6 Bulldog alumni notes today:
Ron Dupuis (62)
Sandra Green Reuther (63)
Bill Gillum (63)
Marcia Myers (63)
Lois Benson Kincaid (64)
Paul Case (67)
Girls' soccer (10/27): Richland 1 - Pasco 0
Volleyball Big Nine district tournament (10/27):
Wenatchee 2 - Pasco 0 (16-14, 15-13)
Kamiakin 2 - Pasco 0 (15-7, 15-12)
Walla Walla 2 - Pasco 0 (15-11, 15-9)
From: Ron Dupuis (62)
May the football gods smile on the Bulldogs this week-end as they face the Kennewick Lions. That was always the game of the year with us old Bulldogs. I'm sure Pasco will prevail and go on to the state play-offs and hopefully duplicate their season of last year by winning another state championship. I will be at the game in spirit.
Ron Dupuis (62)
From: Sandra Green Reuther (63)
Bill Gillum, PHS Class of 1963, sent this to me earlier this year. I just ran across it again and thought this group might also enjoy it. He spoke at a Block 1 party and this was what he took to speak on, I believe he said. I am sure he belongs to this group so this will probably surprise him to see it here - but hopefully some of you will write back with some comments that will please him so he'll be glad I shared this with you.
Sandra Green Reuther (63)
Boulder City, NV
Talk for the Block One Party, February 2001
In May of 1948, due to an accident of history, I was standing in a ditch on Unit 10 of Block One. The first official water for the Columbia Basin Irrigation District was being let out of the feeder canal into the small rill irrigation ditches on my parents' wheat field. That was the first large scale water and land reclamation project, and the families represented here tonight made it such a success that this flowering of sandy soil with little natural precipitation has been duplicated in ever increasing scale in Oregon, California, Israel, Saudi Arabia and many other places. But it started here.
The picture of that day has been published many times, but we had never seen the entire picture until recently when Ralph Smith donated the negative to the Historical Society. There on the left was my grandmother, Inez Gillum, obviously, trying to get me to look at the camera. Three-year olds are not very reliable you know. What it does not show was me hot footing it out of the ditch a minute later because there was a rattlesnake right next to me on the bank and I was not that interested in just fifteen minutes of fame.
A quarter mile to the north of our farm was where Warren and Audry Clifford set-up house keeping a few months before as the first residents of Block One. Next to them were Clarence Shah and his wife. About the same distance East would be the Lentz's and Frank Buckingham. Less than a mile to the South-East would be the Johnson's and the Maulden's and back down Road 68, which was unpaved and bumpy, the Hawley's, although they started in a tent up by where the Esquatzel waste waterway is now.
Some of my earliest memories of the farm were sleeping in a tractor parts box, my father and grandfather adding rooms onto a small house that they drove over the hill, and them hand digging a 36-foot well down by the Columbia. Dad took me on the tractor when he yanked sagebrush out of the ground with an I-rail on a chain dragging behind. It seems as if we had a Thanksgiving dinner over at the Shah's with a very strange collection of old chairs, tables and 2-by-10s on boxes. My chair was an olive drab gas can from a jeep. This was probably one of the first of an uncountable number of fantastic potlucks within the Block One family.
In 1951, I started walking over to Frank Buckingham's farm and riding on the tractor with him. He lived in a small room that was part of his equipment shed. Sometimes lunch would be fried Spam. The meals got a lot better when he married Lorraine a couple of years later.
With 100+ degree-days swimming was a big deal. One of the first pools I can visualize was a canvas grain bin that dad filled with water. We kids must have played in every form of water possible. These included canals with their neat dams that you could shoot through, irrigation sumps, the Weir by the Buckingham's and the millions of trips parents took us to the Pasco Memorial pool. Say, Mom, do you remember the outing when you collected 17 kids in our old car (the one with the running boards), with some of us riding on the running boards over to a local irrigation sump?
On the first day of fishing several of the families, at least the men, would go up to one of the pot hole lakes; I remember the one called Windmill because there was the top of a windmill just showing above the water. That always bothered me, since people obviously used to live where there was now water. I remember the mornings were always too cold for comfort only to be boiling by noon. We were stuck on the boats and reduced to using tin cans if nature called. After luring the fish with corn, florescent fish eggs and all manner of shinny things, I never caught much. In fact the only person who seemed to catch anything was Tom Maulden, maybe because he was the youngest.
The first Community Hall was a government-issue looking wood structure that sat where the concrete slab for the tennis court would be later. Clarence Shah was the guiding spirit where many of us started what would to be several years of a community Sunday school and church service. There were lots activities there but I remember our class acting out Pilgrim's Progress with felt figures on a felt board. When you grow up in an arid environment like Block One it is not clear what a Slough of Despond is on your way to the Kingdom of Heaven. To this day I refer to difficult life problems or just bad days as the Slough of Despond.
Later, the new and larger Block One Community Hall housed, among other things, the Sunday school. It started with a singing service. Mrs. LePage played the piano and the kids could request hymns. How many times did she have to play "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Onward Christian Soldiers" until she could rest in peace? A lot I can tell you. Of course the adults had to live through Christmas pageants and all manner of kiddy talent, and they did it with amazing grace and patience. Carol and Leah Bair tap-danced, Jerry Hawley blew his coronet, and I am sure the most trying were my accordion solos.
