Our love for the State of Washington began when my father fell in love with this great State after he graduated from college and began his career traveling in his sales. What he also learned is that this was the state of his birth, having been born in Toppenish. My mother was born in “Chuki” Chuquicamata, Chile. She was reluctant to leave her sunny California, but likewise in time fell in love with her new home as she began to have a family. Together they raised a family of 8 children, 6 boys and 2 girls, while engaging in the normal activities of the time with school, church, sports and social life.
Each of us was expected to set goals yearly, get an education, with the boys having the extra requirement to become Eagle Scouts. Quitting was never an option, doing your best was just expected. We were always reminded when we went somewhere, “Remember who you are!”
Summer days in my youth were filled with exploring in the nearby Dishman Hills, swimming all afternoon at the neighborhood Chester Hills pool, or just playing with friends. The expectation was that we would be home by dinner, and if you missed dinner time, well tough luck you were grounded and experienced a round of tough luck, the kitchen was closed. Learning responsibility and accountability came early.
Raising a family of 10 on a limited budget was a difficult challenge. My parents experienced prosperous times and some most difficult financial times. We learned by observation and direct experience what it meant to live on faith. Mom created many dishes out of seemingly very little, and yes we were expected to eat everything. Hand-me-downs were the norm. Back to school shopping, really meant that we recycled what had been worn the prior year that others had grown out of, including the newer clothing that was a treat as it came into the home from other families. Being thrifty was expected.
We did OK. Each of us kids accomplished what was expected, the boys became Eagle Scouts, everyone graduated from college, having put ourselves through school having worked summer jobs and learning to save. Each of us today is working on adding to the legacy we have been provided from generations that preceded us.
Our history has been rich and rewarding. Not always easy but earned as we have learned to overcome many of our challenges that life’s seems to throw your way. Providing service to others was always a good way to move beyond yourself and begin to learn what others might be experiencing. We are not perfect, we are human and are doing right if we remember the many life lessons taught by our parents, Gordon and Gloria. They would always provide us and our friends with the simple reminder, that “the best is yet to be” giving us hope and learning to exercise Faith in a brighter future.
Sadly, many of the experiences of my youth cannot be learned today. It is time to stop the erosion of what is undermining our family traditions.