RITA MARIE BERGERON--1925------


I was born in Derry, New Hampshire on May 10, 1925. I am the baby of the family. My brothers and sisters always kidded me that I was 'spoiled', and being Dad's favorite. I did get to go with my dad alot in the car. I remember dad always having a car. I just loved riding to Malden with him--Dad would play poker and I would wait outside in the hall. The other men in 'that room' would come out to see if I was okay--they always brought me something, soda, pretzels. The few times that he told me I couldn't go, I was a 'brat'-- I would cry loud and clear until he drove away--I never got my way, though--He taught me Cribbage, and I drove him crazy wanting to play all the time. As I grew older, we did crossword puzzles together. And always in my teens there were the 'quizzes'. I loved those. Still watch Jeopardy to this day. Of course, the whole family participated--On Sundays, Dad would have each one of us either sing, recite or do 'something'--my song was 'ON the Good Ship Lollypop. I am laughing, thinking back to those days.



Above photo is our house on 125 Grandview Ave. We moved to 58 Waitt Park in the late 30's?

For pleasure, there was ice skating and coasting in the winter, swimming in the summer. Otherwise, not much changed or happened in our small town. It definitely was a nice place to grow into adulthood. I was a senior at Revere High, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I was working as a waitress in Malden, Ma, at that time. Things changed rapidly after Pearl Harbor--the biggest change of all was the scarcity of the male gender.



Above picture was sent to my brother Donald, with the inscription on back that read "Donny, God Bless you always--your loving sister, Rita"

In May of 1942, I applied for work at the General Electric Co., in Lynn, Ma. I worked there 3 years and enlisted in the WAAC, Womens Army Auxiliary Corp--I was stationed at Ft Des Moines, Iowa for a year, then to Cushing General Hospital in Framingham, Mass. until I was discharged in 1946. The war was over--America could breath deeply again.



Above photo is of me stationed at Ft.Des Moines, Iowa-- Army life was okay, but all the guys were coming home, so I was glad to be discharged,

Many many marriages took place after the war and I was no exception. And the 'baby boomer' generation was born. I married Arthur(Lefty) Eaton in a quaint Catholic church in Saugus, Ma. on April 19, 1947. We knew each other for over six years and we wrote almost daily to each other during the war years. I knew he was the one man for me and apparently he felt likewise about me.

We had two children before we left Boston--Bob,born Aril 5, 1948 and Suzanne,born January 4, 1951. We had a 1939 Oldsmobile, and a 28 foot house trailer when we left Boston for Phoenix, Arizona--Lefty's Mom went with us, and it took us 13 days to reach Phoenix. We were going to drive over the Berkshires in western Mass. but we were advised they were buried in snow. So we had to drive through New York City--it was brutal-- We only got to New Jersey the first day and couldn't sleep in the trailer(much too cold)--The next day, at that time, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was not built-- We had to go through every small mining town hauling the house trailer--we got stuck half way up a steep hill, too slippery, and I had to hold my foot on the break, while Lefty went for help at the bottom of the hill. I was so scared that I would let my foot slip--We ended staying the night at the house at the bottom of the hill--Luckily the snow melted enough that we did make it over that hill the next day-- But we still had small towns and snowy hills to climb, and it was slow and scary--part of our trailer roof was left on a lightpole in one of those towns that ended with --ville--it was nearing dark as we came into Wheeling, West Virginia, after negotiating a steep downgrade(scared I was again)--We wanted to get on level ground in Ohio, so we crossed the Monongahela? River into Ohio and found a motel that shouldn't have been allowed to be a motel--freezing weather and had to use an outhouse--no shower--oh well, at least I was calm enough to be able to eat--no mountains as far as i could see. At last,the next few days were comfortable traveling--we drove through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and crossed the mighty Mississippi river at St. Louis, Missouri--I was in awe of the Mississippi--at that time I loved bridges and rivers--now I just love rivers-- long bridges make me extremely nervous(I'm such a puss)-- Well, it was mid-afternoon, driving out of ST.Louis, when Gammy(Lefty's mom) said she saw snow on the roof of cars. I was so exasperated with her, I said it was just white roofs(silly me). As more and more cars showed white roofs, I had to admit it was snow. It definitely was time to get a decent(we hoped) motel. Trailer trucks were already on the side of the road, the snow was piling thick and heavy, but the spirits were with us, we did find a fairly nice motel. We were there three days before the roads were open--this was the famed route 66 that started at St. Louis and ended in California--There was a restaurant at the bottom of the hill from our motel-- It wasn't a bad stay, but after 3 days we were ready to be 'on the road again'. Semi's galore cluttered the highway and rutted snow made traveling extremely slow, but at least we were on the move--The snow thinned by the time we crossed just the southeast tip of Kansas, going into Oklahoma. We were all feeling relaxed now, the road was flat and the sun was shining. Saw my first tumbleweeds, a very strange plant when they come tumbling toward you--But lo and behold, we drove into a town called Chelsea, Okla. and the car wouldn't start after lunch--it crossed my mind then(are we suppose to go to Phoenix?)--Another three days, because the gas station had to send for parts--at this point, we were all getting a little 'touchy'--I do have to say that all through these days, the people we came in contact with were always so helpful and just plain nice--finally we were on our way again, and we drove through the panhandle of Texas, into New Mexico, and finally Arizona. It was the 13th day out of Boston that Phoenix welcomed us. It was all worth it--I fell in love with Phoenix.

