My middle sister hatched the idea for this memory book for our parents, who had unceremoniously wrenched us from our comfortable Southern California subdivision ranch house to the wilds of 60 acres in Southern Oregon's beautiful cascades when I was a junior in High School and my three sibs were just pups.
Talk about culture shock.
That said, it's the best thing they ever did for us besides birthing us and raising us into the hardy souls we are today.
Thus, years later, the project was conceived in appreciation and loving nostalgia. Behold the book of our childhood....
Props go, once again, to Insanely Creative Christy who gave me a crash course in the construction and binding of a simple journal style book. She totally rocks, my daughter does! I used every bit of natural twigginess and embellishment that wouldn't deteriorate in time and then we went for it. The burlap and the scripty paper were a natural choice.
So my classy cool middle sister suggested a beautifully written collection of our memories and asked that I illustrate it with some pen and ink, colored pencil and even watercolor paintings. Ah, what a fine idea it was at the start......
...and indeed, the first pages off the press were pristine and lovely, courtesy of my youngest sister (known as Fantastic Singing Voice Sister) who edited our gleefully giddy emails and contributions to this work and delivered these crisply printed sheets to me for embellishment with fine artwork and beautiful sketches.
I had good intentions, really I did. I pictured wonderful pastel watercolor landscapes of the beautiful hills, creek and fruit trees. But the memories and my own sense of humor just wouldn't let me be so...um....PLAIN. After a quick warning email to my sibs, I just went for it and illustrated the margins with lots and lots of fun sketches. LOTS.
Our first winter was HARD and snow quickly lost it's glamor. We quickly learned that the survey stakes left by our friendly country road crew made great fishing poles and brush beating sticks.
Our mom discovered her green thumb extended to vegetable gardening. A half acre of vegetable gardening. That hill of beans is no exageration. And we raised goats. Even today we love the miserable creatures and think of them with malicious nostalgia, the little buggers.
The main charm of our Oregon home was our very own Creek. Not fenced off like in California, but free flowing and wild and fringed with fern, blackberries, mint and willow thickets laced with animal trails. Brings tears to my eyes remembering that Creek. Love it so.
Ah, the plastic bags + socks + red top rubber boots are still fashion riguer, I hear. We learned fast.
Oregon banana slugs, ahhhhhhh!
And the pros and cons of our country life.....no hot home delivered pizza, no Disneyland trips on a whim, no ballet lessons. But we also did not have gang activity, save for the goats at feeding time, and we did have an endless supply of fresh hot apple pies made with fruit from our own heritage trees and warm tea and hot cocoa and EACH OTHER.
And we'd do it all again, you betcha! Our first summer was spent in a camp trailer with a tin roofed deck built underneath a HUGE pear tree. If you are watching reruns of Twilight Zone or Psycho, there is NOTHING like the sound a ripe pears hitting the tin in a horrendous clash and clatter to give your heart a workout. Ah, sweet memories are made of this.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for abandoning the relative ease of city life and moving us all out into the woods for our own good. We love you.