Spokane Memories Surface on Sibling Day

Traveling to Spokane with my siblings always brings to mind memories of the many times we spent at Grandma Woolum's house when we were growing up in the Silver Valley. Grandma lived in Spokane, and we visited her home quite often, and I was very fortunate to have such a sweet and loving grandma who lived so close.

On Friday, Raymond Pert, Inland Empire Girl and myself got together in Spokane to spend the day together.

The Silver Valley Siblings on Easter Sunday in the early 1960's in their Silver Valley home.

And here we are today.

Part of our Spokane adventure included driving down Bridgeport, the street Grandma lived on when we were growing up. The area grandma lived has gone through some changes, and for a while was pretty run down. But it was nice to see a nice picket fence in front of her old house, and a swing on the porch. It looks like the residents are giving the house some TLC.

Here we are at Grandma's house in Spokane.

Here I am, Silver Valley Girl, posing with a peony in Grandma's backyard.

I kind of look like a flower stem in the groovy green outfit.

Here is Grandma Woolum with her three children on the porch at the house on Bridgeport. Pictured are Aunt Ruth, Grandma, Uncle Harry and Dad.

Uncle Harry is the only one still with us.And here they are all, one of the last times all four of them were together. I miss them all.

We took a trip to Fairmont, the cemetery where Grandma is buried. It is a beautiful place.

Here is her marker. I can't believe she has been gone for almost 17 years.

The marker next to Grandma's is my Great Aunt Esta and Great Uncle Tom.

Esta and Grandma were sisters.

Here is a picture of Aunt Esta, Grandma and Aunt Ethel in Grandma's backyard in Spokane. Esta and Ethel were twins. Esta also lived in Spokane, and Ethel lived in Salem, Oregon.

Here is the marker for the controversial plot next to Grandma's.

But that is another story for another time.Inland Empire Girl knew right where to find Grandma's plot because it is right by this beautiful praying hands monument. What a comforting message to watch over Grandma.

Here is the view over the hillside behind where Grandma is buried. It is very beautiful. Spokane is a beautiful city.

Here is another beautiful view of the Spokane area, high atop the Greenbluff area northeast of Spokane. This is an area where you can visit various farms and stands and buy from their bountiful harvest.We arrived at the beginning of the Peach Festival, and I just couldn't resist bringing home a box of Flaming Fury peaches I purchased from Harvest House. Yum! Yum!

I also picked up a unique squash called Lebanese squash sold here at the Strawberry Hills Farm, as well as some garlic.It is a real blessing to have two such wonderful siblings to go away with for a day and simply enjoy each other's company, get to know one another better, and discuss current events, blogging news, recall Spokane memories, and laugh with one another.

Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.

~Susan Scarf Merrell


The Princess Begins College

Yesterday the family moved The Princess into her dorm room at North Idaho College, about 40 miles away in Coeur d'Alene. With the anticipation of this event, I posed this sibling assignment:
Here she is, opening the door to her dorm room.

ce The Princess will be moving into her dorm room at NIC on Sunday, August 24th, let's post some advice, memories, information that could help her as she begins her first semester of college."

You will find Inland Empire Girl's top ten list here and Raymond Pert's advice on flipping things around here.

Princess, here are some random thoughts and advice from your mother. I hope they help!!
Mom is feeling mixed emotions...is she sad...excited....oh, I think a bit of both!!

Don’t wait for the action to come to you…you need to plan fun things and invite people to come with you.

Balance things. Meet people, have fun. But remember why you are there…to study and learn.

Try new experiences. Here is The Princess eating her first meal in her room.

Don’t ever not ask a question because you think it will make you look stupid. So what? There are probably other people who want to know the same answer.

There is more to life than watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on your computer.Her sisters are going to miss her....goodbye Princess!!!

Be organized and plan ahead a bit. Then you won’t be frantic because you can’t find something, and you will be on time for things.

