyd took oodles of photos–I will send you some.)
—— End of Forwarded Message
—— Forwarded Message
From: “Ruby Smith” <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2007 21:40:30 -0800
To: “rose” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “lloyd” <email@example.com>, “Larry B. Smith” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Ken Smith” <email@example.com>, “jjj,” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Galena,” <email@example.com>, “Ellen,” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “brian” <email@example.com>, “helen v,” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Keith Smith” <email@example.com>, “Heather Baumann” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: SUNDAY EVENING. ALL OVERWITH
I think I will start out with today.
Everyone was in Jacksonville in lovely quarters–very very nice–and Larry saw to it that they found their places and got their keys when they arrived on Fri. evening. The Brians are with Larry and Linda–also Doug.
They all breakfasted this am and then we went to different churches. Keith and familiy went to his old stomping grounds–Grants Pass for church and lunch with friends afterwards. Brian,Helen and Kidlets and Larry and Linda and Lloyd and Helen and Doug attended Calvary and Kenneth and Chris Zornes and we attended Calvary. Galena, The Shields, Zorne girls, and anyone I might be leaving out attended the newly built Presbyterian Church. Then after church we all dashed across the street to The Coffee House (Expresso) for lunch. That worked out really well–everyone could order whatever and it was very informal. Then later in the afternoon EVERYONE except The Shields (Amber has to nap–goes on duty every Sunday eve. at 6:30) came to our house and I put out food–to be eaten a couple of hours before Kenneth, Galena, Keith, Heather, Kaity and Bennett had to leave for the airport. They flew N. at 7:30. So we visited and ate and ate and visited until we could do that no more and away the airport folk left. There must have been about 17 of us. So fun–wish they lived closer. Then Helen, Brian and Kidlets left and lastly Larry and Linda left. We have the house ship/shape again after having so much fun.
So much fun and so much love. Our family is so good to us–they poured out their love.
Thank you each and everyone for coming and for loving us. I promise you — I WILL NOT TURN 90 AGAIN so you will not have to worry about that.
Thank you,Kenneth, for working and bettering my computer. Thank you Brian, for working on our new tel.–taking off the ring- -we didn’t need more rings at one time in the house and for taking off the ans. service–we already had that on another tel.
I think we will now retire. (Kenneth, it is SO good to have the scroll working and I like the little funnies).
Then being we ate quickly at noon Lloyd and Helen and Jeanne and Jessica and Doug could get away at a reasonable time. BTW, Lloyd called about 7:45 to say they were almost home. It takes awhile to deliver Jeanne and Jess (Jim had to work) to near Portland and then back on the Freeway to home.
—— Forwarded Message
From: “Lloyd Smith” <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 06:02:56 -0800
To: “‘Keith Smith'” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: Made it home
You are most welcome. I always wish we could spend more time together but just too many people.
You just cannot buy experiences with the grandkids. As in sitting in bed and having them all pile in, “Grandpa is awake!” Then we tell stories and share experiences. Three times during the weekend Kaitlyn just came up to me, put her arms around me, nestled, and stated, “I love you grandpa”. You cannot purchase that anywhere, not able to put that into a bottle and sell it.
From: Keith Smith [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2007 11:52 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Made it home
We are all safe and sound. Thanks again for the great weekend.
(This is written by a good story-teller’ing young woman, so I pass it on to you others who, as I do, Like A Good Family Story . I really love the part at the end where the Grandma talks of beautiful quartz crystals filling in the ‘error’ cracks in our lives’ growth rings … And so we celebrate renewal and healing, restoring — not damning due to old patterns.)
Garage Sale-Proofing Heirlooms
By Steffani Raff [March 6, 2007 article; Meridian]
Whether your heirloom would stun its receiver with a $32,000 appraisal on “Antiques Roadshow,” or bring in a measly 25 cents at a garage sale, the heirloom you are giving is worth something to you. If it weren’t, you probably wouldn’t be passing it down to the next generation. What separates an heirloom from garage sale rubbish? It’s the story behind the object.
In a place of prominence in my home sits a small slab of petrified wood. To most people it’s a nice looking rock — to me, it’s much more. This rock has become a symbol of my grandparents, their love, their life and their story.
My grandma thoughtfully selected this heirloom and shared the story behind it, endearing it to her posterity as a family treasure.
Garage Sale-Proofing Step 1: Share where the heirloom came from.
My grandma and grandpa “encountered an unexpected treasure” while doing fieldwork for my grandpa’s PhD in geology. “There, far from highways and people in general, was a few acres; the final resting place of a dozen or so fallen trees, stumps and miscellaneous pieces of wood — all petrified.”
This was their first geological adventure as a newly married couple. They were already loaded down with surveying equipment but wanted a piece of wood to remind them of this expedition. They searched the grounds until they found a “small piece” (weighing just over 20 lbs.) and finally settled on taking turns carrying the wood in their arms. It was a difficult proposition, “stepping through rocks, sagebrush, and cactus, dodging lizards, one rattlesnake and one Gila monster.” This “made the trek one they didn’t want to repeat, but will always remember.”
Is there a story behind how you came to own your heirloom? Was there someone important who created the object or found it? Who were they and why were they important to you? Is there an adventure behind the article clambering to be told? Tell it.
Garage Sale Proofing Step 2: Share what makes this object important to you.
My grandma continued,
Over 54 years of married life, we kept that piece of petrified wood as a part of the family’s treasured possessions. It moved with the family through several states and was a familiar object to our sons and their friends.
We often talked about the rock. First of all it was a symbol and beautiful reminder of a goal accomplished: the field work and completion of Grandpa’s dissertation for his PhD in geology. It also marked the beginning of a life long professional career in his chosen field of work that he dearly loved.
We always had a fascination with the petrification process which is a complete replacement, cell per cell and should more properly be called agatized wood.
For my grandparents the petrified wood became a reminder of a goal accomplished and a promise of what their lives could become.
Did the object you are giving as an heirloom give you comfort at a time you needed it? Did it serve as a symbol of something intangible but nonetheless valuable? These emotional attachments to tangible articles become a window to who you are. By sharing these attachments, you share a part of your unique experience and perspective in life.
Garage Sale Proofing Step 3: Share why you chose to give the heirloom.
When my grandpa passed away, my grandma tried to think of some way “to tie the grandchildren to their grandfather.” She discussed the idea with her children, and “all of [them] in one accord thought of the rock” — the petrified wood that had been with them for as long as they had been a family. They would “have that rock cut up and give each of the grandchildren one piece” then “put a piece in the casket before it was closed.”
Is there a specific reason you want to give this heirloom to a child, grandchild, or great-grandchild? Was there something about the object that made you think of the person you are giving it too? Was there something special you wanted that particular person to remember about you? Tell the receiver why you picked this heirloom for them.
Garage Sale Proofing Step 4: Are there any words of wisdom or any analogies you want to pass along with the object?
When my grandma presented us with our small sections of petrified wood she said,
I decided that in order to really make this a time to remember we should have something said about the relationship between the petrified wood and our lives. So I worked up this little thought.
We are all soft and vulnerable in these growing years just like a tree. But as time goes on we are filled with more wisdom, and responsibilities, and an understanding of life — more rings, more growth.
Sometimes we find that we’ve taken a wrong turn and there will be a crack in our life’s rings, but then we heal, and out of that come these little quartz crystals. They come and fill in the crack and become very beautiful. Our life can be the same way when we “fill in” and proceed in a better way than the choices we had previously made. And in the end we recognize our true value and we’re able share our beauty with others.
Heirlooms can teach and inspire generations to come.
Share your heirlooms with their stories. When your posterity sees the object you’ve given, they will remember you. And when the heirloom changes hands again, it is more than an object — it is a connection to the past.
—— Forwarded Message
From: 2007 Everest Expedition <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2007 02:24:31 -0600
To: “Fattig, Paul” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Larry Smith <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Brian
Thank you for your kind words on my adventure of a lifetime.
Being on Mt Everest has been an amazing experience. Having dreamed of being
here since 1985 I remind myself each day to not get complacent but enjoy
being here at all times. I constantly remind myself that I am walking
across the exact same ground as Sir Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay, Jim
Whittaker and many other famous mountaineers who made history from the exact
location I am writing from right now.
I find that I still feel emotional every time I gaze up at Mt Everest. From
base camp we cannot see the summit, but from just above camp I the summit
towers 9000 feet directly over the top of us. The sight always leaves me
emotional and choked up. The first time I climbed above camp I, I was
alone. I spent several hours standing on the edge of a deep crevasse just
gazing up at the highest point on the planet. I never grew tired of the
sight and only left when the afternoon clouds and snow swallowed up the
Our biggest daily challenge up here is staying healthy. Nearly everyone on
our team has been sick. Everyone seems to have the “Khumbu cough.” Once a
climber gets sick, it is really hard to recover and heal at this altitude.
Two of our team members have descended back down to Namche Bazaar at around
11,000 feet to try and recover. Being down so low has put them a month
behind the rest of the team with acclimatization. A simple cold can end a
high altitude climbers dream…
I am very optimistic that I can reach the summit as long as I stay healthy.
So far I have been very strong up to camp II at 21,200 feet and other then
they typical shortage of breath from breathing less then 50% of the oxygen
that people at sea level are breathing, I feel great. My cough definitely
had me discouraged as it has lasted for about 3 weeks and forced me to
descend from camp II a couple days ahead of the team on our last climb. But
for the past 2 days it has almost gone away. Now I have to be very careful
to not get it back again. For the most part the cough is caused by the
lungs being constantly irritated with the cold, dry, thin air. Keeping your
mouth covered when you breath and breathing steam a couple times a day
Our meals have taken some getting use to as the Sherpa’s cook for us so the
food is different from what we eat in the States. Dinner consists of a lot
of potatoes cooked in different ways, Sherpa Stew, Dhalbat which is a Sherpa
dish consisting of lentils over rice and of course a lot of rice. For
breakfast we often have eggs and everymorning we have porridge. Yak cheese
is often used over the food and takes some getting use to. Dessert is often
When we are not climbing we are constantly drinking hot water and tea. We
try to each drink about 6 liters per day. The Sherpa’s love their tea. I
did try some Yak Butter Tea during our Puja Ceremony but found it very salty
and hard to drink.
At base camp and camp II we have a dining tent with plastic chairs and
table. We spend a lot of time in this tent when not climbing. We watch
movies on a portable DVD player or read/write emails or just visit, tell
climbing stories and drink tea. We also have our own tents at base camp so
I will often retreat to my tent during the afternoons for a nap, reading and
relaxing while listening to my Ipod. When the sun is out it is nice and
warm inside the tent.
We also occasionally take short excursions to go ice climbing in the lower
icefall, bouldering or just hiking to stay active.
The elevation of base camp is 17,500 feet.
Camp I at the top of the Khumbu Icefall is at 19,800 feet.
Camp II at the top of the Western Cwm is 21,200 feet.
Camp III will be at 24,000 feet.
Camp IV is at 26,000 feet at the edge of the death zone.
The summit is 29,035 feet.
The cost to climb Everest varies. Our team each spent $55,000 before
airfare and equipment upgrades. Some teams spent $65,000 each and some
spent less only getting logistical support with tents and a Sherpa and will
climb alone or just with their personal Sherpa. Climbing on the Nepal side
is more expensive then the Chinese (Tibetan) side. $10,000 of that $55,000
goes to each of our climbing permits. Then there are satellite phone permit
fees consisting of $2500 etc so some of that cost is just permits. Oxygen
is very expensive and is part of that cost as well. We will use oxygen from
camp III on up during our summit bid but will spend a night without oxygen
during our training climb to camp III next week. I somewhat dread that
night as I hear the suffer factor is very high without oxygen.
