Wednesday, August 08, 2012

more powers in life

I am in Reno.  With my new driver’s license and voter registration.  Bit by bit I am adding layers as a new Nevada citizen.

But I didn’t want to leave the topic of Powers without sharing a bit of the town with you.  Even though I lived there only four or five years, those years formed a lot of who I am.

The photograph at the top of this blog is Powers's main street.  Almost all of the businesses are in these two blocks.

The building at the left is the Powers Market.  The business my mother's cousin built and operated.  It has now subsumed the variety store next door. 

The Rexall store and the department store on the other side of the street are now a thrift shop and a restaurant.

At least, the buildings are still there.  The theater and barber shop are gone.  Replaced with a rather jarringly modern police station.

At the far end of the street is what I knew as Jack's Fountain as a child.  I thought my mother worked there as a waitress (when it was called Ethel's Fountain Lunch) and has multiple tales of her own.  But see her comment below.

When I was about six, I found a twenty dollar bill in the vacant lot next to Jack's.  In 1955, a Jackson could buy far more than today.  That was before the era of fiat currency.  In today's dollars, it would be the equivalent of finding $200 in the street.

I reported my find to my mother and we took it to the police station.  I am not certain what happened to the money after that.  I vaguely remember my good deed eventuually resulted in the money coming my way.  But that may simply be the wishes of a 6-year old boy.


This is the Powers elementary school.

My mother attended it for six years.  I attended for only three years.  During the second grade (the room at the right side of the building), Annette Blondell and I had a reading contest -- seeing who could read the most books. 

I suspect Mrs. Utterback, our teacher, simply wanted to keep us from bothering her that we were bored.  As a result, my reading skills now far outstrip my penmanship.

But those steps at the front of the school have their own tale to tell concerning the Cotton boys.

When I was in third grade, I was leaving the school and found one of the local bullies beating up on my first grade brother.  I came to his rescue, menacingly telling that bully: "No one beats up on my brother except me."

I suppose that is what passed for familial honor in my youth.

My older cousin Butch taught me a far different lesson under these trees.  When I was in grade school, the tree branches came to the ground -- making a fine hideaway for the boys to meet and do things that teachers preferred boys not do.

Such as playing marbles.  Butch taught me the principle of "winner takes all."  It was the first time he deigned to let me play with the older boys.  And the last.  They picked me cleaner than a roll-over artist in a declining housing market.


My best friend in grade school was Mike Pinson.   We did everything together.  Climbed cliffs.  Rode our bikes around town.  Caught frogs and polliwogs for Mr. Miller, the high school biology teacher, who paid for our wares out of his pocket.

After we moved to Portland, my family would visit Powers during spring break.  Because our break did not match that of the Powers schools, I attended classes with Mike in junior high and the high school.  It was the only way I could spend time with him and my other Powers buddies.  Besides, I simply loved school at that age.

Mike's parents owned and ran the Atlantic Richfield station in town.  The type of station where the attendant would wash your windscreen and check your oil, water, and air.  It was a class establishment.

Here is what it looks like today.

There are no brand name gas stations left in town.  Powers, with its population of over 1500 when I lived there has dwindled to around 600 today.  Many of its service requirements are now met by towns twenty or more miles away.


What Powers still has is what has been an attraction for years: natural beauty.

When I was making my retirement plans, I had considered Powers as one of my first stops.  Instead, I opted for Mexico.

But it is still on my list.


min said...

One of my best friend is cattle farmer on the weekend. .
 He still work as Lawyer during the week.
He says ,his most happiest moment is ,away from every thing except,cows and nature.

There is choice,  we all have to make in life,
We are ,who we are, where we came from.


norm said...

On bullies: My older brother and I were taking in the sights in downtown Orangeville when the town tavern owner's son popped my brother in the head with a rock. He took off on his "stingray" bike pumping the petals standing up. I caught him as he was starting over the bridge and pulled up on the back of his banana seat, over the bank he went into the river. The tavern was in full view of the river, a big broad front porch where the local men sat in the shade drinking their beer. The porch erupted in cheers.  My soda pop was free from then on, my money was no good, the kid had a month on him...

min said...

By the way,Have fun at Reno.Been there many times make sure you visit "Tahoe" Its beautiful place!
The first place I went snow sky.

John Calypso said...

Powers just seems too tame for the likes of a worldly guy such as yourself - just saying.

Mcotton said...

I love Powers.  There is no place like it.  Thank you for the pictures and comments.  One correction-I did not work at Jack's Fountain,  I was a waitress at Ethel's Fountain Lunch for 50 cents an hour.  It was located at the other end of the street.  The two previous summers I had worked at the resturant across the street starting at 23 1/2 cents an hour, then raised to 32 1/2 cents an hour.  Those were the days.

Steve Cotton said...

And every day we are becoming someone different.

Steve Cotton said...

We kids had something like rough justice.

Steve Cotton said...

If all goes well, I should be at "our" place in Tahoe for two days.

Steve Cotton said...

But it could be a base of operations.  Unfortunately, it is further away from an airport than Melaque.

Steve Cotton said...

I revised my sentence.  The earlier version indicated you worked there under a different name (which was true -- about your name), but I meant the establishment was known by a different name.  I stand corrected on the location.  But I was correct you would have tales.  And here is one.

sparks said...

Nevada resident ???  you lost me Steve

All the old wood frame school houses I attended are long gone.   The difference between shrinking and expanding populations

Steve Cotton said...

A year and a half ago, I became a Nevada resident.  I am just completing the paperwork now to be an active citizen.

Tancho said...

And will you ever scribe into parchment the various reasons you have sluffed off your Oregoinian citizenship for the Nevada moniker?

Steve Cotton said...

Sure.  Oregon has an incredibly high income tax rate.  It annoyed me when I lived there.  Now that I have no contact with the state, I decided to make another state my home.  For the same reason businesses are leaving California.  I love the freedom to move for economic advantage.

And I get to live in a state where my vote will actually count this year.

norm said...

He was dead by 25. He had the mouth to the very end. A biker passing through shot him in the belly.

Steve Cotton said...

It sounds as if life had the rough justice sense.

jennifer rose said...

Do we have a grammatical error?

Steve Cotton said...

You are being kind.  I simply was indulging in bad writing.  How about: "Unfortunately, the nearest airport to Powers is too far away.  At least the Manzanillo airport is close to Melaque."

min said...

I respectably disagree.
Maybe whats happening at the time impact us to react something other then ourselves.
Our core  of who we are will always be the same.

Steve Cotton said...

I can only speak for myself.  But my core changes daily.

Dan in NC said...

Interesting! About 90 miles east of Reno, I have a nice hunk of property south of Mill city off of sr400. The idea of Nevada residency for tax purposes is rather intriguing - should I decide to relocate elsewhere .... Thanks for the "heads-up"!!!
Dan in NC

Irene said...

I don't understand your last sentence.  Every vote counts. 

Alan said...

Irene, you must live close to metro PDX and believe your vote will count.  In Southern OR we know our vote only gets to the Jackson/Josephine county line and then it is engulfed by the voluminous voters who always see things 180 degrees different than we do here in clean air of the "State of Jefferson"!  LOL

Steve Cotton said...

Another explanation.

min said...

 Ha Ha Ha