Barbara Sharp Porter

Barbara Porter

It doesn’t seem possible that 50 years have gone by since some of us started Marcus Whitman together and are now looking at 50 years post graduation. I’m once again living a somewhat “elementary life”? I find myself doing one thing at a time, just like Mrs. Murphy taught me, and sometimes writing that one thing down so I don’t forget!….life is so amusing….I married my cowboy 34 years ago, moved from Fairbanks Alaska to his state of Oklahoma and will continue to two-step through life as long as we can. We merged his two kids, my two kids, 5 grandchildren, numerous in-laws, and believe it or not, an outlaw or two (before Oklahoma became a state) and somehow made it all work. PAM SWAIN: I cannot believe that you lived just down the road from me while I worked in Fairbanks 34 years ago.. I was the Personnel Manager at the largest hotel in Fairbanks, The King 8 Hotel. Perhaps you had dinner or drinks there and we crossed paths and didn’t even recognize each other?? Beautiful country and I didn’t want to move.

We’re both retired, he from government work, me from the mental health field. I was a crisis intervention officer for a large mental health organization but I burned out after 15 years and decided it was time to just be at home and relax. We traveled to many states in our early married years, now it’s 5th wheel traveling, some horse trail riding (if the weather is just perfect and if knees don’t ache and if the saddle is a little lower to the ground) yes it’s true, if your rear end gets lower than your knees it’s very difficult to haul yourself up on that high saddle. Either that or get a pony…. All those days at the riding academy in West Richland did not prepare me for the “real” thing.. We enjoy Oklahoma football, fishing, horse back riding, short auto trips, having the grandkids stop by when in town, our family get-to-gathers, and eating out at nice restaurants. We’re still hoping for a really nice restaurant to open here in this small town. For dining out we go to Stillwater, about 20 miles away, home of the OSU Cowboys!!!

We sold our cattle and moved back to my husband’s home town of Cushing. Incidentally, 25% of the world’s oil is stored here, and our auto fuel is just as high as anywhere else! We have a lovely home with 5 acres, enough to keep two horses, tractor, trailers and some comfy porch swings. This is the first time in 34 years of married life we have lived on a blacktop road, first time we have trash pickup, and I now have high speed internet….way out in the country those things were hard to come by. I always thought AT&T was everywhere, not!!!

My 3 brothers Keith, Roger and George and their families are still living in Richland My son Robert and wife live in West Richland, and daughter Lisa and husband live in Benton City. They are both working on “the project” making them 4th generation Hanford workers.

After Mom died I spent 2 weeks at the old ranch house helping to sell, and it sold quick. Imagine living in one home for over 57 years: 4 kids and two parents in a 3 bedroom, 1 bath home, we didn’t know it was crowded! Wonder if Mom thought that way…. Every time I went back to visit, I stayed in my old childhood bedroom….still expecting one of the neighborhood kids to call out to play kick the can or olly oxen free….remember those days MAXINE GRAHAM?

My husband is at the local café each morning with all the golden oldie cowboys and I think they sit around and reminisce about their favorite horses, not old girlfriends….Four times a year he spends a week at a large ranch(4000 acres) in Western Oklahoma sorting, doctoring and branding about 500 head of momma cows and calves; one of the few large ranches that still do all that work using cowboys.. I do volunteer work at the hospital and am trying to give back to the community when I can.

It truly is a small world: In a little town just over, where they have one stop sign that rolls up at night, (really), Barney the barber was born at Kadlec Hospital…get out!!!!

Even though I didn’t walk through graduation with you all, I can still visualize so many faces when reading your names. We are older but retain the memories of growing up in Richland. We have taken risks and chances we might not otherwise if our parents hadn’t been willing to take risks also, and move to a place in the desert that no one had ever heard of…kinda like me moving to Oklahoma! I think we were empowered by their “take charge” spirit and wanting to see what was just over the next hill. I see where a lot of you have remained in the Tri Cities, possibly never having left; for me traveling was my life for many years and I couldn’t get enough. Oh yeah, about 20 miles away in a larger town there is a Spudnut shop and after talking about this to my husband all these years, we ordered, and of course there was no resemblance to Richland Spudnuts, or is it just my memory that is playing tricks?

I want to mention one thing: MAGGIE, PAM, ANNETTE (forget who the others were) remember the night the cops rounded us up at Densow’s Drugs and took us to the police station? What a slumber party. Anyone remember this? I still remember Pam’s red/white pajamas. Maggie: I first ate grits at your home after a slumber party, little did I know it would become a favorite dish.

Have a happy reunion and anyone wanting to get in touch, use my e-mail address, and now I have a Facebook page so I can keep watch over those pesky grandchildren. Oh, ladies, if you have read, or watched, the Confessions of a Pioneer Woman (she lives in Oklahoma), I have one of the REAL cowboy’s too, only mine is a lot prettier……Have fun at the reunion and hope there will be lots of pictures posted, hopefully with names attached….




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