Dec 17, 1947, I was born to Lorane Joyce and Daniel Quintin Boje, in Memorial Hospital, Spokane, Washington. Twins had died the year before I arrived, making me, the first born, that lived. My dad married my mom, though she was pregnant with those twins from another man. I know this because, when I was fifty years old, she fessed up and showed me her picture outside the church, and you could see she was well along. My dad told me after his divorce from my mom, to read my birth certificate carefully. Thinking I must be adopted, I studied it. Turns out, he was unemployed, and listed as a laborer. This embarassed him, and he would spend his life getting educated, as a self-taught engineer. My mother was listed as housewife.
After Worle War II, there were no jobs. So he worked in an apple orchird making boxes for pennies each. In high school he played football, got into fights, would steal grandpa's Model T, and wrecked it. Youngest of four, he was the dark sheep. His older brothers Vernon became a deputy sheriff, and he and my dad fought over everything, until my dad died about ten years ago of cancer. The middle brother Dennis, was a Merchant Marine, away most of the time, coming back to Spokane for his last several years, to die. Rose, the eldest, and only daughter, married and went off to California to work as a university staff member. He walked and talked like his hero, John Wayne, and that is how I always thought of him. Dad's pareents were formers, raising milking cows, bees, geese, planting corn and apple orchirds. Grandpa Boje had to have a day job to keep the farm alive. He made stained glass windows for churches, worked for Pittsburgh Plate and Glass in Spokane. He had been a soldier in France, in World War I. Once asked to become a manager, he turned it down, to stay one of the crew, makng glass windows. He did many of the stainglass windows in Washingon, Idaho, and western Canada. People would bring a drawing on a napkin, or a bible verse and he would just make the entire window. A farmer and a master craftsman and artist.
My mother played basketball, and fought on the court. I guess basketball was a lot more dangerous then, since some girls had razor blades hidden in their hair, so if you grabbed their hair, you paid a price. She looked and dressed like that actress Veronica Lake. Her younger and only sister, Val and my mom fought their entire life. Val had a different dad than my mom, a man named Brownie, who eas mean as they come. I was terriied of him. Everyone was. He teased us by making us sit still, doing nothing, or yelling at us for walking on his fresh cut lawn. Brownie did something dispicable to my mother, something she would never talk about, but that thing ate at her every day of her life. She was hurt, bitter, and talked about how Val got more privileges, better clothes and toys. Funny thing is, as much as they battled, they ended up in trialors, on the same property, in Yelm Washington, near Olympia, where they died a few years apart.
During the Koren War, my parents and I moved into a Quancit Hut someplace in California. I recall jumping on some abandoned box springs outside the Hut, and having a wonderful time, until my mother put a stop to that, 'too dangerous' she said, and kept me indoors.
During the Korean War, my dad taught Judo, and was parachuted behind enemy lindes, jumping from a plane that took off from one of MacArthur's aircraft carriers. He got a purple heart, for a wound to his rump, but that was related to some prank he was pulling on his buddies, after a few too many beers. He would never tell me exactly what happened.
WHile still a soldier, on leave, my did built his own home for us, on a lot down the road form his parents. And had a truck come and move it onto a lot where a basement was dug, just next door to my grandparents' farm. My mother hated it, and wanted a brick home made by a contractor, in the suburbs far away from the farm. She grew up in the wilderness, with Wilda and Ray, then married Brownie, who was a Park Ranger, among other things. Ray was a sheep hereder and a silver/gold prospector. Never struck it rish. Brownie was raised on the Yakima Indian reservation, abonded there by his mom, while his younger brother was rasied in California, and became an executive VP at U.S. Stell. Wilda, my grandmother had a brother that married an Indian named Stella LaClair. Gerald, WIlda's brother, was beat to death by the sheriff and his deputies in Goldendale Washington. Some say beause he kept ketting drunk. Others say because he took up with and Indian and having a daughter. Never knew her name. Noboy alive knows it. We think it might be Georgie or Georgia. My mother showed me a photo of Stella and a papouse, leaning against a Model T.
Ony my dad's side, my grandfather AUgust's brother, Edward married a Pulallup Princess, Then August cross out Edward's name for the fmaily bible. Edward and his princess bride moved onto the reservation and had several children, one namded Sam. They eventually moved to a reservation in Wyoming. I have never met the descendents, but would like to.
I tell you this becaue it is no accident that my living story beckons me to study tribal wisdom, a project I am currently in the middle of. It is no accident that my views on living story come from Native American scholars like Cajete, VIzeonor, and TwoTrees. A living story has a place, a time, and an aliveness. It lives in relationship to me.
I attended St. Charles elementary school. Went to church every day of the week, but my parents never went. My grand parents on my dad's side went every week to a church in Millwood, not all that far from their farm.
My first pet was Sparky, a collie that my mother said shed too much hair. So one day, I came home, and was told by my parents, Sparky had run away. A few days later, SParky returned. Next day, I was told he'd run off again. A few days later, he came back. But the third time, he never retruned. I elarned much alter in life, my parents took Sparky to the pound, and somehow had escaped twice. But the last time, was put to sleep. I really never trusted what my parents said, ever again.
One day my dad took me to the dentist, said we were moving to Alaska. Seems the phone company he worked for was getting absorbed by Western Electirc, and he was going to work on the Dew line installations, the early warning system, incase the Russians would send a missile towards the US.