We finally arrived in Husum, Washington where my best friend, Amber, had just had her first child named Harvest. Amber had been with me for the birth of my first child, and now I wanted to be there for her. She was living in an old farmhouse on the side of Mount Adams with a beautiful view of the mountains. Her daughter was beautiful, of course. Her relationship with Harvest’s dad was not so beautiful, and he was mostly absent, leaving Amber to take care of everything by herself. Unfortunately, at that time, Paul and I were not the best house guests. There was no indoor plumbing, and Paul really didn’t know how to deal with that, so he made quite a few mistakes that added to the tension already in the house.
In addition, we needed to settle somewhere, so he went looking for work. He finally found a job at Timberline Lodge, a ski resort on Mount Hood that had been built by the WPA during the Great Depression. FDR wanted to give artists and artisans employment, so he put them to work building this spectacular lodge. There are murals, wood carvings, tile work, stone work and much more. It is a beautiful work of art. There is snow on the mountain all year round, so it’s a popular place for skiing, even the Olympic teams have trained there. In order to get to work every day, he had to live there in the employee housing. However, he couldn’t bring his family, so Jessie and I stayed behind seeing him only on weekends.
We had a wonderful leave taking the night before he left for the lodge. At one point, I warned him that there might end up being another baby on the way. We both decided that would be fine and not much later, I was absolutely sure. In all of my pregnancies, I never got morning sickness. I always felt healthier than ever before. This one was no different. I would occasionally feel a tiny upset, but it was never very uncomfortable and didn't last long. However, my emotions were raw. Here I was living in a very stressful environment with a 3-year old and expecting another baby. We didn’t have our own home yet, and my husband was living on another mountain. Sometimes I would drive to visit him on a weekend and very rarely, he would come to Husum. Neither of us wanted to be there any longer, and we weren’t really welcome anymore either.
Eventually, we moved into a motel at the base of Mount Hood. We had two rooms and a bathroom for a weekly rate. There were other people living there, too. Finally, Paul found us a tiny cabin in the village of Zig Zag. This cabin also had two rooms and a bath but was even smaller than the motel rooms. But at least here, Jessie and I could walk to the Post Office and the little health food store for some socialization.
Hippies that we were, we loved knowing that our address was Zig Zag, Oregon. But that was the extent of the perks. I was very lonely and becoming more depressed every day. There were no neighbors, and I had no friends here. After a short while, Paul lost the job at the lodge and had to go looking for work in Portland. On one hand, I was relieved. I was going to be having a baby and had decided to have a home birth after the fiasco of my first hospital birth, and the clock was ticking. I needed to find a midwife. We hoped that we could move to the city soon.
Our car had broken down, and we had no money to fix it, so Paul spent the next few months hitchhiking to and from Portland for his job. He would leave at 4 am and get home late at night. Once again, the time we had together, which was very little, was spent fighting. And I wasn’t the best mother to Jessie at that time. I became so depressed, it was difficult to get out of bed. I had to force myself to read to her and play games, but I made sure that we went for our walk every day to and from the Post Office and up and down the little road we lived on. I forced myself to put on a good face, but she could tell that things were not the same.
We finally met a couple who lived on our road, only two cabins away. They invited us for dinner one night where I ate tofu for the first time. They cooked it in spaghetti sauce. They had friends visiting who were living in Portland and looking for a place on the mountain near their friends. How synchronistic! We were looking for a place in Portland. We were each paying $350/month rent and decided to just trade houses. Each of the landlords were pleased, so we moved to 10605 East Burnside Avenue when I was almost seven months pregnant. In addition to all of the other stressors, Amber and I were not speaking, and I missed my friend. Luckily, enough time had gone by from when we had dropped off Debbie and Steve after our nightmare of a trip, that we reconnected with them and started a new life in the city.
The new house was wonderful. We didn’t have access to the back rooms with the washer and dryer, but we now had two good sized bedrooms, a large living room and eat-in kitchen and a huge backyard. The house was set back off the main road on a little dirt cut away with another house on either side of us. Our neighbors were great with kids of their own, so we ended up taking down the fences between our yards giving all of the kids free rein of a lot of land. We were right on a main bus line making it easy to get anywhere we wanted. We were ecstatic! We were ready for this next phase in our nomadic life.
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