Leaving the Coast

Eventually we left the Columbia Gorge, driving across flat, dry terrain in the rain shadow of the Cascade Range, to my aunt’s home in Kennewick. She lives in a small, immaculate house on a golf course, and golfs regularly. She welcomed us into her home for an overnight stay, and filled us in on stories of the family’s past in Washington.

Lauren wrote, “We drove all day through the Columbia river gorge to the dry sunny side of Washington state to arrive in Richland-Kennewick. Here, last night. I met my great aunt Jackie Minton for the first time ever. She’s 89, healthy and whip smart. What a great conversationalist! Her husband Art was a local officer in the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers’ Union. They lived for some time in Alaska. She told me stories about how members of our family purchased temporary war housing that had been caught and damaged in a flood, disassembled the lumber and carted it from its original location to my great grandfather’s farm, and reassembled it there to live on. The property she lived on there had no well so she had to carry water in cans daily to her house. This property was directly across from the family cemetery dad and I visited in Vancouver on Saturday. Such fascinating stories about my own history. It’s interesting because my father might have otherwise told me these things back in NJ, but it would not have registered and remained in the same way as it does to learn these things this way.

This morning I will meet my second cousin Jeanette Kay Minton Barnes.

From here we drive east. East of the coast, east of all this rugged beauty, east of my origins, and east towards home. We will likely be camping somewhere in Idaho tonight.”

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