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Wednesday, 22 April 2015 17:52

05- Jim Tarbert


It seems like there was a crises one time when we were living in Escondido, when Jim's wife, Danise, came to visit. She had just had their second daughter, Deanna, and their first daughter, Kathy, was a toddler. Gail was visting at the time too. Maybe this was around the same time that Darlene had got married but I am not sure of that. I just dont' remember many of the details. I think that it is possible that it might have been around the time that Jim got a new job somewhere and it was a matter of relocation? I don't think that Deanna and the kids stayed with us very long. 

As I think more about this and talk to others, I think the only crises was that Jim had gotten a new job somewhere and everyone seemed to think that he needed to go there by himself of something to get settled before sending for Danise and the girls.

I barely remember Jim being in the military and serving in Korea. I remember a beautiful jewelry box that he brought Darlene. I barely remember him becoming involved with Danise. I think it might have been between getting out of the military and going to school in Pullman, Washington. I seem to remember visiting them there briefly from Palouse. 

Jim certainly rescued me a few times when he and Danise lived in Hayward California and I came for The Summer of Love in 1967 and I was only 16. He picked me up from the airport when I returned from Europe in my early twenties and only had a dollar in my pocket. There were several times that he was there for me when I was young. 

Jim was part of what is called "The Silent Generation," while Darlene, Roger and I were "Baby Boomers." In my mind, The Silent Generation was defined by conservative conformity, authoritarianism, and paternalism, while Baby Boomers were non-conformist protestors throwing off the shackles of paternalism. Jim was always more conservative than Darlene, Roger and I and even my mom, who voted Republican. 

Jim was much closer to our cousins in the Moore families. They were also part of The Silent Generation and many were very far to the right, politically. Some were also religious fundamentalists. They believed communists were everywhere and that there was a communist plot or conspiracy to take over the government. Some belonged to the John Birch Society. 

Jim's politics didn't really make much difference most of our lives. As I have said before, my own Mother was a Republican. There actually was a time that Republicans in this country and Democrats could actually have conversations that didn't end in name calling. After the eighties, and the Ronald Reagan debacle, Republicans moved further and further to the right and became less compromising and less reasonable and much more shrill, blatantly racist, misogynistic and homophobic. Many in the Republican Party started to take pride in being anti-government altogether and anti-democracy. Some even seemed to want a theocracy. 

When we were young, I never realized how much Jim disliked my Mother. He rarely said anything negative about her when we were kids but as he got older, he seemed to become more bitter toward her. She was hurt by this and I never really understood why he felt the way he did. Possibly he resented her for not staying married to his father, Lee Tarbert. My understanding was that Lee was kind of a back woods kind of guy and my Mom wanted more out of life. I believe that she married Lee for the same reason that so many women get married- to get away from her parents and the hard live she had lived with them. I don't know this for sure but it is the impression I get from things my Mother said and things others have said. 

Even though my Mother was a Republican, she was a reasonable women and she tried to be logical. In many ways, she taught Darlene, Roger and I what might be called "liberal values." Even though my Mom had grown up with racists in her generation, she taught her children not to be racists. She would always stress the importance of "critical thinking." She hated fundamentalist preachers and fundamentalist religion. She believed in science. Some of these positions alienated her from her more far right wing relatives and possibly Jim resented some of her positions as well. 

For whatever reason only known to Jim, when my Mother was on her death bed, requesting to see him, he refused to come. Where he had been there for me earlier in my life, at that most critical time, he was not there for Darlene, Roger, or me. I had always thought that he respected my Mother's husband, George, but he wasn't there for George, either. I finally realized, as my Mother was dying, just how much Jim disliked my Mother. 

After my Mother died, the handwritten will in which she divided her estate equally between Jim, Darlene, Roger and I, was dismissed for some flimsy legality. Instead, a more formal will that had been written in a time of crises at least ten years previously was used. When that will was written, Darlene had many problems and was having much difficulty raising her kids, Chris, Misty and Rocky. She was barely getting by. Mom was having gallbladder surgery and so wrote a will that would protect Chris, Misty and Rocky in case something happened to her. Of course, Jim's kids Kathi and Deanna had always had a stable, secure life so there was no need for Mom to have to worry about what would happen to them. Jim was a good provider.

Jim became more vitriolic toward my Mother after she had passed away. I don't remember that he even attended her funeral. I think that Danise and the kids were there but I don't remember Jim. When I did see him again, he had taken the incident of the old will out of context and had apparently told his girls that my Mother didn't love them as much as she loved Darlene's kids. This was ridiculous and a hateful thing to do to his own kids but Jim had become quite a curmudgeon in his old age.

In later life, after Jim had moved back to Washington from Hayward, we tried to have some email conversations but by that time, Jim had become more hardened in his political positions and could not handle anyone that didn't agree with everything he said. I was amused by some of his far right positions but he had no sense of humor by this time. When he couldn't make a convincing argument, like many on the far right, he would just resort to name calling. He called me a "socialist," told me off and then quit responding to my emails altogether. 

After this, Jim seemed to become more of a religious fundamentalist. Maybe he had become fearful of his own impending demise by this time. He worshiped an angry, wrathful God. He just seemed so full of hate in his old age. I never saw him again after that. 

I know my Mother loved him until the day she died and loved his girls, Kathi and Deanna. It is sad that they were convinced otherwise. 


I asked Jim to write some of his own recollections from his childhood:


Although I have a few memories of when we were all together here on the river, mom and dad separated when I was probably 3 or maybe an early 4 years old, and I don't remember that much.  Mom left him over what I now perceive to be some misplaced blame for the death of my sister.  Dad was a hard worker, a tug boat operator at the time, and he didn't know how to show his love or how to show sympathy or comfort, at least to her satisfaction.   He suffered in his own way. He and his siblings, a sister and three brothers, were abandoned by their mother,  but his father kept them all together.  His sister basically took care of them, while his father worked in the woods to try to keep them fed and clothed.  He never learned how to give some of the things mom needed from him I suppose.


