Family ghosts

Life

We finally got a nice day on Monday so we went out hiking and I brought my camera. I got some nice shots of the forest moss. The sun was out for a few hours and then it clouded up in the afternoon and we were back to being gray and dreary. Oh well. Such is the life of an Oregonian.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I am living in Sandy, aside from the fact that I got a job and moved here. There is a little bit of family history here that I was unaware of until I told my mom I had an interview for this job here.

My mom’s brother  lived here in the 1960s with his young family of 6 kids. They lived here happily for a few years until one terrible day when the youngest daughter drowned while playing in the Sandy River. It was so devastating that it pretty much broke the family apart.  My uncle has talked about an old graveyard up here that his daughter and his son (he died a few years ago) are buried in and this is where he wants to be buried someday. He has to come over here once a year to clear out the debris and weeds because nobody else takes care of the place. I heard him talk about this graveyard a couple of years ago but had no idea where it was. He mentioned it being near Mt. Hood and he talked about it being a beautiful place. I remember thinking “Wow, that sounds really awesome. I wouldn’t mind seeing that graveyard sometime.” And now I live here. How weird is that?

I’ve tried to find this graveyard a few times since I moved here with no luck. I found a website that describes what I believe is the cemetery that my uncle was talking about that gives a few clues as to where it is so I’ll keep looking. If I can’t find it I know my uncle will be visiting around memorial day to visit the graves of his children and clear out the area. He enlisted Raf to help him when we last saw him.

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Adventures with GPS

Life

We decided to drive to the Coast this past Saturday. We thought we would try out the new GPS system that was given to us for Christmas to get there*. As we drove along Highway 26, ready to make the turn to get onto the Freeway (84) the GPS system told us to continue straight on our way through the streets of Gresham, and then Portland. As we turned onto a busy street I looked to see how many miles we had left of this segment. 15. 15 miles of Portland city driving. This was going to take forever. So we turned around and went back the way we came to the route that would take us to the Freeway. We kept the GPS system on and laughed our asses off as the woman’s voice told us to make u-turn after u-turn. And then when we actually got on the freeway she kept telling us to get off the freeway so we could get back on that whacked route it mapped out for us. God, it was so funny. We are easily amused, I guess.

Eventually we were on a route that the GPS was happy with so it stopped bugging us for awhile. As we neared the exit for highway 101 it told us to take the next right. I assumed it was the exit for 101. It wasn’t. It was a dirt road that was actually closed. It looked like a logging road! What the hell?

We actually made it to the coast just fine using a good, old fashioned map.

Once we got there we had fun. We went to Seaside first and wandered around the beach for awhile. Then we went to Ecola park . And then it started raining, so we went home.

It’s a two hour drive which is a little long for a day trip, in my opinion. Next time we go we’ll spend the night in a hotel.

*On a little side note, before our little GPS adventure, my mom was telling me about this news story she read about an Oregon couple who ended up stranded in a snow bank after following the GPS’s directions for the shortest route to their parent’s house. Scary stuff! I also found it interesting in light of our adventure. Who knows where that logging road, had it even been open, would have taken us!

The Receipt

Life

The other day I was sitting at the table eating dinner. There was a magazine sitting in front of me, one that my mom gave me the last time I was visiting. It looked interesting; it was called something like “Secrets of the Presidents.” I opened it up to a random page. Out fell a piece of paper with my mom’s handwriting on it. There were scribblings of long division on what looked to be the receipt of something. I thought to myself, “what was she figuring?” I looked at the numbers. 53 was the number that she came up with at the end of the equation. Then it hit me. I turned the receipt over. It was an ATM receipt for Doug Doyle. I felt that all-too-familiar hole in my heart, the one that appeared when Doug died. The number 53 triggered the memory of Doug’s last full day. The morning we sat around the table with the Hospice nurse and social worker. They were answering our questions. My mom had been figuring out how many days of “help” from a nurse she could afford to pay with the amount of money she had from a health benefit. I remember her coming up with the number 53. She had 53 hours of help that she could afford. The Hospice workers looked at each other and said, “you won’t need to worry about that at this point.” And we didn’t because he died the following morning.