Beverly A. Brubaker here. I had posted on 12/1/2008 and then never got back to the website. Sorry about that! I am a rabid emailer, but not much on facebook and sites like this. But it certainly is most interesting!
I had posted that my parents, Elbert D. and Helen (Kiracofe) Brubaker had spent the summer of 1945 at the fire tower here on Fish Creek Mountain.
Last Saturday, Donald Presley (bless his big ol' heart!) led twelve of us family members and friends to the site of the former fire tower. Wow, what a hike!!! SO glad for a guide! I wouldn't have found my way, I am afraid, without Donald!
What a lifetime experience for Elbert and Helen's family: two children; three grandchildren; two nephews; and various partners and friends! My dad, Elbert, passed away in 2004; Mom passed away this past February. She knew of our plans to hike the trail and was thrilled about it!
I apologize for not answering some of your questions earlier, but will do so now.
- How did we end up in Ohio? Ohio was the homeplace of my folks. They were childhood sweethearts back in Gratis, Ohio. When they left the tower in Sept. 1945, they had intentions of settling in Oregon in "6 to 7 years." But, as life had it, and with their families pulling them to do so, they stayed in Ohio. While at the tower, Dad had even made the blueprints for their house in Oregon! Although they truly loved Oregon, I don't think they had any regrets about staying on the family farms in Preble County, Ohio. They named their fire tower home: their "Cabin in the Sky."
- Mom did write in her journal about High Lake. It was where Dad went daily for their water supply.
- She mentions the name Rex Oser as the ranger who helped them trek to the tower.
- They also spoke VERY highly of the grocer from Estacada who supplied them with their month's rations. I don't recall a name for him, but he was very kind and good to them. He would sometimes put one Coke or one Hershey bar in their rations. That was a heavenly treasure for them! After the war, Dad and other C.O.'s (Conscientious Objectors) learned that the grocer was not being paid on time for the groceries he sent out. I believe they did what they could to get him reimbursed.
- Mom's journal does describe to some extent the trail they took to the tower. It seems they started from "Oak Ridge" (?) Ranger Station; she writes that it was an 8 mile hike!
- On the way back down in September, she describes the some cable was down. It was a cable of sorts which had taken them across the Clackamas on their route up in June. But, it was broken on the way down. Mom told us that Dad then "carried her across the river" so she wouldn' t get her good slacks wet! She had "dressed up" for going back to civilization! Plus they had learned that indeed they had conceived their first child on the tower! When they were nearly to the edge of the river, Dad slipped and Mom fell into the river. As Mom was good hearted about most everything, she laughed and said that they had just "baptized their child in the Clackamas River"!!! That child is now my sister Pam. Pam was on the hike with us last Saturday, July 17. As was her oldest child, John, who is an archaelogist from Austin, Texas.
Last Saturday, when we all finally made it to the fire tower site, we had an informal memorial service for Mom and Dad.
We all agreed we have such respect for those of you Trail Advocates who are working SO hard and so diligently to restore and maintain these trails.
Thank you for making this "trip of a lifetime" possible for us. We could not have done it without your work and without Donald's guidance!
Bev again. IF I don't get back to this website, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Beverly. The Brubaker story adds tons of rich dimension to the experiences on Fish Creek Mountain. I am glad the hike went off without a hitch. Thank you for sharing the diaries with us. I will always remember the intrepid C O s of 1945 starting their lives together at the crest of one of our trails.
To add to the thanks, Thank you very much for your contributions. I have read parts of the initial draft of the letters and diary and found them fascinating. Your parents did a great job of documenting life at a lookout!
That site is a very pretty area, although it looks considerably different than it did back in 1945 since the trees have grown up quite a bit. It is still a beautiful place, especially high lake.
Thanks for sharing
You all are welcome for my posts. I have appreciated sharing here and in getting responses from you all. Regarding my parents' (mostly Mom!) Journal, it was interesting that throughout our lives, we four "kids" had heard all about the folks' time on the tower, their "Cabin in the Sky." But it was not until 2002 that any of saw or heard about this journal! It was just before my father was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. I copied it and shared it with my siblings. So my dad was aware, as well as my mom, that we all were enjoying it. When I asked Mom why she had never mentioned it before, she simply and honestly said, "I didn't figure any one would be interested." How wrong she was about that!
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