A Dream of Home: A Glimpse at a Boyhood Life in Homestead
I left my boyhood home many years ago to escape the smog and poverty that was so prevalent there. I always knew that the time would come that I would have to return. It wasn’t that I dislike the city where I was raised; I still wore my black and gold every Sunday. Perhaps, I was content where I was and enjoyed the distant ties with town. Still the time would come when I would return.
It was early summer in Washington State. The pink and white apple blooms had carpeted the earth, and the warm air had settled into the Cascades. This was the time of year when my work was most difficult. The whole family had their part to play.
I had met my wife, Davina, shortly after coming to Washington State in 1950. I was hanging out at a blues club a few blocks from Evergreen State University, in Olympia. She was a barmaid there, and I have always had a weakness for a beautiful girl who brought me drinks. Davina, however, was stunning. She was twenty and had just transferred from Whitman College in Walla Walla that semester.
We dated for about eight months before we were married. The pressure came from our unborn child, Nathan, who was born April 20, 1951. The three of us moved onto an eighty-acre parcel on the Nisqually River. In those days I worked for the Forest Service, until 1954 and the arrival of Dominick, our second son. Davina wrote short stories when she could, and I began to add onto our log home. It was then that I began my current profession as an outdoor guide.
Early summer, forty-five years later, it was time to make repairs to the cabin inflicted from winter weather in the structure. The boys still help out. They each have five acres a mile from us on either side. We run guide services to businessmen from all over. They come from Chicago, Boston, Dallas and all points in between. They come to wade in the Nisqually and hook a salmon. We even offer guided hunts for blacktail deer, bear, and the occasional Bigfoot hunter. We also offer a place to just get away from it all. The boys help me take out groups, tend the equipment, and keep the place in working order. Their wives help Davina with the cooking and cleaning. The two of us are much too old to do it by ourselves these days.
One morning in June, Davina was the messenger of bad news. I was on the porch tying flies and drinking lemonade. Davina stood in the doorjamb with a single tear trickling down her cheek. " Davina, what’s wrong, love?" I asked. "It’s your brother. You have to go to Pittsburgh." She handed me an envelope. Inside was a letter:
Dear Mr. C. Stewart,
We are sorry to inform you of the passing of Thomas D. Stewart. Your presence is requested in Pittsburgh to settle the estate. Please contact me upon your arrival.
Ed Chapman, Attorney at Law
1503 PPG Plaza, Pgh, Pa 15347
The next morning I loaded my 89 Jeep Cherokee with a carry-on bag. I kissed my wife and...