Fern Ridge Review
Sweet Lorane Community News
July 22, 2021
By Pat Edwards
This past week, I signed up for two days to work with the Oregon Authors’ Table at the Lane County Fair. I opted to display and sell my books for the first two hours each day; most of the authors stayed longer, but getting back into the swing of things for me right now necessitated a shorter stay. How I enjoyed being social again—meeting and talking to the many people who stopped by to ask about and consider my books and the other authors who shared the table with me.
I’ve never participated in these things for the sales proceeds. I’ve discovered that most authors and poets never get rich from putting their stories and interests onto the pages of a book. Like me, they usually do it because they love to write and share their thoughts and experiences with others. I’ve enjoyed taking part in quite a few author fairs, holiday markets and other author events over the years, but as a writer of local history, mainly, the most fun has been in interviewing and recording the many stories and memories of the people and families I and my co-authors have written about.
Sitting at an unfamiliar dining room table, getting a conversation started with our subjects and allowing them to relax and begin to share their stories with us was what it is all about. These interactions kept me seeking ways to keep alive their own early years and those of their parents and grandparents for future generations to enjoy and, hopefully, learn from.
So many times, we’d sit down at that table and be told by those we were interviewing that they didn’t see how anything they could tell us would be of interest. But, I cannot remember even one interview where we didn’t come away with a rich tapestry of memories and stories. Frequently, only a couple of questions from us would open and allow the conversation to flow, and the threads of that tapestry, as each story was woven, would lead us in many directions; all interesting and some, unexpected.
While working at the Oregon Authors Table this past week, two of those whose stories are included in Jo-Brew’s and my OREGON’S MAIN STREET: U.S. Highway 99 books stopped by the table to visit. One, Carolyn Bozanich of Dexter, is the sister of a former teacher at Crow Middle School, Opal Powell, that Jo-Brew interviewed for both of our books. Carolyn shared her memories of the devastating flood in Vanport, a large shipyard built on wetlands on the south bank of the Columbia River, that occurred in 1948. I was not able to attend the interview, so it was wonderful to meet this woman who provided us with such rich material for both of our books.
Then, a big highlight of my day was when a middle-aged gentleman with a twinkle in his eye, stopped by the table and introduced himself as one of the January twins mentioned in a newspaper clipping we included in the Creswell section of one of our books. He said that because of us, he and his twin are now “historical figures.” Here’s the text of that newspaper clipping:
“Mrs. Elmer L. January, wife of a state highway department employe (sp), had an important appointment with a local physician Monday—made two months ago. The Januarys had been traveling for the last two months and Sunday they started to Eugene—a day too late. One son arrived en route in Creswell; the other at Goshen. They were not anticipating twins, but Mrs. January is happy and well. So are the boys.”
Oh, how I love the perks from writing.