Still Very Much Alive
By Dana Lohrey
Photos courtesy of Dana Lohrey
As a small child growing up in Clearwater, I used to visit the store to listen to Fred Murphy, the storekeeper and postmaster. He’d tell me stories about the early days of the community, when it was a common sight to see ten, twelve, or more freight wagons and passenger stages stopping en route to Newsome and Elk City. Mr. Murphy showed me old photos of the early days, and fascinated me with his colorful and descriptive historical accounts. He was hard of hearing and suffered from a twisted leg, but he never complained about these ailments. In good weather, we would sit outside the store while he shared his tales. I had a vivid imagination that I put to use in picturing the freight teams and stages as they arrived.
My mother was raised in Clearwater. In 1948, three years after she was discharged from the U.S. Navy, she met and married Leonard Lohrey, a Clearwater resident. I was three when we relocated to Clearwater and lived in the home of the old country doctor, who had moved to Harpster and opened a drug store. I was the eldest child and our family later added my two sisters.
I lived in Clearwater until graduating high school in 1964. For the first five years, I attended the Clearwater School, a two-story structure that originally housed both grade school and high school classes. I began taking piano lessons in the first grade from the schoolteacher. The activity that I remember serving as our physical education was playing softball in the field behind the school. In winter, when the snow depth would often be two to three feet, we sledded on the steep hill near our home. Summers were quite warm during the day but cooled off nicely at night.