Michael Atkins

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Michael Atkins Life Recollections Chapter 6, Part 3 Finding Work While Building a Family As soon as I was able, Dad rented a house in Three Lakes. They were company houses and quite roomy. I don't remember what we paid but we had the misfortune to get a very dirty one. We noticed we were bitten and had welts all over. Dad discovered it was fleas. I had never seen a flea. The neighbors told us the people who lived there before had goats. A Snohomish doctor was taking care of the Three Lakes people. He had a nurse stationed at Three Lakes all the time. Dad went and asked her what to do. She said use Lysol water. On the weekend Dad took all the furniture out and washed it with Lysol. We told the bedding and clothes all out. Shook and brushed. Then he washed all the floors, walls and ceiling with Lysol water. Your Dad was really a worker. We didn't see many fleas after that but we were a long time getting rid of the smell. Bobbie and I seemed to have lost our malaria but Dad came home many times with fever and chills. Finally Dr. Durrant started shooting iron into his veins and he finally seemed to get over it, but through the years that followed, Dad had many sick spells but he always kept working. He would lose one job and get another. Bad luck hit us again. After about a year the mill burned down at Three Lakes. It was here we had met Kentuck (Tuck). He said Dad went to Everett, which was really a mill town. They got work and batched together but as soon as Dad got a payday, he rented a flat. It had two apartments downstairs and two up. It wasn't a bad place. We had to share the bath but we had a toilet on the back porch. Marie was just a year old. The house was right on the sidewalk and when she would go out there and start up the street Bobbie would scream "Sissy!" so she was known as Sissy for a long time. Dad was doing pretty well and they were building some new houses not far away, which he became interested in and we could buy for $1,800. Twenty-five dollars down and twenty-five dollars a month so we thought we could make it and at last we had a nice place to live in. It had a nice living room, two bedrooms with bath in between and a kitchen. I don't know whey they quit building before putting in cupboards but Dick came out and helped Dad put up cupboards and we put in a lawn and flowers and were very happy there. It was the nicest house we had lived in yet. I was so proud of it and we were very proud of you two little ones. The place was in lower Everett called the Riverside District. Dad worked at the Canyon Mill, which was left of the bridge between Everett and Snohomish. It wasn't very far so he could come home for lunch. I still had the little go-cart so I'd put the baby in it and take Bobbie along and walk uptown to Everett. I remember one businessman stopped me and told me I was a millionaire twice, apparently meaning you children. It wasn't long before I found I was pregnant again. I didn't want any more children. I was happy as things were. I was mean and irritable. Poor Dad didn't know what to do. I hated him and life itself. I should have confided in my mother but I refused to see a doctor. When mother found out she arranged a surprise shower on me. I ran in the bedroom and cried and cried. The following Sunday Dick and Gertrude came back in to see me - the only thing I can say that Dick did for me. He belonged to the Eagles lodge and he said he was going to talk to a doctor and have him come and see me. One morning he came to the door and when I saw Dr. Jay, all my fears melted away and I was able to face things. I didn't go to see him. He came to see me and put my mind to rest. He and Dad became great friends as they had both been in the Marine Corps. The time finally came when I had warnings and Dad stayed home from work and called the doctor. They sat at the table and drank coffee and visited until I had to scream that I needed them. Again it was a short and easy birth. Mother was there with me again. You girls who have been mothers know how it is when you first hold your newborn; all your love pours out and trouble are forgotten, but there was another problem. The doctor kept coming every day and sometimes when I least expected him - so finally I asked him if there was anything wrong. He said I had a slight heart murmur and leakage of a heart valve and I wasn't to do any heavy work. Poor Dad - he did all the work. He washed at night and I would hang them out in the morning. I was always the first one to have my washing on the line. He also told me I should not get pregnant again but in those days they didn't tell us how not to become pregnant. Now I had two more worries - my heart and how not to get pregnant. I'm afraid those times were very trying for Dad but he was wonderful. You children never knew what a wonderful Dad you had. You were such a good baby, Kathleen. We called you Kathleen because Dad liked that song so well and was always singing; "I'll take you home, Kathleen." (continued)
Feb 29, 2004 · posted to the surname Atkins
