Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a new house built to look like the house my maternal grandparents lived in from 1936 to 1948. My parents were married in the side yard of this house and after my dad left to join the U.S. Army in July of 1942, my mom moved back there (with 6 month old me) for about a year. Then she moved into Yakima & lived in a basement apartment of a house where a nice family lived. The lady took care of me during the day while mom worked as an RN in the Newborn Nursery at St Elizabeth's Hospital.
This house was located outside the city limits of Sunnyside, Washington. To the side of the two lane concrete Emerald Road...over on the left, just after you crossed the railroad tracks. Yes, the tracks went right thru my grandfather's hop fields. During the depression, men would jump off the slow moving train looking for work and a meal. The word was out that John Stern was a good man, you could always get a few days work, a cot in the barn to sleep on and 3 meals a day.
When I was 6 years old, grandpa retired from farming and they sold the house and farm and moved to a smaller place in Mabton. Even though I was very young I can remember this place like it was yesterday. I remember going out with grandma to feed the chickens, I remember grandpa giving me his empty Prince Albert tobacco cans to store my little girl treasures in, and I can remember being tucked into bed with one of grandma's hand made quilts covering me. I remember eating breakfast on summer warm mornings with grandpa out on the screened in porch. I remember the night that there was a fire down the road. I believe it was a store that caught on fire. The whole sky was lit up. Grandpa got in his old car and drove down to see what was going on....while we looked out the window at the flames shooting up in the air.
Across the concrete two lane road you could look up and see the rolling hills of eastern Washington. From grandpa and grandma's front yard it looked like there were caves up there. I can remember asking grandpa over and over if he'd take me up there to those caves, I wanted to see what was in them. Finally, he came up with an answer that stopped a little grand daughter's nagging "Lindy, there are big giants living in those caves and we can't go bothering them." I don't think I ever asked again
If it ever happens that I can build a new house, I want it to look exactly like grandpa and grandma Stern's house on Emerald Road.
Out in front, grandma & grandpa Stern and their little black & white dog Midge.