Harry Thompson

This was Harry Thompson — on Cap, his horse, a neighbor to the north of us on Butte Road, 1938.  here he is showing off by doing a headstand on pommel of his saddle.

This photo is Harry on his Binder across the road from my house, 1942.  This was Aaron Collinsworth’s land. Collinsworth was brother in law to Dave Sloan and Harry. This is an aunt from Hollywood and my family with him.

043 1942 harry thompson

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Harry was a teacher and principal at NP beginning in the teens. Harry was active in community activities in NP, and one often sees his name in news and old timer’s stories of early NP.  Around 1930, Harry decided he would rather farm, so bought his farm on Butte Road—later sold to Doberstein–and left the school system. 

Harry’s farm was a half mile north of us on Butte, just south and bordering on the railroad.  We traded work with Harry for some years

 

043 htmae3b Mae Thompson is pictured outside her new kitchen. She would not marry Harry until he made her a nice new kitchen. It was beautiful!  It would be considered modern even today and this photo is 1935.  The kitchen even had a “nook,” the only one I ever saw in those days.  It was at least 20 years ahead of its time. I have no idea where Harry got the idea or the skill to design or build it, it being so uncommon in those times.  Most likely Mae saw it in a magazine.In 1938, when electricity finally became available to us, my dad wired Harry’s house and new kitchen.

Mae’s kitchen was astonishing to me because at that time we were still living in a dirt cellar—not even a house, let alone one like this!

Mae was such a sweet lady and, as you can see, a very pretty one.  Because we traded work with Harry, I was often at his place.  Mae would notice me and contrive to give me sandwiches, cookies or cakes.  I say “contrive” because at that time the area was very into self reliance,  pride and hospitality.  We certainly did not have any money—so we compensated with pride in abundance!  It was a major sin to “impose” upon others. Most today will not understand without an explanation: The community would share with others without reservation.  You could not pass anyone on the road in any difficulty without offering help. It was a given that you went out of your way to be hospitable to others.  Many times, folks would visit us—always given a meal, stayed over night, and I and sibs would sleep on the floor to give them our bed. The middle of the great depression saw most of us very short on food or any other amenities—even starving at times.

You didn’t want to offend anyone by refusing hospitality, and you couldn’t put yourself in a position that the other was forced by propriety to offer hospitality.  It was one of those cultural “pride” things that one must tip-toe around carefully!

So if you took “advantage” of another’s hospitality—which they were bound to give you—then that would be imposing—and a sin!  So to avoid my “imposing” on Mae’s hospitality, she would ask me if I would bring in some firewood, or collect chicken eggs for her—anything to “earn” the cookies.  One simply must never ask for anything, or take something not suitably earned. She would invariably invite me into her wondrous warm kitchen and find a way for me to earn something!

Harry always had a dream of owning a logging truck.  Finally in 1943 he sold his farm in order to move to Eugene, logging country, and buy his dream logging truck.  However, Mae was not about to move to Eugene and she divorced Harry. I’m sure there is much more to that story, but…..  Harry visited us after his move.  He said he bought his dream truck, and the very first job, the crane guy loading his truck deliberately dropped a log on his cab—“to break it in” so he would not worry about scratching its pretty paint!”

Mae later re-married and was now Mae Hilliard. I had no contact with her from 1943 to 1994, but when I  contacted her when researching NP, she remembered me over those 51 years!  She said she remembered how me and my sibs always had hand-me-down clothes, coats that came only part way down our arms, and skinny as skeletons.  And, how she just had to give me something to eat. My dad always worked outside, no matter the weather in the winter, so had a huge sheepskin coat. So Mae would get after dad for having a warm coat while I was freezing with my arms sticking out of a coat way too small.  Of course kids grow so fast that everyone had some arm sticking out at times.

Mapw chandler 1943e, if I’ve got this right, lived next door to Armoral Tuttle when I spoke to her. She had lost her sight to macular degeneration so was blind, but she talked my leg off for a long while, almost two hours—like neighbors used to do. She went way out of her way to have her daughter (a nurse working long hours) get her old photos out and send them to me.  Mae was so typical of NP folks I’ve known all my life—hearts of gold!

 This is my dad, Paul Chandler, in 1943 in his sheepskin coat.

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