Down Memory Lane…The Big House


Jim & Harriett Craig, Fairfield, ID


This was our “Big House” that we moved into on the Willow Creek Ranch in Fairfield, ID.  I don’t think it was actually that big in square footage.  I think it only had two bedrooms because Pat and I shared a bedroom.  However it was big to us.  Everett Coates, who owned the ranch, lived to the right of us.  You can see the trees in the background that we called our tree houses that I spoke of in my blog post, The Coates Family.

Back near that fence line we had a large garden.  In the winter Dad would flood it and we had an ice skating pond on it.  He taught my sister and I to skate.  We never were very graceful, but we had so much fun.   Dad tried to teach Mom to skate, but she refused.  She didn’t want anyone watching her as she learned.

However she must have really wanted to learn and join the family fun, because she would practice by herself, when we were in school, and Dad was at work.  He came home one day for lunch and found Mom lying on the skating pond, with a broken arm!

Skating turned out to be a generational curse for our family.  Years later when we took our 4-H kids to a roller skating party, I fell and broke my arm.  A few years down the road from that, my daughter, in college, tried roller blading, and fell and broke her arm.

You can see part of the clothes line to the right of Mom and Dad.  Some of my best memories of Mom were helping hang clothes on the line.  I loved the smell of line fresh clothes and sheets.  Mom always seemed to make chores, seem more like fun.  She would laugh with us and encourage us, and make it more like a game.  I think that is why clothes lines always give me such a warm, homey feeling.

In the winter, Mom had a wooden clothes rack that she hung our clothes on in front of the wood stove.  I did that a few times in my adult life when the power went out, but back then, it was an everyday thing.

Inside this house are memories of our family sitting around the card table.  It was here they taught us to play pinoccle.  Mom and Dad always enjoyed playing cards of some kind.  Even now at age ninety, Dad enjoys a good game of cards!

It was also in this house that I first remember getting tonsilitis.  That. is something I battled many times through out my life.  Back then, we weren’t given antibiotics for it.  A  bout of tonsilitis usually lasted a very long two weeks.  I remember Mom’s loving bedside care.  I remember her sitting up with me, wiping my forehead with a cold rag, giving me salt water to gargle with, and drinking hot water and lemon juice.  Her voice always quiet, calming, reassuring, and full of love.

In the back of this house, off to the side, was an apartment of some kind.  It may have been used as a bunk house at one time, I don’t know.  What I do remember is that it was a terrific play house for us.  Mom would give us all her empty grocery containers.  We had a little play store in there.  We had baking spices of every kind, baking powder, cocoa, Log Cabin syrup, and anything else that we could salvage the container.

We spent many hours playing store.  Our imaginations were used every day and were our best friends!

What a great place to be a kid!  I wish all kids could live the life we did!

Down Memory Lane…The Little House

Me in front of the little house on Willow Creek Ranch, Fairfield ID

The little house at Willow Creek.  It floods my heart with warmth.  The house in this picture looks a little small, and frankly a little rough.  But it is full of the richest memories!  The walls inside were paneled with real wood.  I remember as a child, admiring their beauty, especially the knot holes.  I loved the knot holes.  They gave such rustic character.

I can see my sister, Pat, and I sitting in the living room waiting for Mom to get through with the latest McCall’s magazine.  Inside that magazine was a treat better than any treat you could get now-a-days in a McDonald’s kid’s lunch. Betsy McCall was inside the center fold of every magazine.  She was a paper doll, complete with a new wardrobe for that month.  We would cut her and her outfits out and play with her.  We tried on every outfit.  When the excitement wore off, we would put her in our shoebox with our other Betsies.  When days were boring, she would come out again to entertain us.

I can also remember sitting and looking through Sears, and Penney’s catalogues for what seemed like hours, looking for clothes we wanted for school or Christmas, and of course toys.

That front step was a favorite place to perch on a hot afternoon and drink a glass of Coolaid.  Our favorite childhood dog, Duke, would sit there with us.

In the yard in the back of that house was what I remember as a coal shed.  It had a low roof on it.  Pat and I would make mud pies in the summer.  We would place them on the roof to dry.  We also usually had the sidewalk lined with them.  What fun we had.  It was a bakery for any kid to envy!

Summer evenings would find us playing Annie,Annie, over with the neighbor kids ’til dark.  We would have teams on each side of the house.  We would yell Annie, Annie, over, and throw a ball over the roof.  They would catch it and do the same thing back.  Our dog Duke would play with us.  He would be with us when we threw the ball, and then run to the other side of the house to cheer them on!  He was more fun to watch than actually playing the game.

Down aways from the left side of that house, was Willow Creek.  I am assuming it was called Willow Creek, because it was lined with willows.  We would gather dead willows and make tepees out of them.  We had an entire village along the creek.  We thought they looked very cool, and they kept us out of  Mom’s hair for hours at a time!

Yes, so many good memories associated with that house.  But the most precious is the memory of love that was shared with the people who lived inside of it.  My mom, my dad, my sister….you are the best memories!

