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Thread: Storytime

  1. #21
    I am! I finally had time tonight to catch up on my reading.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. The following user thanked Monkey Kitty for this post:

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin (03-14-2017)

  3. #22
    Thanks! That's great!

  4. #23
    Dad on the Blister Rust Control

    My father, Roger Edwin Baldwin, worked for the state of California for three summers (1948, 1949 and 1950) to earn money while he was going to Coalinga Junior College and Oregon State University. He worked on the Blister Rust Control, a group charged with grubbing out gooseberry bushes because they were the alternate host of a disease that attacked the White Pine, which was important to the logging industry. However, they would be taken off The Blister Rust project if they were needed to fight a forest fire. There were a few fires in the summer of 1948, several in 1949, and so many in 1950, he fought fires instead of grubbing out gooseberry bushes that year. That’s partly because his crew got known as the best hot-shot crew there, so they got called out more than most, but it was also a particularly bad fire year, so everyone got more calls.

    Blister Rust workers lived in semi-permanent camps, with rows of two-man tents, each with two cots and one stove. They got a free day to go into a small, nearby town every other week.

    Frontier Days

    Going into town every two weeks meant Dad sometimes didn’t shave in between. On one trip in, he realized he hadn’t shaved before leaving. Well, he didn’t have a razor, and he couldn’t go back; not when a whole bunch of guys were going to town together.

    It turned out that the town was holding their Frontier Days when they went in. One of the features was a jail they were throwing clean-shaven men into. They were expected to sit there until they’d raised a certain amount of charity. No real problem… especially for Dad. After two weeks of not shaving, he did not count as clean-shaven, so he didn’t have to sit in their jail and raise money. He thought that worked out great. {Smile}

  5. #24
    Dad, Practical Joker: The Substitute
    When Dad was in the eighth grade, there had been a rash of dice games. It was against the school rules to have anything associated with gambling on their person, including dice. So Dad was in a class which had a substitute teacher when he found 2 or 3 marbles in his pocket. So he clicked them together. The substitute heard that noise. After a few minutes, she asked all the boys to empty out their pockets. Of course she recognized what the marbles were. She was Dad’s mother, a fact he didn’t want the class to know.
    Last edited by Anne Elizabeth Baldwin; 03-20-2017 at 12:37 AM.

  6. #25
    Dad on the Blister Rust Control: A Bad Fire

    One day in the year they spent more time fighting fires than grubbing out gooseberry bushes, Dad’s camp was called away from blister rust fieldwork because of a forest fire. They went thru farms that were lush and ready to harvest, most of them growing wheat.

    They got to the fire, and started cutting a fire trail to try to stop the crown fire ravaging the forest. Then they set a backfire, but the backfire went out of control and crowned, too. They backed off, and set another backfire. That one worked right. The fire came up to where the backfire had been, and then it suddenly went out. Foom! Like that. It just shut off.

    Still, the forest fire wasn’t over. They fought the fire some more. Suddenly the foreman told them to get on a pile of rocks 150 feet tall. They did, and suddenly the tree in front of them burst into flame, all 250 feet of it. It was that tall and that quick. The fire went all around them, but it didn’t touch them on their hill of rocks. So they had to stay on the pile of rock until morning, when it was light enough to see. That next morning, they took the fire trail out and left.

    So that afternoon they returned to camp. On the way out, it was very depressing to see the farms all burned out by the fire. Back in camp, we were all really confused by the whole thing. It was not sensible and easy to understand. It’s confusing to listen to and remember because it was confusing to live.

    The next morning after that, they were sent out to fight more fires. On the way to the next fire, Dad asked the foreman why they were being called out so much. They had three fires in a row: bang bang bang. The foreman said they had gained a reputation of being the best hotshot crew in northern California.

  7. #26
    Dad, Practical Joker

    Dad had a reputation as a teenager here in Hilo for playing little practical jokes, but only harmless ones. He did not stop entirely when he left Hilo.

    The Ink Blot

    Dad was in the 8th grade, and he was in his homeroom class, which was also the English classroom.

    The teacher, Myra Ah Loy, was standing by her desk. There was a pile of papers on her desk that hadn’t been graded yet. She looked at the pile, and there was a bottle tipped on its side, with a huge pool of ink next to it. She hadn’t seen Dad yet that day. She turned to the class, which was pouring into the classroom, and she picked up the stack of papers and shook off the ink. The ink didn’t shake off because it was a good fake painted on sheet metal. So she called one of the girls, Winifred Williams, to clean it up.

