Thursday, August 11, 2011

More "My Favorite Memory"

  In celebration of Clearwater County’s 100th Birthday, the Clearwater Tribune would like to publish our readers’ favorite memory of their time in this area. Here are the latest submissions.
Submitted by Rob Baird of Chandler, Arizona
Memories of the period from 1950 – 1955
  I lived in Orofino from 1946 through graduation from high school in June 1955. For the past 50+ years, my home has been Southern California. However, two months ago, I relocated to Chandler, Arizona.
  My memories center around Sewell's Barbershop on Johnson Avenue. Actually, in reality it was Red Jordan's Barbershop, as Mr. Sewell had retired and Red ran the shop.
  Why do I have such vivid memories of this shop? Simply because as an eighth grader in 1950, I begged Red to give me the job of shoe-shine boy to replace Morrie Synder, who had been the shoe shine boy for a couple of years previously. Red looked at me and said, “You are kind of young for this job.” As I said, I begged him and he relented.
  This began an experience I will never forget. For the next five years, I worked six days a week shining shoes. In the winter, I worked inside the shop. In the summer I moved my stand out onto the street and worked in the fresh air, and sometimes hot weather.
  It was a glorious time in Orofino. The town was bustling and I got into the center of the bustle, as all things seemed to center around the town barbershop. Haircuts were a buck, shaves $.75, and my shoe shines were $.30. If there was any gossip going on in town it all came out during a haircut, shave or shoeshine.
  Just a few of the customers I remember as friends were, Chief Philpot, Mr. Sodeberg, Mr. McCarthy, all the lumberjacks in town for a good time weekend, (they were great tippers incidentally). Others were Mr. Snyder from next door, Mr. Tate from the shoe shop, Norm Erbst, Hans Wetter, and yes, even the Madam from the esteemed hotel at the end of Johnson Avenue. (She would drop off her shoes to be shined.)
  I worked in this job until the night before I graduated from high school. There were many shiny shoes in Clearwater County as a result of my humble work during those years.
  During this time, I remember the sporting events, where, both Monk and Art kept we athletes in check. In many respects they became our surrogate fathers. You will never find two more dedicated men to the City of Orofino's children.
  Lastly, I recall fondly during the summer of 1954 the advent of cable T.V. coming to Orofino. Several of us watched the fantastic catch Willie Mays made in the World Series that year, as we watched the game in the front room of Butch Erbst's home. (I was later invited by Willie to go into the visiting Giants locker room at Dodger Stadium to introduce my young son to Willie).
  These memories, along with the thrill of stopping traffic on the highway in the summer of 1954, while Bob Titus and I dived from the Clearwater Bridge into the rushing river below—that's when the old bridge was a lot higher—yes, these were the good days.
  I often wished my own children could have had a similar experience while growing up. There simply is no replacement for Orofino, Idaho. May it stand forever!

Submitted by Kathy Strom Von Bargen, 1962 OHS graduate, living in Clarkston
  This isn’t a favorite memory but it is a profound one. In the late 40’s and early 50’s, my grandparents, Arthur and Myrtle Anderson, lived at the top of Canada Hill next door to my first grade teacher, Mrs. Bonner.
  The sidewalk on the steepest part of Canada Hill was a raised wooden one which was scary enough for little kids but the real terror was imposed by the little village of hobos who lived in tarpaper shacks, or worse, tucked at the base of the hill and next to where the wooden sidewalk existed. The village was called Jingle Town.
  My mother and grandmother warned us to never, under any circumstances, speak to any resident of that area. If we thought one of men living there was even looking our way let alone walking toward us, we ran like the wind until we either passed the Rex Rooms on the way downtown or arrived at Grandma’s house on the way home. There may have been a few instances where we called out to taunt them.
  We would see the men cooking over open fires and sometimes observe an altercation but in general they were a congenial lot.
  At the time it seemed there were very many residents but probably they numbered only 12 to 15. Most likely these were older men who could no longer work and had no family or money. They may have had a small pension of some sort that allowed them to buy a little food and not much else. They never, ever bothered us but our fertile imaginations caused us to be ever on guard!
  Having a nickel or dime to take downtown for an ice cream cone was always made more exciting when we passed by this village.

More memories welcome
  If you’d like to share your favorite memory, we’d love to publish it. Please submit it in written form via e-mail to or mail it to us at: Clearwater Tribune, My Favorite Memory, P.O. Box 71, Orofino, ID 83544.
  In addition to as many details as you can recall, please include your name, where you live now, when you lived in the area (if you aren’t currently a resident), the period of time when your memory takes place (such as the 1970’s), and a phone number where you may be reached (in case we need clarification. Phone numbers will not be published).

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