Michael Atkins Panorama of Sicily Anonymous, U.S.S. SC-508 April 1944 If I were an artist with nothing to do. I'd paint a picture, a composite view. Of historic Sicily, in which I'd show, Visions of contrast, the high and the low. There'd be towering mountains, a deep blue sea. Filthy brats yelling, “CARAMELLA” at me. High-plumed horses, and colorful carts. Two-toned trusses, on hustling tarts I'd show Napoleonic cops, the Carbinieri. Dejected old women, with too much to carry. A dignified gentleman, with a Balboa beard. Bare bottomed bambinos, both ends smeared. Castle and Palace, Opera House too. Hotel on a mountain, marvelous view. Homes made of woods, brickets and mud. People covered with scabs, scurvy and crud. Chapels and churches, great to behold. Each a king's ransom, in glittering gold. Poverty and want, men craving for food. Picking through garbage, practically nude. Stately cathedrals with high toned bells. Ricovero shelters with horrible smells. Molding catacombs, a place for the dead. Noisy civilians clambering for bread. Palatial villas with palm trees tall. A stinking hovel mere hole in the wall. Tree fringed lawns, swept by the breeze. Goats wading in filth up to their knees. Revealing statues, all details complete. A sensual lass with sores on her feet. Big breasted damsels but never a bra. Bumping against you, there should be a law. Creeping boulevards, a spangled team. Alleys that wind like a dope-fiend's dream. Flowers blooming on the side of the hill. A sidewalk latrine with privacy nil. Two by four shops, with shelving all bare. Gesturing merchants, arms flailing the air. Narrow gauge sidewalks, more like a shelf. Butt-puffing youngster, scratching himself. Lumbering carts, hogging the road. Nondescript trucks, frequently towed. Diminutive donkeys, loaded for bear. Horse-drawn taxis, seeking a fare. Determined pedestrians, courting disaster. Walking in gutters, where movement is faster. Sicilian drivers, all accident bound. Weaving and twisting to cover the ground. Homemade brooms, weeds tied to a stick. Used on the streets to clean off the brick. Bicycles and pushcarts blocking your path. Street corner politicos, needing a bath. Arrogant wretches, picking up snipes. Miniature Fiats, various types. Young street singer, hand organ tune. Shoeshine boys, a sidewalk saloon. Barbers galore with manners quite mild. Prolific women, all heavy with child. Il Duce's secret weapon, kids by the score. Caused by his bonus, which is no more. A beauteous maiden, a smile on her face. With a breath of garlic, fouling the place. Listless housewife, no shoes on her feet. Washing and cooking out in the street. The family wash of tattle-tale gray. Hung from a balcony, blocking the way. Native coffee, God what a mixture. Tiled bathroom with one extra fixture. Families dining from one common bowl. Next to a fish store, a terrible hole. Sicilian zoot suiters, flashily dressed. Bare-footed beggars, looking oppressed. Mud smeared children, clustering about. Filling their jugs at a community spout. A dutiful mother with a look of despair. Picking the lice from her small daughter's hair. Capable craftsmen, skilled in their art. Decrepit old shacks, falling apart. Intricate needlework, out on display. Surrounded by filth, rot and decay. Elegant caskets, carved out by hand. Odorous factories, where leather is tanned. A shoemaker's shop, a black market store. Crawling with vermin, no screen on the door. I've tried to describe things I have seen. Panorama of Sicily, the brown and the green. I've neglected the war scars, visible yet. But those are the things we want to forget. I'm glad I came, but damned anxious to go. Give it back to the natives, I'm ready to blow. Finis: The author of Panorama of Sicily remains anonymous, but he has our praise and thanks for allowing this to fall in our hands. The crew of the Subchaser, U.S.S. SC-508 April, 1944
Mar 18, 2003 · posted to the surname Atkins
Michael Atkins Life Recollections Chapter 5, Part 3 Starting a Family – then Tragedy A week later Mr. and Mrs. Lyford came and brought me the bassinet and bathtub, also a crib which she had promised me and they were in the family many years and were used by many babies. Dad was always scouting around and looking for work where he could make more money. This time he got a job up above Granite Falls cutting railroad ties. He got paid by the piece and made pretty good money. We moved out near the folks and it was a nice little place and Martha loaned me her go-cart so I used to walk down to Mother's every day. We had a neighbor who had a boy that was no good. He was always stealing from everyone. One night when we had gone down to the folks he had been in our house. When we got home we noticed he had ransacked the cupboards. We had six dollars in the dresser drawer and when we looked it was gone. The mattresses had been turned over and everything disturbed. We straightened things up and were going to bed. Dad went in the closet to get his work clothes and came out and said his only suit was gone. Also gone were his good shoes and a bag, which he had carried it out in. Dad went right to the neighbor's. She was such a sweet lady. She said the boy had been home but was gone then. Not many nights later we were just going to bed when she knocked on the back door and asked Dad to come over. The boy was home. His brother had him tied with a rope. He also had a Model T car so Dad and he took the boy and was going to make him give back the things. He went under the house and got part of the money. Then they drove almost to Lake Stevens and the coat was under one railroad trestle and the pants in another place. I don't know where they found the shoes. While they were discussing what to do with him he took off on the run so