Mother's story was ended, that story we had been so anxious should not be forgotten. I remember well, after it was finished, her wish that we might write another telling of the life they found so new and strange. That, however, was not to be, for only a short time longer did we have her with us.
Yet many tales had she told us of the days that followed that memorable journey. After a winter in the Willamette Valley, Grandfather and his family made their way over mountain trails through the forests of the Coast Range to Coos Bay, their final destination. There for many years they made their home, a part of the pioneer life of that region.
In their first home they found themselves without schools for the children, for homes must be built before schools. Grandmother opened a private school, teaching her own children and those of her neighbors. Later they moved to a home near a public school, a pioneer school of the day. One teacher there was, however many and varied the pupils, and as for the pupils, they ranged in age from the little five years old, to - in some instances - married men trying to acquire that which an earlier day had denied them. One schoolmate that Mother mentioned had a wife and two children. For textbooks a pupil studied whatever books he owned, regardless of the texts his classmates used. Later they were sent to school in Empire City, then the largest town on Coos Bay, then through the mountains once more to the old Umpqua Academy at Wilbur.
Sometimes Mother pictured the bare, bare homes of the Oregon settlers with their homemade furniture and unfinished walls; their uncurtained windows and uncovered floors, for house furnishing had found no place in the wagons that brought the people West, and not many objects of beauty had found their way around Cape Horn.
She told of picking wild blackberries on the top of a great pile of logs beneath which a pig grunted and snuffled, only to learn later that the pig had been a bear enjoying the blackberries. We liked the story of the ancient Indian elk pit into which she once had fallen, and the few stories of the kindly Coos Bay Indians. Often she told of the people who had been their neighbors: college men and trappers, European nobility and ox-team loggers, sea captains and coal miners; many were the types of people who made up that little community, and varied and rich the stories that were a part of the life they learned to live among them.
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