Down in the schoolhouse in Troy the students prepared a Thanksgiving and entertained guests: Marilyn and Don Hughes, school custodians. Putting the schoolhouse kitchenette to good use the boys and girls served ham, potatoes, rolls, and baked yams. Desserts were chocolate and yam pies. The chocolate disappeared fast, but some children who had never eaten pie before weren't too sure about the yam pies. Be assured no one went home hungry.
Recent visitors to the wilderness included Mike and Sheri Zeller who spent two week's at Sue Zeller's place, hunted elk, and didn't go home disappointed. Bud Johnson's nephew has been visiting and helping while Bud is recovering from his fall. Keep healing, old friend.
A tree to grow by
There is a beautiful new tree down at the teacherage: planted by Warren Roberts and donated by Ray and Charlotte Brown of Brown's Eden Tree Farm. The redwoods are a success story. Some years ago Ray ordered some seedlings from California and proceeded to plant his own redwood grove. Told the trees wouldn't grow in the climate of Wallowa County, Ray continued to plant and now has trees of varying sizes thriving not only at his place, but those of us lucky enough to have at least one in our own yard. Mine grows taller and wider every year, and is located down in the fenced orchard where it can't meet the fate of the first few Ray gave me. Once they live through the first winter and summer the ageless trees thrive.
When we first moved to the North End I was still freelancing for travel magazines and doing stories for various national publications. Along the way I had acquired several cameras including a 2 l/4 x 3 l/4 Speed Graphic which for years was called a press camera. The graphic wasn't all that speedy, but for graphics that made the photographer look good you couldn't beat the large negative.
Then came the age of the 35 mm, setting up your own darkroom and the challenge of altering prints to express yourself and add a bit to articles. And then everything switched to digital and the joy of being able to use the internet to truly speed words and photos to the editor.
Sadly, too much equipment is now sitting in lonely, dark rooms waiting for the creative touch of their owner. While looking through my shelves for bits of history recorded by local writers such as Janie Tippett, Mark Highberger, Bill Rautenstragh, Grace Bartlett and others I am drawn to those faded photos of yesteryear.
In a series of photos from the archives of Iris Mallory pioneers such as Claude Heston, Al Sharmer, the Davis family: Ed, Delores, and Laurence along with an Indian family whose names are long last is a study in contrasts. The photo taken of Mabel Boston Knight is an ode to the tightly cinched tiny waist of a fashionably attired woman of her day.
Other photos of the Hackberry Hollow School and the Daugherty ranch--an unknown trapper and his pelts are priceless. Theres a photo of the photographer Hiram Merry taken at a pig sticking up on Bartlett Bench sometime about 1913.
Other photos probably taken by Merry showed the mud deep streets of downtown Troy. There stands the storekeeper Pete Fiker, a man called Wilson, another called Russell and riding double on a saddle less horse Merle Fenton and Claude Houston.
Willard's stories, recycling
The late Willard Mallory had some wonderful stories to tell about the north end of Wallowa County. Iris and Willard married in September 1939 and at first lived with Willard's folks: Harve and Lena down Shumaker Grade near Anatone. In the forties they moved to the Fordice home place on the Grande Ronde River down stream from Troy just past the bridge named for Willard.
The Mallorys said part of the flour mill located in Troy alongside the Wenaha River was hauled down to become the kitchen in the house now occupied by Jean and Doug Mallory.
Recycling is very much a part of life in the North End. Up and down the ridges, benches and along the streams if you spot a one room cabin of rustic faded red construction the odds are they are recycled buildings from the old Troy Resort. The George Robinson family who are our neighbors on Eden Bench have restyled one of those cozy cabins into a guest cottage. And we have remodeled the little barn used by Uncle Howard as a place to reload and store home canned food into a guest house called Robbin's Roost.
If you are lucky enough to live in the wilderness and keep your eyes sharp there are daily reminders of the past.