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ON THE ROAD AGAIN Kate’s Journal


Episode 31 Kirkland, Washington 1969

We loaded our small menagerie into our cars and set our compass for Seattle. I took Rudy, the cat who was certain he was a dog, and Dr. Advice was accompanied by Mrs. Emma Peel and Tuffy who were fairly certain of their heritage and always ready for a ride. Perhaps not such a long ride as this.

We arrived in Kirkland with address and key in hand, but the grass had grown so tall in six months of vacancy, we didn’t recognize it. The moving van arrived soon after and the long job of settling in began.

Our old farmhouse sat beside a tree-shaded lane which continued past the home of Mr. Ramin, an old Swedish man who had built our home as well as numerous others in the area. Mr. Ramin became a good friend as he watched us add onto the small house and improve the large property. He became used to seeing me in wellies and muddy work clothes and now and then came and offered me a short respite with a glass of homemade rhubarb wine.

kirkland 7

One of the first jobs to be done was a new roof, so we found a roofer; an old man who said he would help us, but he could not do it alone. The first morning he arrived on the job at 7 a.m., Dr. Advice nudged me out of bed and told me my “helper” had arrived. Since he would be traveling for a week or so, I dutifully climbed on the roof and began my training.

We invited a few people from the office for a dinner party, and I suffered a sudden fright when I realized I had to do it alone without the help of my two girls, and worse than that, we needed more room. We had given our large dining room furniture to friends, as well as our grand piano to another to keep for us. Our dining table here was an antique square oak table I had used in our former kitchen. It seated four. That first party was more of a picnic on laps. Our next project was adding onto the family room.

One of the hardest part of moving into a new area is the immediate lack of a telephone (no cell phones) and a laundry, which happened ath the time you most needed them. Living in the suburbs we were accustomed to calling for handymen helpers who answered the call sooner if not immediately. Not so in the country. You had to find one first, and then wait until he had gone fishing or felt like coming. I began to think of our situation as similar to “The Egg and I”.

There had not been much of a kitchen, and we had brought with us all new equipment, stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher, We designed the perfect kitchen for a farmhouse, complete with a huge window looking out over what would be a park-like area. Facing West, I enjoyed sunsets at night and watched local squirrels and woodpeckers making themselves at home. While exploring the area, I found a mill where I could buy flour for bread. It was the perfect place to “go country”, and I resumed my baking.

While half of the property was in trees and lawn, an equal unused area was overgrown with more trees and undergrowth. We found someone with large equipment who began “the big dig”. While working inside the house he knocked on the door to inform me than his equipment had sunk. It seemed we had a small creek running under the property. I went to the local J.C. Penney store and bought my first pair of Wellies to help me plow my way through the muck.

Coming into the house late one afternoon a week after we arrived, I found Mrs. Emma Peel giving birth to several puppies. Since she had not consulted me about her affair, I had no idea who the absent father might be. I later discovered that a neighbor poodle had wormed his way through our fence in Fremont and she had been carrying her little secrets all the way up here. After six or seven weeks I put a sign on the road advertising four adorable dachapoos. When no one stopped, I stood outside the local market offering them free to good homes. After a good talking to, we rushed Mrs. Peel, who now had a somewhat tarnished reputation, to the nearby vet, who took care of her situation.

Since it never rained in June in California, we were not prepared for June 16, a day after we moved in, for rainfall. At the beach beside the Lake Washington which was a long block away, people were dressed in their shorts as if the sun were shining. We soon found that people did not use umbrellas, and if a picnic were planned and it rained on that day, you carried on. Parks and picnic areas mostly had covered areas for picnics.

We were trying to get the inside of the house fixed up at the same time as the huge job outside, but our daughter arrived at the end of summer ready for school to begin at the University. She was nervous, having come from a small school where she had been a big fish, to one where she knew no one. One summer evening she and I went for a drive to watch the sunset and she thanked us for bringing her to such a beautiful place. She has never lost her enchantment with the Northwest, where she remained and raised her two children.

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7 comments on “ON THE ROAD AGAIN Kate’s Journal

  1. What a fascinating tale of the past. I think Mrs Peel was a good mum and the rascal was really the one who wormed himself through the fence. I hope she told him to never darken her doorstep again.

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    • I never held it against her, but she was such a cuddly little thing I’m sure she welcomed the intruder. I understand that he wore a large plastic collar from then on to keep him at home.

      BTW, I wrote this comment twice and WP didn’t print it! What’s going on with them? Your post on serif is brilliant.

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  2. A dachapoo! First time I’ve heard that…Your house looks lovely up there in Kirkland. I can’t remember why you moved back.

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  3. What a lovely place you had. I especially like the thought of that west-facing window. You’re braver than me. I’m willing to take on a lot, but roofing? Ummmm… not so much. Well, maybe forty years ago I could have done it.

    Speaking of rain, I’m hearing the weather gurus I follow mutter about rain and snow in the Sierras in a week or ten days. Who knows if they’re right, but it would be good for you to have a little more of that gorgeous water that makes Washington such a green delight.

    I laughed at your comment about the phone, too. The days of pay phones, collect calls, and so on seem a lifetime ago — and yet, in 1990, I was still using pay phones on a regular basis.

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  4. Try and find a pay phone now! There were so many things we didn’t know about living in the country and so many new ones coming daily. Yet it was the loveliest place we lived and I was almost sad when we left it. The roofing qualifications continued when we moved back home to Fremont so I was happy to have had such a good teacher! In fact when I told the woman who owned the foundry at San Jose that I was doing it, she asked if I could roof her house!

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