Dad figured his brother let him go. By this time I was pregnant again and not feeling very good. One day the neighbor lady came over sand asked me if I was going down to mother's would I please ask Dad to call the sheriff as her boy was home again. I went down and Dad called the sheriff and we watched until we saw them go by. Imagine how the woman might have suffered to have to turn in her own boy. He was later shot by a farmer as he was stealing chickens. I forgot to tell you he also stole Dad's bicycle, the only way he had to go to work and while he was off someone stole his tools that he used to cut ties with so he was out of a job again. So it was back to the mills. About this time great tragedy struck our family. Ernie and Martha's little girl had been sick for some time and they didn't seem to know what was wrong. She was such a little doll. She died the 31st of March 1921. The whole family was grief stricken. I can remember Bert crying as though his heart would break. He came running up to my house just screaming. We all loved her so much and it was a terrible loss to Ernie and Martha and Thurston. Now I was glad I was pregnant and I was sure I would have a little girl. (continued)
Feb 29, 2004 · posted to the surname Atkins
Michael Atkins My Life Recollections By Edna Olivia (Johnson) Atkins Chapter 1, Part 1 Minneapolis, Minnesota I was born on May 30, 1901, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the first little girl, after my parents had had two sons. Mother used to tell me how she was alone as Dad was out marching the Memorial Parade. She had to send Ernie, who was then eight years old, after the midwife. I guess everything went well so when Dad came home, he had another little mouth to feed, but being the first girl, I'm sure I was a welcome addition to the family. My first recollection was of hearing Mother scream one night and then a baby crying. I was only a little over two when Freda was born so I'm inclined to believe that it was Esther's birth that I remember as I was almost five years old then and I seem to remember that we had bedrooms upstairs and later Mother rented rooms to a couple of young men whom I loved very much. I still have the little blue stein and some of the little dishes I got the Christmas following. One of the roomers must have played Santa Claus for I remember how frightened I was, so I hid behind Dad, but a few hours later Dad took me by the hand and we went to church at midnight. I do not know what church the folks belonged to but I remember I got to go to church at midnight, at Christmas Eve many times. I also know it was very cold and there was snow everywhere and I had a brown fur coat. It probably was not real fur as I remember in a later year, Dad and I went by a store and we saw a blue fur coat, which he bought for me. I remember one Christmas I got a ring and a bracelet, which I am wearing in one of the pictures. The ring was lost down the toilet. We had a two-holer and me sitting there playing with my ring, I dropped it and it fell down the other hole. I must have been broken-hearted. I also remember the dress I am wearing in the picture but I don't remember the picture being taken. We must have moved later as I remember living in a one-floor house on a corner. It was here Mother had Ernie take me to a Christmas party to some people who lived upstairs. It was a fun party with lots of children when the Christmas tree burst into flames. It must have been time for Ernie to come for me, as he just walked in and he grabbed a carpet from the floor and smother the fire. It was from this place that they tried to start me to school. I do not know if it was the first or second semester but they would not let me start. I must have been only five. Ernie took me out on the sidewalk and headed me in the right direction and I ran all the way home. It couldn't have been very far. Later, probably when I was six, I started this same school. It was a new brick school with a basement and the toilets were in the basement. Hearing several children ask if they could go down in the basement, I presumed that they were going to the toilet, so one day I asked permission to go. Being very shy I somehow wandered into the boys' section but I remember a very nice boy took me by the hand and showed me the way to the girls' room. Another time I wasn't so lucky. As I said, I was so shy, as soon as I was dismissed I started running home. There was snow on the ground and a bigger boy who wasn't so nice stuck out his foot and tripped me. I fell right on my face and broke a piece off my two front teeth, which I was to go through life with. I only remember two of my teachers, Miss Wilson and Miss Johnson. I learned fast and when we left Minneapolis in 1910 I was ready for the 4th grade. We were living in this same place when Dad was working on the South Side High School. They apparently were putting an addition on it as Ernie was going to this school. Dad was a bricklayer's helper and it was my job to bring him his lunch. It must have been his supper for in those days the men worked ten and twelve hours a day, but I loved carrying that lunch bucket. It was a tin square box. The lid was a hollow top, which held coffee. I had to cross the railroad crossing and Mother always cautioned me to wait until the bars were down and the watchman told me I could go. I also remember a neighbor we had at this place. Their name was "Ness" and they had a girl my age whose name was Agnes. Agnes just loved waffles but she wanted them burned, so it smelled of burned waffles all over the place. We also had an old lady neighbor whom we thought was a witch. We were afraid of her but she always brought us such goodies, candy and fruit. She was probably a lonesome, poor soul. (continued)
