Barbara Kiggins Green memoir

By Barbara (Kiggins) Green, 2019 (age 87)

I was born in 1931 and we moved to Garden Home around 1934 or 1935. We lived in a small two room house with an outside toilet located down a dirt road which led to SW Oleson Road. The house was owned by the Marugg family whose property was adjacent to us. Rent was $5 a month. As a quirk of fate, many years later the Marugg boy attended Vanport College with me. He had lost his eyesight and one of my acquaintances was his reader.

In the winter of 1936, my sister, Katherine, was born. She came down with pneumonia at age three months and I remember the doctor walking down the dirt road to help her. She did survive and is alive today.

This was the depth of the depression and times were very difficult financially. My father was a longshoreman but we were a long way from the Portland waterfront plus we didn’t have a car. When he could get a ride, there wasn’t a lot of work. We had chickens which I loved and was saddened when one of them had to become dinner. My grandmother and Henry, my step grandfather, lived close by and Henry had a garden which he shared.

Christmas 1936 had a nice surprise. I remember my dad going into the woods and cutting down a small tree. When we woke up the next morning, there were toys under the tree. I thought it was a miracle. Later my folks told me that the water meter fellow noticed our difficult circumstances and provided all of the gifts.

Kindergarten was a revelation to me. My teacher’s name was Brown. She was a wonderful woman who constantly had to pull up my long brown stockings and fasten them for me. The schoolroom was heaven to this five year old. There were books, toys, children to play with and a compassionate teacher. Wonderful memories to start my school life. My first grade teacher’s name was Johnson and she also had second grade. Reading came easily to me and her class was enjoyable. When we finished our work, we got to play in the sandbox.

In the basement there was a tiny cafeteria. All I remember is that a cup of soup, milk and cocoa all cost 5 cents. Don’t remember buying any.

At the end of the year, the whole school had a picnic in the woods behind the school. What a great time that was. We moved to Portland May 1 of first grade so I missed the second picnic.

I attended one of your meetings and found a picture which showed Sharka and Zora, the twins, a boy named Bruce and myself. We were all in the same class.

Many years later I became a primary teacher in Portland for 30 years. I know my love for school started in Garden Home.

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