Saturday, August 3, 2013

Beach and Vernonia

Dear Tatum,

Two Sundays ago we went to the beach and stayed overnight at Michigan's mom's house. Michigan and Van made us a very nice dinner with pork and potatoes and squash and a salad. I brought Ben and Jerry's for dessert, something I never buy at home, but I thought we could use a little bit of Vermont at the table (even though it's owned by Unilever, I know). Grandma's typical reaction to suggesting she go anywhere has been something like a "harumph" for the past 20 years, maybe longer, but she has been wanting to get out of the house more. She seemed happy to be at the beach, but the first thing she said in the morning was, "I think we should go home now." I chalked it up to morning time disorientation and we all went out for breakfast at the Blue Scorcher in Astoria (I had the cardamon & honey latte and she had a hot chocolate). I bought a wheelchair on our way out of Woodburn and after breakfast we drove to Seaside and I wheeled Grandma a small distance down the promenade. This was short-lived as it was a cold and bumpy ride, but I was glad we did it. I'm not so sure about Grandma, but she survived and maybe even enjoyed it a little, although she wasn't eager to admit it.
Grandma as a Klimt at the beach.

We drove through Vernonia on the way to the beach, where Grandma lived for somewhere near 73 years. She moved there in 1923 when she was 5 years old. She pointed to the spot where her parents' house was, near where the high school stood until this year, and we visited her old house and the nearby mill pond. My great-grandparents moved to Vernonia from Sumrall, Mississippi for work at the American-Oregon Lumber Mill. Grandma's mom, Cecelia, rode the train to Oregon with her four children: George, Desmond, Marguerite (Grandma), and Vivian, the oldest 8 and the youngest under a year. Lillian was born a few years later. Their father, George, drove ahead of them from Mississippi in a Chevrolet with three other men. And there Grandma stayed until 1996, when she moved to Woodburn at 78.
Grandma, 1926 or 1927. Her mom kept her in ringlets.



P.S. It was reported in the news today that a hand was found washed up on the beach in the town we were at. For real.

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