Feb 29, 2004 · posted to the surname Atkins
Michael Atkins Life Recollections Chapter 7 First Car and Fourth Baby About this time we got our first new car, a Model T. I really don't know how, but I suppose it didn't cost much, but it was wonderful to have a car and go to see the folks on weekends. We would come home on Sunday night and Marie and Bobby would be so cross. We would set you in the high chair, Kathleen, and you would play while we put the older ones to bed. Again, I thought my life was complete when suspicion of pregnancy haunted me. I was frightened and sick with worry, so Dad had Dr. Jay come to see us. Being a friend as well as a doctor, he gave me something to start bleeding and then came with his own car and took me to the hospital and gave me a currettment (sic). Probably against his medical profession, but he thoroughly believed I should not have another baby. He is probably dead now, but God Bless him for what he did for me. A short time before all this happened Esther came to visit us with her friend John Weber. He said he was getting a new Buick and they would come back. I was sick in bed when they came and could only look at the new car through the window. He was surprised that we had another baby. He never suspected I was pregnant. As you know, Esther married him and they moved near a logging camp in Selleck. They came quite often and got Dad interested in logging so it wasn't long before we gave up our home in Everett and they and us moved out to Granite Falls near the folks. We lived together for quite a while and worked in logging camps around Arlington and Granite Falls. Johnny and Esther finally moved home with the folks. After [that] we had lived together in two old houses but Esther and I managed to fix them up pretty nice. But, here again I found myself pregnant. We were both frightened and made a trip into Everett to see Dr. Jay, but he had gone back to the south wherever he was from. We went to a doctor in Granite Falls, and they sent us to a doctor in Arlington. They put me through all kinds of tests and both agreed I should not have any more babies, but could not do anything about it. I never told my mother, as about this time she was taken sick and one night, three days later she died in the Everett Hospital (Mar 31, 1926). I was heart broken. Knowing I was pregnant and not having her to help me. About this time Bob kept writing to Dad that he was sure he could get on the railroad, as they needed men. Esther and Johnny and Bert were with my father so I consented to go. We sold most everything, shipped our household goods, including my sewing machine, and we went on the train down to California. Bob and his wife then was "Myra" lived in Hornbrook. They met us in Grants Pass, Oregon and drove over the mountain. For some reason Myra took a dislike to your Dad. She was very good to me and you children. This was in May, and the baby was to be born in July. Dad would have got a job as they did need men but they had laid off a bunch of men in San Diego and they got all the jobs first. Myra was so snotty to Dad that he was real upset. He worked one day on the section crew and he was the only white man there, so I told him he didn't have to do that. He asked Bob to take us down to Grandpa Atkins. At this time step-grandma Atkins had left Grandpa and gone back to Missouri. Great Grandma was with him. She was interesting to listen to and Grandpa loved you kids and you kids loved him. I had a whole month to go before the baby came. We went to Dr. Owens; I think he was Fannie's doctor. He, too, had me scared. He gave me heart medicine and I was sure I was going to die. I made Dad promise to take care of you kids and to give the baby clothes to Esther as she was pregnant, too, and I thought if I died, the baby would die, too. I had to get by myself so Dad got a job in the cotton fields south of Red Bluff and rented a furnished house for a month. He was almost overcome with the heat out in the fields and had to come home. He was probably worried about me, too, but we never told Fannie or Ray about our fear. Dr. Owens made arrangements in the Mercy Hospital for me. It was a Catholic hospital and I believe a charitable hospital. Sometime before Ray had used the clippers and had clipped all the boys' hair as it was so hot. He wanted to clip Dad's hair, too, but I said no, not until I had been in the hospital. On the 4th of July 1926, we were all lying around on the lawn at Fannie and Ray's, trying to keep cool, when I told them I thought I better go to the hospital. In the meantime, unbeknownst to me, Ray had clipped all Dad's pretty hair off. How disappointed I was. We arrived at the hospital in early evening and it wasn't long before I was in the delivery room. A little Sister was sent in to help. It was probably her first maternity case as she went to pieces and just stood there, wringing her hands. The doctor put her out and told them to put a gown on Dad and let him help. Did he ever look funny in that gown and bald head. I couldn't quite make it by midnight, so you were born on the 5th of July 