History

RANDOM THOUGHTS, SAND RAT OR HILL TERRIER?


by Boyd Simmons

When I grew up in Kalama, Washington it consisted of one main street which was Highway 99. Later on 1-5 was built one block to the west making the one street less congested. Where 99 left Kalama to the south an archway stood across the highway with a sign saying: "Kalama, Where Rail and Water Meet. See Our Industrial Sites."

All these many years later some progress has been made, but it still remains a small but delightful town.

From the main street to the east the terrain goes up steeply to the public schools which are on a small rather flat bank about 1/4 mile from the Columbia River.

In my early years the kids growing up on the flat along the river were called Sand Rats while the rest of us in the higher sections were the Hill Terriers.

Competition existed between the two factions as both sides had strong feeling about territorial rights. But unlike the gangs of today, we did not go for guns and knives. Instead we competed in athletic endeavors, primarily baseball. Once in awhile fisticuffs took place, but in the end we were all friends who worked closely together on teams where the local school was involved. We all owned guns, but our Dads had taught us all to respect them and how to properly handle them so that no one would be hurt accidentally. We all carried our pocketknives but they were never used against another. They were used for cleaning fish and skinning game, but mainly just for whittling. Whittling seems to be a pastime that has long faded from the scene. So sad. It could have a great calming effect on one who took part in it.

A short distance on past the schools was an area known as China Gardens. This was Simmons territory. Of the ten or so homes in this area at that time, at least five of them were occupied by members of our clan. The story I have heard, although I have no proof of it, was that in the early days a Chinese family had a truck garden in this area but was so unpopular with other people in the area that they were forced to move away. This was before the Simmons' time however, as we were always a 'live and let live' bunch. So I guess that even today I can be known as a Hill Terrier.

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