More Missoula - #5


While we were living on Cherry Street my brother Vern was born. Dad began building a two story house on the front of the lot at 1114 Poplar, in front of the house he and Frank Austin had built first. It was, and still is, a lovely house. It had a big fireplace, white-tiled counters in the kitchen and a Tiffany glass window above the built in sideboard in the dining room. It also had a sleeping porch on the second floor.

Jeanne and I stopped there one fall and the present owners took us through it. It seemed smaller to me than when I lived there. The man complimented Dad for being ahead of his time by putting in large windows. The Tiffany window with it's purple grapes is still there. Next to the dining room Dad build a smaller room to be used as a sewing room. One day I thought Mother was visiting a neighbor so I brought in several of my friends and we got into the cookie jar. Just as we were starting through the dining room on our way outdoors I caught a glimpse of Mother in the sewing room. She didn't say a word, but somehow I persuaded my friends to put the cookies back. Neither Mother nor I ever spoke about this, but I didn't do it again.

Dad set the furnace into a square of raised cement and had us put our food prints in it. I mentioned it to the owners but we weren't shown the basement.

Only two of my childhood houses are now standing, the one on Cherry Street and the one at 1114 Poplar. The log cabin and the first house Dad built burned, The two on Vine Street were torn down to make room for I-90 and the one on Depot Street in McMinnville was demolished, also for a road.

Myrtle was born in 1915 while we were living on Poplar Street. The night when was due Dad took me to a neighbor's, Mrs. Reynolds, who lived next to the Prescott School. It was on a hill so I could see our house. Dad said he would fly a white sheet if it was a girl, and if a boy, another color.

When I saw the white sheet I ran home so fast I was there in time to see the nurse bathe her.

As I've written about our games on Vine Street, games were played outside every night. The Traffords lived on the corner across from us and Ruth and I played together. I can't remember all the others. Ruth had a brother Roger who was in WWI and I adored him. I doubt if he knew I was alive. Anyway, I have always like the name Roger. As Wilbur agreed with me we named our son Roger.

Sorry to say, Dad had very little work and times were hard. I remember once he was desperate, locked the doors and set fire to the house. Somehow I got out, ran to the Trafford's and they called the fire department. After that every time I went to the grocery store I was afraid to look up Poplar Street going home. Was the house there? Or was it burning?

We had to sell the house a 1114 Poplar and rented one in the 800 block on Vine Street, three houses from Jones' Grocery Store. After that we bought the house at 908 Vine Street and lived there until we moved to McMinnville.