1926, Bill. You were a nine-pound baby. The doctor kept watching me and giving me medication. I was there quite a long time and the nurses and Sisters were so good to me and to you kids when Dad brought you to see me. I remember one time he had put Kathleen's dress on backwards but he done the best he could. He hitchhiked up to Cottonwood and borrowed Granddad's old Model T and moved you all up there. Step-grandma Atkins came to the hospital to see me. I had never met her but she said to come home and she would take care of me so she really was a good woman. When it came time to leave the hospital Dad came in the evening with the Model T. We had no money. Sometime before the government had given a bonus to all the veterans but it would be several years before it would mature and be collected. He brought the bonus papers with him to leave as security. When he went to the office the Sisters were all at prayer and they could not accept that but to take me home. He went back to the Sisters and they said they could not accept anything as valuable as that but to pay whenever we could. I honestly don't know how we paid that bill but if I had money to give away as a donation I would give it to that hospital for I'll always feel we owe them a debt of gratitude. Grandma Atkins did all the washing and hard work and helped me a lot. Dad had worked and had $20.00. He gave me $10.00 and took $10.00 and started hitchhiking north. How I hated to see him go. And how I worried. He had good luck and met up with a truck driver who took him to Portland, Oregon. He went to an employment office and took a job at Benson's Timber Company in Clatskanie in the logging camp. He wrote he would get a place for us there and send for us as soon as he got paid. He made friends easy and a single man lent him the money and was I happy when I received a letter with money in for a ticket to Portland. I had asked Fannie to put in for a pass so she could come with me and help me with you children but when we got in touch with her she hadn't even put in for a pass, not thinking I would go so soon. "I'm going alone," I told Grandma Atkins. She packed us a lunch and we had Billy on "Eaglebrand" so all I needed for him was water. We went into Cottonwood to get on the train. (continued)
Feb 29, 2004 · posted to the surname Atkins
Michael Atkins This is from a "Home Town Recipe" book, Oroville, WA & was submitted by Owatha Ann Brown 1 medium sized possum 3 or 4 medium sized sweet potatoes Place whole possum in pan and cover with water. Add salt to taste. Cook until tender, then drain off the water. Cover again with water and boil a few minutes longer. Again, pour off the water and cover with more water and boil awhile longer. Pour off water, (this gets rid of the "wild" taste). Have sweet potatoes boiled until tender and salted to taste. Place possum in foil. Arrange potatoes around possum. Wrap and put in oven, 300 degrees for 1 hour. Bon App'etit And you thought possum were just roadkill?
May 30, 2003 · posted to the surname Atkins
Michael Atkins Life Recollections Chapter 8, Part 2 Life in an Oregon Logging Camp In the wintertime we were snowed in. We had to put in a lot of supplies. The meat we had was always venison. When it was out of season we still had to have meat. I remember the men would go early in the morning. The logging was shut down for at least four months. One time Dad went early in the morning with two others. We hadn't been up very long when they brought in a big deer that covered the whole table, said I had to get it put away by noon. They skinned it, always buried the hide. We wrapped and packed some of it in the snow outside. I canned many quarts and then we hid all the jars in the woods close by. I doubt if a game warden would have come by in the winter, but we didn't take any chances. When summer of 1927 came we went on many picnics. They formed a baseball team and we would load our lunch and kids on a couple of flat cars and it being all down hill, the men would brake them and we would get down to the cars and take off for the school house where they would play ball. Coming home was a chore, for the men would push us women and kids up the hill. What fun we had as there was always "home brew" and plenty to eat. We had a couple of nice outings. Some of the women volunteered to take care of you kids and Dad and I and another couple went into Portland one weekend. We stayed in a hotel and we surely did have fun. We had many frightening experiences, too. When we would hear the Loki whistle at the wrong time of the day, we knew some man had been hurt. It happened many times, but fortunately not to us. Fire was another worry. Our little shack caught fire twice. In the early morning I always went back to bed as long as you kids would sleep. This cold morning, Dad piled the stove full of wood. For some reason I didn't feel like going back to bed but sat by the stove warming myself and baby Bill. I looked up and the roof was burning around the stovepipe. We had no ceiling. My heart stopped, but I quickly waked you, Marie, and Bobby, who were sleeping in the living room, grabbed the baby and Kathleen from the bedroom and put you all together. In a minute I flew across the tracks to the cookhouse and screamed, "My house is on fire!" I had hardly got back before men came from all sides with buckets of water, wet gunny sacks, sand and anything they could think of. They had the fire out in no