Wednesday, March 9, 1977 – I have taken an extended vacation from writing in my notebook. A lot has happened, and I cannot possibly write it all down. After the spring term of 1976 finished, I, of course, went home for the summer. We took a month’s vacation to the East. We pulled our newly purchased Nomad Trailer. We brought Kathy Tibor to her new home in Spokane. Though she could not remember where her house was.
We stopped and visited the Scott’s in their new home in Michigan. Patty Smiley and Rick were there also. The Smiley’s, Lynn, Russ, Brian, and Charlene accompanied us, partly on the way to Washington D.C. We stayed just outside of Pittsburgh, where I was mistaken for being Brian and Russ’s father! We had a nice visit with the Redihoughs. We departed for Missouri where we had a pleasant stay with the Erwins. We kidded Scott for Soy Sauce and Danny for Christmas in May. We spent the bicentennial 4th of July there. Before leaving D.C., we visited Philadelphia and of course the Liberty Bell. We finally went home! Outside of Denver, we saw the http://youtu.be/rDHpkYI5_FY movie Ode to Billie Joe, very good. In Oregon, at a night stop, Mel was mistaken for my wife, Sharon, our daughter. We were all anxious to get home, for Henry Jr. was born while we were away. Dale had given a boy to her husband.
I went to work at the accounting office in the Makah Tribal Office. This is where I hope to make my career.
I became a season ticket holder for the Seattle Seahawks. Since their beginning, I have not missed any of their games. I have either seen them live or on TV. I again will be a season ticket holder this year.
Neah Bay got a new coach this year. His name is Ron Johnson. I think he has helped turn the sports program around, with help from Mark Hottowe his assistant. The football team won only one game, but it was the first win in 2 years. The team finally got to play on their home field, the first time in 3 years! And lights were installed! This came about with the work of Ron Johnson. The team looked like a team, played like a team and acted as a team. There were a few breakdowns, as to be expected, but with a little luck, they could have had a .500 season. Wait ‘til next year.
The fall brought me back to U.P.S. I, of course, did not mass but one Monday night game. People probably think I’m crazy, but high school sports really turns me on. Of course, other things besides football took place last fall. Of note were 2 marriages. The 1st was Jim Jarrett’s wedding to Michele Evans on September 16th, I believe. Jim was ready, but I don’t think Michele was prepared for marriage. She is very young, and maybe a bit too restless to settle down. Her actions over these past few months seem to indicate this.
The second marriage was my sister Lynn’s marriage to Don Swan. They have lived with each other for almost a year it seems, and though it is Lynn’s 3rd try, I think this is going to work. Don gets along great with the rest of the family, this being something to think about, for neither Mom nor Dad approved of them living together, neither did I for that matter. Don is a great person, and I’m sure he and Lynn will be together a long time. I only wish the best for them.
The wedding was October 4th. On October 5th on my way back to U.P.S. I was in a car accident. It was a no-fault affair, no one was hurt, though I had a sore neck, back, and headaches for weeks. The Maverick was in the shop for weeks, and I took the LTD to school. While I had it, I had a rip-off experience to do with the wiper system. This cost us about $80 for a bad switch that was only $4.
I, of course, am living in our trailer. Though it is lonely at times, I enjoy the solitude. My attitude is 100% better than last year. I do have this problem, fat, but I’m working on it. The trailer was flooded 3 times. Twice when the water pump broke and once when the pipe burst when the weather froze. I was hit, and my home was knocked off its stands, while I was inside. It scared me to death. It is also going to cost $189 to get it fixed. I bungled the situation, by not calling the police. The man gave me a false name, so now our insurance is going to have to pick up the bill.
So far this year I have had the muffler fall off, the alternator go corrupt, and the thermostat goes bad. The more things that go bad, the more I learn about the car.
