Thursday, December 11, 2008


Dorothy writes: One year, near Christmas, I was in the garage and noticed a fat package on the workbench. I poked it and my finger went through the thin wrapping paper. I had wanted a white "roughneck" sweater and there it was. I was disappointed that this had happened but couldn't figure anything to do about it. Christmas Eve there was no gift for me. No, not one! Everyone exchanged gifts and I got nothing. To this day I don't know who suffered most – my parents or me. Late Christmas Day they gave me my sweater.

[I dunno. The whole gift on the workbench thing smacks of a set-up to me. Grandma Portfors wasn't above that sort of thing. When I was 3 or 4, I stayed with Grandma one afternoon near Christmas. She took me upstairs to the bedroom that had been my mother's room when she was growing up. I "helped" wrap Christmas gifts and well remember plastering stickers all over one package. In the course of things, something was dropped on the floor and rolled under the bed, and Grandma invited me to pick it up for her. And there, under the bed, was my Christmas present, my "ranch style" metal doll house. Even then, I thought Grandma wanted me to find it. And if Grandma did set Mother up to find her Christmas gift and Papa punished her for the "indiscretion" of poking the paper, I bet Grandma did suffer as much as Mother did.

Perhaps the sweater Mother wears in this photo was the one mentioned in this entry. The photo was taken above the Clearwater between Orofino and Ahsahka. That light ribbon in the background is the river. The photographer? Emon Olson. He had a camera and would take pictures of the kids, Mother said. I was amazed when she told me. Who knew? Emon seemed such a withdrawn little man. Admittedly the quality of this photo is not good, but I consider we're lucky to have it. The photo lab at the University of Idaho saved it from oblivion. KW]

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