Going Back to Idaho
compiled by Larry REA
Ed: When we went from here to Idaho, Omar and I would ride in the front seat with Dad, Mom and the girls would ride in the back seat. Orville was just a baby in arms then. We put the suit cases on the running boards and the floor boards. We camped along the way. Come night we would pull off the road, build a fire and fix some thing to eat, roll bedding out on the ground and go to sleep. Sometimes we used a tent, depending on what the weather was like.
Ed: We went to Boise about once a year, during the prune and apple season. We worked over there.
Larry: How did you manage to travel with that many kids in one car?
Ed: We just piled in.
Esther: We all made a big run for the car so we could sit on Mom’s side instead of Dad’s side. (Lee chewed tobacco and would spit out the window on the driver’s side.) We would camp out wherever night happened to catch us. One time we got as far as Linnton the first night. We camped right by the big clock in Linnton. I don’t ever remember having a tent. We put quilts down on the ground and made a big bed. Mom would put a row of blankets down and we would all get in.
Lex: One time we were up by Hermiston, we pulled off the highway to camp for the night. We just made a long bed on the ground. Ed was getting the covers made, it was way after dark. A big dog came up and licked him in the face. Ed said, “Get the hell out of here !”
Some man spoke up and said, “He won’t hurt you.” Some guy was walking up the road.
Esther: We always stayed in the Blue Mountains, in that park right up on top (Emigrant Springs). The ground was a little sloped so whoever got crowded out at the bottom of the bed would go around and get back in at the top.
Mom did all the cooking. Sometimes Dad would stop and buy some crackers and cheese.
Esther: We went to Idaho just about every year. I believe when we moved to Idaho Mom and the girls went on the train, Dad and the boys took the car.
Ed: When we moved to Idaho, Mom, the girls, and Orville went on the train. Dad and the rest of us boys went in the car. We had a flat tire this side of Celilo Falls where the rock bluff is beside the road. While we were fixing the tire an Indian rode by on his horse and said, “Huh, blowout !” That was in 1923, Orville was just a baby.
Ed: When we went to Idaho, we were driving along over in Idaho, Ernie had a single shot 22. He was shooting at jack rabbits and stuff. We saw a crow flying along way out in a field and Ernie poked the gun out the window. Dad said, ” If you kill the crow, I’ll eat it for dinner.” Ernie squeezed the trigger and pretty quick the crow folded up and down it went. Dad backed out of his deal.
Lex: When Dad (Abija (Lee) REA) moved the family to Eagle Island, ID in 1923 we worked out the other direction on a hay ranch. We went up in the spring and worked on a farm, the hay ranch. That next March he rented and worked the Eva Hudsen farm. He rented 170 acres and we farmed that place through the crop, after he got his money, sold up, he quit and we moved back to Oregon.
Ed: I thought Orville got his middle name from Orville Charles JACKSON, the druggist at Eagle, Idaho. Then I got to figuring it up, Orville was born several months before we even knew the druggist.
I thought Orville Charles JACKSON was a great fellow, he was my hero. He used to give me a free ice cream cone once in a while. They sold ice cream and pop, they had a soda bar in the drug store.
We would be in Eagle, I suppose the folks would be in to buy medicine or something.
Ed: One time we went to the drugstore at Eagle and Orville Charles JACKSON had a big stalk of over-ripe banannas. He was going to give them to us but Ernie didn’t like banannas so he told the guy we didn’t want them.
Ed: We camped by Eagle one time. We were camped between Eagle and Blue Valley school. There was a bunch of milk weed growing there. When you broke off the stalk the milk would ooze out. Someone told me they made rubber out of that milk.
( Edgar attended fourth grade at Linder School and the fifth grade at Upper Fairview.)
Lex: When Ed started school at Linder I was there too. Of course we were the new kids in school and at recess we were standing around, we weren’t ready to join in yet. A little kid, the least little first grader, came up, hauled off and kicked Ed right in the seat of the pants! Ed looked around, I about died. I don’t know why the kid kicked him.
Larry: Dad said once in a while you had to find the toughest kid in school and whip him, then you would be all right. Nobody else would bother you.
Esther: When we first went to Idaho I went to Linder School. We moved onto this farm, the Hudsen place, then we went to Upper Fairview.
Ed: In Idaho the whole country was laid out in one mile squares. There was a road every mile. The school was about a mile away straight through the fields. When I went to school in the winter time during bad weather we had to walk around the roads to go to the school. I was sure happy when spring would come and we could cut through the fields. That saved a mile of walking each way.
Ed: When I was a kid, going to school over in Idaho, they had a steel railing around the school yard. When it was cold the frost would build up about an inch high on that rail. It seemed like every couple of days the teacher would have to get hot water out to warm the pipe and unstick some kids tongue, where they tried to lick the frost off the pipe.
Ed: Ernie bought a 12 gauge shotgun. He and Uncle Edmund (REA) got shotguns at the same time, they were just alike. Ernie was about 14 or 15 then. He later gave the shot gun to me if I would shoot it. It just about knocked me down but I shot it. That thing would really kick. I was fourteen or fifteen when he gave it to me. I killed pheasants and grouse with it.
Larry: Didn’t Grandpa (Abija Lee REA) preach at one time ?
Ed: He did when we were up in the Boise valley. He preached after I was a big enough kid that I got up on the stage and wagged my finger at the congregation. Dad was a Baptist.
Lex: Dad was never an ordained minister. He did fill in if they didn’t have anyone. He was a student of the bible. He was superintendent of the Sunday school. I’ll tell you something else, he used to lead the singing too. Can you believe that ?