Figure out ways to do things for others…everyone is a little nervous…how can you help encourage others to make their time a little easier?

Take advantage of tutoring. It really can help you.

Don’t do assignments the night before or the last minute. Take your time to do it right.

Don’t sell yourself short. You know what your strengths are, and you’ll probably discover even more. You can do more than you can imagine or think.Okay, I'm moved in...now what do I do?

Attend classes. You can always nap later.

Read your Bible every day. God’s word will strengthen you. And it will give you the wisdom you need to help others.

Open and up and let people get to know you. You are a beautiful person, and you have a lot to share and a lot of ways to help others.

It is okay to make mistakes. It doesn’t make you a failure. It is how you handle the mistakes that shows your true character.
Yikes, am I really ready to start classes tomorrow?

Take advantage of being at a college, and a town with a beautiful beach, good restaurants, and shopping.

Don’t stay in your room. Go to the SUB. Go to the beach. Get out and experience life!!

Start a journal. Write about your triumphs and tragedies. It is fun to look back on your experiences during college and see how you have grown.

Take risks.

Eat three meals a day!!
Goodbye Daddy....your Princess is going to be all right....I THINK!!!

Know that, no matter what happens, we love you.


CDA Bookshelves and Mamma Mia! Get Thumbs Up

IEG and I spend a sister day together. We drove to Coeur d'Alene and had Mexican Mochas and Blueberry Lemon scones at Calypso Coffee. Then we shopped in Coeur d'Alene at local thrift and used books stores for books. What a better way to spend a morning than thumbing through shelves and shelves of books. And I found some great finds...some for pleasure, some for book research, and some are books I have read but I don't have in my own collection.

Here is a rundown on my book purchases:

Two dog books, one on Keeshonds and one on Pomeranians.

"The Complete Book of Herbal Teas" a book on growing, harvesting and brewing herbal teas by Marietta Marshall Marcin.

Three books I found for research for my book:

"Roses of the West" and "Soiled Doves: Prostitution In The Early West" both by Anne Seagraves, and "The Writer's Guide To Everyday Life in the 1800's" by Marc McCutcheon.

Five books I have wanted to read, but never have:

"tuesdays wth Morrie" by Mitch Albom, "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver, "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier, "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" by Rebecca Wells, and "Heartburn" by Nora Ephron.

A book IEG recommended that I had never heard of:

"A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman" by Joan Anderson.

A book that just looked interesting:

"The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Lady in the Van" by Alan Bennett.

And my top four finds include:

"Les Miserable" by Victor Hugo. My youngest daughter is named after the character Cosette. It is one of the best books I have ever read.

"Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. This is a classic that should be in everyone's library.

"Dream West" by David Nevin, the book that made me fall in love with historical fiction. I read this 20 years ago and I loved how it brought the story of John Charles Fremont alive to me.

"Seasons of My Heart" by Barbara Peretti. This is a special book because it was written by my friend Barbara, and illustrated by another friend, Carrie Parks. This book is out of print, so it was a great find.

We then ate lunch at Sunshine Traders and recovered from book shopping overload. I enjoyed The Hobbit sandwich, with some yummy Market Spice iced tea.

Then off to stock up on liquid hand soaps for the year at Bath and Body Works, and a stop at T.J. Maxx. Then we each enjoyed a lemonade drink at Starbucks while we waited to attend the movie.

Mamma Mia! was such a fun movie. I laughed, I cried, I sang along to the songs, and thoroughly enjoyed watching Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters, three 50ish actresses steal the show playing fun, sexy and desirable women. I loved it!! If you enjoy big musical production numbers and ABBA songs, you should enjoy it too.

After the movie we drove to Post Falls to eat at The White House, a restaurant famous for the Mediterranean cuisine which is very heavy on the garlic...yum, yum. I enjoyed a Gyro and some pasta salad. And Baklava to go!!

It was a great time spending a day with my older sister, making memories.


