Mouse in the House   10 comments

Do you still have a treasure from childhood, can you tell us about it? How about any of your characters?

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And The Water Rose Up

Remembering the historic Fairbanks flood of 1967 | Community Features |  newsminer.com
My parents’ trailer in the 67 Flood was just out of the upper right corner of the frame.

In 1967, Fairbanks experienced a massive flood. It had been a warm summer, the snowpack that often sticks around as glaciers from year to year melted and filled the rivers to higher than normal levels. Then a typhoon in the Pacific pushed a storm over the Alaska Range into the interior. It poured for a week and all the rivers flooded, including the Tanana River, which is a big wide braided river that normally floods all its islands before it comes over the banks.

My parents owned a trailer about 100 feet from the Chena River, a tributary of the Tanana, which actually ran backward as the Tanana swelled. The Chena was predicted to crest below the flood level, but the Tanana’s flood left the Chena’s water nowhere to go, but over the banks into my parents’ home.

Thus, my childhood mementos mostly got wet and had to be thrown out.

But I Do Have A Few Things

My dad worked about 50 miles away, so his room at the worksite didn’t get wet, so I have a few photos from when I was a child. My mom’s jewelry was in an upper drawer that never got wet, so she was able to retrieve that. Nothing valuable, but they mean something to me.

Of course, after the flood, life went on and I look around my house and see some things that matter to me. There’s an Eskimo doll dressed in real furs that a family friend brought back from Barrow. A pair of beaded moccasins (another gift from that same friend). A Russian nesting dolls’ set. A ceramic wishing well braced by boy and girl figurines. My mother’s modest collection of Depression glass. An ivory scrimshawed bracelet my dad bought on one of his trips. A stuffed mouse one of my brother’s mothers-in-law made for one of my birthdays.

He’s a craft-market kind of mouse. It might cost $15 to buy something like him at this year’s Christmas Market. Although he has sat on a bedroom shelf for many years, occasionally dusted, he doesn’t usually hang out center stage, but when my dad died, I remember hugging Mouse and crying. My husband’s mom died about 10 days ago and I found Brad in the bedroom, hugging Mouse and crying. He remembered me telling him about what I did when my dad died and he thought it would help with the big empty feeling he was experiencing. And it did.

My Characters Special Treasures

Daermad Cycle (The Willow Branch) is a medieval fantasy, so my people don’t have a lot of possessions and treasures as rare.

Peter in What If Wasn’t series doesn’t appreciate his treasures yet and I won’t reveal the future, so…

In Transformation Project, my characters live in a town that’s been around for more than a century and live in houses with long-established families. Since the EMP took out all the power, Shane wears a wind-up watch his grandfather Jacob gave him when he was a kid. It kicked around in a drawer for a long time, considered useless, but he dug it out after the other watches and phones died and he thinks about his grandfather when he checks the time. It’s not a supremely practical memento.

He also inherited his grandfather’s 1959 Dodge Ram, which was very well taken care of and highly coveted since the EMP destroyed most modern cars.

Jazz Tully owns her grandfather’s 30-06, a rifle he carried in World War 2 that he used as a hunting rifle for many years. She loves the connection she feels with her grandfather when she handles, cleans, loads, and shoots it. She took her first deer with it when she was 12.

What is precious to us is a very individual thing. My husband points out that among my mementos is a large freeform orange-red ashtray. Nobody in my household smokes and you’re not invited to smoke if you visit my house, but the ashtray belonged to my parents and I fill it with potpourri. It helps me to remember my parents. I also have their coffee cups. They only had one each — Brad and I have about two dozen. When I see those cups I remember the folks sitting at the table drinking their morning coffee and probably using that ashray. I also have my dad’s radio he took with him around the whole world when he was a merchant mariner. It still works, but one of these days I need to get it into a repair person to clean it up and replace the vacuum tubes. Brad, whose parents moved often and really weren’t that good of parents, didn’t leave him much. He has a seaman’s clock, which I’m thinking Richard Dee might be familiar with. Brad’s grandfather was a merchant mariner (we have a theme) and I guess that’s how he kept track of time. It still works, but we don’t wind it often because it goes off every 15 minutes in a complicated system of chimes that tell you what time it is. Since our reticular systems are not attuned to the meaning of the chimes, it just keeps us awake at night. But it looks beautiful sitting on Brad’s desk.

Posted November 8, 2021 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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10 responses to “Mouse in the House

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  1. Water is beautiful and scenic until it isn’t. Glad your family survived.

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    • The Chena is a tiny little river until it wasn’t. You can see from the one bridge that is visible how narrow the river it — about twice as wide as a highway–and there were places in town where you could run a boat over the top of a cab over camper.

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  2. What a shame that so many of your belongings were damaged in the flood, but hey, you all survived and now you have your own mementoes to treasure. I particularly like the coffee cups part, as I’m sure I would have saved them too. I have some of my mother’s things around my home, which remind me of her.

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    • My brother had no real interest in any of the household items. He got his dad’s tools and still uses them. For years after I married, we lived in this tiny house and we used a lot of my parents’ stuff because we didn’t have room for anything else. When we moved into this house, we had to buy stuff. Brad collects coffee cups, which is why we have so many. He buys a new one for every job he’s worked and he’s in construction so he’s worked a lot of places.

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      • Yes, the father’s tools seem to get handed down to the sons, with the assumption that girls aren’t interested in them or don’t know how to use them.

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      • In our case, they were his father’s tools. We have different fathers. I got my dad’s cooking knives and other tools. Bro kind of wanted some of them (he likes to cook), but he knew they weren’t his, so we didn’t argue about it. He’s given my husband and I all kinds of tools over the years — he worked for a home improvement store, so had an employee discount. And then I’ve given him cooking implements. But his dad’s tools are very precious to him — he doesn’t even loan them out. I don’t loan out my dad’s tools either. Dad’s are custom-made by a blacksmith back in the 1930s, so I couldn’t just go out and buy replacements.

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      • Wow, precious tools indeed.

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  3. Mouse is all you really needed.

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