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In case you were wondering… it’s our turn now!

May 14, 2024 | 0 comments

Willard, Edwin, Dale c. 1916

What’s the best story you remember hearing about an adventure (or maybe a disaster) from your mom or dad’s childhood?  Was it ever written down?  I was thinking the other day about a story my mom told me — maybe more than once.  It was one she remembered all her long life and I’m so glad she did because I don’t think even her story-writing brother Willard ever put it down on paper.

Mom was the youngest of seven children.  Her brother Edwin was three years older than she, Willard was eleven months older than she… so even from her cradle days she was wise in the ways of boys.  By the time she began school, there were 13 other children of similar ages in the village — but wouldn’t you know. they were all boys!  Mom got along just fine with them.  “I suppose you’d call me a “Tomboy,” she said.

Dale’s “Corkscrew Curls”

Unless she was off to school or church or going to visit her grandfather, R. H. Espy and his wife “Aunt Kate,” Dale usually wore coveralls.  She had her own horse from the time she was five or six and the only thing she was not allowed to do was to crawl under the barn or house to find eggs from the free-ranging chickens.  She had “beautiful golden curls” (when combed!) and her mother drew the line at getting into cobwebs and dirt and who-knows-what-all if it could be avoided.

One day when she was eight or nine, the boys decided to ditch her and all ran off through the woods — up where Douglas Drive is now.  She ran like the wind and was right behind them when one of the boys inadvertently knocked into a hornets’ nest.  Mom was an easy target and they swarmed over her face, stinging and stinging as she turned and headed home as fast as she could go.

Dale at “Sweet Sixteen”

“It hurt like anything but I didn’t cry.” she remembered.  “Not until I looked in the mirror and saw how swollen my face was.  I could hardly open my eyes and my lips were enormous.  I thought I would stay like that forever! And that’s when I cried.

I love that story.  It gives me such a sense of my mom as a little girl, of the freedom kids had and even a reminder of what Oysterville was like when I, too, was a kid — when Sandridge Road ended at the ‘S Curve’ by Lou Mitchell’s place and it was wooded almost everywhere except for the bay.

Storytelling — the best way to pass on our history — at least to my way of thinking!  I hope you are writing down your stories — for your kids, your grandkids and posterity!  No matter how “ordinary” they may seem even now, they won’t be ordinary 50 or 100 years from now.  I promise!


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