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Here are a few excerpts about Julie's early years from her writings:


... I would love to have known my mother when she was young.  She lived in a small town named Aurora, Ohio.  Her mother was a seamstress and her father was a shoemaker.  Their house was next to a graveyard. 

Mom used to gather wildflowers around their property.  Violets, lilies of the valley, narcissus and lilacs were

some of her favorites.  A very close friend of Mom's had taken a trip to Arizona. and met our dad.  She must have thought Mom and Dad were kindred spirits, as she arranged for them to become pen pals.  Mom took a trip to Tucson to meet him, and they were married soon after.

Dad was a very interesting and colorful man.  As punishment, he would use a tamarack branch, but was a soft touch when it came to penny candy, as he had a sweet tooth himself.  He grew up in Louisiana where they fished for crayfish and hunted for possums with his beloved hunting dogs.  He talked of the pickaninnies and how he saw a black man hanged.  When he was 25, he moved to Tucson because of his asthma.  He took a correspondence course in law, passed the bar in 1903, then Mom and Dad married in 1913.

My earliest memories were of the Prince Road house in Tucson.  It was a stucco house with a kitchen, living room, sleeping porch and bedroom.  The sleeping porch was a screened porch with canvas windows and beamed ceilings... nice for when the rains came.  We spent a lot of time in the kitchen.  Mamma was a good cook and even though she always worked, we had a nice hot meal cooked on the wood stove.  Nothing too exotic as it was post depression time, but I remember corn bread, jambalaya, shrimp or chicken gumbo, Spanish rice, pinto beans, and wonderful pot roasts (then the inevitable hash the next night).  I ran into the house lots of times for a piece of bread and mayonnaise, and on Saturday night, the big galvanized tub was brought in for baths.

We had an ice man, bakery man, milk man and ice cream man.  Hard to say which was my favorite but I guess I'd vote for the bakery truck... when he opened the back of the truck, the smell was out of this world!  The ice man gave us chips of ice from his truck, which was always nice on a hot day.

The two main things I remember about the living room... sitting, listening to the radio, and Daddy playing solitaire at his card table.  Dad listened to the news, Mom read her books, but the rest of us enjoyed Jack Benny, Fibber Magee and Molly, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Let's Pretend, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, The Shadow and many more.  

The yard was bare ground in the front and a great big tamarack tree by the corner of the house for climbing.  The back yard had a few fruit trees, some weeds and a path to the outhouse.  Mind you, not all of the neighbors had an outhouse, we were just lucky I guess.  I spent a lot of time out there reading the Sears & Roebuck catalog, dripping candle wax on my hand then peeling it off when cool, and watching crazy Billy through the cracks walk across the back lot throwing punches at nobody.  I even got stuck once in the small hole and my brother, Dorrance, had to rescue me.

There was a chicken house by the out house which was utilized in many other ways.  The roof was great for jumping from.  The inside was used as a theater with a blanket as the curtain and the plays were usually a collaboration between brother and sisters.  We did  have chickens from time to time with an occasional head chopping to provide Sunday dinner.

We were always barefoot.  We had to be careful of stickers and ant hills.  Other dangers were falling from trees and falling into cactus..   None of us ever broke a bone, but I did fall into a cactus plant once which was very painful.  We found many creatures in and on the ground; horned toads, gofers, lizards, black widow spiders, centipedes, scorpions, tarantulas, and sometimes rattle snakes.  We used to pour water down tarantula's holes and catch them in a jar when they came out.  It wasn't until years later that I found out that they could jump.  We used to catch big green june bugs and tie thread around their bodies in a slot not unlike a bobbin, and fly them like a kite.

Our cars were always older, but interesting.  One roadster, a 1929 Nash, belonged to Harry Pierpont, a gangster who was part of Dillinger's gang.  It was bought at a Sheriff's sale.  We imagined that the large pockets on the sides were used for their guns.  We had been told that the roof was slashed because someone was looking for money.  On hot summer evenings, Mom and some or all of us would sit in our current car and talk for hours... lots of times about where we might move someday.  Somewhere green and cool. 

We loved going to Sabino Canyon in the Catalina mountains.  There were wonderful streams and ponds and narrow bridges built of rock that would hold only one car at a time.  It seemed so green to us; lots of trees and beautiful cactus.  We would take a picnic and play in the water the whole day.


Mom was an adventurous soul and a bit of a dreamer.  She loved theater and was in several plays in Tucson, much to Dad's dissatisfaction.  The one I remember most was "Rip Van Winkle."  She was Rip's wife and we had parts as children of the village, but Dorrance was multi-talented, as he was also Rip's son and the chief dwarf.  Other plays that Mom was in were "Death Takes a Holiday," "Smiling Thru," "Tom Sawyer," (Mom was Aunt Polly) and "David Copperfield."  Mom also used to sing in the Messiah downtown, and always sang in the church choir.

Our school, named Amphitheater, was about half a block away.  It was a Spanish style building with a concrete courtyard in the center (great for roller skating) with one end about three feet higher, making a natural stage.  I remember tap dancing in a program on that stage wearing black shorts and a white satin blouse.  I also was mortified when I found out later that my pink panties were showing.  I remember doing a minuet in a beautiful colonial costume Mom had made.  She made several wonderful costumes for me.  I don't remember my teachers and studies as Carol does, though I was not a bad student.  My interest, I think, was in the arts then, as they were to be all throughout my life.

Carol had gone to high school in town, and the University of Arizona for one year while working at Fort Huachuca.  She was offered a job in Phoenix through those connections and moved by herself to Phoenix.  Trudy went to live with her that summer.  Dorrance went into the army about that time, and Mom and I moved up just before school started that same year.  Mom worked at the Highway Department, close to the Capitol building.  We first lived in an apartment over a garage in a very nice Spanish style complex.  There was a huge fig tree in the neighbor's yard with delicious big green figs.  We were not far from the Capitol Building.  It was another beautiful building with a large green lawn and many oleanders and palm trees.  We walked there often and at times, watched Daddy from the Gallery during the Legislature sessions, as he was a member.  There was a wonderful Mexican restaurant very close to the Capitol that we took advantage of often.

The high school there is very vivid in my memory.  It had several two story buildings just like a college campus.  It was right in the middle of town about ten blocks away.  We walked every day, Trudy and I.  I doubt that she walked with me, though.  I was still pretty shy, but made a sufficient number of friends.  I was making good grades at that time.  My art teacher was tough but good.  She had studied at the Pratt Institute in Chicago.  She recommended me as an artist for the yearbook that year.

We were in Phoenix for three years.  Trudy graduated from Phoenix Union High School and went to Chapman, a little Christian College in Whittier, California.  Virginia (my oldest sister) and her husband Bill had already moved to Oakland, California, so Bill could work in the shipyards.  We had been talking for years about moving to a place that had trees and water.  Carol had met a man from Grants Pass, Oregon, and he talked about how beautiful Oregon was.  She sent away for farm catalogs and Chamber of Commerce material about Eugene and Corvallis, because she, Trudy and Dorrance would all be going to College.  They decided on Eugene as it was a little larger than Corvallis and Carol thought that a Mill Race sounded nice, so off we went on our journey to the unknown Northwest - Mom, Carol and I.

Grandpa Penny.JPG

Julie's Mother

Julie's Father






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