    Winifred took the cloth, and tried to wipe up the ink. The sheet metal made a loud scraping noise.

    Mrs. Ah Loy picked up the sheet metal and bottle, and laughed. She asked “Okay, whose is this?” while looking right at Dad.

    Dad raised his hand.

    She handed it back to him.

    Dad wouldn’t have done this if she hadn’t been a good-natured teacher, but he didn’t expect to get the ink blot back.

  8. #27
    Nihal DeMel, Dad’s Ceylonese Friend

    Dad got to know Nihal DeMel thru the Episcopal Church he went to in Oregon. They got to be good friends while they were roommates, but Nihal was not a letter writer, so they lost touch later. Nihal did not become a roommate until quite a bit later, too. They became friends thru the church first.

    Nihal was calling himself “Nicky,” but then Dad asked him what his real name was, and started calling him Nihal when he found out that was his real name. Nihal told Dad and their other friends about his family name. It was from the Portuguese; it was originally DeMello.

    Nihal was from Ceylon, as they called it then. They now call the place “Sri Lanka.”

    Nihal taught Dad how to cook Ceylonese curry, except it was a much toned down version. Nihal always said you could tell a Ceylonese because they wouldn’t break into a sweat when they ate Ceylonese curry. Everyone else would, even Mexicans, Koreans, and others from cultures that like hot food.



    Nihal’s aunt came to visit while they were roommates. Nihal had her teach Dad how to make curry using their curry powder.

    She cooked them up a batch. “I’ll tone it down, because you aren’t used to hot food,” she told Dad. She did tone it down. She only used half a cup of curry powder. She usually used much more.

    It was still too hot.

  9. #28
    Dad’s First Foreign Student Friend


    Dad made friends with several foreign students, at Oregon State University, where he got his bachelor’s and master’s degree, at the University of Minnesota, where he got his PhD, and at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, where he taught for many years. {Smile}


    The first foreign student he met was a fellow from Japan, who he met on a bus he took from California to Corvallis, Oregon. After working that summer on the Blister Rust Patrol, he didn’t go back to Coalinga. Instead, he got on the Greyhound Bus going to Corvallis, and there was this well-dressed Oriental fellow sitting there. So Dad sat next to him.

    The fellow started trying to talk to Dad. They found they couldn’t handle Standard English, so Dad tried Hawai’i’s “Pidgin English,” and they were able to chat. Dad never talked Pidgin at home, but he could understand it, so he could get pretty close.

    The Japanese fellow was from Nagasaki. He had been given a four-year foreign exchange scholarship by the U.S government to study at Oregon State University. That was the same school Dad was going to complete his Bachelor’s degree at the time. The Japanese fellow was in either the first or the second group of Japanese exchange students to come after World War II.

    So they started talking, and the fellow asked Dad some questions. He found out Dad had a minor in botany, so they talked about botany. He also talked about World War II, and being in the Japanese military.

    The bus driver came up to them. “Oh, you can talk to him?” He asked Dad what language he was speaking in.

    Dad explained that he was using Pidgin English from Hawai’i. The Japanese fellow could understand that when he couldn’t understand Standard English. (Hilo’s Pidgin was much thicker in the 1940’s. Dad left the islands to go to college on the mainland in 1947.)

    The bus driver asked Dad to help the fellow get dinner, and get back on the bus. It was standard for busses to stop for an hour so people could get their dinner and get back on the bus.

    So Dad got out with the fellow. They went to the restaurant, and Dad picked out food he knew Orientals would like. The Japanese fellow ordered the same things.

    When they got to Corvallis, Dad and the bus driver got out, and looked for the people who were waiting for the Japanese fellow.

    Dad and the Japanese fellow did not keep in touch after the bus. Dad did not know where he was. He was the first Foreign exchange student Dad got acquainted with from anywhere.

  10. #29
    The Green Meteor

    Dad said his favorite tale is the one about seeing a green meteor.

    While Dad was living on Halai Hill, his grandmother Shiras, his Mom’s mother, came to visit in 1940, when Dad was 10 or 11. While she was visiting, he and his grandmother decided to walk around the neighborhood. While they were walking on that hill, Dad turned to look at the sea, and saw a bright, copper green glowing circle. It seemed to come down slowly, so it must have been moving towards them. He knew that even at that young age. He saw it fall into Hilo Bay, beyond the breakwater. Dad remembers the splash when it hit.