The weather at base camp, camp I and camp II is almost always sunny and warm
in the morning and cold in the afternoon. It almost always snows much of
the afternoon. During the night at base camp it usually drops into the
single digits and up higher it drops well below zero so the nights are
always cold. At base camp my sleeping bag is rated to -20 and my high camp
bag is rated to -40 so I have been staying warm at night so far.
Also our base camp manager Teddy Anderson grew up in Medford and graduated
from South Medford HS in 1993. It was quite a small world experience
meeting someone else from the Rogue Valley for the first time up here at Mt
Everest base camp.
Let me know if you have any other questions. I will try to get a climbing
video while climbing the steep Lhotse Face on the way up to camp III next
week to send to you.
Kenneth Smith describing the birth and arrival of Cademon Dante Christian Smith on the occasion of his birth, August 11, 2007
“Caedmon” is obviously a unique name these days (as evidenced by the fact that you can’t find it on anywhere on any of the standard baby name sites), but it has a long and distinguished history. Specifically, Cædmon was the name of a 7th century English monk who wrote the earliest extant English poetry. The work for which he is chiefly known is Caedmon’s Hymn <http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/369.html> :
Now let me praise the keeper of Heaven’s kingdom,
the might of the Creator, and his thought,
the work of the Father of glory, how each of wonders
the Eternal Lord established in the beginning.
He first created for the sons of men
Heaven as a roof, the holy Creator,
then Middle-earth the keeper of mankind,
the Eternal Lord, afterwards made,
the earth for men, the Almighty Lord.
Galena has liked that name ever since she first heard it (in the Sunday school class where she and I first met). So it seemed appropriate for our son.
Against its many benefits, we do acknowledge that the name has two chief disadvantages: (1) We and our son will forever be spelling it out to folks the first time they hear it, and (2) it sounds like “cave man”. Oh well. We figure that Caedmon’s cousin Everest will suffer similar indignities, in having to explain, “No, not Everett like the city: Everest, like the mountain. (Sigh.)”
As for why he has two middle names, it’s because we couldn’t agree on what it should be. Galena wanted “Dante”, because it was a name that Dorothy had chosen, and I wanted “Christian”, because it was a family name on my side. We compromised by choosing both. We figured that being a little ornery was also a family tradition.
With any luck, Dorothy and Emmanuel will be dropping Caedmon off tomorrow around noon. We’ll let everyone know as soon as he’s arrived at his new home.
From: Ruby Smith
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Subject: EXCITEMENT IN SEATTLE
YIPPEE HE HAS ARRIVED!!!!
And his name is CAEDMON DANTE CHRISTIAN SMITH–almost 7 lbs. Tomorrow he is moving in with his Mommie and his Daddy. It is a lovely home in a good neighborhood in Seattle. His Nursery is upstairs along with all of the other bedrooms. His Daddy promised me that he will be very careful while carrying him down the stairs. (Won’t it be exciting when the little fellow crawls up and down the stairs.)
One more item of interest. Galena will be one of the best Moms there ever could be.
We had a long tel. visit with his Daddy this afternoon and they can hardly wait until tomorrow when the little one will be delivered to their home.
There are many legal papers to sign now and later. BTW the name CAEDMON was the name of a man who wrote Christian hymns centuries ago.
Waiting for more news. gg
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I’ve been exceedingly negligent the last week or so in my blog postings, but it turns out that I have a good excuse.
Galena and I have been trying to have kids for the last five years, to no avail. We didn’t quite push it to the limits of medical science, but we came pretty close. To paraphrase Terence, nothing that is medical remained foreign to us, and we became intimately acquainted with a profusion of drugs, procedures and three-letter medical acronyms. A little over a year ago, we concluded that begetting our own children wasn’t going to happen, and we began looking into adoption.
For the record, adopting a kid is a great deal more work than making one on your own, and not nearly as much fun. It’s a great deal like going to college, except without the wild parties. You go to classes; you write a lot of essays; you’re assigned insane amounts of homework. You submit to being examined and prodded and tested in every conceivable way. If it took this much paperwork to have a kid in the normal way, the human race would be extinct in two generations.
In a journey filled with irony, the most ironic moment came last March, one week after our adoption agency had finally approved us, and put our names on their year-long waiting list. Dorothy, a 16-year old girl from our church, knew that we were looking to adopt; she invited us to have coffee with her and her 18-year old boyfriend Emmanuel. It turns out she was pregnant, they had decided not to have an abortion, and they wanted to know if we would adopt their baby. Swallowing hard, and with damp eyes, we said yes.
According to the ultrasounds, Dorothy was due on September 7, but we wondered all along if maybe she was further along than the doctors thought. We were excited then, but not entirely surprised, when we received a call last Friday afternoon that she was having contractions. We hadn’t quite finished assembling the nursery, and hadn’t purchased all the diapers or formula we’d need, but otherwise we were mostly ready. Galena ran home to grab the car seat and we headed to Dorothy’s house to assess the situation.
The situation, though, seemed to need very little assessment. Dorothy’s back was hurting her, and she was having very irregular contractions, but she was otherwise fine. We had dinner with her family, took a walk with Dorothy and a friend, took some pictures, and then headed home.
The next morning soon after we got to the birth center our joint son was born. Emmanuel, his birth father, caught him, and placed him on Dorothy’s stomach. Caedmon howled briefly, fussed for a while longer, and then calmed down.
Like all newborns, he was more grey than pink, and like most babies who are somewhat premature, he was covered with a whitish gunk that has an official name I’ve since forgotten. But he cleaned up amazingly well, and apart from a slightly crooked nose from pushing his face too hard against Dorothy’s pelvis, he’s perfect. I’ll say it: he’s beautiful.
We didn’t get to hold him right away, as Dorothy and Emmanuel were quite understandably fascinated with him.
But we’ve held him plenty since, and I’ll always be grateful to Dorothy for letting us be there at his birth.
Birth at a birthing center is quite different than at a hospital. My grandmother Smith says she was allowed to dangle her legs after six days; the midwives had us up and out before six hours had passed. Caedmon, along with Dorothy and Emmanuel, spent the next three nights at the Bellevue Embassy Suites. This was something we had agreed to at the beginning, as the two of them wanted to know something of what it would be like to be parents, to get to know him, and to figure out how to say good-bye. We spent many hours there the first couple of days, before figuring out that we also needed to give Dorothy and Emmanuel some space.
I can’t describe how hard it was to say good-bye to Caedmon each time we left the hotel ˆ but then I can’t imagine how hard it was for Dorothy and Emmanuel to hand him over to someone else permanently. Even so, as hard as it was, they signed the last of the paperwork yesterday, and today they brought Caedmon home to live with us. He’s going to have a huge extended family, as you can get a sense of when you see how many people came to visit him during his stay at the Embassy Suites But we’re looking forward to being just a small family for a few days.
Around 4:00 pm today, Dorothy and Emmanuel came with Caedmon to our house, and dropped him off. Emmanuel was very sad, almost distraught, to say goodbye to his son, but he handed Caedmon to Galena himself, through his tears.
We feel very sad for Dorothy and Emmanuel, and respect very much the sacrifice they are making to let their son be raised by someone else. But we’re excited beyond words that we finally get to show Caedmon around his new home, feed him, bathe him, even change his diapers – ourselves. We finally feel like parents. I may very well be changing my tune after a couple days of no sleep – but this is as excited as I can remember feeling. And as for Galena . . . well, I’ll leave that up to your imagination.
For those of you who know her, I want to extend a special word of gratitude to Linda Engen, Dorothy’s mother. Linda has been a rock, a refuge, a fortress and a fountain of wisdom through this whole process. Galena and I have been threatening to jump out of our skins for several days now, and certainly would have, if Linda hadn’t been there to bring some sanity and stability to all involved. Linda, many, many thanks.
Please come and visit, anytime. (You might want to call first, just to confirm that we’re coherent.)
Goodbye My Son June 1988
I remember trying to prepare for it after reading a Reader’s Digest article entitled, “Goodbye My Son”. It was the story of a father’s farewell to his college bound son. My son, Brian, was probably 16 at the time, so I cut the article out knowing that our time was coming. I would periodically read it and weep knowing the time for his departure was approaching with each passing year.
Then I wrote that fateful letter to the Chief Ranger at Mt. Rainier National Park asking if they were going to act on Brian’s seasonal application for employment. The Chief responded by letter offering Brian a volunteer park job at about $10 per day of expense money. It was a great way to get Brian’s foot into the door of the Park.
It was exciting helping Brian pack. We went down to the church and picked up boxes from a missions project that we all had been involved in. The boxes were all the same size and would stack better in the back of Brian’s little pickup. We shopped for food and had enough packed to last a month.
And then the time came that I had dreaded for 18 years, the final parting out there in the driveway. We said out long goodbyes and then Brian pulled out. We wept. I went into the house and reread the “Goodbye My Son” article once more and wept yet again. The I went downstairs to his room, looked around, and relived so many memories.
About a year later I heard the famous child physiologist, Dr. James Dobson, tell about sending his boy off to college and then going into son’s room and sitting on the floor and bawling.
After a couple of years of wandering around Washington, Brian wanted to set up housekeeping in Poulsbo, so it was time to take his bedroom down and start packing it up. Oh the memories! I checked out each and every item as we packed. I really did not want to part with any of it, but these did belong to Brian, so to Washington his stuff went. Dr Dobson’s story came rushing back to me as I too sat on the floor of Brian’s room and wept.
From time to time, when I run across that old Reader’s Digest article, I reread it and weep once again. It brings back such strong memories.
Written by Grandson Brian Bennett Smith upon hearing about his grandfather’s situation this week with irregular heartbeat. Brian sent this from Loveland, Colorado.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 4:11 PM
Hi Grandma and Grandpa,
I am getting caught up on all of your scary nights
Grandpa. I am really concerned! I probably relate better then anyone how scary it is to not be able to breathe and have your heart racing in the middle of the night. Suffocating is terrifying. Please, please get checked out and see if the docs can figure out what is causing it. I will also feel better when you get Mercy Flights put together.
For 20 years now you have been telling me Grandpa that you have lived 99% of your life and are ready to go home. I am grateful for the 37 years that we have had together and cannot imagine life without my Grandparents enjoying their comfortable home in Phoenix, only a short flight, phone call or email away.
I have experienced a lot of death and tragedy in the mountains and several times not knowing if I would live to see the next day myself, but I can’t begin to fathom not having my loving Grandparents with me forever on this earth.
When I think about how many friends and family that you have both been separated from on this earth over the years, I can’t imagine how tough that has been at times as I dread the day that you both leave this earth to spend eternity with Jesus. Although our loss will be the pinnacle of what you have looked forward to all these years on the earth serving Jesus, my human side does not want to accept a temporary separation from you even though I too want you to begin enjoying your rewards in heaven and one on one visits with Jesus in heavenly flesh as you have both earned them 100%. In some ways I am envious that you have already fulfilled your responsibilities on this earth and are up front in the queue of age to cross over into heaven. I am often queued up at the front of the line with the risks I have taken, but not having fulfilled my obligations yet on this earth to finish raising my children, unless that is God’s plan for an early departure, I have a while still to wait down here.
I have contemplated how sad it must be to an atheist and how painful it must be to lose someone with the thinking that death is final, without the afterlife of eternity together in heaven with Jesus, where there is no pain, aging, evil, financial issues, depression and sadness. If I thought and believed that way as many of my friends do, I would be terrified of time passing and my family getting older and closer to those final days. I only feel comfort in knowing that we have an infinite number of years together in the future enjoying a good visit, a hike together, building something together, and spending eternity together in a perfect place with Jesus hiking and fishing along with us. I look forward to fishing with you Grandpa as we catch giant Dolly Varden, Rainbows and Browns side by side in the perfect crystal clear streams of heaven. Had you been my friend or brother, rather then my Grandfather, we would have caught a ton of fish together back in the day. Chloe and Everest will love fishing with you as well. It will be an honor for them to share their passion for fishing with their Great Grandfather who has always been one of the worlds great Fishers of Men and fishers of fish back in Montana.
