my perspective . . .
morning, 9:00 and all is well . . .
know that because I just heard the church bells ring from the
little Catholic Church here in Etna . . . a real 'synesthesia'
moment (when a colour/symbol/design/sound
evokes an ancient memory or distant dream or other type of sensory
is one thing I miss about Cheeseville . . . the sound of the bells
wafting through the woods from the Convent
of St. Elizabeth on Sundays or late evenings on Monday.
is obviously something in my DNA that softens when I hear church
speaking of DNA/ancient memories, I would add 'things we have
been told growing up'.
can't tell you how many times Mother told me, 'You can always
get a job as a school teacher'. After graduating from Ohio
State in 1968 with a B.S. in Elementary Education and moving to
California in 1969, I certainly proved that theory wrong!
That was the year there were soooo many teachers out of work.
The thought of going back to school for another year and then
taking a test for a California teaching certificate when I never
really wanted to be a school teacher anyway was not high
on my list of things to do!
the 'no pain, no gain' theory has never been anywhere near
or in my field of thought!
'you can lead a horse to water, but can't make it drink' had merit
. . . until Eb's dehydration episode yesterday. He's probably
had more water in the last day than in the last 3 months!
Back to the
task at hand . . .
I got the idea to write down stories to go with the old photos,
one of my first segments was going to be about the couples I have
seen over the years holding hands as they walk downtown.
Mary (Stephens) Waller and her husband Ray came to mind.
So I snapped this as they walked by the house that same afternoon!
just the cutest couple???
was only last Sunday that I visited with Mary and she shared a
lot of photos from her albums. I began with the Stephens Store
in my July
25th post, and had planned to continue on toward 'present
times' when the mention of the Observation Posts in my July
24th post flooded the inbox with stories that were too good
not to post right away!
now we go back where I left off . . .
Stephens and Elizabeth Ellen Stephens
(Mary's grandparents and owners of the original J. Stephens Store)
of Stephens house at 153 Main Street.
Mary said her Grandmother was hiding on the porch
because she was pregnant with Clifford!
You can barely see her head between the boy at the fence
and the porch post on left side.
(Mary's father in his W.W.I uniform)
(I wonder if he was in that W.W.I parade photo
in my July 25th post???)
He was born in 1890 and lived to be 102-1/2
Stephens (Mary's mother)
known as Heppie, on left
Ruth Eller, on right
Stephens house built in 1932
next door to the original Stephens house
(photo taken last Sunday) . . .
you know the old saying: once a son marries,
two women living in the same house in the same kitchen . . .
the brand new mailbox!
Mary attended Chico State but had no idea what her major should
be. Her uncle suggested Social Studies and she proceeded in that
direction. She was very good at tennis and one day her PE teacher
mentioned to her that she might consider becoming a PE teacher,
that she felt PE suited Mary.
sounded good to Mary, so she followed that course. After graduation,
Mary taught in Petaluma for 8 years and Antioch for one year.
Then she decided she really didn't want to be a teacher after
all (Sound familiar???)
moved to Sacramento and took a job working for the government.
A fellow worker and friend told her about an upcoming class in
Programming and went on and on about how lucky they were to have
this class offered by a man who was an 'expert' in that field.
Mary signed up for the class and had all sorts of images in her
mind of what this 'grand teacher' would look like. One that came
to mind was Einstein.
these are Mary's words: "On the first day of the class, in
walks this 'child' with dark hair, mustache and a big long cigar.
All I could think of was . . . I sure wouldn't want to meet him
in a dark alley." And you guessed it, this grand teacher's
name was Ray Waller!!!!!!
class progressed and Ray asked Mary to meet him for a drink one
night after class. Women's Lib was just becoming popular and Mary
thought she had better be sure she had money to pay for her own
drink. She looked in her purse and had no money. So after class
she raced home (at quite some distance) and gathered money together
and raced back to meet Ray. She was so late that he figured she
had stood him up and was about to leave.
asked her if she had to pay for her own drink that night and she
smiled and said 'no'.
August, 1961 Mary and Ray married . . . (wow,
that's 50 years this month of August. We should have a celebration!)
Ray and Mary
returning from their Honeymoon.
Mt. Shasta in the background.
Quite the car!
gave me the rundown on their many moves following Ray's job transfers:
in Sacramento, then San Francisco, San Jose area, Los Angeles.
In 1964 Ray left Univac (Systems Analyst) and took a job with
the State of Alaska in Juneau. Their sons Charley and Harry were
born in Alaska.
Mary at Lake
Alexander in Alaska, 1967
I asked Ray why the rifles . . .
he said, 'in case of bears'.
I said, 'What . . . do the bears hand you the rifles
when you open the door to see what is out there????"
In 1970 Ray
took a job in Oklahoma City in Sales for GE/Honeywell for 3 years.
Ray developed asthma and not knowing where they would be next,
they came 'home' to Etna for a short time. They then moved to
Tualatin (Oregon), then to a job in Salem for about 3 years, then
Portland for about 8 years.
the boys were out of school, they went to Phoenix, Arizona where
Mary pictured a nice little place where she could just walk out
her door to her mailbox. They ended up with 2 acres in the desert
and a walk of 1/2 mile to the mailbox!
asked Mary if that was why she was so proud of her new
mailbox out in front of her house . . . she smiled that same smile
at not having to pay for her own drink!
1991, with her father reaching over 100 years, Mary and Ray moved
back to the little house in Etna. The original Stephens house
had been sold long before.
are happy they returned home.
I am happy Eb is feeling well enough to again walk hand in hand
with me . . .
July 31, 2011
Mary Stephens Waller Family Collection
to shop locally!
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