Linda Eoff, 66, of Wallowa first came to the county when she was a child being raised by her grandma, Blossom Hoskin. She moved to the town of Wallowa in 1960 and spent two years in Wallowa Schools before moving on to live with other relatives. She eventually joined her mother, Carol Hoskin-Anderson, in Clarkston, Wash., when she was 13.
She married at 16, moved to Washington State and had two children by her first husband, Tom Stover. When that marriage ended after eight years, she moved back to the La Grande area and worked in potato fields to try to support herself and her two children.
She was 28 when she met “a keeper.” She and Russell Eoff of Wallowa have now been married for 38 years.
Russell Eoff worked at Rogge’s Mill, and Linda worked in various senior homes throughout her working life.
She continues to work with seniors and sometimes multiple generations of a family, minding tiny babies, young children and seniors with disabilities.
“I like to help elderly. I’m a person who likes older people over younger people. I’ve worked in nursing homes for years so I’ve helped a lot of people take care of their husbands with dementia, and I’m caring for a lady with dementia now. I babysit a baby that is just 10 months in the same family and help with an eight-year-old I’ve known since she was adopted at three. They’re just like family to me,” she said.
She’s organizing the Wallowa Senior Center Christmas Bazaar this year as well.
Q. What was it about Wallowa County that made you want to stay?
A. It’s peaceful, it’s quiet, the mountains, the trees, the greenness. I like it because it’s small. I was always raised out in the country, and to me, this is “the country.” It’s just always felt like home. I enjoy working with my chickens, selling the eggs, working outside. I grew 87 onions in my little garden and I’ve got a patch of parsnips.
Q. What has Wallowa County taught you?
A. I’ve learned to respect people and give them their leeway. Big cities are too big and there are too many people, and they don’t know how to get along. Here they’re more like a family that knows how to get along. If you have a problem, you go to the other person and say, “Hey, please don’t do that again.” Big city people don’t seem to know how to do this. I’ve had a lot of friends here.
Q. Can you recommend a good book for us to read?
Sweetie, I don’t read books, but I can recommend one: The Bible. I like the Song of Songs, Psalms, the Book of John. I like Revelation; it’s really dramatic. I think my favorite prayer to say is the one they call the Serenity Prayer.