time and the stove, being full of fire and wood, they picked up the whole stove and took it outside. That night they helped Dad put a tin plate all around the stovepipe. Another time we had a fire was when camp was shut down. Dad always managed to work at something so he was gone. When camp was shut down the "Time Keeper" lived in a "caboose" on the tracks in front of our house. Wood made many ashes. I decided it was time to empty the ashes so I pulled out the ash pan and saw that the floor was burning in under the stove. I ran out and got the time-keeper and he put it out. When Dad got home he decided we should have a new stove. When the weather got better we ordered a kerosene stove from Sears Roebuck. It was beautiful. I was the envy of all the women. My little shack had blossomed into a beautiful little home. Dad had found a little sink and he piped the water into the kitchen. I covered all the shelves and cupboards with oilcloth, even covered a wooden box inside and outside for a breadbox. However, we only had cold water so we had to heat water and on the kerosene stove it was somewhat difficult to heat water for baths. When it got cold that winter we closed the kitchen door. Let the water run a little and we always got up to a big icicle in the sink. We were so happy, though, and had such good times and such good friends. But, we had to starting thinking about making another move. You, Bobby, had already spent one half year in Seattle going to school and the rest of the school year riding the Loki early in the morning and late in the day. It was time to think of getting the rest of you nearer to the schools. (continued)
Feb 29, 2004 · posted to the surname Atkins
Michael Atkins Life Recollections Chapter 8, Part 1 Life in an Oregon Logging Camp I sent a telegram to Dad. Mother said not to tell him I was coming alone but I put on the telegram that I was alone, knowing that Dad wouldn't fail to meet us. Grandpa was afraid they would charge for Bobby so he gave me $20.00. Sure enough, when the conductor came around he asked me how old the boy was. I couldn't lie so I said he would be six in September. He said he would have to have half fare but it would be cheaper to buy it in Redding then pay each conductor. The train stopped in Redding and when I stepped off the train leaving you little ones it was about ten cars from the station. I ran all the way and when I got inside there was a long lineup. The stationmaster, seeing how upset I was said, "You have plenty of time, lady." I ran all the way back and then wasn't sure which car it was until the conductor came to the door and recognized me. How glad you were to see me and I cried for joy. There were two nice old ladies on the train who amused you, Bobby and Marie. You each carried a pillow and they said they were going to get a berth so they put you to bed on their seats and covered you with your coats. I had two seats facing. I put Kathleen to bed on one and all three of you were asleep. The baby lay on my seat. We were held up by a slide two hours during the night and I was so tired. Oh, if I could only lie down. I lay down on the seat, laid the baby across my breast and covered us both up with a cape I was wearing and went sound asleep. I don't know how much later when someone tapped me on the shoulder. When I looked up it was the porter asking, "Are you all right, lady?" So I guess he was watching out for me. Morning finally came and we pulled into the depot in Portland. How happy we were to see our tired Daddy. He had borrowed an old car and had had nothing but trouble with flat tires and lights going out and raining all the way. He finally left the car and hitchhiked in, then had to wait two hours for our train, but it game him a chance to dry out as he was soaked to the skin. We had some breakfast and then took the train to where the car was. He fixed a tire and we started out for Clatskanie. The rain had stopped by now and merrily we drove along. Dad had told me we couldn't go up to the camp until the next day so we could go up when the Loki (logging train) went up after bringing down the logs, as we had to walk quite a long ways and over two high trestles. I was determined to get to my new home this same day. I had talked him into it, saying I would carry the baby and he could carry Kathleen as you were just a little over two years. However, I realized we did have to eat first, so we stopped at a restaurant in Clatskanie. I was beaming with happiness, at last being with your Dad again and I will say that you all had been very good. After our meal, out we went expecting to be on our way when the little old Ford was spotted with just, "you guessed it," another flat tire. I was disappointed but relented and let Dad get us a room above the restaurant. All I remember was that we had two big double beds. I was disappointed but happy we were all together again. The next morning, we drove to what we called the "Y". That's where all the families left their cars. Around the corner was the railroad and along comes the locomobile pulling a long line of cars. We loaded our things and all of us on one of the cars and away we went to our new home. As we were going up the steep grade and over the high trestles I realized that God had interfered and gave us that flat tire that night for we would never have made it on foot. Dad felt bad to have us move into the little shack, but it was heaven to me. We had three