... thou have thy thoughts ready to understand things divine and human,
remembering in thy every act, even the smallest, how close is the bond that
unites (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. 121-180 A. D.)
Family, Roots and Hornet Street
.....the memoirs of William T. Paull
ad went to San Francisco to a Shrine Convention in 1923 or 1924. He must have been disatisfied with his mail carrying job at the Post Office in Butte because he rustled a job while he was there. He became a
maintenance painter for a big office sky-scraper building in San Francisco. I can just very vaguely
remember the long train trip alone with Ma when we went down to join him. Dad rented a place in Oakland,
across the bay from San Francisco, and he used to go to work every day by riding the ferry across the
We lived in a grey two-story house. Earl and Mildred Evans had the first floor, we had the second floor.
Ethel & Harry, and Earl and Mildred became fast friends. They were childless so Mildred really spoiled me.
(I visited Earl and Mildred over 23 years later when my wife, Liane, and I spent a month in San Francisco
while I attended a Fuller Paint training program.....just before Michelle was born in 1947.)
My Grandpa Paull died in August of 1925, and I remember that we soon got a classy new car, a Jewett!
Not long after this my parents must have got homesick and moved back to Butte.
The McKinley school that my mother and uncles had attended had burned down so I was sent to the second
grade at the Lincoln School on Broadway Street. Montana educational standards were more severe than
California's and I suffered the humiliation of being "put back."
Don't remember how long Ma and Dad stuck it out in Butte this time,
but they decided to return to California. We three moved back. I enrolled
in the Manzanita School again and was boosted up to the third grade. They wrote
glowing accounts back home and Grandma Trewhella and her three sons decided
to emigrate to California too. We were a united family again. Bert and
Will got jobs at the Chevrolet factory in San Leandro, Howard went to high
school, Dad still took the ferry ride every morning.
Here are just a few of my vivid California recollections:
A lonesome six-year-old boy on the porch of a grey two-story house on Fruitvale Avenue,
wearing an orange and black sweater, watching the kids playing across the street.
Being in the first grade at the Manzanita Grade School in Oakland, and sharing a desk with Mary
The impressive crescent-shaped scar on my right inner thigh from falling onto a piece of broken
milk bottle when playing around at a new construction site at the end of our block.... A place I was
told to stay away from. It was a rather bad gash and I was really bleeding. My Hawaiian friends
took me to their mother and she bandaged me and took me home. Don't remember if I got
spanked for that or not.
Another time, I got sent by Ma to a butcher shop a few blocks from our house to get some pasty
meat. I got the meat and took a short-cut coming home....through an unbuilt-up area that had a
little stream running through it. I guess I took off my shoes and spent a great couple of hours
wading and chasing frogs. Ma was frantic....thought I had been kidnapped, raped, and killed.
She finally called the police. They found me and brought me home. I do remember getting a
well-deserved spanking this time. Don't remember whatever happened to the bundle of loin
tips or if we ever did get pasties that night!
I do vividly remember having the back door of our beautiful new Jewett auto slammed shut
on my right hand. The tip of my middle finger was almost torn off. Should have been taken to
a doctor and had it stitched up neatly but in those days you just wrapped a wound and waited
for God to heal you. I recovered and still have a rather impressive scar on my finger.....I
can still feel the pain whenever I really look at it......usually when I'm clipping my fingernails
and can't get the clippers around the misshappen nail.
A little girl named Trinidad who lived next door. We played "doctor" in the back seat of my dad's classy
The attic which had a beautifully detailed
model of a battleship. I was allowed to go up there and play with it as a special reward.
Going with my Mother and Dad to the neighborhood movie house and watching a thriller with sheiks,
Arabs, camels, and starring a bosomy vamp wearing wispy veils, Laura LaPlante. I had to look up that name
to prove to myself that there really was such a person... or such a movie. Laura LaPlante died at the age of
94 in October of 1996.
The two Hawaiian teen-age girls who took me to their home to play with their little brothers. Their family always included me in all their many festivals and ceremonies. My Methodist parents were uneasy about this "pagan" revelry, but they always let me go visit these sweet, gentle people.
Yet again, homesickness prevailed. Kit and kaboodle packed up into the Jewett and a Model-T
Ford and trundled back to Montana. The actual dates escape me. What a restless family we were; what were we looking for?
