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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Alcaraz

Irene Hearn from Juniper Springs Senior Living

Irene Hearn - Irene’s Parents

“I am Irene Hearn and I live here at Juniper Springs. I am 95 years old, I’ll be 96 in September. I was born in a little town called Mount Solo, Washington. Which is just above Longview and I don’t even know if it’s still called Mount Solo. My family has been buried there. My father was born in the United States but my mother was born in Finland. Her family came over before she did and they couldn’t afford to bring her along. So she stayed in Finland and then finally at the age of 19 was able to come over and she came to Ellis Island and I’ve seen her name on the people that came over to the United States and had to register there. And then she took the train to Longview, Washington. At the time, my father was a young man that lived in Mount Solo.”

Irene Hearn - Irene’s Parents Meet

“He went to the train station as a taxi cab driver and picked up my mother. That way they met. And I’m not sure just when they were married. I think they were married in 1921 and then I had a sister that was born in 1923, Norma. And then myself, I was born in 1925. I’m not sure what time after that we all move to Oregon in a little town called Bradbury. Which was just out of Clatskanie, Oregon and it was on the Columbia river and my grandparents lived there.”

Irene Hearn - Schooling

“So I grew up in that little town, I went to just a school house that had all eight grades in one little school room or I shouldn’t say school house. Probably three rooms in it with an outdoor toilet. The war kind of was starting to come and the government came and bought our property and moved an army base into that property. So we all moved into the town of Clatskanie and that’s where I went for the balance of my grade school and high school. And I graduated from high school there, from Clatskanie and then went into Portland and I went to Portland business college. That was in 1942 when I graduated and went to school.”

Irene Hearn - Irene Meets Her Husband

“I met my husband but he ended up going into the service. He was back in 45’ and we married and I had a daughter in 1946. In 1952, my husband started a business in Portland. I worked for him for a while and then, in 1955 I had another daughter, Elizabeth and I probably spent the next 10 years at home taking care of them. And then I worked for him for another five years. As his business grew, I was able to get out and start socializing, and I had a great time socializing. I had real nice friends and belonged to a bowling team. In the basement of my house, I was able to do some ceramics. So, I had a little ceramics group too and my husband bought us a kiln and so, we even fired our own ceramics.”

Irene Hearn - Travel

“Then when my husband was getting close to retiring, we finally had a chance to do some traveling and our first travel was to Russia. On Pan-American Airlines which is no longer in service. When we landed on the Russian grounds we were met by Air Force pilots in the Russian Army and we landed and they came with a bus. And there were soldiers on the bus that took us to our hotel and we spent one week there and we took the train to Leningrad and different places. So, that was the first experience of traveling. So, then the next trip we took we went to Norway, Sweden, and Finland. So I got to visit where my parents had been born. The next one we went with another two couples, we went to England, Scotland, and Ireland.”

Transcription and Audio Edit by Ileana Chavez and Samantha Alcaraz.

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May 27, 2021

Wonderful , simple, and easy to complete. I had my high school students do this kind of recording with a relative and then transcribe the story. We read Foxfire to get the idea of recording the family history "stories". We also read Mark Twain and focused on the ability to write down dialogue to capture the actual speech pattern, especially someone with an accent.

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