I often reflect on the many, many good memories of quality time spent together. I want to add more memories still and still have a hard time accepting that you are both 90 and 94. In my mind, you are always in your 60’s and 70’s, strong, muscular and nearly invincible, water skiing, chopping wood, hiking, riding mopeds and taking your daily walks around the park.
I am grateful that we have had daily emails for the past 8 years or so. I am also grateful for our time spent working on my Poulsbo property for 3 weeks together back in 1990, many Thanksgivings and Christmas’ together, several trips a year to Southern Oregon to visit, the chance for Chloe and Everest to have spent a lot of time with you, your visit to Mt Rainier in 1988 when I lived at Sunrise and the camping trip we took together up to Natural Bridge in 1988 just before I left for Marine Corps boot camp. I will never forget when I fired a .22 with you for the first time Grandpa, all the birds I shot out of your cherry tree as a kid and the time you set off a blasting cap that scared me so much when it went off that I fell down.
I still laugh when I think about that Natural Bridge camping trip together. You were trying to wake me up in the morning. I was sleeping in the back of my truck. I have never been a morning person and said “5 more minutes please.” You responded with “is this what you are going to tell your drill instructors each morning when you get to Marine Corps boot camp next week?”
I love to reflect back on the time that you taught me to ride your moped up in the granite pit in Grants Pass, while riding on the back and trusting me not to crash and hurt us both. You kept telling me “give it gas, speed up, stop wobbling the steering wheel like a bicycle.” I will never forget my excitement riding Grandma’s red moped in circles up and down B St and through the City of Phoenix property all day long.
You always pushed me to not give into fear and take risks in some areas of life. I also remember when you tried to get me to promise to stay off the steep and dangerous icy peaks that I was becoming infatuated with as a teenager, as you were concerned with my safety as I developed my new passion for mountaineering. At that time as we were having a discussion out on the apron next to your garage while working on my truck, neither of us had any idea how far I would take climbing and eventually stand on top of the world, living the dream that was growing in my mind.
I clearly remember as we were hiking back up to Sunrise up the White River Campground trail during the summer of 1988 and you stopped for a moment Grandma and looked back at Rainier as its glaciers shown pure white against a bright blue sky and said “in all of my years, that is the most beautiful sight I have ever experienced!” It was an honor to share such an experience with you both.
I am grateful for the times that you helped me work on my trucks Grandpa, replacing the breaks, installing speakers, changing the oil and doing maintenance. When I came back from the Philippines in 1987 you surprised me with a box built and carpet in the truck bed to make it more comfortable during my weekend camping trips when I slept in the back. Grandma, you were so proud that you had installed a new wool blanket seat cover in the cab of my aging 1976 Ford Courier.
I could write an entire book of all the amazing memories I have of our time spent together over my 37 years. Maybe I will in fact do that one of these days. As a kid Grandma, I eagerly read your letters that you sent out each week of our family news and your daily life. Dad, you put all of those into 3 binders in chronological order for me when I was a teenager. Do you still have those binders? I hope so as I would love to read them again. They were a great way to record our family activities and forever preserve those great memories.
Your financial help over the years during tough times have always been appreciated and will never be forgotten. You saved us from losing our house during the difficult financial days of our first year of marriage.
Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma, I regret and am sorry for the times in my life that I have caused you sleepless nights, concern, heartache and sadness with some the poor decisions that I have made over the years. I am sure that my long and dangerous months spent on Everest this year and my HAPE survival and then uncertain re-attempt at the summit of my dreams was scary for you all. I truly appreciate your support, excitement and encouragement as I made final plans to turn my dream into reality and then left the country to live my dream. I am grateful that you were all still here on this earth to enjoy the trill of my success. Seeing all of you out in the audience at the Presbyterian Church as I shared my dream with others was such a blessing to me. Your love, support and help with setting up my speaking engagements made them a success. I would not have been successful without your unending love and support during those long cold nights of suffering and exhaustion, high on Everest. One of the things that I enjoyed so much on Everest were the hundreds of hours I had to reflect on my life and I truly enjoyed letting 37 years of memories freely flow through my mind while hiking, climbing or rest days alone on the mountain and in my tent. Outside of those conditions life is too busy and complicated to have the time without distraction to let wonderful memories flow uninterrupted hour after hour. I am sure that my passion for the more dangerous activities in life has never been easy for you. When I think back to my hundreds of climbs and rivers paddled, I am sorry that I have cost you so many nights of worried sleep, but I greatly appreciate that you are proud of my accomplishments in the more extreme side of life. It is a great honor to be the son and grandson of proud parents and grandparents.
You have always submitted to and carried out Jesus’ teachings and requirements to the fullest of human capability. You have clothed the poor, turned the other cheek, prayed for your enemies, loved and visited those in prison and been both frugal with the financial blessings that God gave you, yet generous with helping others through your blessings. If I can become half the man, husband, father, friend and grandfather that you are someday Grandpa, I will have been successful. The teachings that you passed on to my Dad has blessed me with a wonderful and amazing father. Your treasures in heaven are going to be endless. You will be one of heavens “billionaires.” I cannot fathom how God thinks, but I can’t imagine that God is not at least as pleased with your life on this difficult earth as he is with Billy Graham. I think that you, Grandpa and Grandma Reb and Billy Graham will be next door neighbors in heaven and have a similar heavenly treasure room and mansion.
You are truly a man of honor Grandpa. You are a man’s man.
I have truly been blessed with the best sets of Grandparents of the Smiths and Rebs and their son and daughter who became my loving parents.
Thank you for all that you have done for our families. Please continue to get healthy and find out what is causing your chest pains and difficulty breathing ASAP Grandpa. I am praying for your health and healing.
Although Grandma and the rest of the family is shocked that you are back on the roof climbing ladders Grandpa, I find that exciting that your drive and adventure is still strong at age 94. I love to tell people that my Grandfather still climbs ladders despite being 94, having an injured ankle, multiple shoulder surgeries and challenges with eyesight. I do request that just like I do every time I climb mountains, that you take a calculated risk, weigh the risk vs. reward and make sure that the odds are at least 51% in favor of your success and safety in getting up and down that ladder.
You will always be one of my greatest hero’s in life Grandpa. I love you both very much.
Your loving Grandson #2 who is praying for your safety, health and healing and still wants to create more fond memories together for a few years to come.
From: Lloyd Smith <Lsmithtwin@comcast.net>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 21:22:36 -0700
To: ‘Larry Smith’
Subject: A grandson and his blog about his grandparents
Our son Keith just got back from visiting his 94 and 90 year old grandparents in Medford, Oregon. After he got back he posted this note on his blog. I thought he summed up my parents pretty well. If you do not have the time…just hit delete that is what is so nice about e-mail.
Bridge Building <http://zangoceoblog.com/2007/10/22/bridge-building/>
Posted by zangoceoblog <http://www.zangoceoblog.com> on October 22nd, 2007
I spent the weekend in Southern Oregon with my kids visiting my aunt and uncle, cousins and nephews but mainly my Grandparents. My Father’s Father is 94, his Mother 90 and both have the body of someone 10 years younger and the mind of someone even younger still. Their healthy eating and clean living has provided amazingly uncomplicated health for both of them.
This weekend my Grandmother reminded me that during her 12 years of schooling she missed a week with the flu in the 7th grade. And that’s it! She never missed another day beyond that. “I liked school” she says summing up an attendance record that would likely win a place in the Guinness Book of records. She also informed me that she’s never yet taken an antibiotic. Ever. It makes me wonder what these people are made of.
And while all of that is impressive, what really makes one wonder what these two people are made of is the magic of their relationship with each other. At one point during the weekend I asked my Grandfather what his proudest accomplishment was during his lifetime. The question made him look at the ground and ponder and then thoughtfully respond, “Well, I haven’t accomplished much in my life – but the best thing I ever did was to find this wonderful lady here. She has changed every part of my life.” Grandma blushes at hearing this and begins to rebut his response with a long list of amazing things that he has in fact accomplished during his life. I’ve long been amazed by their 74 year love affair so I continued with this line of questioning for most of the weekend, trying to get to the bottom of how in the world two people could be this devoted to each other and still be this madly in love after all this time.
After hearing story after story of blissful love between the two of them I finally replied, “It couldn’t all have been wonderful. Didn’t you have some difficult times with each other that you overcame?” They both looked at each other perplexed and kind of shrugged. Then Grandpa summed it all up very simply, “She always made it easy to love her.” He then went on to explain how from age 16 on Grandma had continually sacrificed her own wants and needs for him. Always putting her desires aside in order to stand behind and support him and their family. He simply can’t understand how you couldn’t always love someone who does that for you, and I guess neither could I. Of course this was not a one-way street. Upon hearing this response my Grandmother quickly responded that he was the one who deserved all the credit. After all it was Grandpa who had toiled all these years, earned all the money and never stopped supporting his family. “And he was never satisfied” she said, “he always wanted to make things better for me, no matter what”.
Listening to them banter back and forth I pictured each building a bridge from their shore to the opposite shore. Each bridge being able to support the weight of the entire relationship and each built without any regard to whether the other was building their bridge or not. Neither was waiting to see if the other was as far along in their bridge, but instead just set out in faith and confidence to build a relationship supporting bridge of their own, sacrificing their own personal desires for the good of the person they loved. This kind of selflessness has created redundancy and security in their relationship, complete with two fully sustainable bridges. Their argument continued for some time, each claiming that the other was the reason for making their relationship last – completely disbelieving that they themselves could be responsible for the 72 years of wedded bliss they have each been enjoying. With arguments like this you start to get a sense of why their romance continues untarnished and stronger than ever.
And while their relationship seems like magic to the outside observer each will be quick to tell anyone within earshot that it is their foundation on Godly principles that has made this thing endure. Each has modeled Christ-like, unconditional love to the other. That is what started their relationship and is what still feeds it today.
She was all of 16 and he was 20 when they met. He was an unproven but scrappy young man who had just returned from nine months mining gold on the Salmon River – trying anything he could to make a buck during the depression. Turns out that during his nine month stint he actually made five. That’s right, his share of the spoils was $5, which is what he had in his pocket when he returned to Kalispell, Montana – driven by something that he couldn’t quite understand but he knew he needed to “get back”, as he puts it.
Three days later, on Wednesday, November 22nd, 1933 they met at church, hit it off and then he walked her home after the service. He lived several blocks closer to the church than she did so she expected only half a walk home, but he didn’t stop there and instead walked her all the way home. What’s great is hearing them tell the story, “It was at church” he says. Then she pipes in, “November 22nd”, clearly a day that is important to her. He smiles a bit and continues, “it was Wednesday”, as if it were last week.
The way they go back and forth recounting this story leaves you with a distinct feeling that they did and still do understand the importance of those first meetings. Their second date was the Friday two days later – again at church. Grandma again got a walk home and this time a bit of affection. This part of the story makes Grandma blush and insist that the conversation take a different turn. Grandpa simply stares off and cracks a knowing smile. That kiss sealed the deal and they’ve been sharing true love ever since. Grandma de-prioritized all else in her life and Grandpa forever had the biggest cheerleader and supporter of his life. Makes it hard to have anything but success in life when you have a team-mate like that.
From: Elmer Smith
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 12:17:23 -0700
To: Keith Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear G.Son # 3,
I like the way you build bridges and am amazed at the details you retain. It is as if we had put them in a computer.