Mother’s Day With The Vice President

Vice President Mike Pence at Nye Community Church

Today is Mother’s Day.  We went up to Nye, Montana to attend  their little country church, as we sometimes do.  As we were pulling into one end of their circular driveway, lo and behold, the Motorcade with Vice President Pence, was pulling into the opposite end!

What a thrill!  Not a sight you see every day!  Secret Service agents in black jackets, some with bullet proof vests, helicopter overhead, being “wanded” before entering church, and seeing the Vice President of the United States of America and his wife, sitting just a few pews away from us!  Unbelievable!

You have to understand.  Nye is not really even a town.  It is a small rural ranching community up in the mountains where we used to live.

It was a very special and humbling day.  I feel so honored.  I was able to worship the Lord Jesus with our Vice President.  He was a very quiet and polite man.  He was gracious enough to allow us to take pictures of him, and even posed for a picture with the entire congregation.

But what impressed me the most about him was that he was just an ordinary man.  Albeit an ordinary man with an extraordinary job!  He is a Christian who came to church to worship God, the same as I did.

Pastor Paul gave a wonderful sermon to honor Mothers.  He let us know what an important job we have; how important it is for us to impress upon our children and grandchildren the laws, love, and grace of Jesus.  This is something I hope to do a better job of from here on out.

The Vice President, his wife, and the Secret Service men and women with them, were all so friendly and gracious.  We were waving at them as they were pulling away from the church.  Mike Pence looked right at us and waved back.  I got a lump in my throat and found myself choking back tears.  The Vice President of the United States, was waving to me!

I  have for a long time been praying for our nation to turn back to God.  I have been asking God to draw our nation’s leaders near him, and to give them wisdom and guidance.  I’ve been asking God to give us leaders who believe in the Christian values and beliefs our nation was founded on.  After today, I know he has.

I thank God for bringing one of our leaders to our little community, to make my prayers for them so much more personal.  I will continue to pray for them. I will also pray for angels to surround them with protection.

Thank you Pastor Paul for a great service.  Thank you Michael Pence for making this one of the most memorable Mother’s Day that I will ever have.

Leaving Nye Community Church

Down Memory Lane… The Coates Family

Everett Coates Family – Fairfield, ID

Some of my best childhood memories were created on the Willow Creek Ranch at Fairfield, ID.  It was a wonderful place full of such good times.  We worked for the Everett Coates family.  I should say Dad worked for them.  We simply loved life there.  Their daughter, Linda, was a little older than my sister, Pat, and their son, David, was a little younger than me  We spent a lot of time together.

David and I had a whole little town we built out behind the shed in the dirt.  We used old Log Cabin syrup cans for the houses.  It didn’t come in plastic bottles like it does now.  Back then it came in tin cans shaped like a log cabin.  They had a chimney, and you could see the fire burning in the fireplace through the window.  We had dirt streets that we made to drive our trucks and cars on.  I have to say, it was pretty cool!

I remember once David and I found Pat and Linda giggling in our tree house.  It was a big old poplar tree.  We didn’t actually have a tree house built-in it, it just had these big natural spaces where the branches “branched out”.  It had a couple of stories in it, where there was enough room for us to sit in.

Pat and Linda were eating something that looked kinda like pudding.  They wouldn’t tell us what it was.  Finally, after much badgering, they let us have a taste.  It was pretty good, and we knew it was something they had snuck from somewhere; something they weren’t supposed to have.  That somehow made it taste much better than it really was, and we wanted in on it.  They wouldn’t tell us what it was.  They wouldn’t give us any more.  When we threatened to tell on them, they told us what it was, and that we  would have to get our own.  They told us we had to sneak into Coates’ big walk in pantry.  We got a bowl, put some flour in it, added water, and mixed it real good, just like they said.

The problem was, it didn’t taste so good!  We knew we had been had, but we couldn’t tell on them now, because we were guilty also.  It wasn’t until a long time later that Pat told me what they were eating was a cake mix!  They ate an entire bowl of it!  The thought of eating a whole bowl of cake batter now, doesn’t sound much better than the flour and water!  Kids!

Everett played the guitar and summer evenings often found us in their front yard.  Us kids used to jitterbug on their side-walk while he played.  I can remember Mom and Dad dancing sometimes too, and Dad singing along with Everett.

Oh, how I miss those simple, carefree days!  I am so glad I have those memories to lighten up my world when things seem a little dark.  Memories are a good thing.

Down Memory Lane… The Hand Muffs

Sherry and Patsy Craig  Bruneau, Id

I am so glad I found this photo.  A short time back, my sister Pat and I were visiting with our Dad, recalling old memories of Bruneau and Boise.  This picture captures memories of both places.

Christmas in Bruneau..and our beloved fluffy, soft, white as snow, hand muffs!  I loved that hand muff.  It was better than any pair of gloves I’ve ever had.  It not only kept my hands warm, but it pampered me.  I felt sophisticated, and important wearing my little fur coat for my hands.

