Loyalton California: The Shadows of Home
Downtown Loyalton California
Memories of Lyalton Ca.
There are places in this world that seem to hold you. Places that beckon you to return, no matter how far away you are. The memories that formed during your time there are carried with you like your shadow where ever you go. Leaving a mark on your soul and shaping your character. Like a dear friend you visit them often, allowing them to bring comfort, cheer, and guidance for your wellbeing. For me Loyalton, California is such a place.
I was born there in 68. Consequently, my earliest memories were birthed there as well. My father's parents are buried there. And I still have family and loved ones living in the area today.
My father worked at the Loyalton Saw Mill for over 20 years loading trains and stacking lumber with a forklift. He raised 5 kids on a very modest wage. I am the youngest of the 5. In 1978 he and my mother followed the leading of God and moved us to NV to pastor a church. We moved a few months before my 10th birthday. I am now 41 and have 5 children of my own.
Because I was young when we moved. Loyalton has come to represent the innocence of my childhood. It had less then 1500 people living there. You pretty much knew everyone. This was a town where children were safe playing outside. Neighbors spent time on the front porch in the cool summer evenings, while the neighborhood kids played games in the street. People raised animals and had vegetable gardens both in the front yard and back. If you did not cut your lawn nobody said a word.
Society as a whole has changed so much. In most communities, children prefer the indoors with its computers and internet, which works out pretty good since parents are afraid to let them venture beyond their front yard.
I read the book "To kill a Mocking Bird". In it, Harper Lee perfectly captures the small town feel. Setting the politics of the book aside. I was struck that it was through my memories of Loyalton that I was able to relate to this book. My kids have never known this type of connection to the community.Today in most places, you are lucky if you know the name of the family who lives to the left of you. By the time I was 7, I knew the name of most every person on my block adults and kids alike. I knew who was friendly and who was cranky. Whose yard to avoid and whose was safe.
I remember being 8 years old and being allowed to go out on Halloween night with out an adult to accompany me. My parents simply said go have a nice time. My friend and I were allowed to go where ever we wanted, so long as we were back by a certain time. We weren't worried about razor blades in apples, drugged laced cookies or being kidnapped by some wacko. We simply went into the community and had a great time. This was possible because we spent most of our time outside anyway. We already knew where and who was safe.
My Family lived on 1st Street over by the Elementary school. We used to call it the Big Red School. The principle at the time was scary Mr. White. I remember his hair was cut real short. We used to call that hair style a "crew cut" and it made him look mean.
I will never forget John R Mathus (We called him John R. for short LOL) He loved to garden. He was always outside working here and there. He gave me my first fresh carrot straight from the garden and he showed me how to peel green beans. His wife Paula however, scared me.
There was Al Anderson who lived next door with his St. Bernard Brutus. He didn't seem to like kids much. There was Burt that lived up the road just a bit. He would make whistles from willow branches. Then there was Eleo and Sheila Sei who lived behind us. They had a swing set made from rail road ties in their yard, that are still there today. They would let us play in their yard as long as we wanted.. They never sent us home. These folks and more were part of my earliest memories and as such have helped shape who I am.
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