It was at the Karuk Reunion that I had the pleasure of meeting Huddleston Oakes! Huddleston grew up Down River with his sister. His sister, Arlene, was the young girl who visited Stella in Dear Mad’m. What fun to talk with him about her! He said he didn’t hang around them much because of the Ladies there, well, he would have to behave!! He is listed, with Arlene in the 1939 Methodist Church rolls too. Their neighbors were the Southards mentioned by Re. Dr. Leon L. Loofbourow who was a circuit riding Methodist preacher who came and encouraged the building of the Log Church in Happy Camp which is the Bible Church now!! His mother, Virginia Effman Oakes, (and later added Anderson) wrote newspaper articles. Before my day, Debbie Wilkinson and Hazel Davis Gendron also wrote articles. It was also happy news to hear that he can read Klamath Views in Weed!
Huddleston had come for the Reunion, of course, with his son and others of his family, but he agreed to take time to give us a tour after lunch. Pauline (Sis) Atteberry and Jeanne Burrer were also at lunch, and Buster Atteberry stopped by as well. Buster mentioned that his Dad often spoke of childhood fun they shared and “Hud” recalled a fishing trip with him. Buster also mentioned that his dad’s first job was to sweep out the schoolhouse at Ferry Point and for that chore he received $8 a month.
Later, Huddleston and his son showed us where he had lived as a child, west of his grandmother’s place, and where another cabin was that they raised chickens to sell. We stopped by the Southard graves and recognized some names from Happy Camp history. We saw where Buster’s Dad had lived as a child before the family moved to Happy Camp for high school. We saw the site of the old one room schoolhouse. The most fun, of course, is to hear the stories of the people who used to live there.
Someone once came by and asked Mr. Southard how far his property went, and he replied, “See that Winchester there, about as far as it can shoot!”
Pete, the mailman, that brought Stella Patterson to the Dear Mad’m cabin in 1946, also used to give Huddleston a ride down to Ti-Bar. It was a great afternoon hearing about those days when every creek had a miner’s cabin or even some cabins where there was only a spring or they had to pack water.
We went back to the Reunion as there were more old time friends and family still to visit with. But he left us wishing we knew more about the Hastings brothers, Taylor’s Ranch, and those characters who lived down where Tinkum Creek met Titus Creek to flow into the Klamath and Robert E. Lee Southard and his family had their cabin.
When I got home and opened the computer, a quote popped up in bold black letters on a bright yellow background.” When you are young your grandparents try to tell you their history, and you don’t care because it doesn’t interest you at the time Later on, you wish you had written what they said down.” (Quote by Lillian Trujillo.) It isn’t likely that we really don’t care, but we are too busy. Too bushy to listen. Too busy to sit and hear all the stories, and we think that we will someday, later. But sometimes, we keep so busy and don’t have time, until there is no one left to tell us the stories and we have lost a priceless treasure! Take time today.