An unfortunate and tragic event took place last winter. Two of the most beautiful young people, married, was taken from us, due to an automobile accident. It happened on Thanksgiving Day. I was still sleeping when Mel came in and told me that there was a car accident, that Neil Parker had died and they didn’t know if Starre was going to make it. As it turned out both had been killed on impact. It was all too hard to believe, too much to take. I was by myself for most of the day. Mom was with Uncle Gene, Mel was at practice, and Dad was working on something. This kind of loss is incomprehensible. You never know when death is going to strike close to you. It is harsh, merciless. It never makes sense. The question is always, “Why?” The issue never seems to be answered adequately. This time, death brought twice as much sorrow. Two families suffered much, much pain. The funeral was held in the high school gym. It was a closed casket ceremony, a somber day. The town was very close that day. Feelings ran deep for both families. It is still hard to believe they are gone. They were loved so. Why?
It is so hard to write about such things. Feelings are so hard to put on paper. But one must go on. So let me now turn to Basketball. The season was good for the boys and even better for the girls. The boys finished 4th in the league (out of five teams). But this earned them a spot in the league tournament. Their first game was against Clallam in Clallam. They lost to Clallam by 8 points. It was their 5th loss to Clallam. But according to everyone, it was the best game Neah Bay played all year. I wasn’t there to see the game. One of 3 I missed. I volunteered my services to keep the scorebook. (still at it in 2011!) And keep the score I did. Three games a night for almost 20 games. I liked the experience; it kept me close to the teams and to Mel of course. The second round of the Tourney was held in Port Angeles. We played Quilcene. It was our 3rd meeting; they had beaten us twice, by good scores. The loser of the game was out. We didn’t lose. We beat Quil by 4 points. It was the best game I ever saw the team play. Unfortunately, the spell did not last. For Clallam overwhelmed us for the sixth time, and earned a birth to district playoffs, and consequently to State. There they lasted only 2 games. Mr. Harold Van Riper’s career as the Bruin coach had ended. Chimacum lasted for 2 games. Our boys finished the season 9 – 14, Fair!
The girls ended the season tied for second with Quilcene. They had beaten Quil at home, and a win against Quil in Quil would have given the girls a playoff game with Pt. Townsend for the right to go to the district playoffs. They lost to Quil by having an awful game. Had they hit 30% of their 81 shots they would have wiped Quil out. As it was, they hit less than 20%. They played a good game the next night against Chimacum but fell short. This set up a playoff against Quil on Monday for the right to play Port Townsend on Tuesday. This was their 3rd game in 4 nights. Again they were cold. It was a good game, but Quil prevailed. Quil and Chimacum worked their way through district and met each other for the right to go to state. Chimacum lasted 3 games at state. Next year there will be a girl’s B tourney only. I think Neah Bay will be there. Ron Johnson did it again! I can’t wait until next year.
I took classes in education, math, and economics. I passed them all, but not with flying colors. My classes this semester are much more interesting. I took Makah Language from Ethel Claplanhoo for Winterim, and this was great! This semester’s course includes Law & Society, Econ. 102, Math 257 and Person Growth and Self-Development. This schedule is exciting for me. I hope the PG & SD class helps. I think it has. Coming home last Sunday, I believe I talked Maria’s ear off. I opened up to her. She listened to me, and I thank her very much. God Bless Maria, she deserves it so.
I have become an Uncle for the 5th time. Don Swan, Jr. was born on March 8th, all 8 lbs. of him. Sharon is very excited as are Lynn and Don, the proud parents, I am sure.
Thursday, March 10, 1977
I had almost an hours talk with Mrs. Solie today. I was merely going to drop off my report and grade for Makah Language. The discussion turned from the Language to Mom’s drum, to Mrs. Solie’s pictures, to the political happenings in Neah Bay. It was a fascinating talk. One I enjoyed very much, especially my participation. I am slowly starting to open up a little. I was looking forward to my class in Self-Development and Personal Growth. Unfortunately, it was canceled. There I was ready to talk, and no class! I have been feeling perfect the past few days, the best I have felt in weeks.
I now have rubber bands in my mouth. They keep me from opening my mouth very wide. How lucky everyone else is! Tomorrow is a big test in Law & Society, and then off to home to see my new nephew!