I suppose my greatest accomplishment is drawing closer to my Lord and Savior. When my physical eyes grow dimmer my spiritual eyes grow brighter.
It is normal for a Christian to want to be up close and personal as the time draws closer to seeing Him face to face. Heaven is so real to me. I want to convince others of it’s reality. “Ye must be born again”.
Keith, thank you for your Blog–it makes us feel appreciated.
From: Keith Smith
To: Elmer Smith
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 12:23 PM
Subject: RE: bridges
Thank you Grandpa, I appreciate your comments. Did I get my facts right? I should have been taking notes, but since I didn’t I hoped that I got my details right. Let me know if I didn’t and I can make corrections.
You are right, your relationship with Grandma, while amazing, isn’t nearly as important as your relationship with Christ. But with that said, your earthly relationship certainly seems analogous to your heavenly relationship – and that is one of the very things that makes it so special.
Thank you again for modeling such Godly behavior to all of us. We take note and it has made a huge impact on many lives (mine included).
From: Brian Smith
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2008 02:57:24 -0700
To: ‘Larry Smith’
Subject: RE: Worried about Grandma Ruby
I am really concerned about Grandma, Mom and Dad! Is there anything I can do to help? I am wondering if Grandma had a minor stroke??? I know they are 90 and 95, but I can’t get past the images in my mind of Grandpa water skiing and Grandma and Grandpa hiking at Mt Rainier with me and walking around the park 3 times a day…
Thank you for keeping us in touch with Grandma and Grandpa. I am really worried!
I will be praying for them!
Love, your son
From: Lloyd Smith <
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 18:46:26 -0800
To: ‘Larry Smith’
Subject: RE: An update on Mother for Sunday
I just talked to Dad and the sad part is he is doing the cooking from cans,
soup. But he cannot read the labels so does not know what he is fixing. He
said that it all looks like Mexican to him. He sounds good but sad.
“My sweetheart is not feeling well”.
Ruby Helen Lucille Rasmussen Smith
Born: January 7, 1917, Kalispell, Montana. Died: February 4, 2008, Phoenix, Oregon
Ruby Helen Lucille Rasmussen Smith
On February 4, at the age of 91, Ruby Helen Lucille Smith was united with her Lord. She leaves behind her husband of 72 years, Elmer Smith, of Phoenix, Oregon; her brother Don Rasmussen, of Kalispell, Montana; twin sons, Larry Smith of Jacksonville, Oregon, and Lloyd Smith of Longview, Washington; six grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.
Ruby Rasmussen was born on January 7, 1917, on the family farm in Kalispell, Montana, to Christian Hans Rasmussen of Denmark, and Dagny Marie Rasmussen of Norway. In 1933, when she was sixteen years old, she met Elmer Smith at church. His request to walk her home was the beginning of a love affair that was to span 75 years. They eloped two weeks after her graduation and were married in Salmon City, Idaho, on June 10, 1935; but they returned to Kalispell, and in the stuff of family legend, told no-one for six months.
Ruby and Elmer moved to the Rogue Valley from Southern California in 1946, and purchased twelve acres on the outskirts of Phoenix, Oregon. There they built three houses, raised their children, and educated and entertained their grandchildren and great-grandchildren for the next six decades.
Ruby faced her final illness with grace, courage and humor, presiding from her bed, and welcoming many dozens of visitors, friends and family. She will be remembered as her husband’s most precious jewel, a warm and loving mother and grandmother, a faithful friend, a gracious hostess, an avid emailer, and an enthusiastic blogger (ggsmith.blogspot.com).
A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 9, at 2:00 pm at Calvary Church Assembly of God in Jacksonville, 525 North 5th Street (541-899-1015). There will be a visitation on Friday from 4:00 – 8:00 pm, and on Saturday from 9:00 – 11:00 am, at Conger Morris in Medford, 715 West Main Street (541-772-7111).
If there was a Jewel, Ruby has been everything her name
implies. She has been a perfect model for a teen-age
lover, a young bride, a dutiful and industrious house
wife, a caring and devoted mother, and a loving and
doting grandmother. Immaculate housekeeper to the
point of my having to search through the trash for things
I wanted to keep a little longer, well prepared and
planned meals, always on time and patient if you could not
be on time. Very possessive with enough jealousy to
prevent a legitimate reason for it, always keeping my faults
a secret, and defending her loved ones with the tenacity of a she-bear.
If I have to be here another fifty, I want it to be with my sweetheart.
Elmer Smith June 10, 1985. Written for their 50th wedding anniversary.
Ruby Helen Lucille Rasmussen Smith
Born: January 7, 1917, Kalispell, Montana. Died: February 4, 2008, Phoenix, Oregon
Epitaph for Ruby Rasmussen Smith
Given by Kenneth Smith, February 9, 2008 – Calvary Church, Jacksonville, Oregon
In the days since my grandmother died, I’ve been meditating on a poem by C. S. Lewis, written after the death of his wife, and now carved on her gravestone in Oxford, England. C. S. Lewis writes,
Here the whole world (stars, water, air
Reflected in a single mind)
Like cast-off clothes was left behind
In ashes, yet with hope that she
Re-born from holy poverty,
In Lenten lands, hereafter may,
Resume them on her easter day.
Early in the morning of February 4th, Ruby Helen Lucille Smith left behind, like cast-off clothes, the mortal body she had carried with grace since 1917. The husband with whom she had shared a bed and a life for 72 years was with her, and held her hand, and felt the Holy Spirit fill the room even as her own spirit departed. Several hours later, as our family gathered around her deathbed to say one last good-bye, my mind was flooded with the memories of how that mortal body had served her over those years, and how she had used that body to serve others. So many meals: so many wounds bandaged, tears dried, cookies baked, diapers changed, grandchildren hugged, emails sent and demanded. How one quiet woman could represent so much activity and goodness is one of the mysteries of love.
We are gathered here today to celebrate the life, mourn the death, and rejoice in the homecoming of an extraordinary woman. Whether we knew her as friend, aunt, grandmother, mother or loving wife, I can think of no better way to honor her than to take a few moments to look through her eyes, to see the whole world as it was reflected in the single mind of Ruby Smith.
Deep and lasting friendships formed a constant background to my grandmother’s world. Ruby Smith did not establish temporary relationships, or make friends out of convenience. The friends she made when she worked at Harry and David’s in the 1940’s, or when she attended Ashland Christian Center in the 1950’s, or when she worked at the orthopedic clinic in the 60’s and 70’s, remained her friends for life. The number of these friendships necessarily diminished over the years, as she and Elmer remained healthy and vigorous, while more and more of their friends passed on. But as anyone who was a recipient of her emails can testify, her days, and Elmer’s, were passed in frequent communication with old friends, visiting those who had grown sick, and helping those no longer able to fend for themselves.
I do not believe that any friend of Ruby’s could ever have complained of neglect or inattention; and a great many people in Ruby’s world had cause to be thankful for her consistent hospitality and quiet kindness.
My grandmother’s world revolved around her family. When my grandfather rushed her to the hospital on a warm July day in 1940, the two of them had little idea what was in store. The labor drugs knocked her out, and when she awoke, the nurse asked, “Did you know that you had twins?” Still groggy, Ruby responded, “I didn’t know I had any.”
Ruby assumed her new role as the mother of twin boys with gusto. For the next 18 years, she cooked, cleaned, mended, kissed, coddled, scolded, and chased her boys into adulthood. In 1957, my famously frugal grandparents splurged on a brand-new ’57 Chevy for their two sons, and this was typical: they rarely bought anything for themselves, but nothing was too good for their boys.
When Larry and Lloyd left home, married and had families of their own, Ruby found her world expanding once again. As the decades passed, through marriages, births, adoptions and virtual adoptions, she found herself the matriarch of a substantial and growing tribe. And again, although they rarely bought anything for themselves, they helped their grandchildren in any way that they could. Numerous house down payments, new cars, new computers, or college tuition payments had their origin in the bank account of a retired couple who never made more than $8 / hour.
As the years passed, keeping the scattered and sundry members of her family connected became a substantial challenge. But many decades ago, she had instituted a tradition of regular letters to all and sundry, a tradition which she maintained until her 91st birthday. They started as hand-written letters, copied at the local post office, and sent out manually. About 15 years ago, we bought her an electric typewriter; her letters were perhaps longer after that, and of course typewritten, but otherwise unchanged.
It was probably 10 years ago that we pitched in and bought her first computer. She was horrified at the thought, and even called Larry in a panic: “They’ve bought me a computer, and they’re bringing it over, and I need you to make them stop!” Nevertheless, we set it up for her, and walked her through turning it on. We showed her how to point and click with a mouse, showed her how to use a word processor, and how to access the Internet with a browser. She remained unimpressed.
Then we showed her email.
We had no idea we were about to create a monster. We should have known by the way her breath quickened when she saw us adding email addresses to the “To:” line. She watched us change fonts, and then email backgrounds, her eyes narrowing. She sat down. We showed her how easy it was to reply to her emails, and how easily she could reply to ours. The look on her face grew sharp, and hungry. She wanted this.
The monster was born.
Ten years, three computers, two printers, and many thousands of emails later, we learned that the monster must be fed. If Grandma didn’t get twenty or thirty emails a day, she felt neglected. She forwarded emails like a fiend. She kept track of who had sent her emails recently and who hadn’t. Woe betide the grandson who neglected to email his grandmother, for his neglect should be broadcast to the entire family, and then some.
As to the letters: they were just the daily life of a woman who had seen 90 summers in her lifetime, and 90 winters; who had watched three generations grow up in her house; who had cooked more meals than I know how to count and fed more hungry descendants than I care to; who watched the husband she loved dearly for 75 years grow old alongside her. It was just life; but it was life.
Ruby’s world held nothing of greater worth than a skinny red-haired refugee from the Depression, fresh off the Salmon River, with an empty wallet and few prospects for filling it. Since their first walk home, and their first kiss under a Montana sky, Ruby had eyes for little else in this world. Most of you know that two weeks after she graduated from high school, Ruby and Elmer eloped – and that when they returned to Kalispell, they kept their marriage a secret for six months. It is the stuff of family legend that Ruby’s father began to suspect something amiss only when Elmer began coming down from Ruby’s bedroom for breakfast.
Ruby and her husband were inseparable. One story of many will suffice. Until this week, I believe that the last time my grandparents spent a night apart was twelve years ago, in 1996. I was moving up to Oregon from Southern California, and it seemed entirely natural to me to ask my blind 83-year old grandfather to come down and help me pack. We left Los Angeles late, after many delays, and my grandfather kept me company as I drove the moving van through the night. We arrived in Phoenix early the next morning, and were both exhausted as we drove up to their house, parked and climbed out. As the eldest grandchild, I had grown used to my grandmother rushing out of the house to hug me whenever I came to visit, so I wasn’t surprised to see the door fly open and Ruby run down the driveway. But this time she ran right past me and practically leaped into her husband’s waiting arms. Only after some minutes of fussing over him did she manage a quick hug for me; and then immediately returned to Elmer’s arm, hardly to be shook off. An eldest grandchild was a poor substitute for the husband she had missed so badly.
These stories are typical of their relationship: they loved each other passionately, unreasonably, completely. The Great Depression, wars and rumors of wars, social revolutions and real ones, passed by in the outside world, leaving their love untouched. Children were born, then grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; even age itself began to take its toll, but the strength of their love was renewed like the eagle’s.
For the Christian, death will always have two faces. It is true – it is blessedly true – that we rejoice, because Ruby is now with her Lord; and so long as the Lord tarries, the beatific vision which Ruby is now experiencing can be achieved in no other way than by walking the lonely valley of death. But make no mistake: death is an enemy, and we fool ourselves if we think otherwise, or belittle its importance. If death is not important, neither is birth. Death rips us apart from the world which God made good, and in which God placed us.
