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!