Sunday, March 13, 1977
I am back from my weekend visit at home. There were no problems with the car, coming or going, unbelievable! The highlight of my visit was, of course, seeing my new nephew, Donald Steven Swan, Jr. He will be called Steve, Stevie, etc.… He is such a cute, handsome looking baby. He is already strong, and very attentive with his eyes. His hand and feet are enormous, and he has long arms and legs. This seems uncharacteristic of either parent. But, he is beautiful! Don, Lynn Sharon, and Steve make a delighted family. Lynn is a bit sore; naturally, she has a hard time getting around. Mom and Dad now have more grandchildren than children. Mel and I have no children yet! The family stands at 13, and the boys outnumber the girls 7 – 6, finally we are in the majority. Steve was born late Tuesday, March 8, 1977, a happy event for our family. On this day Luke Markishtum died of a heart attack, a very tragic event for the whole community. Services were held yesterday at the High School gym. Luke will be missed. Today I took off the snow tires. On the way back I ran into hail, snow, rain, and sleet, of course!
October 23, 1977
I have taken another long vacation from writing in this book. Once more I shall try to write faithfully. I am now a junior in college. It hardly seems possible but the time isn’t going by fast enough. The summer of ’77 has passed. So much has passed by, so much has happened.
Ethel Claplanhoo died in June. She taught me Makah Language in January. What was ironic, and maybe prophetic was that she was reading “Final Days, the fall of Richard Nixon.” Ethel had cancer of some kind. She was operated on in April. Her chance of surviving the operation was only 50/50. She came out of the operation with her life. But all the cancer was not removed. It spread once again until it finally took her life. She was at home after her operation, and she had to have care hand and foot. The last time I saw her alive, she was sitting on an easy chair in her living room. She was in her bedclothes and was covered by many blankets. She looked so bad. I was despondent and depressed when I left. We talked for about a half an hour. She did not mention anything about the physical pain that she had to endure. Her only pain, the thing that hurt more than anything was being waited on. She had for all her life serving others. She cooked for her family gave them her company, taught the Indian ways, was “Gram” to everybody, and everybody loved her, and she loved everybody. I never told her I loved her, but I think, I hope she knew.
Ethel was the central figure of her family. Her loss had a devastating effect on the rest of the family. Neah was hit the hardest, to begin with. She was probably closest to her. Ethel was in the hospital for a couple of days before she died. Neah, Helen, Idella, Margo and their families were there. I visited the hospital 2 days before she died. All those people who were there, all waiting for death, all trying to act normal when this was all but impossible. I talked briefly with Big Jim. Mom spoke to Helen; I went from the hospital to Aggies’ where Neah was. I communicated with her from the lobby phone. She talked to me about all the good times they had, the useful life her Mom had, and she was going to miss her so much. It was a very moving talk that brought me to tears. Afterward, Mom and I talked to Big Jim.
Two days later Ethel had died. When I was at the hospital, only her relative’s could see her. The last time I saw her was in her living room. I was a pallbearer at her funeral. That was the saddest day of my life. Having to bury such a close friend, to have death strike such a close, loving friend. It just didn’t seem real, but it was all too real. The dinner afterward was very reassuring, for all Ethel’s friends and loved ones. I talked with, rather briefly went through and met the closest family members. Big Jim, Neah, looking so frail, small, she has lost so much weight, she seemed so hollow, but I love her. Helen, Idella, Oscar, Moe, Amy, Lucy, Jerry, Lois (Raye) who broke into tears when I came to her, she told me how much Ethel loved me, as Neah had said. Steve was standing tall and giving everyone someone to lean on. Michele and Jim were last in line; I shook their hands and left the hall in tears.
Neah was the hardest hit, to begin with. But, Helen who lived with her Mom, along with Jerry and Mark had a hard time moving back to their home, their Mom’s house. I talked with Neah once a week for two weeks after the funeral. I finally got the nerve to visit her. She was in bed, so I sat and talked with Jim and Jim for 30 uneasy minutes. I finally left realizing she didn’t wasn’t to see me. I called her a couple of days later, and she wouldn’t speak to me I was scared. She called me Monday after Makah Days. I talked to her in person at the first football game. I was so relieved to see her and talk to her. I wrote her and intend to write her again soon. The loss was felt by everyone. We will all miss her so much, Ethel I love you.
I will write later on the rest of the summer