And Ruby’s death was in this respect no exception. My grandmother did not want to die. “I never expected this,” I heard her say repeatedly during her final weeks. “This is so sudden.” Until three weeks ago, she had not seen a doctor for six years, and had never so much as taken an antibiotic. Her perpetual good health made the sudden weakness that took her all the more alarming. She worried about her dumpy, her house, the sudden flood of guests. Ruby’s world was full of friends, family, and a husband whom she loved dearly, and it was not a world that she wished to leave behind.
Even so, even as her weakness grew and her own death grew more imminent, my grandmother revealed a grace that we had always suspected, and a sense of humor that we had not. She kept us laughing through our tears as she retold old stories, and a few new ones. She harangued her eldest great-grandchild into getting his hair cut. She refused to put to rest the rumor that she had actually proposed to Elmer. She revealed the existence of a stash of coffee she had long kept secret from my grandfather.
When her husband was being stubborn about something, she turned to him, wagged her finger, and said, “In a few days, you’ll be the boss, but for right now, it’s still me!”
At one point, as her illness dragged on, and her family refused to budge from her bedside, she said, “I can just imagine the headline on my obituary: ‘FINALLY’.”
My grandmother’s death came three weeks after her diagnosis, and it was a blessing; but after 91 years, it was too soon. She died as she lived: much loved, surrounded by family, and fussing just a little.
Her New World
The whole world, as reflected in the single mind of Ruby Helen Lucille Smith, was as clear as daybreak, as simple as a stream, profound as the stars. If you had looked through her eyes, you would have seen a world as broad as a lifetime of friendship, as narrow and focused as her family, and as plain as the ten acres of earth on which she and her husband built a lifetime together. This is the world that Ruby Smith has cast off; but she cast it off in hope, with the faith that one day, when the world is made new, she will clothe herself with it anew: when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality.
In that reborn world, we know that God will wipe every tear from our eyes. But that world is not this world, and in this world, our tears are appropriate. So let us grieve for our loss; but Lord, do not let us grieve as those who have no hope. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first; and then, we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.”
MOTHER’S COMPUTER GOES DARK. A SUMMARY OF HER MEMORIAL SERVICE, CALAVARY CHURCH –
FEBRUARY 9, 2008
This is the last day after a month that I will be at Dad’s house and at Mother’s computer at email@example.com . Larry will check it from time to time when he stops by but there will not be anybody here to respond. I will be back at Lsmithtwin@comcast.net tonight if you want to respond.
Before I leave I wanted to send out Keith’s and Kenneth’s remarks from Mother’s memorial service yesterday to all of Mother’s address book. Kenneth then read a short paragraph by Dad that I have included. Dad handwrote this under this under his magnifier Saturday morning. In this e-mail are Keith’s and Dad’ remarks. I will follow with Kenneth’s.
It was an emotional day yesterday seeing our beloved mother in a casket and following the coach to Hillcrest Cemetery where she was placed to rest in the mos. We had so much support from our family and friends that is was almost over whelming. So many pitched in to make it an easier day for us. Mother would be pleased. One of the last things she mentioned to me that with all the people coming by and calling and e-mailing, “Will there be a lot of people at the church?” There were 150 people at Calvary Church…followed by a dinner…she should have been pleased. We had two wonderful pastors, Pastor Brian Steller and Pastor Bob Gass that came by to visit Mom during the three weeks and helped put on a wonderful service. Our pastors, Pastor Kent and Pam Doehne drove all the way down from Longview to be with us at the service. It was so appreciated the people that put their lives on hold to be with us.
This e-mail will be going to people that were at the service yesterday so we want to thank you for coming, some from long distances.
As we sat in the chairs at the cemetery for the committal facing Mother’s casket, Dad said, “It cannot be any better than this, I am with my two boys and I am with my sweetheart“.
Thanks for all support, cards, letters and flowers over the past four weeks.
Lloyd and Helen Smith Larry and Linda Smith
Keith’s tribute: Read at his grandmother’s memorial
I’LL BE WAITING February 9, 2009
A flowing dress. Hair combed just right. Lipstick applied quickly but perfectly. High heel shoes running through the gravel. And there she waits, at the end of the drive, expectantly for her Dear. Why wait in the house, I suppose the thinking goes, when one can be a few feet closer, a few moments sooner to seeing the one she loves. Her husband. Her other half. Since the age of 16 she has been in one of two states; either by his side, or waiting to be by his side. And so was the scene every day of my Grandfather’s working life. Grandma always there, always helping, always waiting.
It has been more than three decades since this scene has been repeated, but oh what glorious decades they were. During which there was very little need for waiting because she rarely left his side. Doting. Caring. Loving. Always there.
As she lay in her bed, breathing the final breaths that God gave her on this earth she grasped his hand and whispered in his ear, “I’ll be waiting for you…by the gates.”
My Grandfather once told me that the best thing he ever did on this earth was to fall in love with my Grandmother. She was his helpmate, his lover and his perfect companion in every way. Yet now Grandpa is the one waiting. Waiting to once again be reunited with his other half. He told me that losing Grandma would rip him in half. And it did. But along with tragedy something miraculous took place. The moment she slipped her earthly bonds and went on to meet the Lord my Grandfather was washed over by the Holy Spirit and this half-a-man again became whole. His eternal Savior has replaced his 75- year helpmate.
Nothing can fill the void this amazing woman left behind. She simultaneously played the role of wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother as well as many others – and did so effortlessly and nearly perfectly. But know that you are witnessing a miracle in front of your very eyes. A man that was briefly ripped in two has been made whole, and that is a truly fitting legacy left behind by a truly amazing woman.
Dad’s final remarks read by grandson Kenneth:
Even though this has been by far the most heart-crushing experience I have ever had to go through, if it will help my loved ones to remember their promises that they will meet my darling and me in heaven, it will be worth any temporary pain that I have to endure. If my blessed Lord Jesus will get any glory from it all, I can only say, “Thank you Jesus.”
And though the best half of me has been taken away, I know that my Redeemer lives and I will see my sweetheart again. She promised me that she would meet me at the gate and we would worship Him together.
When Ruby died the Lord told me, “I have given her to you for 75 years.” But I thought back, “We have been married for 72 years?” Then I remembered, we had courted for three, making for a total of 75 years. The Lord was correct.
peaceful change of pace
The Daily News of Longview, Washington
By Amy M.E. Fischer
February 17, 2008
After nearly 30 years of teaching junior high school, operating the crematory at Longview Memorial Park is a welcome change for Longview resident Lloyd Smith.
“It’s kind of nice because nobody talks back to me,” joked Smith. “I love it. … I’m my own boss. There’s nobody standing here telling me what to do.”
Smith, 67, got his start in the “quiet profession” 10 years ago when his son-in-law, a funeral director, asked if he’d like to ride along while he transported a body to the funeral home. Smith agreed, and soon he went to work for his son-in-law part time. (Smith’s daughter also is a funeral director).
When Smith and his wife moved to Longview from Grants Pass, Ore., in 2001, he took a part-time job with Dahl-McVicker, which owns several funeral homes in the area. When Dahl-McVicker built a crematory in 2002, Smith trained as a crematory operator in Los Angeles. He returned to Longview to write a training guide for new crematory employees.
“That’s the school teacher in me,” he said with a grin.
In addition to running the crematory, he collects human remains from wherever a death has occurred and transports them to funeral homes. Handling the dead doesn’t faze Smith, who has worked as an EMT, a national park ranger and a photography teacher.
“Every job I’ve ever had, I always couldn’t wait to go to work in the morning,” he said.
He enjoys his co-workers at Dahl-McVicker, and his boss, Steele Chapel manager Rick Little, is flexible about Smith taking time off for professional photography assignments around the world.
“They let me come and go,” said Smith, whose travels include Afghanistan, Argentina, the Congo, Kenya, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
People usually are surprised to learn where Smith works. Some want to hear details; others don’t want to discuss it at all, he said.
“My family is very tired of hearing about it,” Smith said.
Curious visitors are welcome to check out the crematory — what happens there isn’t a secret, he and Little said. Some families want to be there to witness their loved one’s cremation, and that’s perfectly fine, too, Little said.
“I never want people to feel uncomfortable with what we do,” Little said. “If they’re interested, I want them to know about it.”
The crematory is housed in a garage-like, one-room building behind Steele Chapel. One corner of the room is partitioned off and contains Smith’s desk, computer and easy chair. Smith, a car buff, has plastered the walls with pictures of hot rods, photographs he’s shot and momentos of his years working as a park ranger with his identical twin brother at Crater Lake National Park.
Smith keeps a set of dumbbells, push-up handles and a pull-up bar in his office. He needs to stay in shape because moving bodies from carts to gurneys takes muscle, he said.
“You talk to the old funeral directors — they’ve all got bad backs,” he said. “You’ve gotta be so careful.”
The crematory takes up another corner of the room.
When caskets or casket-sized cardboard boxes arrive, Smith processes the attached paperwork and inspects the bodies to ensure jewelry and pacemakers have been removed. (A pacemaker will “go off like a stick of dynamite,” he said.)
“My biggest fear is burning up personal items,” Smith said over the roar of the exhaust fans.
He and the other crematory operators take great care that the cremated human remains families receive indeed are those of their loved one, he said. A stainless steel identification tag is laid on the box before it’s rolled into the chamber, which can reach up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature. On average, Longview Memorial Park cremates two bodies a day, excluding weekends. Usually the crematory handles 33 to 36 cases a month.
Workers in the funeral business tend to have a sense of humor about their jobs, but they always handle the dead with respect, Smith said.
“Everything is totally done as if it’s my mother or my father, totally with dignity. That’s very important to us,” said Smith, whose own mother died earlier this month. He had thought his familiarity with death might make the loss of his mother easier. He was wrong, he said.
Smith regularly reads the obituary pages in the newspaper, hoping to learn more about those he cremates.
“I’m very interested in the people we do and their stories, but most of them we never find out,” he said.
A Funny Story From Dad May 10, 2008
We were over at Dad’s house this week. Dad asked what to do with the large grapefruit he had. Linda offered to cut it up for him and scoop out the pulp and put it into a bowl for him.
As Linda worked he started to tell us about the grapefruit spoons that Grandma Smith had while they lived at the crest of the Rockies in Essex, Montana.
“They were really nice spoons. Pointed, with sideboards for capturing the juice. We had them for a long time.”
Then his face got a far away look. “I wonder why we even had them. We never got any grapefruit in Essex.”
At one point Matthias and DeeDee disappeared. The scene would have made a great photo.
Dad with his walker, had taken the two kids out to his little garden patch and was instructing Matthias on how to plant tomatos plants. Six of them that Amber had purchased.
Matthias was trying real hard with the little shovel, and putting in the “icky” compost that Chris had shoveled into a bucket.
From: Lloyd Smith [mailto:Lsmithtwin@comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 07:26 PM Pacific Standard Time
To: Brian & Helen Smith ; Brian & Helen Smith ; Chris & Ethie Zornes; Chris & Ethie Zornes ; Elmer and Ruby Smith; Galena Smith; Helen Smith ; Julie Allaire ; Kaitylyn Smith; Keith Smith; Ken Smith ; Larry and Linda Smith
Subject: Buddy and Grandpa report
Dad seems to be doing well here. Most of his time is taken just taking care
of Buddy and his personal needs. Not being able to see and walking slow
makes him take a lot of time. He does not really want any help but tries to
do it himself. We still have to help him. He burned himself on the stove
yesterday while we were gone because he cannot see. He said his fingers are
not very sensitive anymore because of the burns over the years. We have
marked things and keep showing him where things are at. It is tough being
almost blind in a strange house. His mood is very good. He said he is
sleeping well. Buddy was gone most of the day to the vet and he really
missed him. Buddy hangs real close to him.