    Dad turned to his grandmother and asked, filled with wonder, “Did you see _that_?”

    “Yes, I did!” she said, looking at him with the same wonder that must have been in his own face. Then his Grandmother said, “Put that in your memory as clearly as you can. Don’t ever forget it. You’ll never see it again.”

    So Dad did, or tried to. He must have done something right, because he can still describe it as well as he does above.



    Dad says he’s good at telling stories, but he’s not good at capturing them in picture form. He tried to draw a picture of him and his grandmother looking out at the meteor. It didn’t turn out.



    Dad told many people about this meteor over the years. They all scoffed. A green meteor? Meteors aren’t green. He couldn’t have seen that.

    Then Dad talked to Bill Heacox, one of the astronomers teaching at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo while I was going to the school to get my bachelor’s degree.

    “Oh, it was green? It must have had copper in it.” He smiled, then added green could be from nickel, too, but that’s a different green, with less blue in it. Dad agreed, and told him he remembered it as a copper green. They decided it must have had copper in it.*

    Bill assured us green meteors exist. “Very few astronomers have seen a green meteor, but they all know that they exist,” he said. He explained that red and green are the most common meteor colors after white, tho there are rarer colors as well.

    Then he asked specifically about it landing beyond the breakwater. He seemed to want to go find the meteorite, even if it required some scuba diving. He seemed disappointed when Dad pointed out that Hilo had been hit by two tsunamis since, so it probably wasn’t there anymore. {Smile}



    *= Since it came up with our friend, copper and nickel are two basic elements made in nova and supernova explosions, as well as in the original Big Bang itself, according to scientists. {Smile}

  11. #30
    Dad Reinvents Shrimp Pineapple: A Story with a Recipe

    Since my cousin Carol asked, the shrimp pineapple we had for dinner tonight was a dish Dad worked up. {Smile}

    Mom used to talk about this great shrimp pineapple dish she used to get in a Chinese restaurant. Eventually, Dad decided he'd better try to create a Shrimp Pineapple dish for her. It took a few tries to get something decent, but eventually he did. It wasn't the same, but it was good, and it was a stir fry, like the restaurant dish was. Substituting chicken didn't work at all, but shrimp pineapple became a standard at our house as long as Dad was cook. {SMILE}

    When M, our home nurse at the time, asked what I wanted for my birthday in 2017, I remembered that dish, and asked for it. She got into Dad's recipes, and tried it. It turned out pretty good. {SMILE}


    PINEAPPLE SHRIMP

    1 CUP WATER, WHITE WINE OR CHICKEN BROTH
    1 TABLESPOON VINEGAR AND 2 TABLESPOONS LEMON JUICE
    1 TEASPOON SUGAR
    2 TEASPOONS SHOYU
    GARLIC AND PEPPER TO TASTE
    0.5 TEASPOON CHINESE FIVE-SPICE
    0.25 TEASPOON GINGER
    0.5 TEASPOON EACH OF KITCHEN HERBS (BASIL, MARJORAM, OREGANO,
    TARRAGON AND/OR ROSEMARY)
    1 TEASPOON GRATED OR FINELY CHOPPED LEMON PEEL
    1 HEAPING TEASPOON CORNSTARCH IN ENOUGH WATER TO MAKE LIQUID
    8 OZ COOKED SHRIMP, SMALL OR MEDIUM SIZE
    1 CUP OF 1-INCH, COOKED PINEAPPLE CHUNKS (ANY LIQUID IN CANNED PINEAPPLES SHOULD BE PART OF THE 1 CUP OF LIQUID ABOVE.)

    PUT THE LIQUID INTO AN ELECTRIC FRYING PAN AT 200 F. ADD THE REST OF THE INGREDIENTS, EXCEPT THE CORNSTARCH, SHRIMP AND PINEAPPLE, AND SIMMER FOR A FEW MINUTES. ADD THE CORNSTARCH AND HEAT UNTIL THE MIXTURE THICKENS. ADD THE SHRIMP AND PINEAPPLE AND HEAT FOR 5 TO 10 MINUTES. SERVE ON RICE OR PASTA.

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