Lex: One time Edmund came down, he had a banjo. Dad called it a thumb string banjo. It had the extra string. Edmund had a guitar also and he played that a little bit. He came in with those two instruments and they were fooling with them a bit. Dad picked up the banjo and strummed a little bit. Edmund cut loose playing and Dad went right along with him. That’s the only time I heard him play.
Ed: In Idaho when I was a kid, they put the car away when the winter weather hit. You couldn’t run a car on the roads. The road would be knee deep in mud. In the winter time they used a buck board. It was a kind of buggy. In the freezing weather the mud and stuff would collect on the spokes and freeze. After a while the wheels would look like disk wheels. That was before they started graveling roads. The only road that would be graveled was where some farmer would go down on the Boise River and scoop up gravel to put in the ruts.
Ed: The mud got pretty deep. Dad told us about finding a hat in the street at Meridian. When he picked it up there was a man under it. He told the guy to hold on, he was going to go get help. The fellow told him not to worry, he was riding on a hay wagon.
Ed: One time we were playing baseball over at Drybuck. Someone hit the ball and it went about 150 feet in the air. When it hit the ground it never bounced. We hunted and hunted for it. Finally we found it about a foot deep in a gopher hole. It hit square on the hole and disappeared from sight.
Ed: We had an old Chevrolet. We left Dad and Lex in Idaho and Mom and the rest of us came to Rainier. Ernie drove the car, Mom never did learn to drive.
We went to visit Uncle Lee ALSTON at Ryderwood. The car broke down, we put it in a garage. Carl MYSINGER was there with his car. Some one put a cork on the radiator cap, the hole was there
for a heat gauge I suppose. We were driving down the road and it blew that cork a 100 feet in the air.
We went back to Idaho and sold out, came back to Oregon.
(Edgar started the sixth grade in Idaho (fall 1925) but the family moved back to Rainier and he finished the sixth grade in Rainier (spring of 1926).)
Ed: When we moved back down here in 1925 it had been a dry summer in Idaho. They had a big storm that blew over the haystacks. There wasn’t enough water to irrigate and we had at least 16 head of livestock. There wasn’t enough water in the irrigation ditches to water the cows. They brought them to the pump by the kitchen to water them. Mom was pregnant with Doris and she had to pump all that water. She didn’t like having the livestock right up around the door. When the tornado came through and upset the haystacks that was the last straw. We moved back to Oregon. She probably told Dad she was moving with or without him.
Lex: That little hurricane we had blew the haystack over. I remember that quite vividly. I was driving hay wagon. We had pitchers out in the field, they would pitch it on the hay rack and I would come in. I came into the stack and the guy ahead of me, I forget who it was, wasn’t quite through unloading yet so I tied my reins up on the jacob’s step, slid down and went to the house to get a cold drink of water because the water we had was warm.
That storm hit then, Ed was driving derrick, we had an old horse driving the derrick, old Bird, we called her. They had backed up and put the fork down on the guy ahead of me. That put Ed down by the haystack. Then the wind hit and the stack started going over, Dad was up on the stack. He slid down and grabbed Ed, they outran the hay but it covered up old Bird.
Of course we were all excited, we thought the horse was going to smother, so we grabbed pitchforks and we were really working to get her uncovered. We got down to listen to hear and see if she was still alive and we could hear her eating ! She wasn’t excited about it at all.
I had a full load, at least a ton, and when the dust and stuff cleared up where we could see my team and wagon were clear to the back of 170 acres and the hayrack had blown off, I didn’t have any hay !
Ed: Uncle Joe Mysinger and Aunt Gertrude had come over from Emmet, ID. They had been to Boise where Joe had a tonsilectomy. They stopped at our place on the way back home. We were haying and I was driving derrick. Elmer and I wanted to go swimming so I talked Omar into driving derrick for me. Elmer and I went down to German William’s place, there was a hole in the irrigation ditch and we went swimming. While we were gone the cylone came through and upset the haystack. Dad saw it coming, he came off the haystack, grabbed Omar and ran. They got out from underneath it but the horse got covered up with hay.
The guys grabbed pitch forks and started digging the horse out. They got down to where they could hear and the horse was happily chomping hay. Uncle Joe was out there, he wanted to help but they ran him off. They figured he didn’t need to be in that dust with that sore throat.
Ed: German Williams had a place right across the road from us. I used to go over and follow him around whenever he was irrigating and stuff. He was my hero. He gave me a saddle horse. She was a pretty nice horse, she was getting old, but she was a good “kids” horse. I guess we sold the horse when we left Idaho.
Whenever we got ready to go to Oregon I went over to see German Williams. I asked him if he was going to pay me for helping him hay. So he gave me three dollars. I was a real wealthy boy.
German and Dad helped each other hay, he came over and helped us. I drove derrick for him.
Ed: I don’t recall what they called the derrick we used but it wasn’t a “Mormon” derrick. What they called a “Mormon” derrick had a pole and a boom across the top. They moved it from place to place, it was already set up. It had a 4-corner base on it, similar to a tripod. When they moved it, they just hooked on a team of horses and skidded it to where they wanted it.
The derrick we used was one straight pole with a boom on the side. When they set up the derrick they put the butt where they wanted the derrick, they drove a stake and chained it so it wouldn’t slide away. Then they would go about half way up the pole and step off at an angle so many feet, drive a stake and fasten a guy line there. Then they went off in the other direction at the same angle, drove a stake and fastened a guy line. They hooked a team of horses onto a third guy line and pulled the pole up into place. The pole must have been 50 or 60 feet tall. It seemed like the haystacks were about 40 feet tall, but then I was a kid so it may have seemed taller to me.
End of Chapter 4