Wacky Weather Makes For Memorable Trip


Sometime during the summer, Inland Empire Girl gave us this sibling assignment.

Share a memorable family vacation memory that involved all three of us.

In my quest to complete my sibling assignments, mine is below. You can find IEG’s here, and RP’s here.

One of my memories is of a trip IEG, PKR and I took to Eugene on our way to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. This would have been in the summer of 1987 or 1988, I think.

PKR and I were living in Glendive, Montana, but were in Kellogg for the month of July since that was my vacation month.

IEG lived in Kennewick, Washington. RP lived in Eugene. RP had attended the Ashland Festival many times, and we were very interested in attending.

It was toward the end of July, as we traveled from the Tri-Cities area of Washington to Eugene, the temperature was near 100 degrees. IEG’s car had no air conditioning, so it was very unpleasant.

We arrived in Eugene to spend the night at RP’s apartment. I remember walking to a Chinese restaurant, and they had had some problems that day, so no air conditioning, and no ice for the water.

RP’s apartment was very warm that evening as well.

Actually, RP’s part in this trip is very small, unfortunately, because he didn’t go to Ashland with us. I think he had been down earlier in the summer, so IEG, PKR and I got in the car and headed south of Eugene toward Ashland. Temperature reading: 103 degrees. No air conditioning. Vinyl seats.

We had never been in this part of Oregon before, so it was an adventure for us. We stopped and drove through a Safari place to look at animals, but they were a bit lethargic in the heat. I think we did have some ostriches peck at our car window, though.

At one point, we stopped at a rest area to put water on our faces so we wouldn’t pass out from the heat.

For those of you familiar with my sister and I, the fact we did a lot of visiting in the car will not surprise you; and PKR sat in the backseat, not saying a whole lot.

This changed when we arrived in Ashland. It had been a long, hot drive. We were about to pass out. As we approached the town, IEG gave us the option of heading straight for the exit where our motel was, that had a pool, or we could take the first exit and drive through town and see what the town looked like.

At this suggestion, my wonderful husband did have something to say.

“Let’s just go to the motel.”

As he saw it, that was the most logical course to take. Why remain in the hot, sweaty car longer than necessary when we could be in the motel pool in less than 10 minutes. So to the motel we went.

The weather made our trip very interesting. We saw a production of “Macbeth” in the outdoor theater one evening, and bats were flying around the stage, and there was thunder and lightening during the production. That night the lightening set off fires throughout the area, so we woke up to smoke.

As we left Ashland, we decided, again, to be adventurous and drive home via Crater Lake. We thought it would be a beautiful side trip to take to look at the lake.

Well, that didn’t happen. Now, just to refresh your memory, we had been in over 100 degree weather days earlier. Then we experienced thunder and lightening storms, and forest fires. It was the end of July.

When we arrived at Crater Lake, we were unable to see the lake because the visibility was so bad because it was SNOWING so hard. I kid you not.

It was a crazy trip, but very enjoyable. Someday PKR and I hope to return to Ashland to see some plays again.


At the beginning of the summer, Raymond Pert gave us the assignment of creating a slide show with the theme HEAT.

Today was a perfect day to go outside and show how the heat has effected my yard and animals.

I hope you stay cool and enjoy....HEAT


Songs I Know from the Top 100 Hits List of 1971

Since I have been very delinquent in my sibling assignment’s this summer, Inland Empire Girl has tried to keep us all on track. Her latest for Sibling Assignment #71 is:

In honor of our 71st post.... use the theme of 71.

I found a list of the top 100 hits from 1971. Below are the ones I know. This is pretty amazing since I turned 8 years old in 1971. My criteria for keeping the songs from the list was looking at the title, and being able to sing a few lines from the song. How many do you remember?

