Looking for photos of St. Lawrence Parish, 1881-1960 (Portland, Eugene: house, neighborhood)
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I'm here... and excited to read your postings! I was frozen in time when I read about O'Flynn and his relationship with a young girl... I sure do hope it doesn't explain some of my lifelong nightmares.
I love reading your stories. I was a bit younger than you all, being born in Portland in 1955, and moving to North Dakota in 1960. I was born to a 21 year old unwed woman whose parents - Paul and Christina Dettling - moved to Oregon to care for me and their daughter. They were devout Catholics from Devils Lake, ND, where they returned when they learned my mother was going to keep me. I'm sure it was they who decided I should be baptised, etc. When we moved to North Dakota, where I attended first and part of second grade, I went to church with them and received my first communion.
My first home was 329 SW Wood St., according to my birth certificate. It was also in the area demolished by Portland's urban development. I guess there is an apartment building in its place. Would love to find a picture of that house!
By 1958, my mother married another man and they had 4 more children. Patti Jean Trummer was born in Portland, but I don't know where she would have been baptised, my guess would be St. Lawrence. Janet Lynn was borh in 1959, in Hillsboro... and the oldest of two half brothers were born, respectively, in North Dakota and Minnesota.
I only mention all of this in hopes that someone might say, I remember that family. We were a pitiful bunch, I would imagine. I no longer have a relationship with my mother. My youngest brother, Lee Allen, committed suicide 5 years ago. The ugly stepfather died from alcoholism a few months after his 50th birthday, many years after he made my life a living hell. My beloved grandparents died a couple months apart, all continuing to swear they knew nothing about my biological father. To this day, my mother refuses to tell me anything. I will be 54 in Augusut.
So, yes, I am trying to piece together some of my life for my own sanity, and for my son, who will be 26 in July. LIfe now is good.
Thanks much for the literature in PDF for the urban renewal info. I've not yet gone all through it but what I saw was of great value to me. I was not here for fifteen years so I am an ignorant about a lot that went on after I left.
My gosh! I did not realize there were added replys. Your autobiography of sorts was most interesting, Linda.
I must comment on your step dad. A freind experienced a similar home circumstance of an acoholic father. The damage that men and women do to their kids, honestly! The ripple effect of this addiction reaches far into the future even after the offender has passed.
Speaking of tear downs of our past living areas, I did not mention that most of years at St. Lawrence my family lived on front street in a Capital Apartments. This is where we came after release from camp in Idaho. Interestingly, one of my earliest childhood memories was the train ride from camp coming back to Portland. I see myself standing in the aisle beside my folks and it's quiet. They did not speak much on that ride. I guess there must have been some anxiety considering how brutal the war was and the unknowns of discrimination to come. I was about three years old or so.
Anyway, it was not the best part of town. There was even a hide works just down the hill from where we lived. They processed cow hides there. If the wind was right, it sure gave a strong impression. Beside the apartment was a raw metal storage yard, covered. I still remember the huge cutting machine which was like a monster with metal jaws. It had very little in the way safety cover around it. I always wondered if anyone could fall into it. It was that big that it could cut a person in half easily. OSHA would faint to see that these days.
I am now a retiree, as mentioned before, and one of the luxuries of this period of my life is WW II with a focus on the Western theater. Why I mention this, in about the third grade I recall two Chech kids entering the school. There was a Garislav, about my age, and Genic who was maybe four years older. I remember visiting their home lived which was only half a block away. I only saw the mother. Two things caught my attention. One was the bare interior pretty much devoid of furniture. The other thing was the face of the mother. I had never seen such a sad face in all my young life. You may have seen the classic Life mag pic of the depression mother with her two kids. Her expression was the same. Of course, at the time I knew nothing of the meat grinder of humanity the recent war had brought about. In my later years I could realize why she looked as she did. She was very quiet and kind. I don't know where they went after a time but I do not recollect Garislav graduating with me.
This does it for now on this installement on life 50's. One of my cats just barfed up so the timing is good.
Ray - this is very interesting... I had no idea there were camps in Idaho. We don't talk much about that side of war, do we? I was just younger enough than you to not have too many experiences with that wartime at all. My only memories really were black window shades for blocking interior lighting at night, and hiding under our school desks when there were sirens.
I've seen pictures of myself as an infant inside a warm, comfortable home. I'm sure it was my grandparent's influence that created it. My mother in those days was always dressed in flashy clothes, and I wondered often how disturbingly in contrast that would be from her later years, trying to manage raising a family in poverty and angst. Karma? She was raised by devout parents. Can't imagine what part of her life she keeps inside. Whatever it is, my father is trapped in there, too. Ironically, the one photo I found of him was signed, "Love, Ray." She took that photo and I've not seen it since.
Many people think my father may have been of hispanic descent. Perhaps Puerto Rican. When I approached my mother with that theory, she didn't reply. He had a sister, a beautiful (again, hispanic) looking woman who my mother referred to as my auntie... this according to an Oregon Trummer relative. I dream of such a woman, and her name is Teresa in my dream.
Ray was in the Navy. The photo I found was of him in uniform. The photo was taken in San Diego.
Well, Ray, I have three cats and a dog -- and a job to get ready for. Best be going. Fascinating talking with you.
