Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Cave Junction Today

Cave Junction has grown nicer and spiffier. It’s much more up to date, with Yoga, galleries, and cool little shops, and it feels friendly. The down-home feeling it had hasn’t changed; I think the town has moved forward without losing the good things.

Back in the 1970s, it felt like going back in time to the forties or fifties. The phones had just 4 numbers, like “2769,” and were on party lines. If you picked up the phone and heard someone talking, you had to wait until they were finished before you could make your call. Most of the people were nice (though they probably laughed at us behind our backs), but a few hard-line folks didn’t like us at all.

A thrift shop now, this building used to be the general store where you could buy screw drivers, bullets, kerosene lamps, and such–at least some people could; a sign in the window stated “We do not solicit hippie trade.”

This used to be Hammer’s Market, where we bought most of our groceries.

To get to our place, we walked to the end of the town and down the highway to a bridge over the East Fork of the Illinois River.

Looking down at the river from the bridge.

After crossing the river, we would trudge down the highway to Rockydale Road. A good way down that paved country road, there was an unpaved driveway on the left that went over a little creek, around a curve, and on to the shack where we lived. I trudged along the road, determined to find it, or at least where it had been. There’s a big gate there now, keeping people out, and beyond the gate, the driveway has narrowed to a path.

These guys wanted their picture taken…

Remember Snail Mail?

It took such a long time. By the time the mailman brought an answer to your letter, the situation often had changed, but…  you had a permanent piece of paper with the other person’s handwriting on it. I saved some of my grandmother’s letters.

I don’t miss it. Email is so much faster and more spontaneous. People tended to worry about paper mail. They wrote it out first and then copyed it out on nice stationery. Half the time, they got intimidated and ended up not writing at all.

Back in Cave Junction, we sat around a rusted little metal table with our colored marking pens and decorated our letters and envelopes with psychedelic designs. I will be going to Cave junction next week; I expect to find the place changed since we lived in a tiny cabin next to the Illinois River. I drew on my experiences there and used Cave Junction as one of the settings in my novel, “A Shack on the Outskirts of Heaven.” It will be fun to look around.