Phoenix was a joy from the beginning--it was warm, and spacious and the desert was different--we only lived in our trailer for about a month--subdivisions were being developed all over Arizona--Lefty worked for Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co.-- Phoenix was growing very fast--we bought a house in a subdivision--it was really a great place to live and raise a family, which we did--the phone co. was like a family and our social life was all phone people, and young and mostly veterans. We had four more boys born at St.Josephs Hospital in Phoenix--Michael, 1953, Richard, 1956, Patrick, 1959, and James, 1960--





Top photo--Bob,Suzanne,Michael-- Bottom photo--Rick,Patrick,Jimmy(mij)

In the 1950's, Lefty was a Union steward with CWA, Communication Workers of America. In 1955 we went on strike against the phone co--it was a nasty strike-- friends became enemies, because they would cross the picket lines--it lasted 6 months, we still had our circle of friends, and life went on. At the end of the 50's, both Lefty and me became heavily involved in the Democratic Party--all through the 60's, until we moved to Oregon, we worked for the Democrats. I was given a ticket to Bobby Kennedy's fund raising dinner in June,1968, right before he was assassinated in Los Angeles--By the end of the 60's, Lefty was ready to move to Oregon--Bob had written glowing reports of his life in a commune in Southern Oregon--Lefty received a medical discharge from the telephone co., and he headed for Oregon--that was in January, 1971. He bought a house in Cave Junction and family and friends moved in April to the house we are still living in, 33 years later, affectionately called 'Eaton Acres'.

The move from Phoenix to Cave Junction didn't go smoothly either--We had a flatbed truck we called 'buford'(buick engine, ford body)--she was piled high with the belongings of family and friends. A pickup truck with camper called 'furthur'(Ken Kesey's bus name)-- Lefty and me drove 'Buford'--We definitely looked like Ma and Pa Kettle leaving Phoenix--We went through Los Angeles just after midnight, the 1st of April, 1971-- It was Patricks birthday, we were riding in the camper then, and L.A. had just had a tremendous earthquake-- It was eerie, seeing demolished overpasses and litter everywhere. A friend from Phoenix, Craig Moodie, was driving Buford--I was with him--we were on our way to Berkeley to meet up with the rest of the family--Craig was a good driver, but going down 'the grapevine' he scared 'the hell' out of me--that hill is never ending, he wasn't use to driving Buford, and we were all over that road and he was going too fast--I finally said I wanted out if he didn't slow down--well, we did get to the bottom of the hill and we pulled over to wait for the 'Furthur' people--Lefty took over the driving of Buford and we finally arrived in Berkeley--We were greeted warmly, they fixed a great supper for all of us, and we were going to leave for Oregon the next morning--but one of our friends, who didn't want us to leave or he had 'freaked out', took Buford and left it somewhere, we had no idea where or even why-- we were all so devastated--Lefty called the police, they took all the information, and we sat and waited-- we didn't think we would ever see Buford and our belongings again--But again, the spirits were with us, and the police called the next day and lo and behold, Buford was located on the railroad tracks, with every thing intact, truck and clothing, nothing touched-- I consider it a miracle, and a sign to get our 'fannies' to Oregon pronto--which we proceeded to do, and there were no further mishaps.



