My Othello Memories
I was born in 1957, and if I’m not mistaken our family left Othello when I was six, First Grade. Some of my memories get distorted, but I am going to use this sheet to write down things as they come, and maybe add more later.
There was gravel around our house, a driveway that went all the way around, and we had access to main roads both to the East and the West. We lived South of Radar Road, just after it passed the canal. It was that canal which brought life to this area; which had been sage brush. With the completion of Grand Coulee Dam; much of Eastern Washington was open to agriculture.
Speaking of the canal, I remember one day going over the canal, and looking down into the water and seeing a dead dog floating along. I think this had been a year of high water. We were never allowed to get close to this canal because it was big, and had steep banks. But it was just north of our house and farm, and created a hill which was also an end.
This was a time when I did not like shoes. I prided myself on being able to run on rocks. My feet were pretty hard. However sometimes not hard enough, because in running on the rocks I often stubbed my toe. By stubbing my toe I mean I would rip the nail off. Then my Dad would have to doctor me. He would use fingernail scissors to cut off what might be remaining. Then there was hydrogen peroxide and all the bubbles. This was usually followed by a band aid.
I learned that there are worse things to run on than gravel however. On one occasion we went with my Dad to help with bailing and gathering the hay. Dad told me to wear shoes, but I didn’t. I was left in a field of fresh cut hay, needing to get back to the truck. Fresh cut hay is much crueler to feet than gravel. It really hurt and I learned my lesson.
My usual chore was to take the scraps out to the cats. There were always lots of cats, and we fed them by the can we had for trash. After a meal, all the scraps would be gathered unto a plate, and then I had the task to walk out and deliver them to the cats. I remembered one time I was just in a mean mood, and put them into the trash barrel. It made me feel bad what I had done, but now I look back, the cats probably just climbed in and got them anyway. At the time however, I remember them looking at me with their big eyes.
We would also tease the dog about food. We would tie a bun to a rope, and then climb up the clothes line poll. While sitting on the clothes line we would dangle the bun down like a fishing line. We would then jerk it up when the dog came to grab it. This was great fun. The dog would eventually win, as the bun would break and fall off and then they would have their treat.
Playing house was a favorite activity. The girls had a play house in a grain elevator. However we would also play in the alfalfa, which field was next to our home. We would smash the alfalfa down when it was tall, and make rooms and hallways in this fashion. (If we got too ambitious in our house making my dad would let us know we were smashing too much of the alfalfa down, but he was OK with a little.) When it was really tall, you could lie down and not be seen.
One year a corn field was planted in this spot. It was again great fun to play in the corn. You couldn’t smash it down, but it was a great place for hiding. (See ___for a story of the corn field.)
I remember our cow, which for some reason we would always notice she had gotten out as we were on our way to church. It was a Sunday ritual to get the cow back in. I have fleeting memories of the church. I mom would help in primary. One day someone accidentally stepped on my hand at church. The chapel was built while we lived there.
There was a park with a pool which was a favorite place. Our mom would often take us to the pool. My dad use to play softball. He could hit the ball a long ways. He would also play at home by our house, using the hill of the canal bank as a backstop. There wasn’t a lot of room, but plenty for us children.
I had a tricycle which I would ride to the bus stop to welcome the kids home from school. I use to get bored at home as mom would iron and watch her soaps. I remember Weldon would often get me to let him ride the trice home.
My favorite activity in the summer was to invade the raspberry patch. My mom would have to keep me away to get enough raspberries for jam. I would also take a turn at the strawberries, but my favorite was the raspberries. We always had a large garden.
We made a potato cellar on a property a few miles away. I remember the scaffolding that we had inside, and the smell. There is nothing like the smell of a potato cellar.
We use to irrigate most of the property with row irrigation. We would get the water out of the ditches and into the rows using siphon tubes. It was a skill to get the siphon tube to work, and I had my experience with putting the tube in the water, shaking it, and then letting onside only out of the water, and if you did it correctly it would draw water. My dad was better than me, but I had some success. (A few years ago while visiting Grandpa Scoresby in Idaho, Grandpa was using siphon tubes and I took a turn. I still had the knack.)
Social activities were limited as we lived outside of town. We would go to people’s houses to visit. I remember we didn’t go to a barber, but to somebody’s house where he had a tall stool chair and he would cut our hair. We would also go to Francis Yorgansen’s home and my dad and he would play chess.
It was while staying home with my mom that I watched the funeral for President Kennedy. Our TV was black and white, but I still was enthralled with the horse-drawn carriage that carried the president, and his son saluting. That was November 1963.