Now Buddy’s health is another story. He does not come with health insurance.
We, Dad, spent $500 on him today. Dad said he needs to keep him alive until
he goes. I took Buddy to the vet this morning at 8 and dropped him off on
the way to work. They poked and prodded and took x-rays. I picked Dad up 2
and took him down to visit the vet. Not real good news. The doctor showed us
the x-rays. Both of his hips have arthritis and are worn. When Dad and Mom
got him he says he weighed 32 lbs. I really wonder. Dad said he was at 26 a
few weeks ago and was feeding him for 26 lbs. Buddy now weighs 22 lbs. The
doctor said a dog this size needs to be around 15. This is part of his
problem with his hips, too heavy. We have now cut down his food a bit. If he
is fed from the table he needs his dry food cut back accordingly. We now
have him on a daily Glucosamine chew. They did a blood test and when I get
the word tomorrow we will start him on pain medicine. The pain medicine can
only be run for 2-3 weeks. Then another blood test. If he does not limp that
means we can stop the pain medicine. They shot him with pain medicine today
and he seems to be doing better tonight. We have cut back his food and he
keeps going back to his dish looking for more. The vet wants him to keep
exercising. Needs to get out and walk.
—— Forwarded Message
From: Lloyd Smith <Lsmithtwin@comcast.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 08:14:38 -0700
To: Brian & Helen Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Brian & Helen Smith <email@example.com>, Chris & Ethie Zornes <ECZornes@ccountry.net>, Chris & Ethie Zornes <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Elmer and Ruby Smith <email@example.com>, Galena Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Helen Smith <email@example.com>, Julie Allaire <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Kaitylyn Smith <email@example.com>, Keith Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ken Smith <email@example.com>, Larry and Linda Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: A little report on Dad
Rosealee called and talked to Dad last night. That was very nice of her.
Dad seems to be doing ok. I worry that he has enough to do when we are gone. He gets stuck on the TV at times and cannot see how to shut it off or turn it on or to change stations. He sure has enjoyed the Internet radio. But yesterday the computer rebooted and he lost his station all day. Last night we put on Greg Lory and he enjoyed that.
I set up a Billy Graham CD today in the player and have it on pause and all he has to do it hit the button and it will play. Not being able to see sure slows one down.
He took a shower yesterday on his new stool but he did not want me to get a handheld wand so he said he about drowned under the water. Next time he is going to take a bucket in and pour it out of the faucet. I keep offering to get the shower head but he said he will not be here that long. They run up to 50 bucks for a really nice one. After $500 on a dog that does not seem too much. But you have to have your priorities.
He is still eating a lot. I am surprised at the salt that he puts on food. I think his taste buds have slowed down. We never use salt on the table so he always asks. I have taken him to the crematory several times that few days. He enjoys getting out of the house. He wants to pay for any expenses and keeps shoving his card at us, “Take it out of this”. He seems happy and contented. Buddy seems to be improving a bit. He can now climb stairs and go down and grunts a bit but ok. We have cut down his feed and goes around the house looking hungry and wanting more. Dad feels sorry for him and slips him more food.
It was cute last night, dog and master going up the stairs. (Dad comes down each evening to be with us downstairs and Buddy joins us when Dad does not lock him in his room). As they were going up I noticed Dad takes one step and then drags the other leg but but he makes it up. I then noticed Buddy ahead of him, lifting one leg up and dragging the other. I wish I could have caught it on video. They were doing the same thing.
The pickup sounds like Dad, running rough, bald tires and a faulty muffler.
Must run, I have clients waiting.
—— Forwarded Message
From: Lloyd Smith <Lsmithtwin@comcast.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 21:28:42 -0700
To: Brian & Helen Smith <email@example.com>, Brian & Helen Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Chris & Ethie Zornes <ECZornes@ccountry.net>, Chris & Ethie Zornes <email@example.com>, Elmer and Ruby Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Galena Smith <email@example.com>, Helen Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Julie Allaire <email@example.com>, Kaitylyn Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Keith Smith <email@example.com>, Ken Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Larry and Linda Smith <email@example.com>
Subject: Dad got lost today
While we were at work today Dad decided to walk through our development with Buddy. Then he got lost and could not find (see) our house. He went by and got worried so he saw a house up the street and went up on their porch and asked them if they knew us. They did so the lady showed Dad where our house was at and he made it home. He was telling me the story when the doorbell rang and the neighbor’s daughter was there and said that her mom had sent her down to check to see if he had gotten home ok. That was so kind of them.
Buddy is walking around hungry all the time. I noticed that Helen gave Dad a cookie she had just baked and he was breaking off a piece and feeding it to a very happy Buddy.
Dad commented tonight that he wished he was more of a value to us. He seemed to feel sort of worthless.
I do have to clean the floor a lot. Buddy is dragging in a lot of dirt and Dad dribbles (food) on the floor. It is no problem. We are really enjoying him here. I wish we were home more but he seems to be finding everything he needs. He starts to bed about 9:30 and is still in bed at 8 when we leave.
From: Charleen Kemper [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 11:51 AM
To: Lloyd Smith
Subject: Re: Thanks
Actually, the privilege was truly all mine. It was my honor and pleasure to visit with him. I wish I could have gotten his headset working, however. He really misses listening to his favorite program.
Your dad touched my life. I don’t think I’ll ever forget him asking, “Are you a Christian?” Upon which I quickly and enthusiastically said, “Yes!” Then he did something that will stay with me forever. He got up out of his chair and shook my hand and said, “I always like to shake a Christian’s hand because I will get chance to shake their hand again in heaven.” How special! He certainly loves and misses your mom, Ruby. He reminds me so much of my dad.
From: Christopher Zornes [mailto:ZornesCC@jacksoncounty.org]
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2008 4:13 AM
To: Lloyd Smith
Subject: Re: Dad asked me tonight…
What good are old people? Tell Grandpa that is a silly question. Asking
what good old people are is like asking what good a finish line is. With
out old people there would be know measure between the life well lived and
the life wasted. With out old people there would be know evidence of the
benefits of treating your wife well. With out old people whom would we
admire. Without old people who would answer the questions of young people
that the people in between old and young have no time to answer. On second
thought don’t tell Grandpa that is a silly question. Tell him it is an
important question. Tell him that his life has influenced mine in the
1. Watching him live so painfully without Grandma has caused me to cherish
every minute with Ethie more.
2. Watching him live a life of integrity has caused me to value honesty
3. Listening to him tell the story of Jesus has caused me to love hearing
the story more.
4. Seeing how simple frugality, wise investing, and generosity to others
has left him without need has caused me to treasure these things more.
5. In spite of his current aches and pains his remarkable health has caused
be to value health more.
Ethie and I are looking forward to coming up for Thanks Giving. I haven’t
had a chance to ask Grandpa but hopefully he will join us for the trip up.
With Ethie in school we haven’t been able to see Grandpa at all and the
girls and I would really enjoy the chance to get to spend time with him.
Tell Grandpa that the girls really miss him and Ashley especially is looking
forward to spending time with him.
>>> “Lloyd Smith” <Lsmithtwin@comcast.net> 10/26/2008 10:05 PM >>>
.When will it stop hurting? He said he misses Ruby so much. 75 years
together is a longtime. The only thing that keeps him going is what she said
to him as she was dying.”I will wait for you at the gate”. He keeps
repeating that phrase.
He is so lonely for her. He seems to be doing fine. He feels he is a burden
to us I keep telling he is not. We took him to church today, after the song
service. I was afraid for his ears. They had a pastor appreciation day
dinner after church so Dad went with us to that too. Lots of great food. He
had a lot of people come over and say hello. Because he cannot see them he
has a hard time keeping them straight. Many people took one look at Dad and
knew he was my father. He was treated so well by our people. All the pastors
came by and spoke to him, which I really appreciated. The pastors were so
kind to him. Pam even came by and spoke to him. We have a great staff.
Any time I can help, please let me know again.
—— Forwarded Message
From: Lloyd Smith <Lsmithtwin@comcast.net>
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2008 22:05:08 -0700
To: Brian & Helen Smith <email@example.com>, Brian & Helen Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Chris & Ethie Zornes <ECZornes@ccountry.net>, Chris & Ethie Zornes <email@example.com>, Elmer and Ruby Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Galena Smith <email@example.com>, Helen Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Julie Allaire <email@example.com>, Kaitylyn Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Keith Smith <email@example.com>, Ken Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Larry and Linda Smith <email@example.com>
Subject: Dad asked me tonight…
…When will it stop hurting? He said he misses Ruby so much. 75 years together is a longtime. The only thing that keeps him going is what she said to him as she was dying…”I will wait for you at the gate”. He keeps repeating that phrase.
He is so lonely for her. He seems to be doing fine. He feels he is a burden to us I keep telling he is not. We took him to church today, after the song service. I was afraid for his ears. They had a pastor appreciation day dinner after church so Dad went with us to that too. Lots of great food. He had a lot of people come over and say hello. Because he cannot see them he has a hard time keeping them straight. Many people took one look at Dad and knew he was my father. He was treated so well by our people. All the pastors came by and spoke to him, which I really appreciated. The pastors were so kind to him. Pam even came by and spoke to him. We have a great staff.
—— Forwarded Message
From: Lloyd Smith <Lsmithtwin@comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2008 21:31:35 -0800
To: Brian & Helen Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Brian & Helen Smith <email@example.com>, Chris & Ethie Zornes <ECZornes@ccountry.net>, Chris & Ethie Zornes <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Elmer and Ruby Smith <email@example.com>, Galena Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Helen Smith <email@example.com>, Julie Allaire <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Kaitylyn Smith <email@example.com>, Keith Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ken Smith <email@example.com>, Larry and Linda Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: going to miss Dad
Helen and I have really enjoyed having Dad here these three weeks. It is just comforting coming home and having him here. I do feel for him with the roll reversal of me taking care of him. He depends on us so much. It hurts me to see him struggling walking and seeing. All due to accidents. Even the eye problem started by an eye cut from a corn leaf he got picking corn. If he had only sat in a chair all his life he would not be having he problems he has now.
He is talking a lot about regrets. He said the example that Larry and I have shown towards him and the care we have given him he regrets he did not take care of his dad. He thought he was too busy to do it. He wished he had brought him to Phoenix. I am not sure how Mom would have handled it. He let him live in a rest home in MT. They did write letters once in a while. It is so different from today. Dad did not go to his funeral and he regrets that. Grandpa was born in ’76, I think, and died in ’57. I think we only met him once in our life. Dad says that he never laid a hand on him and he loved his dad. He said he was a good father to him. I asked why Harland did not make an effort and he said that they were brothers. As a kid I really did not wonder about it…it just seemed that was the way it was. We lived so far from my grandparents that we just did not see them that often. He thinks it was a sin for him to neglect his dad and to let him die in a nursing home. He said he is forgiven.
Dad told me he regrets the whipping he gave us for jumping on the bed. I remember it like it was yesterday. I told him he should not have any regrets because we turned out ok. He thinks we are so kind to people and he wished he had done the same.
Dad mentions Mom from time to time. Sure misses her.
I am going to miss Dad when we take him back. It has been a little more work for Helen but she says she if fine with it. Dad said he would come back with the Zornes at TG and stay with us through Christmas. I am looking forward to it.
