Resolving Crescent City……#198 (the 80’s)

A meaningful farewell is given to Aunt Bernice,  the Facey’s  and  the eminent view of the Trinity and Marble Mountains from Etna.   The embarkation finding the family leaving the wondrous mountain-locked Scott Valley, christened  Shangri-La,  the Willson family again traversing Yreka Mountain on California 3,  accessing Yreka the city of Gary’s earthly commencement.   Having acquired an address,  the family making a stop to visit of Gary’s cousin  Pat O’Toole and his wife Shirley,  a thirty year lapse since the two having greeted each other.  Pat and his older brother Bud, both retired from military service having seen combat in Korea and Vietnam,  Bud availing the Army’s Air Defense Command and Pat a Sonar Specialist aboard a Naval Destroyer.

Gary’s cousin Pat O’Toole and wife Shirley



Gary’s Uncle Pete and Aunt Ann







One final stop  before the beckoning invitation of the road is answered,  a visit to a relation who’s presence is a remembrance of a 4-year old Mike,  but to this day having never been able to elicit their appearance in person,  his Uncle Pete Potter and Aunt Ann.   Their long time residence a remembrance firmly embedded because of the sounding of a horn at the Yreka commercial laundry, a sounding displayed in the morning,  twice during the lunch hour and at the completion of the work day.  During the last year of world war II , the 4-year old  would visit with his Aunt and Uncles only sibling,  his older cousin Billy.  After his visit he would walk home past the laundry and for an unbeknownst reason the sounding of the laundry horn was intimidating.  Approaching the laundry would find the youngster gathering speed,  running,  success was surviving without a horn encounter.  Gary finding it was a luminous occasion to finally experience and visit with Pete and Ann,  A focal  countenance coming to fruition of a forty-three year family memory


Gary's WW II home in Yreka at 215 Butte St.

Gary’s WW II home in Yreka at 215 Butte St.

Gary’s curiosity was acuminous,  before departing Yreka  he aspired to ascertain the location of the apartment residence he resided in during World War II,  its appearance and location disclosed only in the memory of a then four year-old, but Gary still able to recall the name Butte St.  Instinct  prevailing, driving to Butte St.,  stopping at a residency and taking a picture,  the results would be forth-coming from his mother upon the film’s development, confirming a childhood memory.


The aphorism  “you can’t get there from here”  was apropos,  the Willson’s aspiring to travel due-west to the Pacific Coast and Crescent City,  finding the only applicable highway from Yreka to the pacific coast was U S 1 99, commencing in Grants Pass Oregon.   Once again addressing Interstate 5,  the new Chevrolet Cavalier bounded in a northern aperture,  the panoramic ambiance of the mountainous terrain,  its woodland accession a vestige of nature’s macrocosm.   The first Oregon city of caliber was  Ashland,  Gary remembering visiting Ashland’s Lithia Park the summer he stayed in Etna with his Aunt Bernice and Uncle Sam. The resonant precursor for the remembering was the Parks Lithia Mineral Water drinking fountain.  Not aware of the fountains difference,  its bitter taste not a pleasant experience for a thirsty ten-year old.



The Interstate knows no limits,  Medford came and went,  Grants Pass was rapidly ascending on the horizon and the junction of U S 1 99. With the  crossing of the Rogue River and a course alteration to the southwest,  the scenic 80 mile journey to Crescent City commencing uninterrupted until crossing back into California.  coming upon the Collier Tunnel,  named for the 36 year legislative serving California State Senator Randolph Collier.  the principal author of the 1947 Collier-Burns Act,  which created the California  highway network,  earning him the title , “The Father of the freeway system”.   Gary having heard his name mentioned by his mother as he was a family friend  who was born in Etna,  lived in Yreka, his political astuteness providing Siskiyou County unprecedented stature.




Approaching the Jedidiah Smith National Recreation Area with its towering redwoods and  ambling Smith River,  bringing the travelers to a halt.   A time to pause, Gary Jan- Robert and Sandi disembarking their conveyance,  wetting their feet in the cool clear aqueous Smith River waters ,  a time to reflect on the silent wilderness serenity,  with its majestic aura and absorb this temporal meaning of nature’s opulence.  Gary, self-conscious of the scene before him, the visual majesty of Jan and his two children embellishing the already grandeur of the scenic surroundings, both a  luminous presentation of God’s earthly creations.




The 80 mile extent of US 1 99 was about to be fulfilled,  merging with US 1 oh 1,  4-miles from Crescent City,  the highways final termination.   Gary was surprised with the size of-the town,  a population of 3500,  all residing in an area of less than 2 square mile.    A visual perspective of the towns historic landmarks was enhanced culminating at the  tidal basis of Battery Point.   Taking leave of  the Cavalier,  the family venturing towards a light house built in 18 55,  positioned on a tiny islet across an isthmus only accessible at low tide.  The family discovering a fortuitous reward prevailing,  the isthmus was dry, the ocean withdrawing its tidal gift and being of few visitors.   The tidal basis way to the islet was  a obscured traveled route and once aboard the picayune island  an uphill walkway was found.



The lighthouse Hosts greeting their visitors  introducing themselves,  welcoming them to the beacon structure, their perennial home, elucidating about their life on the islet and providing a tour of their living domain.  With some exceptions, many of the furnishings were in their original surroundings from a quondam era.  A narrow stairway journey upward to view the beacon light, the host couple chronicling its history and picturing folklore stories of the oceans bellowing force,  its crest sweeping across the islet,  at times  a driven tempest,  questioning the fortitude of the occupancy and the anatomy of the architecture.  The lighthouse excursion providing a celebrated capsule of California’s bygone history, the Willson’s enjoying their conversation with the modern-day lighthouse keepers. The family concluding their acquaintance with Crescent City and with the remainder of the afternoon available  the venture was to continue, the cavalier  journeying south.


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