Growing up on 7 acres off
Cliffside Lane in was lots of fun. Sure we couldn’t just walk to the neighborhood recreation center, and there weren’t other kids in the “neighborhood” to play with, but we seemed to have a good time anyway. As I look back on the memories and moments that I remember from this time period I realize that for me these were my real “formative years.” Many of the talents, skills, interests, and hobbies that have played a large part of my life were introduced to me during this time. Beavercreek, Oregon
I only remember a few things from 5th grade. I remember drawing maps of the 50 states and memorizing the state capitals. I remember learning to identify many species of NW trees and the fun fieldtrip to
for the very difficult test. I also remember that my “smart mouthing” finally got me in trouble. Mr. Bates was widely known for his occasional use of a wooden paddle to discipline students. The wooden paddle, which looked like a flat boat oar with the handle cut short, hung in the classroom as a silent reminder to behave. I often made comments in class which to me seemed funny and caused many of my fellow students to laugh. I no longer remember the comment which did me in, but I do remember being sent out to the hall to await my fate. I probably only stood there for a few minutes, but it seemed an eternity. It was sure plenty of time to imagine the pain and humiliation that would befall me with a good paddling. When Mr. Bates finally came out to get me, I quickly noted that he did not have the paddle in hand. I was flooded with relief that I would be spared, but his stern words sunk in and I learned to think before I spoke. Silver Creek Falls
The area I lived in did not have enough students to have a separate Middle School, so Kindergarten through 8th grade was all in the same building. However, it was a big step to go to the 6th grade, because at that point you had a homeroom and the whole class would rotate to other classrooms and teachers for English, Match, Social Studies, and Science. There was also an hour when students could choose an elective such as Choir, Journalism, Ceramics, Model Rocket building. It was lots of fun. In 6th grade I took Journalism and was assigned to be editor of our school newspaper which was published monthly. I still remember my first article, “Clunker Rides Again.” It made front page and was a riveting story about the newly added 5th bus route and the old retired bus that was brought out of the bus shed, tuned up, and given new life. I was on the fast track to winning a Pulitzer Prize. I was also in charge of the Horoscopes. That was a lot of fun. Each month I would make up fun fortunes for each of the signs of the zodiac. Surprisingly enough, we Libras were always lucky in friendship and love and told to expect a month of success, happiness, and good fortune. In 6th grade we also went to
. This was a week of staying in sleeping bags in cabins at a camp run by OMSI near Outdoor School . Each day we would go on hikes and learn about wildlife, geology, and plant species of the area. On one of the days we got to collect plant fossils to study and take home. We also got to find and polish our own thunder egg. These are rocks that on the outside look lumpy and gray, but when you cut them in half and polish them they are absolutely beautiful. Part of the fun is in not knowing what your rock will look like until it is opened. John Day, Oregon
In 7th grade my homeroom teacher was Mrs. Hopper. She was a neat lady. She was the school Social Studies teacher and she instilled in me an interest in Greek Mythology, and the history of the Kings and Queens of
Europe. At the end of the school year I was one of a few students who she took to to The Shakespearean Festival to see 3 plays. I enjoyed the plays, and we got to stay in the dormitories of Southern Oregon State University. Ashland, Oregon
For 8th grade homeroom I had Mr. Long. He was the resident science teacher so our classroom was full of hairy tarantulas and dissected frogs. I was co-Student Body President that year along with my arch nemesis Derek Pennel. Derek and I were fiercely competitive with one another from the moment he moved to
in 6th grade. We both ran for Student Body President along with another classmate Wendy Bush. After the first election Derek and I had tied so we had a run off. Reportedly we tied again and so the teachers had us serve together. To this day I find it hard to believe that we tied twice. I think the teachers decided it would be a good opportunity for both of us and made their own decision so that we would work together. Each year at the end of the school year the graduating 8th graders were taken on a trip to Kah-Nee-Tah Indian Hot Springs in Clarkes School Central Oregon. We looked forward to the trip for several months and had a terrific time swimming, biking, and riding horses. On the bus ride home 2 of my good friends had smuggled some beers along in a duffel bag and decided to drink them. They offered a drink to some of us sitting nearby, but I had decided long before that what I would do in such a situation and I said, “No.” Of course they were caught and got in serious trouble. They were suspended from attending our graduation ceremony that weekend which was a shame because they were both really good students. But they had broken the rules and those were the consequences. Graduation was a neat affair. Our class flower was the lilac, and our class song was Love Lift Us up Where We Belong by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warrens. I must admit I looked absolutely stunning in my turquoise and white striped dress and matching turquoise eye shadow. I was given the Girl Scholar Athlete Award and the Math and Social Studies Student of the Year.
The following school year I started High School at
. This was a big jump from 27 students in my class to 170 students in my class. I continued to play volleyball, basketball, and softball and this gave me the opportunity to meet and become friends with my new classmates with similar interests. I got involved with Student Council, National Honor Society and once again took a ceramics elective where I learned to do slab work and throw pottery on a wheel. One of my most memorable teachers was Señora Wendling. She taught Spanish and was very dedicated to it. Walking into her classroom was like walking into the Latin world. We celebrated Spanish holidays, sang Spanish songs, ate Spanish foods, we even got to choose our own Spanish name by which we were known in her class every year we took Spanish -- I was Mariana Muffett. At the end of freshman year I was given the Art Student of the Year Award for my work in the Ceramics class. Molalla Union High School
During these 5 years I was also developing my work ethic. My parents always instilled in me how important it is to be responsible, dependable, work hard and do a job well. Early on I picked strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries for an average of 10 cents per pound. The summer after 7th grade I worked with my dad logging. He was logging alone that summer so I was his “safety manager” and “fire watcher.” I got my first real job the summer after my freshman year when I was 14 years old. I worked at Perfect Pizza Co. making take-n-bake pizzas and sub sandwiches. I made minimum wage - $3.10/hour, but this seemed like a fortune to me at the time. Of course I couldn’t yet drive so my mom would drive me the 23 minutes to and from work everyday.
Those were good years where I really learned a lot about myself and life in general. It seems not so long ago, but since that time many things have changed. The gymnasium where I played high school sports was burned down by an arsonist in 1988. My high school which had been built in the 1930’s and where my father had gone to school crumbled to the ground in an earthquake -- “The Spring Break Quake” -- in the early 1990’s. My Spanish teacher, Señora Wendling, died of a brain tumor just a few years ago. I am very grateful to the people and places which taught me so many things and gave me such great memories that last long after they are gone.