From: Keith Smith <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2009 12:48:33 -0700
To: Larry & Linda Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Happy birthday
This morning I called my parents house to wish my Dad a happy birthday but he was at work (some things don’t change, even after 69 years) so I had a wonderful 45 minute conversation with Grandpa. Probably one of the best chats we’ve had in the last year. He was cracking jokes, lucid and wonderful to talk to. I always thought losing sight would be the worst thing in the world, but when I see how cutoff from the world my Grandma Boorman is with her loss of hearing and contrasting that to how wonderful it is to be able to still speak to Grandpa on the phone – I may have changed my mind a bit.
I must say that I’m still amazed by Grandpa. He is the man I respect most in this world and conversations like this one just confirm that feeling for me. I was telling him at one point how happy I am with the work I am doing now and what a difference it has made in my overall happiness. To that he remarked, “being happy is important, I don’t have the good sense to be any other way.” I can’t imagine that there is another 96 year old man on earth that is that funny and that self-deprecating. He is a wonderful example.
Then I called my Dad and wished him a happy birthday. So I figured I’d complete the circle and wish you a happy birthday as well. I hope it is a good one.
De: Lloyd Smith [mailto:Lsmithtwin@Comcast.net]
Enviado el: Lunes, 07 de Septiembre de 2009 06:40 p.m.
Para: Brian & Helen Smith ; Brian & Helen Smith ; Chris & Ethie Zornes ; ‘Doug Perry’; ‘Elmer Smith ‘; Galena Smith; Helen Smith ; Jeanne Jackson ; Jessica Jackson ; Julie Allaire ; email@example.com; Keith Smith; Ken Smith ; Larry and Linda Smith ; Richard & Amber Shields; Vince & Vanessa Stone
Asunto: Showed Dad photos…
Dad asked me this afternoon if he could see some of the photos I have scanned on the computer screen. I showed him my last album and he was able to see most of them and even told me who they were. After we finished he said he should not do this again. I asked if it hurt his eyes and he replied, “No, it hurts my heart”. Then he replied, “I sure would like to feel her in my arms again.” He asked if it has been three years. I told him it was closing in on two years. He replied, “Time sure drags.” He told me tonight she could have been in movies since she was so good looking.
—— Forwarded Message
From: Willy Terrall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 22:28:53 -0800 (PST)
To: Larry Smith <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: FW: Award
Congratulations! You’ve certainly earned it.
Not quite the same, but I am happy to report I just completed my first term at the University of Oregon with a 4.0. You truly have made a remarkable difference in so many lives, and at such a critical age. I look at a lot of the success I’ve had in my life as the fruition of ideals cultivated by mentors like yourself, and I hope you receive far more praise in years to come.
I’m off to Missouri tomorrow to help supervise a seasonal shipping facility for Harry and David, but am planning on making it back to the rogue valley around the 24th. Any chance you’ll be available for lunch between the 26th and 2nd?
Thank you for your many contributions to all of those who have had privilege of your company. I am quite certain that this country would be far better off if every student could have Mr. Smith at least once in a lifetime.
Your perpetual student,
— On Fri, 12/11/09, Larry Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: Larry Smith <email@example.com>
Subject: FW: Award
To: “Helen V. Smith” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Parks/council” <email@example.com>, “Willy Terrall” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Friday, December 11, 2009, 7:04 AM
—— Forwarded Message
From: Larry Smith <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 07:02:48 -0800
To: JR John Robert Manes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Trail fan Smith honored
December 10, 2009
Larry Smith, founding board member and executive director of the nationally recognized Jacksonville Woodlands Association, has received the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution’s highest conservation award.
A certificate and conservation medal were to be presented today during a ceremony held at the Jacksonville Branch Library.
Since the association was established in 1989, Smith and others have helped protect 21 wooded parcels totaling 320 acres and constructed 14 miles of hiking and interpretive trails in the woods surrounding Jacksonville.
Criteria for the NSDAR award include outstanding volunteer record in educational work; distinguished teaching; major replanting efforts by an individual; wildlife and nature center work; resource management; youth leadership; and conservation related media work.
Smith was an elementary school teacher in Jacksonville for 33 years, teaching hands-on involvement in community and helping students take part in trail maintenance, painting bridges, planting trees, etc. His students spoke to the City Council, wrote letters and formed an organization closely associated with the Jacksonville Woodlands.
He has spent more than 23 years with Crater Lake National Park, leading groups and teaching about the park, and he was instrumental in helping protect the Gentner’s fritillary, an endangered flower that grows only in parts of Jackson and Josephine counties.
— Staff reports
—— End of Forwarded Message
—- Forwarded Message
From: Lloyd Smith <Lsmithtwin@Comcast.net>
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2010 21:53:44 -0800
To: ‘Lloyd Smith’ <Lsmithtwin@Comcast.net>
Subject: A bit on Dad
Yesterday I asked Dad if he remembered what day it was. He said he did…Mom’s birthday. His head then fell to his chest and he could not speak, he started to cry. It would have been Ruby’s 93rd birthday.
Tonight Helen and I walked by where Dad was sitting and was just sitting in the chair and did not look good. I asked him if he was ok. He replied, “I cannot find anything to fill the hole”.
At times he feels so worthless because he cannot help or accomplish anything. He really appreciated Ashley’s letter about his worth and what he stands for.
Later tonight Larry could not find him and went to his bedroom and found him looking at Ruby’s photos and crying silently. He told Larry he feels is out of his body and just floating.
Then we spent part of the evening with Ruth. They called from Somerset and told us they were worried about Ruth. Her blood pressure is so low. So we drove over there. She had started to fall and they caught her. We got her to bed and left at 9:30. Helen is exhausted again, short nights and aging parents. They will check Ruth’s blood pressure all night long and check on her.
We will see what the morning brings.
On Thu, Apr 8, 2010 at 5:09 AM, Lloyd Smith <Lsmithtwin@comcast.net> wrote:
How many of you can remember when you first received your first phone…that is, phone service. (I am not talking about your cell or i-phone) We did not have a phone for a few years after we moved to our little farm in Phoenix in 1946. We were in the second or third grade when we got our phone line and our number…535-2804. It was a party line with four others sharing it. Our ring was 3 shorts so we always had to listen and count because there was another number that was four shorts. I remember feeling so proud…we had a phone. People could now call us. We were connected to the world. We did have a radio (still have it) but TV did not come until 1954 when Larry and I bought our TV for $250 (still have it). There were students that did not have electricity out in the country. That would have been about 1947-48. Our phone number was 535-2804. That is the number I always called…to call home after we moved out. It would be a number to announce all the family news, hurts, new babies, new houses, or “We are coming over for a visit”. Mom or Dad would always answer 535-2804…in fact, they would come running. After 62 years of it being an Elmer and Ruby Smith number it is now gone. Mom has not answered 535-2804 for over two years and Dad has not answered that number for most of the year. Dad asked us to drop the line to save $40 per month. A bit more of Elmer and Ruby Smith continues to erode…not to exist anymore.
Starts at the belly and works around his side along the beltline to his spine. She said that they follow the nerves. He has blood on his shirt. He is miserable. This has been going on for a week or two and he never mentioned it. The doctor (NA) said that she sees shingles once a month. We bought some large sweat pants for him. Even the band on his PJ’s bothers him. They were going to give him a cream along with the pills but she noticed the cream has a “caine” in it and Dad is very allergic to any “caines”. He has almost died in the past from where he was given a caine. His heart stopped. The pharmacist did not want to give Dad anything topical, just to be sure. The topical salve with the caine works the best. Just last night at Wal*Mart we spent $300 for his medicines and supplies. Now I have to catch Buddies urine and take it in for a test. We (he) have spent over $1000 on Buddy the past few months. It would be cheaper to get him a talking doll. Dad told me that Mom had a light case and was only sick for a few days. I told him she was down for a month and about died. He denies it.
Photo albums: http://picasaweb.google.com/lsmithtwin
146 West Beacon Hill Drive
Longview WA 98632
February 20, 2010
From Keith Smith to his daugher, Kaitlyn.
My Dearest Kaitlyn;
It seems like it was only yesterday that I was sitting in Huntington Hospital
in Pasadena California, holding tightly to you while you were bundled in a
pink blanket with nothing but your face peaking out. Your mother was
sleeping, I was rocking you and you looked directly up at me and held my
gaze for what seemed like an eternity. My eyes filled with tears and I cried
with joy as I thanked God over and over again for blessing me with such an
And then I cried some more when I thought about what life would be like
when my little bundle of joy became a teenager.
Little did I know that the blessings would just continue. I am the luckiest
Dad in the universe because I have you as my daughter. You have brought
joy and sunshine to my life more times than I can possibly count and more
times than you know. You have a way about you that everyone around you
loves. You make people feel special, you are caring, thoughtful, amazingly
intelligent and incredibly beautiful. You and your brother are often the last
thing I think of before I fall asleep, and the first thing on my mind when I
awake. I pray for you, I worry about you, I obsess over whether I’m doing a
good job as a dad, and I regularly feel guilty that I’m not. Your life has given
my life new meaning, and my love for you and your brother will never cease,
never fade, never falter. In you I have found my highest calling on this earth.
As one of the most important duties of my highest calling, I must rise to the
challenge of trying to get us both through your teenage years. I put my
parents through hell during this time, I can only brace for the same and hope
for much better. Being a kid is tough. Being a teenager is much more
difficult. So brace yourself. The temptations you will experience will come
fast and will sometimes be bold and other times be subtle, but they will be
there often. Guard yourself and be diligent, stay close to God, and remember
that we all make mistakes – that’s why we serve such a forgiving God.
My prayer for you is that you stay pure. That you stay true to God and that
he will protect you as you try out your wings and begin to experience what it
is like to be a young adult. So as n symbol of my hope and my prayer for
you, I want to give you this ring – a purity ring – as a reminder to you to
retain your innocence and your chastity until marriage. I hope that in taking
this ring you can commit to God that you will keep yourself pure for your
future husband. Chastity and purity are no longer valued by this world, but
they are valued by your God, your dad, and they will be valued by your
Embodied in this ring are many meanings:
I chose sapphire as the center stone for your purity ring because
sapphire is the second hardest mineral on this earth. I hope that you
will wear it as a promise of purity until one day your husband replaces
it with a diamond – the only mineral that is harder than a sapphire.
I chose a rare color-change sapphire to remind you that you are not like
everyone else and that you truly are unique, and to remind me that
you will begin to change as the light hits you differently in the coming
I chose white gold to symbolize the purity and forgiveness that God
gives us when we ask.
I chose a ring that was hand-made by Lisa Esztergalyos, an artisan
jeweler who hand crafts modern jewelry that is inspired by ancient
Victorian designs because to me you are a beautiful, bright and new
jewel and yet you have the depth and the fortitude of an old soul.
I chose a ring because it has a circle that has no beginning and no end,
just like our Creator.
I trust that this ring will have deep meaning to you and that it will be a
symbol of happiness, grace, forgiveness and purity for you as you enter a
world that is sorely lacking each of those things.
I love you dearly,
From: Ken Smith [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 10:19 PM
To: Lloyd Smith
Subject: Re: Took Dad to the doctor today…
Shingles, huh? That’s not good. How did they determine that’s what it was? What symptoms was he showing?
On Tue, May 4, 2010 at 6:28 PM, Lloyd Smith <Lsmithtwin@comcast.net> wrote:
We spent 2.5 hours to see about a couple of problems. We found out he is FOS.
1-He had pain around the middle of his belt-line – Found out it was Shingles. So we will start him on some medicine.
2-He had lots of gut pain so they did an X-Ray and found out he is FOS…full of stool. Lower ok but his small intestines are packed full. So we will start him on a cleansing program tonight, same stuff they use to clean out before an exam. Fun time tonight.
3-His MRI was ok, they said. The doctor wants to send him to an orthopedist.