1. Joy To The World, Three Dog Night
2. Maggie May/(Find A) Reason To Believe, Rod Stewart
3. It's Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move, Carole King
4. One Bad Apple, Osmonds
5. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, Bee Gees
7. Go Away Little Girl, Donny Osmond
8. Take Me Home, Country Roads, John Denver
9. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me), Temptations
10. Knock Three Times, Pawn
11. Me And Bobby Mcgee, Janis Joplin
16. You've Got A Friend, James Taylor
18. Brown Sugar, Rolling Stones
20. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Joan Baez
21. What's Going On, Marvin Gaye
22. Uncle Albert-Admiral Halsey, Paul McCartney
23. Aint No Sunshine, Bill Withers
25. She's A Lady, Tom Jones
30. Superstar, Carpenters
31. My Sweet Lord/Isn't It A Pity, George Harrison
32. Sweet And Innocent, Donny Osmond
33. Put Your Hand In The Hand, Ocean
35. For All We Know, Carpenters
36. Help Me Make It Through The Night, Sammi Smith
37. Rainy Days And Mondays, Carpenters
38. If You Could Read My Mind, Gordon Lightfoot
39. Gypsy, Tramps And Thieves, Cher
40. Never Can Say Goodbye, Jackson 5
41. Rose Garden, Lynn Anderson
42. Don't Pull Your Love, Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds
43. It Don't Come Easy, Ringo Starr
44. Mr. Bojangles, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
47. That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be, Carly Simon
48. If You Really Love Me, Stevie Wonder
49. Spanish Harlem, Aretha Franklin
50. I Don't Know How To Love Him, Helen Reddy
51. Yo-yo, Osmonds
52. Bridge Over Troubled Water, Aretha Franklin
53. Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted, Partridge Family
55. Proud Mary, Ike and Tina Turner
56. Beginnings/Color My World, Chicago
58. Sweet City Woman, Stampeders
59. Me And You And A Dog Named Boo, Lobo
60. Another Day/Oh Woman, Oh Why, Paul McCartney
61. If, Bread
63. One Toke Over The Line, Brewer and Shipley
66. I Just Want To Celebrate, Rare Earth
72. Love Story (Where Do I Begin), Andy Williams
73. Wild World, Cat Stevens
76. If Not For You, Olivia Newton-John
80. Amazing Grace, Judy Collins
82. Lonely Days, Bee Gees
83. Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again, Fortunes
88. I Woke Up In Love This Morning, Partridge Family
89. Theme From "Shaft", Isaac Hayes
90. If I Were Your Woman, Gladys Knight and The Pips
92. Wedding Song (There Is Love), Paul Stookey
95. Here Comes The Sun, Richie Havens
98. One Less Bell To Answer, Fifth Dimension
99. Riders On The Storm, The Doors
100. It's Impossible, Perry Como


Phantoms of the Melodrama

I realized I hadn't shared about the one thing that has really kept me away from blogging much this summer. It is performing in the Sixth Street Theater's production of "Phantom's of the Melodrama."

We have performed five shows, and have 15 more to go. We perform Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m.

I directed the melodrama, am playing the villian, and perform in the musical review. PKR is also in the melodrama, and he directs the review and also performs in the review.

To reserve you tickets, call locally 752-8871 or toll free 1-877-SIXTHST. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors 55 and older, or $12 for adults.

Our last show is August 24.

I guarantee you will have a wonderful evening of feel good entertainment.

See you on stage!!!


Retreating Away

I am on retreat for a few days. About three or four years ago, I started writing a historical fiction novel about the Silver Valley. I worked a lot on it for a year. Then I got sidetracked by new jobs, family, moving to a new house, and life in general.

This summer I marked some days on the calendar to go away for a few days on retreat to work on my book.

My friends have a little loft above their shop up in the hills of the Silver Valley, and have graciously let me come live here for a few days this week to work on my book.

Today I wrote the first four chapters. My goal is to at least get the story written out, all 14 chapters, so I will have something to work with and revise.

It is fun to become acquainted again with Elizabeth, Joseph and Antonio, the three main characters of my book. I' ve been away from them for far too long.