Then there was the trip to Boise.  We were shopping, walking down the sidewalk.  I was holding Mom’s hand.  I let go of her hand, snuggled my hand in that muff, admiring it, and lagging behind everyone.  I heard my name.  It was in a tone that said ” Get up here with us now!”

I ran up to Mom and grabbed her hand again as we walked. She was wearing white gloves.  I didn’t remember Mom wearing gloves.  I asked her where she got her gloves and looked up at her sweet face. …… Horror!  She did have a nice face, and she was smiling at me….but that was NOT MY MOTHER’S FACE!

I still remember the feeling of blood rushing to my face.  I was so embarrassed!  And I was frightened!  I started crying.  Then I heard my name again.  It was in a tone that said “Come here, it’s ok.”  That was my Mother’s voice.  It was such a sweet and loving voice.

I loved that voice.  I loved her face.  I loved the feel of her hand holding mine.  I still do.  I miss them all.  Some day I will hold her hand again.  I love you Mom.

As a post script, I love the picture of my Dad on the table.  Also I can remember wearing hair barrettes, like the one in Pat’s hair up to my pre-teen years.

Down Memory Lane…Bill & Jean

My Uncle Bill and Aunt Jean Dipp

Bill Dipp was my mother’s brother.  He was a kind, gentle man.  He had a deep voice and quiet sense of humor.  He left this life to be with Jesus several years ago. We all miss him, but no one more than Aunt Jean.

Jean carried on in faith, knowing that someday she would see Bill again.  They both loved Jesus, and shared their faith with many, including me.

I have many fond memories of them both.  Aunt Jean was a good cook and I have many of her recipes.  She always had a smile on her face, an infectious laugh, and gave bear hugs that could “almost” bruise your ribs!

We lived close by for most of my young years and spent lots of family time together.

When my grandparents moved to Montana, Bill and Jean followed not long after, and were always there to help Grandma and Granddad in their later years.

This is a sad day for me.  Aunt Jean’s funeral is today in Twin Falls, ID.  I so wish I could have been there for her.  I hope her children, Carolyn, and Connie, know how much I loved her and Uncle Bill.

Although I am sad for me, I am very happy for Aunt Jean…and Uncle Bill.  I know that they are finally together again,  They are in a place where they will know nothing but the joy and peace they always believed in.

God bless you both forever in Eternity!

Down Memory Lane… The homestead

Old Bruneau Homestead maybe late 1890s 001
Halverson Homestead Bruneau, ID about 1800  – Gran,(Suzie Halverson) in pasture.

My life has changed the last few years.  It has changed from that of a simple country girl…woman ( I haven’t been a girl for many decades!) to that of city life.  I say city life, because that is what it is to me.  Actually, I live in what most would still consider a small town.

I am still the same person, but I am out of my natural element.  The things I do everyday are different.  The things my eyes see are different.  The things my ears hear are different.  The things I smell are different.  The way I feel here is different.  But memories….they haven’t changed!  I can take them with me wherever I go.  They can make me laugh.  They can make me cry.  They can make me feel young and carefree.  They restore my spirit when it needs it.

I’ve met a lot of different people since I’ve been living in town.  I’ve worked with a lot of young people.  I’ve learned a lot from them.  I’ve learned that not everyone has been as lucky as I have been.  Not everyone has good memories.

But I do.  My childhood was the kind that every child should have.  I was raised with loving parents.  My mom was such a sweet, kind, and patient woman.  My Dad was, and still is, always there for me.  His hands were gentle when needed, and strong when needed.  My parents loved each other and they loved us.

It was their foundation of love that blessed me with such a good life.  It was their foundation that overflowed to me and helped provide the foundation for my marriage, and I believe it has overflowed to my children’s lives, as well as my grandchildren’s lives.

Thank you Mom and Dad for such great memories.

And now I’d like to take a little trip; a trip down memory lane.

I’m going to share some memories with the help of old photos, and some that only have a picture in my mind and heart.

If any photos or memories I share spark memories of family members or friends, if you have any specific facts; where, dates, occasions, etc, please share on the comments of my blog.  I’d like this to be the start of a history for our family.

My memories started where my family started, in a little place called Bruneau, ID.

This is a picture of the family homestead.  I may be wrong, but I believe it was first homesteaded by my great, great, grandparents, Gran, (Suzie) and Ed Halverson.  That is Gran standing in the pasture.

I was only five years old when we left Bruneau, so I don’t have a lot of vivid memories from there.  Most of my memories come from returning visits over the years.  But I do have a few.

One of my first ones was when my sister Pat’s pony, Tootsie, ran away with me.  She was running down that tree-lined lane leading up to the house.  I can remember being so scared, and crying for my daddy to save me…and he did!  I can remember how warm and safe his arms felt around me.  Now I know that in reality, Tootsie was probably bearly in a trot, but in this little girl’s memory, she was in a dead out death run!  And my Dad was my hero!  Still is!

My sister, “Patsy” on Tootsie (Aren’t they cute?)