rooms and a large closet and storeroom and best of all it was ours. Dad had paid $65.00 for it. We didn't' own the ground it sat on but the shack was ours. As Dad got to working and each payday we were able to replace old furniture and curtains and linoleum on the floor. Everyone in camp was such nice people and they made their own fun with lots of parties and dances. I was friendly with all of them but I could not bring myself to go to any of the parties. We didn't have a radio so when there was some important event coming up such as "prize fights" and the "Lindbergh flight," (May 1927) Dad would go down to one of the neighbors who had a radio. I didn't mind. Dad always wanted to go so I told him to go. He went a few times and then he asked me to ask some of them to our place. I asked a few I had met including the one that had loaned Dad the old Ford. That was a mistake. They were quite religious so the party was somewhat of a flop and broke up early. One couple, who had a little boy, stayed a while. He played the violin and said there was another party in camp and he was to go and play for them. He persuaded Dad to go with him. She and I waited until she got tired and went home. I waited up for them. When they came home, he was all for going back. I got my nerve up and said I was going with them. As we came into the party, a big Swede grabbed me and said "I'm going to have a dance with Mrs. Atkins." They all knew Dad. They called him "Sunshine." Wherever he went people loved your Dad. You can understand why they called him "Sunshine." He was happy and I guess he showed it. To get back to the party, which lasted all night, I had a wonderful time, though I had Dad running back and forth checking on you kids. Thus began three years of happy times in our lives. Everybody was like one big family. Any little event was cause for a party. Whenever anyone had company, a big party was held. If the crowd got too big for our little shacks we would go to the cookhouse to dance. We always had someone who could play the violin and the accordion. (continued)
Feb 29, 2004 · posted to the surname Atkins
Michael Atkins Life Recollections Chapter 2, Part 2 The Move to Washington State In the meantime, come September 1910 we all had to start school. They were building a new school but did not get it finished so we had to walk three miles to a little one-room schoolhouse where two had to share a seat and desk. Our first teacher was Mrs. Howard. She was strict and managed to keep order with a very unruly bunch. Before the terms were over, the new schoolhouse was finished. What a big place it was. Two rooms but we only needed one for school. The other was used for programs, meetings and parties. What wonderful parties and programs we had, especially at Christmas with a tree and Santa Claus. Halloween parties were next best. Our next teacher was Mrs. Gardner. What a time she had with the boys. Boys can be cruel and at times she even resorted to tears but she was a good teacher. Our next teacher was a man - Mr. Thorndyke. We all loved him. He and his wife lived in the other schoolroom and what parties they put on for us. Even the boys loved him for he would come out and play ball and games with us. Then our only "Miss" was our next teacher, Miss Nord. But she was dismissed by the school board for whipping a couple of boys but they no doubt needed it. Then came Mrs. Van Lieu. I was in the eighth grade by then. Two boys and myself made up the class. Dick had quit school when he was 15. We had to go into Granite Falls to take our final exams and of course I was the only one who graduated. My diploma came by mail. We had many happy times down on the big ranch. We had a lot of work to do but we could go swimming in the river whenever we finished our work. We enjoyed the cows and the newborn calves, the horses and mares with their little colts, the chickens, turkeys and ducks. We had one little banty rooster and hen. They were our pets. We always had dogs and cats but they were taken care of at the barn. We had many big picnics down at the river. It had the nicest sandy beach and bottom just like the ocean. One of the great days was when we had the threshing crew. How interesting. And Mother had to feed the men and me being the oldest was to help. A little frightening but now when I look back what fun it all was. We had lots of garden to weed. We never had to feed or milk cows but Mother took care of the milk. And we had to weed the long rows of vegetables. One day when we were on our knees in the garden we looked up and saw Ernie with his girl friend coming. We all ran and hid. After getting cleaned up we came out to meet our Martha. We had quit a time to get acquainted but we loved her. She liked to sleep in the morning and Mother got us up early to go and pick blackberries. Oh, those luscious berries. And to our great surprise Ernie carried Martha's bucket and helped her over the logs. We began to see what the duties of a gentleman were after being around those crude schoolboys. But we had a lot of fun with the boys and girls around the neighborhood. One night we persuaded the folks to let us walk into Granite Falls to see a show. We were supposed to bring back a gallon of kerosene. Coming home was a different story. It getting chilly, we decided to stop and use a little kerosene to start a fire and get warm. We were very careful with the fire but it is surprising how often we got cold so had to stop and use a little more kerosene. The youngest boy had the greatest imagination. He had us girls scared to death telling he could hear bears and cougars all the way. It was late when we got home and I'm afraid the kerosene can was half empty. It was customary for the farmers to go visiting on Sunday nights. Us kids always anted to know if we could have a bon fire to roast potatoes. We never knew what marshmallows or hot dogs were. New Year's Eve was always a big night at a different place every year. This particular night was at a farmer who lived on the hill above us. Their children were all young but we all came with our homemade sleds. What fun coasting and snow fights and then inside to all the good things to eat. (continued)
