8/4/49 - Letter from Howard Ansley BY-WAYS - 8/4/49 - Letter from Howard Ansley - July 29, 1949

Until the stories, data, and Saltsburg legends come rolling in, here are excerpts from a delightful letter from Howard Ansley, native and loyal Saltsburger, now a citizen of Seattle, Wash. By way of parenthesis let me say that Howard's older sister, Louise, and her husband took their honeymoon trip to Washington many years ago, fell in love with the state, and decided to live there. Howard went to visit them and made the same decision. While having an enforced vacation, along with 11,000 others from the Veterans' Administration, he is making the most of it, as the following paragraphs will testify. "Had a wonderful trip with my pal, Mr. Estes, who had a long business trip down in Oregon ... Crossed the broad Columbia River at Astoria, Ore., where it is 5-1/2 miles wide. "We went down the rugged Oregon coast to Coos Bay. It was beautiful - like the coast of Maine. The islands near the shore line are tops of mountains which sank into the ocean - ages and ages ago - like the San Juan Islands north of Seattle. ... Another interesting experience was driving up the cone of an extinct volcano, over 5000 ft. high, looking down into the crater 150 ft. and 1/4 mile across. It had been in eruption less than 2000 years ago, changing the course of the Deschules River. The section around Bend, Ore., is all volcanic, dotted with extinct cones. While in Eastern Oregon we stopped at the little town of John Day and had a nice visit with Mary Moore Ricketts - that is Logan Moore's daughter. You know Mrs. Moore, the former Helen Robinson, and I are cousins. Hadn't seen Mary for 15 years, and we sure had a 'talkfest'. From Ontario, Ore. to Baker - to Pendleton - and in fact all the way into Portland we travelled over the old Oregon trail ... which the pioneers travelled in the 1850's - in covered wagons - among them Grandma Ansley's brothers, who were Methodist missionaries and located near McMinnville. It took them from April until November to come from Penna. And here we drove along at 55 and 60 miles an hour - over the same route. The drive all the way in from Pendleton to Portland - along the Columbia River - was beautiful beyond description - and such waterfalls! Especially Multnomah - 620 ft. high. Then we stopped at Bonneville Dam, saw the huge power plants; also at Camas, Wash., where we visited the largest paper mill in the world. On our way back from Portland to Seattle we went through the earthquake area - the towns of Castle Rock, Chehalis, and Centralia were badly shaken. However, we missed the excitement, as we left Seattle that morning, and did not notice it as we were driving near Aberdeen. We were gone a month. I love to travel, and that trip will be another fond memory when I am old and sitting in the chimney corner" ***

Wasn't that a fine trip we had, as Howard led us skillfully over the old trails? We enjoyed it so much, kind neighbor. Thank you. Just to insert a little fun, and get started on the old Pa. yarns, there is one that was spun in our family circle many years ago. Someone from our Saltsburg environs was riding (to Pittsburgh, I think) on the West Penn railroad. He had had too much of "the cup that cheers" and, in his hilarity, broke a car window. The conductor said, "That will cost you five dollars." The inebriated one fished out a ten-dollar bill. The conductor could not change it. "Oh, thash all right," said our good-natured one, and he stuck his fist through another window. Is it true?

Florence B. Taylor

Next - 8/11/49 - "Aunt Caroline took me to the Circus"
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