Author: paedwards

Memories of U.S. Highway 99

By Pat Edwards

While I was attending Queen Anne Grade School in Lebanon, Oregon during the late 1940s and early 1950s, my father owned the Smith-Kuehl International Harvester dealership there.

I vividly remember that our family recreation in those days, during the summer months, was to go to area stock car races each week. We’d all load into Daddy’s red International pickup truck. He and our mother sat in the cab and my brother, sister and I climbed into the open truck bed. Each of us would bring along a blanket and a pillow. We used them as seat cushions as we made our way north on Highway 99 to the Salem area where our favorite races took place.

During the usually hot summer afternoons, we gloried in the feel of the wind whipping our hair into our faces and mouths whenever we tried to talk – at least my sister and I did – our brother always sported a crewcut.

By the time we made our way home after a long day of dusty car races and destruction derbies, darkness had usually descended and we’d wrap ourselves into our blankets and lay our sleepy heads on the pillows which did not do a whole lot to cushion the bumps. My older brother and I laid there singing ‘Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall’ at the top of our voices while our younger sister invariably fell asleep in her little cocoon between us.

We always stopped at a drive-in near Albany to get an ice cream cone before heading east towards our home in Lebanon. My brother and I were very careful not to wake our little sister who usually slept right through the stop. Then, mean kids that we were, we teased her about missing her ice cream treat the next day.

We moved away from Lebanon in about 1954, but later returned in 1958, where I graduated from Lebanon Union High School in 1960. Sometime before my sixteenth birthday, my mother would frequently take me out to practice driving so that I could get my driver’s license. Our favorite practice spot was on an unopened section of the new Interstate 5 freeway that was being built through the Albany area. I had miles of smooth pavement to drive on with no other traffic. I’m not sure that it was legal at that time, but we never got stopped or fined for doing it. It turns out that I flunked my first driving test, though… I couldn’t parallel park!”

Included in OREGON’S MAIN STREET: U.S. Highway 99 “The Stories” by Jo-Brew (2014)

Sweet Lorane Community News, March 4, 2021

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
March 4, 2021
By Pat Edwards

With the sunshine of the past week and temperatures tickling the 60-degree mark, I have begun to feel a special awareness that spring is just around the corner. A certain energy and revitalization is slowly creeping into this 78-year-old body that has sought the languid warmth and coziness of home all winter. I actually cleared off my large, covered front porch yesterday in preparation for the power-washing that will precede this spring’s new coat of paint that the whole house is scheduled to get. It really needs it, but selecting the new color is proving a bit difficult. Fortunately, we have three daughters who have an eye for that sort of thing who are more than willing to help me decide. Our son Rob would help, too, if not for the color-blindness he was born with… a trait he inherited from my maternal grandfather, I have no doubt.

New growth is also showing up in my flower beds. I welcome the early tulips, daffodils, jonquils, crocuses, bluebells and other spring flowers that are reaching for the sunshine and beginning to “bud-up”—but not-so-much the weeds that are also trying to establish their places among the beds. As our days warm up and the sun makes more appearances, I will need to begin to spend short spurts of time outside, pulling weeds to make way for the flowers, despite a back that complains loudly if I bend over for more than five minutes at a time. I usually find myself sitting on a rolling cart or scooting along on the ground to get the job done. Once the first attacks on weeds are accomplished, I can usually keep up with the chore fairly easily. The work is well-worth it to me. I so enjoy the flowers that I care for and encourage each year!

March is bringing a further opening of the Crow-Applegate-Lorane schools, too. For the past month or so, the district’s K-6 grades have been operating under hybrid, in-school classes called “cohorts” that also include some on-line instruction. Beginning March 15, the Crow Middle/High School will be split into two cohorts that will allow students to begin in-school instruction once again, along with the established on-line instruction. Those who wish to continue with just the on-line classes will also have that option.

Parents of Crow High School seniors are being asked to provide to the school, close-up senior pictures as well as baby pictures of their graduating sons and daughters by April 1. These photos, which will be used for the yearbook and the senior night celebration, can be dropped off at the school or sent as email attachments to or

The Lorane Grange is continuing to meet each month while social distancing and wearing masks. Anyone interested in becoming a member should contact Lil Thompson at, or any grange member for information and meeting dates.

