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I can’t really call myself a long-time member of First Presbyterian Church of Clarkston, nor am I a newcomer. My husband Dick and I with our five children, Russell, Richard, Peggy, Chuck, and Dean, arrived here from California in 1963. Dick had just retired from the Air Force and was persuaded to join his two sisters and their families who were living here at that time. They had come from Montana some years earlier.

    My home state was Massachusetts and both my maternal and paternal ancestors had come from England in the early 1640s. They settled in Springfield and Deerfield, Massachusetts, the latter being nearly wiped out by Indians in the late 1660s. Though I was born in Springfield, where my mother and father had a neighborhood grocery store, when I was about four, our parents, my four sisters and one brother moved to my grandmother’s farm in Charlemont, a small town in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, to escape the diseases that were rampant in large cities during World War I. My parents started a small “truck garden” farm and sold peas, beans, corn, and other vegetables during the growing season to hotels and restaurants in nearby towns.

    During the depression, when no work was available for my father in the winter, we were packed into two automobiles (a Maxwell and a Velee) and headed for Florida. There my father and brother picked citrus fruit for local packing companies. We three younger children attended the Umatilla schools until early spring when we headed back to Massachusetts.

    After I graduated from Charlemont High School, I completed two years of college work in New York at Albany Collegiate Center. The institution was similar to the community colleges of today. I lived with and worked for a family for room and board, and was given $1.00 per week for transportation (though I usually walked to save money). My last two years of undergraduate work was done at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts where I lived with friends of the family. Since teaching jobs especially were hard to come by in 1939, I was advised to go on for a Master’s degree, which I did at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I managed to find a job in a very small high school in Warren, Michigan, where I taught 9th and 10th grade English, Latin, and French—all for the princely sum of $900/year. In the middle of my second year, I had the opportunity to move to a larger high school in West Branch, Michigan, where I taught only English classes. My pay was about $1400/year then.

    After WW II started, a higher paying job lured me to Detroit and work with the Army Signal Corps. Within two years, I went to the Recruiting Office and signed up for the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), going first to Officer’s Candidate School at Smith College in Northampton, MA, and then after three months, commissioned an ensign, I reported to wartime Washington DC. There I edited engineers’ reports. Eventually, I wangled a transfer to a Naval Air Station in San Diego. The war being over, I was discharged after two and a half years in the service.

    After teaching, editing, and military service, I thought I would try the business world and spent about a year as an assistant buyer in the “Foundation Garments Department” of the J. L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit before deciding that wasn’t my field. About that time, I was talked into applying for a job with the Air Force Special Services, as a service club hostess, then as director in the clubs for enlisted personnel in Germany. My first assignment was at Rhein Main Air Force Base, near Frankfurt, then Kaufbeuren Air Force Base in Bavaria, near Munich, and finally at Templehof Air Force Base in Berlin. The work required planning sightseeing trips, card tournaments, dances, Barbeques, German language lessons, crafts, and other activities.

    I met Richard Barnes in Berlin and married him in 1950 (first by the Burgermeister, and then by the Base Chaplain). Dick had worked with Ground Control Approach at Templehoff, which meant that during foul weather or in the dark when the control tower did not have visual sight of planes during the Berlin Blockade Airlift, he would talk pilots down through congested buildings onto the runway.  We honeymooned through Switzerland, Italy, and the Isle of Capri. Our first child, Russell, was born in Berlin, and was just five months old when Dick got orders to return to the USA. After that, the Air Force moved us frequently: California, Illinois, Virginia, Maine, and back to California again. During this period of continuous relocation, I had four more children.

    We moved into our house on Highland Avenue in 1963. I taught English to Juniors and Seniors full-time at Clarkston High School from 1965 until 1980 when I retired. We started attending First Presbyterian soon after we arrived. I taught 4th grade Sunday School for a few years and have helped with Vacation Bible School off and on. Dick was a trustee, and later an Elder, in the early 1970s. We both enjoyed the Mariners, a social group of married couples that met at the church or at people’s homes. George Hendrick was the pastor when we joined. Older children attended Sunday School in a wooden building (previously located in the present church parking lot) and the younger ones attended classes in the basement. Attendance was up in those years in Sunday School and Worship services where folding chairs were often set up for the overflow.

Our family has been well served by this church. Two of our children, Russell and Peggy, were married in the sanctuary, Dick and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary here in 2000, and Dick’s memorial service was held in 2002. Our grown children live in several western states: Russell in Libby, Montana; Richard in Pacheco, California; Peggy in Wallace, Idaho; Chuck in Clarkston with me; and Dean in Tempe, Arizona.

Phone: 509 758-3381
Fax:    509 758-3382
Clarkston First Presbyterian Church
1122 Diagonal, Clarkston
Washington 99403