The following is written by Writers in the Grove member, Patti Bond. She often shares her memories and memories with us.
There was a wildfire near my grandparents’ house this weekend. I heard them telling us to stay away from the fire. But there are too many memories in these homes.
The red house on street, number 2706, is where my dad lived with his three sisters, my Aunt Kathy, Aunt Gayle, and Aunt Marilyn. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the fire threatened, Aunt Marilyn is no longer with us. That’s not the only memory at risk from the fire. My mother grew up in Baker City, the place where her biological father left her with her mother alone, just the two of them.
My mother was very active in theater and drama, and she loved Rainbow Girls. She was also very smart, skipping the third grade as she grew up. She and her mother, Zelene, moved several times, finally meeting Herbert Kelly and marrying him, giving them a place to settle in Baker City. Dave and I spent many years traveling to these homes visiting grandparents. I can remember hearing Daddy say that as long as the grandparents were alive, we were going to Baker City for Christmas. Grandma Kelly would greet us upon arrival every time saying “I hope Old Man Winter would give us a break.”
There are just too many memories in the houses up there, near the fire. Many are pleading for access to their homes to collect their precious memories before the wildfire consumes them. So many legacies remain, and wilt in the hearts of the many people who’ve lived in those houses, including my family.
They say the fires were started by lightning, normal for eastern Oregon. If I had unlimited resources, I would work day and night to save the livelihood and memories of my family’s heritage.
Please Lord put out these fires. Protect our memories and legacy in Baker City.