Among the standout activities at the Community Hall were the potlucks. There was no "luck" about it; these cooks were pros. You could always eat yourself into a stupor there was so much food. There is no equivalent to it anywhere I have lived since, with the possible exception of the Midwest. Every mother (or maybe father) had her specialty and they were almost all great. Several varieties of fried-chicken, baked beans, potatoes in every conceivable form and any desert you could imagine. We kids went back for helping after helping. If I tried to do that now I would have to have my stomach pumped.
I remember many family get-togethers and food fests around Christmas when all the kids would show off their new toys while the adults played bridge or other card games. But for me, the Forth of July was the best. I was sending to Sioux Falls for fireworks by the time I was nine or ten, probably illegally. Those rockets and firecrackers were irresistible. It was great to draw down on your friends at the OK corral with a Roman candle; those balls were really hot. Later, the fathers started buying the giant fire works sets and it was heaven. There may have been a few grass fires as a result, but that was to be expected. And if that wasn't enough you could always put five cap rolls under a metal plate and hit it with a sledgehammer. That made a big bang in the Maulden's shed one night.
With all the farm work available, we had lots of options. Changing sprinklers in maze fields that would soak you to the bone, stacking hay on 105 degree days with no clouds, and the dirtiest job on the face of the earth, not to be missed as one of life's great pleasures, pulling vines on the back of a potato loader. I drove trucks for Warren Clifford, bailed hay for Frank Buckingham, and spent so much time at the Hawley's they probably thought I lived there.
One of my sprinkler changing jobs was the farm that straddled the Esquatzel run off canal. Jimmy Hawley and I were up there one day and moving from one line to the other by crossing the canal rather than driving and we walked down the canal toward the river. We soon realized that if you went bare-foot the algae made the spillway like a giant slip and slid. You could really move on the inch or so of water heading for the 25-foot drop into the Columbia. Fortunately boots or socks would allow you to walk right back up. We told a few people and it became an early water X-games, much to the parents' dismay I am sure. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Living right on the river had the added attractions of shooting carp with bow or 22 rifle, pulling all kinds of floating things onto shore during flood season, occasionally a fresh apple from a ravaged orchard up river. Jumping sandbars with the small runabout boats was popular during flood season when we got older and not necessarily wiser. But the big attraction was water skiing and we did a lot of it. One day I missed the dock and before anyone could get back to me a rattlesnake dislodged by flooding waters swam right for me. I couldn't move in the huge kapok life vest and I'm thinking snakebite near the heart is not good. It must have been as scared as I was because at the last second it took a right angle turn and headed for shore. My blood pressure was off scale for the day.
Some days there wasn't always a parent to drive the boat when you needed them. But necessity being the teenager of invention, we had options. A fifty-two Plymouth was just perfect for driving down the ditch bank pulling a skier. The only real problems, parents aside, were the small dams every quarter mile and getting the rope over the high metal turn outs. This activity was not looked on with great favor by anyone over 20, but I wish you could see the look on Larry Maulden's face as he drove by on Road 68 where the canal crossed just South of the Hawley's house. You could put a shovel in his mouth it open so wide as my car in a cloud of dust stopped just short of the road with Jerry Hawley spraying water over the ditch banks on his first ever slalom run.
I have told this story as if I were eight years old, but many stories seemed to have happened when I was eight and not every event could have occurred in 1953. Never the less I'm going with eight. Dad and I took lots of boat rides to the islands in front of the farm. We would shoot jackrabbits, run the dog or check on the progress of Goose egg hatching. And that was the plan one warm spring day. We often rowed over and back, but this day a mighty seven and a half horsepower Evinrude motor powered the twelve foot aluminum fishing boat so that it could just barely make headway up the river. We were aimed at the tip of the island north of the house on the border of the Hanford nuclear reservation. A few hundred feet up the rocky point was a red sign that basically said "STOP!" In those days you couldn't be on the river north of that sign, due somewhat to the government research, but probably had more to say about the Nike missiles on Rattlesnake Mountain. I never did ask dad if he motored beyond the sign on purpose that day, but he did. And out of the Blue, a small Piper Cub appeared. It came on us fast and buzzed the boat. It circled out into the clear, cloudless sky and bore down on us. When it seemed the plane might use us for a runway, a disembodied voice came out of the sky. "Get your boat below that damn sign or we will (and I quote) blow you off the river." Well, we did. The goose eggs were fine and we returned to Block One intact. It seemed a little overkill, but we never did see a headline in the Tri-City Herald that read "Local farmer and eight-year-old son pose threat to national security - Russians soon to follow!"
William O. Gillum (63)
From: Marcia Myers (63)
PHS 43.....khs zip....… THAT's the way it should be!!!!!!!!
Marcia Myers (63)
From: Lois Benson Kincaid (64)
My sister, Betty, and I went to the game and enjoyed all the fun!. The Bulldogs never looked so good. Also got a chance to give Bill Till a big hug - he looks just the same. We had a great time.
Lois Benson Kincaid (64)
From: Paul Case (67)
I've added Google search capabilities to the archives web site. You can use it to search just the Bulldogs web site or the entire Internet, just check the appropriate option on the search page. It'll be helpful if you want to find entries from a specific person or on specific topics. It's not perfect - freebies seldom are - but Google is about the best search engine I've found.
Paul Case (67)