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In the new wave nineteen-eighties, it might have well been the pioneer days for me.

  1. Although I was born in 1980, I had a very rural childhood. The propane man would come every 3 months and if we ran out before then, we couldn't cook at all. If I climbed on top of the propane tank and pretended it was a horse, I would get the beating of my life from any adult present. Same went if I pounded it with my hands to hear the cool liquidy echo.

    We pumped all our own water into a giant tank. We had to continually pump during droughts, because if the well ran dry, we would be out of water and in real danger. Also, I had seen water tanks blow over when they were empty. That was a really frightening experience. Imagine a something like giant silo crashing to the ground and possibly rolling down a hill and you get the nightmarish idea.

    I also knew not to go past where the dogs roamed on the mountains, because that's where the mountain lions lived. There were dozens of caves on the hill behind my house and they were thick with mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, and we even had wolverines. Saw one once with my dad. Scared me so much. We had to be so still.

    Rattlesnakes everywhere. You couldn't play anywhere without first looking out for rattlers. My dad hated it, but he had to kill quite a few. He really loves animals.

    Going to the bathroom at night meant walking barefoot across the yard, dodging scorpions. It was quite a fright, especially since mountain lions came down to our property at night sometimes and ate our chickens.

    I wasn't at all scared of coyotes. Number one, the coyotes down in the desert are much smaller and skinnier than the ones here. They look like puppies by comparison. The coyotes up here in Oregon look like wolves to me. There would sometimes be like 20 coyotes jumping around playing with each other, and even as a little girl, all I had to do was wave my hands over my head and yell "Heyyyyyy!" and they'd all run away. It was neat how at sunset all the dogs would howl with the coyotes, even though they were mortal enemies.

    Most of my friends didn't have electricity. But it was so weird because in town, where I went to school, all the kids were very much "city slickers" and didn't know that just outside the city limits, most people lived like me.

    Kerosene lamps, fresh air, coyotes, propane, wood stoves blackened by the men during the summertime. That was my life, and I want it back so badly.

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