4-He had a pain in his upper leg, inside and they thought it might be a blood clot but after she found the shingles she wants us to wait on an ultrasound. She does not the clot to develop.
5-He has a bad case of hemorrhoids. So we will start a program for that.
Time for a tune-up.
From: The Stories God Tells…
The following is part of a sermon written and delivered
by Kenneth Smith – October 2010
We all have our stories. I love to sit and listen to the ones my grandfather tells about his childhood in Montana, how he survived the Great Depression, about the winter he spent gold mining on the Salmon River in Idaho. He tells great stories about how he eloped with my grandmother the week after she graduated from high school, about how they moved to Oregon and bought property and built a house and raised a family. I love stories, and our family is famous for telling them.
But sometimes we find ourselves in stories that we didn’t expect. My grandfather’s story isn’t over yet, but it’s taken a hard turn. About fifteen years ago, he lost his eyesight. Five years ago, he broke his ankle, and began using a cane. Three years ago, he lost his beloved wife of 70 some years to cancer. Two years ago, he broke his hip. Last year, he had to leave the property he had owned for 60 years. The brilliant and brash young man who conquered his wife’s heart as easily as he conquered the Salmon River is now lonely, crippled and blind. Every day, he hurts. Every day, he cries. Last week, he asked me, “Ken, why won’t God just take me home?” People like to hear his stories about how, during the Great Depression, he found work and a wife and a home. Nobody wants to hear stories about how he has now lost his work, his wife, and his home. People like to hear about how he cheated death hunting in the mountains. Nobody wants to hear about how he now longs for death to take him. Not all of our stories have the simple, happy endings that we would choose.
On Nov 1, 2010, at 11:14 AM, Verna Hanson <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
SO SORRY to get this news!! (You & your camera!, but what else could you do but record this traumatic experience??!!) I prayed for him, you & Helen. I know even though you’ve sort of expected this for a long time, it hits hard when it happens!! Do you wish me to see him in the hospital? I work tomorrow counting ballots again & maybe after that, I don’t know now. I worked three days last week. I am free today. He is a very special man who loves the Lord with ALL his heart & everything that’s within him! Too bad there aren’t more like him around today! I am praying that if this his time to ‘go’ that it will be sweet & precious without any difficulties. The Lord will give you strength too. I am very thankful I got to know him. It is encouraging to me to know there are still a few people who are still 100% dedicated to loving/serving God!! Love, Verna
From: Lloyd Smith
Sent: Sun, October 31, 2010 11:11:59 PM
A wrap on Dad
The ambulance took Dad to the hospital today. He was diagnosed with heart failure and he did have a mild heart attack. They called it atrial flutter. The doctor gave Dad three choices … the first was to do surgical procedures and medicine to keep his heart going, the second was just to take medicines to keep his heart going, and the third choice was “palliative” care (hospice). He was very lucid when he said he wanted the third option. I think he is actually relieved to know that the end is in sight. And then he proceeded to witness to any medical staff that were there. I thought he was going to have an altar call. The doctor said he has “weeks, maybe months”, but certainly not years. He could have a heart attack at anytime. He is ready! He will be 98 in January.
Dorothy L Icenhower
“Your Dad is a great man. We miss having Elmer when he comes into the office to have his taxes done. The stories your Mom and Dad told Harold while having their taxes done, some were pretty funny. We will keep you and your family in our prayers. God is in control.”
Carlene Wall Severson
“We just read Lloyd’s post about your dad. Your folks have been a great influence on our lives and they have made us better people because of it. Your dad and the whole family will be in our prayers.”
Carlene Wall Severson commented on your status.
“Lloyd & Helen — Lorin and I have loved both of your folks so much, and
they always were a shining example to us. We are both better people because
of their influence. The devotion you and Larry have shown to them shows the
kind of parents they were and he continues to be. You are all in our
Julie Zietlow commented on your status.
“Oh, I am sorry Lloyd….praying for your Dad. He is such a special
man….really challenged me in my walk with the Lord! Not many people on
this earth like him!”
From: Lloyd Smith
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2010
Subject: Dad had a talk with me this morning
Dad came out of his bedroom this morning and hunted me down in the kitchen. He said that, “Something has to be done”. He looked a bit distraught. I was not sure what he had in mind. He said that he is no good to anybody but just a drain and we need not do anything to keep him here. No more massages. He does not want to use the oxygen because he is afraid he will burn down our house and he thinks it will prolong his time here. He said his niece burned her hair off her head using oxygen. I reminded him that the niece was smoking. He told Helen and me how much he has appreciated us and the care he has had here. “I could not have asked for more”. Then he said, “It has been a good ride but it is time for it to end.” He told me it is time to “let him go”, he does not want to hang around anymore. He cannot get comfortable. He is either too hot, too cold. He said his heart is flopping around like a one legged frog and very painful. “I hope it will just quit.” He lays there counting his beat wondering if the next one will be the last. I told him it is best to be in bed where he will not hit his head when he falls. He told me to take good care of Helen and Buddy. He said he wished he could have made his dying a little easier on us.
I told him that we have been lucky so far in that he has been able to take care of all of his personal needs and has not been bedridden. He said he was so thankful he has not had a stroke. But yesterday somebody at our home group asked him how old he was and he said he was 82…then he said he could not remember. He told me he was sorry for the work and inconvenience he has caused our family. I told him it was no bother because he is my father.
He finished with wanting to meet us all in heaven, “…even the grandchildren”. I told him it might take a while for the grandchildren to get there and said he had plenty of time to wait.
We exchanged hugs, we told each other that that we loved each other, he then shook my hand and said, “Goodbye” and he and Buddy hobbled back to the bedroom. He was very lucid and clear headed, even smiling and joking. No tears even though I was wiping my eyes. I will never forget his comment earlier that he has the hardest job in the world, waiting to die.
I do not know if he sensed anything….
From: “Keith Smith”
Date: November 29, 2010
Subject: Re: Dad had a talk with me this morning
That is an amazing exchange. It feels to me that he is departing this world very gracefully.
Someone asked me how old I was the other day and I said 37. I’m not sure that senior moments are reserved for the old.
From: Charles and Judy Swingle
Date: November 29, 2010
Subject: Re: Dad had a talk with me this morning
It’s tough. We have been through it several times, but it doesn’t get any easier. All you can do it be there for him as you have been doing, and focus on the positive that he is at peace and looking forward to the eternal life beyond.
From: Carol DeKorte
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010
Subject: Re: Dad had a talk with me this morning
Wow….oh, what can I say….Elmer said it. It’s amazing that he was able to sit and tell you what he is thinking and how he is feeling. I’m sure this is hard for him and I know it is tough on you guys too…….Losing parents, or anyone for that matter, is a tall order but we have the assurance that we will see our loved ones again and he knows all that and just seems ready. Ugh….., just remembering that my Dad told me that we know “time” here on earth, but after we are gone there is no “time” as we know it in the grave – so if that is of any help then we shall all be together again with the Lord! Time is something we measure here on earth because there is no “time” in our heavenly life, it is eternal. I remember seeing Grandpa Will and my Dad having a conversation something like this when he was visiting us on Gothic St. in Granada Hills. They loved to sit and chat about Biblical things……and I remember hearing some of these things as I walked by (I was a teenager at the time)
God knows the time and place for Elmer, and for all of us for that matter, so I trust that you will be able to go thru this time with him and enjoy the tears too……as they are blessings (showers of blessings as my mother-in-law Nellie told me as I was tearfully saying goodbye to her over her bed and my tears fell like rain) Kathi (her daughter) stood there and watched and said it was the most beautiful thing she had seen. I lived around Jim’s parents most of my life and so she was like another mother to me. It was difficult, but I felt so blessed to be there and share that time of memories with her. I didn’t get to say “goodbye” to either one of my parents, so isn’t it wonderful that you have that opportunity! Take care & know that Elmer and your family deeply appreciate you caring for him at this time of his life. It’s a blessing you’ll realize later. Love to you and Helen. Carol
From: Sandi Seregow <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2010
To: Lloyd Smith, Larry Smith
Subject: Uncle Elmer’s Talk
I know its been a long time, please forgive me … so much has been happening.
Your latest emails over the last couple of months have touched my
heart regarding Brian’s experience and the latest about dear Uncle Elmer.
I’m so broken hearted and sorrow has overwhelmed me tonight when I read about Uncle Elmer’s talk with Lloyd. … I’ve cried many tears
and it’s like my dad is dying all over again. I told Dave how much my family as well as yours has meant to me… and the two brothers,
Elmer and Harland — so unselfish, kind beyond words and always soft spoken with an incredible love for our Lord and Savior.
I will be praying for your family. Just know how much I love your families and will be in touch more now…
Always With love,
From: Christopher Zornes
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2010
Subject: Re: Dad had a talk with me this morning
I don’t have any idea how to respond to this. I will miss him so much but I certainly understand his anxiety over this issue. I thought he would go soon after Grandma. I’m sure these three years have been very tough on him. Tell grandpa I love him and will see him in heaven.
Well, this is it!
I had better stop now that I am somewhere between 700 – 800 pages of Smith history. I am now wondering, “Who is going to want to read something this large?”
Well, at least the information has been captured and written down. Please forgive all the grammatical and typing errors. I am a collector of information, not a professional writer.
I like to let people tell their own stories in their own words, which explains the layout format that has been presented. Yes, this Smith History jumps around a bit and does not flow like a professional genealogy. But this is what you get.
I have come to realize that a family history can never be “completed”.
Additional information will continue to be uncovered.
More great stories will be generated. Great letters will be written.
Family member’s lives will continue to be altered and enriched.
By now I estimate that my grandparents, Aaron and Gertrude Smith, have about 350 direct descendents. But as with most large families, we have lost contact with several branches, so the exact number is unknown.
And this report does not attempt to completely document the descendents of Grampa Aaron Smith’s two surviving brothers – Clyde and Lee.
And of course there are the other branches of the Elias Smith descendents that are “still out there.”
I started mentally collecting Smith family stories as a child as they were told by my parents, Elmer and Ruby, and Uncle Harland and Grandma Smith and my many Smith aunts.
By 1974 I had started writing them down, but for many years I just threw the stories and documents into a box that sat on a closet shelf. Often they just amounted to scrawl on scraps of paper.
I really did not know how to handle the mass of information that was accumulating. My mail goal at that time was to collect the information before it was lost forever. Then the computer was invented! What a grand invention for family historians!
Not only could I finally shape the scrawl into something readable and editable, but we could also do online searching.
I now had a proper tool and began typing up what I had. As family members heard about the project, they began to offer up information and documents.
I sent out letters to a number of family members and research organizations asking for specific info. Many answered. Some did not.
Because of this project I finally got to meet Smith family members that I had only heard about. They were most gracious in answering my probing questions.
The big challenge of this type of project was trying to decide what to include. My philosophy is to include everything that pops up. Hopefully the items that have been included are not too embarrassing.
As my long lost cousin, Don Smith Bailey, told me, “What has happened has happened”.
Not only has this project been a big investment of time, but also of money. I have paid out a couple thousand dollars just for the services of several professional researchers. I had wanted to push Smith family back beyond John and Mary Smith, the parents of Eli Smith, but we were unsuccessful by the time the budgeted money ran dry. The researchers still hold out hope of going back further, but of course they want a couple thousand dollars more.
Then there is the more than three thousand dollars spent on the layout of the photo section and of course the printing costs of over 800 pages. How did it ever get to this point?
Thanks to those who have helped defray some of the costs.
It has been a lot of fun and I hope that you have enjoyed learning more about our great Smith legacy.
Larry Bennett Smith
Since our family and most American families have roots in other countries – here is a quote from one of my heroes.
Theodore Roosevelt’s ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.
‘In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.
But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.’
Theodore Roosevelt 190