It was all part of the war relocation of West Coast Japanese. The first step was a roundup point in the city. In our case it was out close to the Columbia River right next to what is now Delta Park. It is now called the Expo center. It was mainly a place for holding cattle and maybe horses and the stalls were converted to accommodate the relocation. After that families were dispersed inland to some barren and mostly desert environments. So, that enacted a governement action, from what I recall, is still on the books. It could be done again.
Seems like many people react to a too strict or religious upbringing by going to the opposite pole. I think too that post WW II gave women more opportunity to have their own choices. I know that in the workplace there was the same structure of male dominance but the necessity of having women in previously traditional male jobs sure changed the society. It set in motion a gradual change. Unfortunately, even after decades the gender pay differences still see an imbalance. The child rearing thing is usually given as an excuse. You figure how tough it is for single parents to raise kids. You can imagine what it was like back then, especially for women.
I really fear the fragmentation of the American family. It bodes ill for the future of this great experiment. I see it in people I know who come from a background of instability and out and out crappy child rearing. So much of the gang activity we now see are those who feel they cannot relate to their families who have lost the object of having a having a family.
That's a big sociological discussion which I will leave to the experts.
We have both left the Catholic church behind us. I must say that, in some respects, I'm glad I did go to a parochial school. It taught discipline, sometimes too harsh, and gave me a moral base. It starts with guilt as the pressure factor but in later life it makes sense why it was drummed in daily. The Ten Commandments are an excellent roadmap to life, timeless good advice. You have to make some adaptations for one's own life but the foundation is there for a decent, unconfused path. I think one of the most significant end products of my Cathoic church experience is realizing the difference being religious and being spiritual, knowing where one stops and the other begins.
I have to mention that going to public high school was a culture shock after Saint Lawrence. Attended a Franklin High in the SE of Portland. I found out that the parochial courses, like math, was more advanced in the Catholic school. It was nice to be ahead of the game for a while.
I have a nephew in Japan, born here but married there, who is now an expatriot - older brother the same. He has taken on the duties of family tree caretaker. It is nice if there is at least one person in the clan who takes the baton to research and document whatever is found. Thanks to him, he has found long lost relatives who I briefly met when I visited there back in the 70's. All this is to say that the West Coast nieces and nephews married into the race. The kids in the Midwest, without exception, married outside the race.
You mentioned your mom and the hard times growing up under not the most ideal conditions. One thing I recall from those early school years and where I lived. There were majority, Caucasion, folks who also were not middle class who lived in the vicinity where I lived on Front Street in Portland. Gotta keep in mind we were financially borderline after the war experience. Down the hill, which now drops into the I-405 freeway, there lived a family, a "white" mother and three kids. It was a shack. In my young mind I did not have a concept of poverty and now it is one of my earliest memories of seeing poverty. My folks did not allow me to fraternize with them as playmates. They were called "dead end kids." Never at any time did I ever see anyone who might have been a father in that area.
It seems the older we get the nostalgic things seem more important. Our roots and all that comes with that has more significance. In my elder years the bad memories are no longer "bad." They have made me what I am and at this point in my life I'm able to say I did the best I could for what I knew at the time and all's well that ends well. Fortunately, there was no extranious bad stuff like alcohol, hard drugs, other stupid behavior that would complicate a life that must be lived carefully.
Time to send, Linda. I did compose another note on this web site but it must now be drifting in cyber space never to be seen again. Ha, ha, I see it popping up somewhere a in some future century long after I'm gone.
Thanks for your openess about your family past. It is of great interest too. I enjoy having this outlet for my nostlagia. Dormant memories seem to be appearing like rising bread.
Got 14 cats, I think, and one dog. Need any more cats? :O)
Last edited by roseyrayf; 05-12-2009 at 11:32 AM..
I, too, no longer consider my bad life experiences to be "bad." I have learned too much from them, and it has made me who I am today. I now work with those disenfranchised families and kids. Check out my website -- www.meadowbrookcollaborative.org. Everything I learned as a kid and struggling adult is used every single day to help others.
The caretaker was Mr Linel and he had a thin brother named John. The nuns gave them our lunch left overs .... either to save money or not waste God's food. They nearly lived in the dark old furnace room across from the little cafeteria.
Hi, Mike!I do remember you and your brother, Tim. I have to mention that the last time I saw Tim was when he was crossing the street at the main library downtown Portland, in the early 60's. I was going somewhere and could not shout a hello. I'm still a shorty but at that time Tim had sprouted up. Are you still Catholic? Ha, ha, the Saint Lawrence experience was enough to last me a lifetime. Since the Saint Lawrence Parish church and school was what got this thread started, were you interested in seeing the old photos sent to me? I'm sure you remember Father O'Flynn since you were in the altar boy's ranks too. The one photo where he appears, it surprised me in that I expected to see an older gentleman. It is regretful that such a great looking church was taken down. I never been in contact ever with any of the old classmates. I did see an obit on Wayne Leonetti a couple years ago and I believe his twin, William, still lives somewhere in the Portland Metro area.Thanks for mentioning the cafeteria. I forgot all about that space. I do remember the furnace room. That fella, you say Linel, was a great person. He should have been a priest. I still remember his Irish brogue. So, hope this finds you in good health after all these dacades since those days in the 50's.Curious to know what you have been up to during this short lifetime.
P.S. I am not able to remember at all a brother to the senior Linel. Maybe it will come back to me but it draws a blank at the moment. I was not aware about the lunch leftovers. I wonder how you came to know about that.
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