In the early days of my youth, my family lived a nomadic life style--taking possession of unattended shelter wherever we could find it. We lived in tents, crumbling log cabins, abandoned houses, a barn, a school bus, and even a chicken coop. This is the tale of my life during those years as my mother and father slowly (but somewhat reluctantly) lifted themselves out of the post-Depression era into contemporary society. I was 16 before we had a home of our own that had indoor plumbing, electricity, and a telephone. My brothers and I never minded the way we lived and, in fact, were quite happy with our way of life. I don’t pretend to recall every detail of my early life, but the rich and colorful dialects of my family and friends who lived in the rural Oregon Coast Range still echo through my mind. If I have taken literary liberties in relating a few, otherwise mundane, incidents to spin a yarn, it was only to entertain, not to alter the facts of history. The anecdotes are real, even if the telling is a bit embellished at times.
One of the biggest regrets of my life is the fact that I had very little interest in my family history when I was young. By the time I became curious about the lives of my ancestors, most had passed on. I can recall a few tales like the mysterious circumstances of my maternal grandfather’s murder at the hand of his brother-in-law (ruled an act of self defense by a sympathetic jury), but I never thought to seek more information about any of my relatives.
I played “Blue Bells of Scotland” on my trumpet for an aging great aunt when I was 12 years old. Even though I knew she was born on the Oregon Trail, I never asked her a single question. But today, I would give anything to hear her tell tales about living among Native Americans and carving a life out of the wilderness that was then the Oregon Territory.
My primary motivation for writing this book was to leave a chronicle of my younger years in case any of my grandchildren ever want to know how I lived as a young boy. I hope they find some of my anecdotes enlightening and interesting. This book is for them, should they ever wonder about their family history.
Praise and Reviews
This is a great read. I began this book already
reading three books and this is the one I could not put down. Joe Moreland’s
memoir is about growing up in the Pacific Northwest in the 50s and 60s. Life
was not easy but the family stayed together and weathered the storms. A story
of inspiration, humor and love. Although I grew up in the south, the life Joe
described following World War II reminded me of my own childhood during this
same time. A Place to Lay My Head is a memoir written for Joe’s children
and grandchildren but it is as imaginative and intriguing as a work of fiction.
For anyone interesting in writing their own memoir or stories from their
childhood, this is a good guide.