The Lorane Christian Church is also offering Sunday services each week at 10:00 a.m. Those attending can either join other members inside the chapel or sit inside their cars in the parking lot to listen to the sermon that is broadcast simultaneously on the radio. The sermons are also being offered on Facebook until the pandemic protocols have been lifted for those who cannot attend.

Before long, I hope to be providing info on other local, scheduled celebrations and events as our world begins to awaken from this pandemic that has taken so much joy out of our lives this past year. Let’s all continue to do what we must to allow our lives to take on some semblance of “normalcy” again.

Happy soon-to-be Spring!


by Pat Edwards

Those who know me are aware that the most important thing in my life is “family.” From the very beginning, I was blessed with a loving family. I not only had an adoring mother and father, but I was raised with an older brother, Jim, and a younger sister, Barbara. We siblings were all five years apart; I was the middle child. When I think of my childhood, my memories always include my close relationships with my paternal grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins. Our life revolved around shared family times – holiday get-togethers, travel, camping trips, lake fishing and a move every few years. My maternal grandparents and extended family lived in Southern California and, although we visited frequently, our relationship was always long-distance and not as close.

My father never seemed to be able to put down permanent roots. He was a good provider and always had a job, but he always seemed to have a bit of the wanderlust inside. Wherever we moved, whether it was to Lebanon, Oregon, Phoenix, Arizona, Eureka, California, Portland, Oregon or Eugene, Grandma and Grandpa Smith were always close by or frequent visitors. Grandma Smith was always my role model. Even though she’s been gone a long time, I still miss her.

One of my first memories was sitting on the broad back of old Bid, half of Grandpa’s work team of Champ and Bid on their ranch located near Lorane, Oregon. I have no doubt that is where my deep love for horses and farm life was born. I read every horse book I could find in the libraries nearby. Even though my childhood, except for that short stint on the ranch, was spent in urban areas, my dream was to someday have my own horse. That didn’t happen until my junior year of high school, but I’ve had one ever since.

Grandma Smith and I were pals. We both loved to play games and our favorite, when it was just the two of us, was to play “Double Solitaire” in which each of us tried to beat the other in adding ascending cards on the piles in front of us. The games would get so intense, we frequently laughed hard enough that tears would begin running down our cheeks.

I remember how much I enjoyed helping Grandma do her laundry in the old ringer washer and hang it out to dry on the clothesline in the backyard.

While we were outside, we’d always make sure to pick a nasturtium leaf for Petey, her canary, and his song would always accompany whatever activities we happened to be doing, almost always in her kitchen.

Grandma and Grandpa always had a dog and while I was growing up, it was a golden cocker spaniel named Bonnie. One of my favorite activities while at their house was to take Bonnie for a walk. Frequently, my sister, who I’ve always called B.J., and cousin, Carol, would join me on the walks around the 16th and Willamette area of Eugene where Grandpa and Grandma’s house was located, and since Carol lived close-by on 22nd and Emerald, she would usually bring her dog with her.

So, this is the basis from which my love of family has evolved. My own adulthood began on a rocky note when I put my first baby up for adoption. It’s an event that has marked my life and left me with a feeling of guilt, even though I know in my heart that it was the right decision at the time. Stacey re-entered our lives over 20 years ago and I feel so blessed that she and her family have joined ours.

I married a man who had the same love of family that I did. Jim grew up in a large, close-knit family of eight children and both of us wanted to put down roots and give our own children the kind of childhood that would allow them to explore possibilities and grow in whatever directions their interests and talents would take them. Once again we were blessed.

In fact, I feel blessed in so many ways and am very much aware that others have not had the close relationships with parents and grandparents that I have had over the years. But, does that mean that they cannot ever experience “family?” So, what is family, really?

I don’t think any of us need to have genetic or blood ties to be family. To me, “family” denotes those people who you grow to love; those you have bonded with in some way. “Family” keeps growing to include not only the group you were born into, but all of those who you have a special connection to.

I keep adding to my family. Over the years, I have felt the closeness and warmth of good friends even though we don’t get to see each other often. To me, they are part of one my families, because I now realize that I have many. I have my immediate family, my extended family, my Groundwaters family, my community family, my UO Neuroscience family, my writing family and all of those special people who have entered my life over the years and have stayed close even though we don’t see each other often. This is what family should mean to each of us.

I am truly blessed, and Grandma would be so proud!