Feb 29, 2004 · posted to the surname Atkins
Michael Atkins Life Recollections Chapter 6, Part 1 Finding Work While Building a Family Dad was always good at keeping in touch with his family and we got a letter from his brother. He had a new car and he was coming and bringing his sister and two kids. I was excited at meeting his family and somewhat worried about the impression I would make. Bob was such a nice guy and it was fun meeting Fannie but she seemed so young to have two kids. Wallace was two years old and Stella wasn't much older than Bobbie but she was climbing all over and our Bob was too fat and heavy to even move. Stella had a heart condition and was quite a worry to us all after her long trip. We had picnics and went so many places and enjoyed them so much. It was August 1921 when Bob talked Dad into going back with them and thought he could get a job with the railroad as Bob then was a fireman and later became an engineer. The thought of going to California awed me and I sure wanted to go. The folks didn't much like for us to go but never objected. Before starting out we thought we better take Stella to the doctor. He advised us to send Fannie and the children back on the train, as it would be a quicker trip than driving. We stored all our things that we didn't take in the folk's barn and Bob, Dad and me and the baby started out. We stayed the first night in Seattle at Lyford's and would you believe we made Kelso that night? We stayed in what we called an auto camp. We put the baby in the car and the three of us slept on the ground under the stars. What a new experience for me. I can remember lying there a long time looking at the stars and the moon before sleep overtook me. When we got to Vancouver we had to buy a new tire and we stayed in a hotel that night somewhere. The next day when we started out we had to detour in so many places. One rough spot we hit we broke both springs in the front end. It was getting late but Bob hitchhiked into Cottage Grove and they gave him a 2 x 4 and told him where to put it and drive in slowly the next morning. When he got back we three slept by the side of the road that night. There was a hay field across the fence, Dad wanted to go over the fence and sleep in a haystack but I wouldn't do it. I said that fence was put there to keep us out but it was probably put there to keep the cattle in. The next day I spent most of the time sitting around the service station. What a long and tiresome day. We had food with us but we probably ate in a restaurant, too. I can't remember where we stayed the next few days but it was a long time before we got to Fannie's. We had to buy a couple of more new tires. The car was a new "skeleton." I think they only made two of them and Bob was sucker enough to buy one. It was quite an experience, meeting Dad's folk. His grandmother lived with his Dad. The bed they gave us had no springs, just boards and a straw mattress. On, my aching back, and we had to be up at 5:30 in the morning or we would hear about it. Dad had no luck getting work on the railroad. We had stopped in Dunsmuir to see, so he started out looking for farm work. He got a job on the Edwards Ranch. Mr. Edwards was a nice man and he gave us a little house to live in and a cow to milk so we lived pretty good. I fixed the little house up really nice. Then we got sick. Seems like malaria was sweeping the Sacramento Valley and there was so much of it. I was a pretty sick girl. Dad took me to a doctor in Red Bluff and he said he better get me out of there or I would never live through the pregnancy. Dad called Bob and he came down and helped us pack and we started north. We stopped everywhere above Dunsmuir looking for work. Didn't have much luck and Bob thought we should try Ashland, Oregon. We stayed in a hotel that night. It rained. I hadn't seen a drop of rain since I left Washington from August to November. I wanted to go out and stand in it but opened the window and stuck my head out. The next day we started back over the mountains where the mills were. Dad got a job at Weed in the mill. Bob got us an apartment and bought us some groceries and said he would be back on the weekend. I was in bed running a high fever then would have chills. Bobbie had a fever. Dad tried to work but finally gave up and went to bed. The neighbors called the doctor and we were all three in bad shape but he gave us some medicine. We were sure glad to see Bob on the weekend. We talked it over and they decided to send me home on the train. I was feeling a little better after the medicine. (continued)
Feb 29, 2004 · posted to the surname Atkins
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