Photo above is our Buford--33 years old--

I loved our move to Cave Junction immediately--We weren't exactly a commune, but we subscribed to their philosophy. We had to haul our water from Sucker Creek for a few months--we cooked on a wood stove--had one room with electricity, used kerosene lanterns in the other rooms-- And of course, used an outhouse for many years(16)-- No telephone or television for 4 years. We had music and books and played games every night. We shared with other communes such as Sunnyridge, White School House, The Meadows, Magic Forest Farm-- Christmas Eve, many people brought food, kids and good cheer for years-- Thanksgiving we generally went to White School House. Its hard for me to explain my life in the 70's--I loved commune living, and the sharing, caring, and the manifestation of the things we needed. Communes faded away in the mid-seventies and Sunnyridge was gone in 1980. I know it was time because the 'time's they are achanging'.



Above photo--1969 sunnyridgers--Top Row--L-R--man?, girl?, Chris Scott(friend from Phx.), girl?, guy?, Bob Eaton, Patti Eaton--Middle row--R-L--Debbie Moodie-- Mona,& Michael Rothenberg(Phx.friends),Peter Korican(one of the founders), Bottom row--L-R--Barbara Weinstein, Betty Korican and Larry Weinstein(with Peter, these four people founded Sunnyridge Mining Claim in 1968)Girl?, Little girl?, Terri Seidler(nee Middleton)(came with us from Phx. and still lives in CJ).--Little girl?.



Above photo--Lefty at sunnyridge. 1970--

The family is now entering the 80's--Lefty has emphysema, has to use oxygen only occasionally--he has moved in with Sue--it helps her financially and he needs a bathtub and we only have a shower house. Bob built a house on this property, Mike, Rick would live here only once in awhile, and Patrick and Jimmy lived here in the main house--I would cook dinner for anyone that was here-- the numbers varied, but it was always a fun and enjoyable time--so here we are in July-1981--At that time, Bob, Mike, Rick and Patrick and Jimmy were all living here. At 8:00 in the morning, three patrol cars, with dogs, came roaring on our property--we were 'BUSTED'. It seemed like we all lived in the courts for three years--the end result was Patrick and Jimmy, 3 years probation, Mike received 9 months jail time and then 3 years probation. I served one month at Jo Co(Josephine County) jail, and 3 months probation--

Life's twists and turns began to unfold when I did my 160 hours of Community Service at the Senior Lunch Program--the year was 1983--I was offered a job as dishwasher for the Senior Lunch program--it was a minimum-wage job with a program called "Green Thumb" I worked at the luncheon for three years and then was offered a job at the Illinois Valley Branch Library on July 1, 1986--That definitely was 'my cup of tea' and 'my cup runneth over'. The library was just getting computers and I fell in love with them--over the years, the library has changed from just books--we now have videos, audio cassettes, DVD's, internet access and all kinds of displays by our local citizens.I truly loved working at the library, I worked there 18 years.

It is the mid-80's.Lefty is having a hard time breathing if he does anything. He needs oxygen continually now. Bob, Mike and friends built a room for Lefty right next to this house. He moved in on November 12. It was a nice room with lots of windows and a big bathtub--He always loved these acres as much as I do. I was so glad he was back on the old homestead. He died 1 month later in his room peacefully on December 11, 1989. He was my 'Rock of Gibraltar' I LOVED HIM.



Above photo--Lefty and me in backyard by peartree--1985?

I welcomed the 1990's enthusiastically--I was still working at the library--For various reasons, my family came back home to live at different times during this decade--Sue spent about a year here in the early 90's-- Patrick and Jimmy lived here, and Bob had his house on the property--for awhile Rick lived here and then bought a place in Cave Junction--so did Sue buy her home in CJ. In the mid-90's, Mike had a back operation and he has lived here since then--surprisingly, through the 90's, we all got along fairly well.

So we come to the turn of the century--year 2000--2004-- I am 79, it is November 14, Sunday--I am finally retiring December 1, 2004--after 18 years at library-- It was a good run--So I will embrace how many more years I have left on this plain--again, so far, its been a FABULOUS life!!