After she left him, dad bought a house in Spokane at 2503 E 6th Ave. for me and mom.  Bert, Ole, Grandma, and later Billie all lived there just prior to and during the early part of the war.   Things were pretty tough money-wise, as well as everything being very scarce due to rationing.  Bert had Guy and Joe there also.  Mom soon sold the house to Bert.  Dad never remarried. Later, Billie and Joe wound up with that house before moving up on the South Hill.


Mom and Bert went to railroad telegrapher school, Ole worked in a mill where she met Rex , and Billie was a beauty operator.   She moved all over the country trying her luck making a living with that. Hank and George lived at the Dam, Frank and Flo lived at Davenport and then moved to the Dam later.   Their kids did have to stay with us in Spokane for a few months one year when things were pretty tough, and they started to school while living with all the rest of us.   


When Deb and Annie got run out of this country due to the rising lake, probably about 1941, they moved to Pleasant Prairie near Spokane and bought a farm there.  It didn't have electricity at the time, and didn't until after the war.  Helen and Dave York still live there today.


I may have the chronology slightly askew on a few of these events, but it is not far off.


Anyway,   Bert went to Athol Idaho, then Palouse, and Mom was sent to Grandview to work in the NP depot there.  She soon tired of that, and with the money I think mostly from selling the house and from wherever else, she bought the CandyKitchen café in Grandview.  When she did that she sent for me as I had stayed in Spokane with Grandma.   That was in 1943 and I was in the 3rd grade.   Ole and Rex also came down and worked with her there.  They later moved to Yakima and Rex drove the Arden Ice Cream truck and delivered all over the YakimaValley all the way to Richland.   I used to ride from Grandview to Richland and Pasco with him occasionally.   

In 1945 mom sold out and bought another restaurant across the street.   That was when your dad and everyone else came home from the war.   She married him after a while.  He made a tavern out of the place after a long fight for a license, and then they sold that and bought into the Pastime Tavern back over next to where mom's original café was.  


I went to school there with them until the 6th grade, then I went a half year in Grandview and then a half year in Wilbur.   The same in the 7th and 8th grades.   I went full-time to high school in Grandview We lived right behind the Pastime in Grandview when you and Roger were born.  Darlene was born when we still lived in the housing project that was built to accommodate the returning vets and their families. 

Later we moved up on the hill by the water tower.   That is probably about the first you remember with any continuity.   I am not sure about that. 

Basically, I lived in Grandview from 1943 until I graduated in 1954, with the exception of those three half school years.  At that time I left and I guess that was the last I ever considered that to be my home. 

I lived with Grandma Walling for what seemed like my entire life, but of course it was just for a few short years when I was small.  Mom and Grandma and I lived for a while in Metaline Falls on the Canadian border.  Billie wound up there also, and I can't remember if she was there first or afterward.  I think she was there first and also left before we did.  Mom was working in a restaurant there also.   That was before the war.  I have a few vivid memories of that period, but no day to day continuity.  I remember Ray and Lena coming up to see us.  He had instruments, and was a good singer.  I was there for at least one Christmas that I can remember.

I started to school at Edison grade school, two blocks from the house on east sixth.  Grandma was more or less my guardian, as mom was gone much of the time.   When she was there, she was going to school or something most of the time.  I have a lot of memories of those times, but they are chronologically jumbled. 


I have no memories of Grandpa Walling at all.   I think he died when I was one year old or younger.  They both died of old age more than dying of "Something".  Life expectancy was much shorter then than now.


Re: mom not liking her father and brothers: something was amiss there.  I heard bad stories all of my life about this from mom.  It seems that her feelings about them were not shared by her sisters.  I can vividly remember some heated arguments on the subject among everyone of them, from Bert to Flo, Hank, Ole.  I don't believe I remember Billie being in any of those discussions, but she was always running all over the country and was hardly ever around at the same time that mom was .  


Not too long after mom died, I had a long talk with Ole, and she told me that mom used to have horrendous nightmares when she was a youngster.   Ole was of the opinion that mom had confused   some of her nightmare experiences and mixed them all up with reality.  You can take that for what it's worth, or reject it. 


Her brothers, Deb in particular, was ornery in a way, but not mean physically.  He could be contemptuous and judgmental of what he thought one did or didn't know or what they were capable of.  He always thought the most of Flo and Hanks kids I guess since he was married to Annie who was those kids blood Aunt. My dad said Hayden was the same way.  I didn't know Hayden until I was a teen or nearly a teen.  I never did know him well, or even see him longer than a couple of days at a time as they always lived in New Mexico.

The memories that you have of Deb and the rifle practice were no doubt at the place out north east of Mount Spokane on Pleasant Prairie.  They lived there until the mid to late sixties when they moved to the Lansing place on the lake of which mom and George later bought seven or so acres and built the log house.

Perhaps mom didn't outright blame my dad for Colleen 's death, but her death caused the original rift between them.   Mom was bitter because dad didn't know how to console her.  He didn't know how to cope with it in his own mind, let alone how to deal with mom's grief.  In her mind, he wasn't supportive, and therefore she came to resent him.  


I guess mom must have been about 20 years old when she married.   I am not positive, but Colleen was a couple of years older than I, and I was born in 1936, She about 1934, and Mom was born in 1913.

That is about all I can think of for now.  I have lot's of memories of things that would be of little or no interest to you guys, just stuff about dad and some of the things we went through at the house on 6th Ave. in Spokane that didn't involve anyone that you knew or would remember.








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