Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Winslow in 1970 was a whole different world for this little Montana/Idaho girl.

My grandmother moved to Samoa, in July, my sister, Little Sister was born, in August, by Christmastime, my dad had lost his job, with no warning the mill was on a two week layoff then they shut the mill down, my parents went bankrupt, we lost our house, our car and our way of life. We moved to Winslow Arizona, in a 200 dollar car with a u-haul trailer. Where were seven of us kids, several dogs, mom and dad. We moved into a little trailer two days before Christmas, dad sold the washer/dryer unit for a little money. They bought the ugliest little bull pine tree, it looked just like Charlie Brown's tree. The boys each got a knife, I got a Barbie and Sister got a Mancunian, there were no other dolls in town, the department store sold it to my mom. It was just Sister's size. To this day this is the only Christmas I remember the gifts we got for Christmas. The churh helped us move into the Chicana Gardens apartments, nicer part of town. My mom got very sick and the church ladies brought us food. We were very hunger, after 3 weeks dad finally got paid. Our dogs lived at the sawmill where dad worked. We moved into a little house.

I remember liking alot of things about Winslow, I learned to swim in a muddy little river in the desert. I was introduced to the first people of different races in my life. My dad's fitter, assistant, was a large African American, he always seemed to know when my mom would be making cinnamon rolls and send my dad home early that day to get him some. Most of the kids in my classroom were Native Navajo kids, they almost all lived at the boarding school, there were a couple of white kids and two African American boys. I had a crush on the two native boys, they were cousins, one could draw but the other was cuter, I loved to draw, won my first art contest there. One day the teacher made us get under the desk a sandstorm was coming, the red wind blew and we were covered with a half inch of red clay when it was done. Our neighbor lady had a beautiful baby boy, and the rumors were wrong, he was born black much to the amazement of the 10 year old I was. Our neighbor kids across the street were Hispanic. One day when we were eating dinner when the door bell rang, I went to answer the door and it crashed open shoving me to the ground. The woman had a man attached to her, his hands wrapped around her throat, they smashed into the dinner table throwing food everywhere. My dad jump up and got the man off of our neighbor lady. The cops came and took the man, her husband, away. We never had cops in our house before, no, not even once. My dad had to go to court, the man represented himself, He told the judge he wasn't in our house, but when he cross examined my dad, he asked my day why he had stepped on his throat he had him on the floor. The judge threw out the case and the man was deported back to Mexico. The neighbor boys and their mom were so happy, they came over to visit lots after he was gone.

My mom got an infected tooth in the summer, she went to the dentist but he would not pull the tooth it, it was too infected, He gave her infection pills and morphine, she came home took the infection pills and some of the morphine, it didn't make the hurting stop, so she went into the bathroom with a leather punch. I watched her pull it out, she was in a lot of pain, she went into her room took more of the morphine and told me not to let her go to sleep and to watch the kids. It was a long time until Daddy got home.

We were in Arizona 10 months when we got to come home. We moved home to the Corvallis area and lived in an extended family members house. My dad worked in Missoula at the mill where southgate maul is now, the mill burned to the ground in January, we move to Plains shortly thereafter and dad worked at the mill there.

I have a great love of the south on many levels to this day. I began my love of Native American cultures there. I also remember the very small Navajo children, the ones to young for the boarding schools, crying in the front of the bars by their moms. The moms dressed in beautiful velvet skirts and wonderful embroidered blouses passed out on the sidewalk people stepping over them as they walked down the street, no one helped them and no one helped the babies stop crying. I would love to travel route 66 to explore some of the old stops but not sure I can ever balance the childhood fears that were never put to rest..... tomorrow.

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