I have a great memory about the broken axle on the Model-T when we were coming back to Montana this last time in 1927 or 1928. We had propped up the back end of the car with a big wooden box which contained clothing. Dad and Uncle Will drove on in the Jewett to find a new axle, leaving the rest of us on the roadside of the mountain road above a series of switchbacks. I think we were somewhere close to the Idaho-Montana border. A nice Samartitan came driving down the mountain and swung over close to ask, "Do you need any help?" He wasn't watching the road and he hit the box that was holding up the Ford's rear end. It collapsed and the Ford sagged. I remember frantically clambering down the mountainside trying to retrieve my mother's and grandmother's hats that were rolling and blowing in the wind. I can remember Uncle Bert's reply to our would-be savior's question, "Do you need help?" He said, "Well, we do now!" I don't remember what happened next, but we made it home eventually.
*** *** ***
was fortunate to be nurtured in an extended, loving family, surrounded by relatives . . . cousins, uncles and aunts. Today, families seem to consist of a mother, sometimes a father, a couple of kids, and maybe a grandparent in a rest home. From my three-quarter-century-old perspective it's tempting to be judgmental and yearn for the good old days when things were so much better. Were they? I think so. Not better materially, but certainly better emotionally. We didn't have any security ..social or otherwise. When our parents and grandparents got old and feeble they were lovingly cared for by the family and no one complained. The household just seemed to revolve around them.
I remember coming home from school one sunny afternoon. My mother and grandmother were working
together making pasties. Great-Grandma Bolitho was sitting at the kitchen table with Mrs. Hicks, another
neighborhood granny, drinking tea, reminiscing, and occasionally offering advice to the cooks. I was eleven
or twelve years old. Why is this 65-year-old memory so vivid? - - I still visualize the sunlight streaming in
through the kitchen window, the shadows on the tan and brown linoleum floor. Even now, as I write this, I
can feel the sun's warmth and smell the pungency of the onions my mother was chopping.
I grew up on "pasties". Not the sad, soggy generic things you can buy in bakeries. In our home, anyone could help peel potatoes, chop onions, and cut up the meat. It always had to be sirloin tips or flank steak, which you can't find very often these days. My grandmother had to make the pastry, and use suet -- never
lard or Crisco--, and assemble the pasty. It's almost mystical... My mother made good pasties, my aunt made
good pasties, Barb, my wife, makes good pasties, and I make
good pasties. We all use identical ingredients but none ever taste as good as my grandmother's used to.
The above pasty is a link to the traditional recipe.
What we've gained in comfort, convenience, and mobility has to be compared with what we've lost in
personal relationships. I grew up in a home with my parents, three uncles, a grandmother, and a great-
grandmother. How crowded that little house must have been! But it was full of warmth, tolerance, and love.
Of course there must have been some friction and arguments but I can't remember them. We were a
"family", a "clan", a "tribe". What a comforting security. Now it seems to me that we all proceed through
life wrapped in tight little individual cocoons, doing our own things, and intent upon preserving our
precious, private spaces. If things get tough, bug out! Find a new mate, a different job. Don't try to solve
problems, just ignore them. Cut yourself loose and move on to greener pastures.
No more off-key singing around the piano, Steal-the-Pack games at the dining room table, or friendly,
gossipy, conversations. Everything has been supplanted by the omnipresent video screen. We can have brief
conversations and bladder relief only during the commercial breaks.
Maybe closeness and lack of privacy fosters tolerance and patience. We couldn't have secrets from each
other.... and that kept us "in-line." We had family pride and were very careful not to do anything to besmirch the
Trewhella reputation. (Guess I have always considered myself a "Trewhella" rather than a "Paull.")
I believe I was a fairly typical adolescent and did many sneaky things....and smugly considered myself
smarter than my parents because I was "getting away" with it..... but Ma often surprised me when we would
reminisce here in those great, close years before she died. She often told me about things I had done that
I thought I had "gotten away with."
*** *** ***
Around the time I was fifteen, Uncle Will was my hero. Handsome! He had a real progression of girl friends.... The whole family was elated when he fell in love with a beautiful girl from Whitehall, Marguerite Virginia Taylor. They were married on June 30, 1930.
Marguerite was the most beautiful person that I ever encountered. No one ever called her by a nickname
and no picture of her could ever do her justice. I was in love with my new aunt. Bill and Marguerite moved
into a little house on the northwest side of the 900 block of Hornet Street -- the house number was 945.
There was a vacant lot between their house and the "Big Brick" as everyone for years referred to it. It was a mysterious building where the Lynch family lived. Bill and Marguerite used to go to Whitehall almost every weekend and I used to go feed her 2 cats, Maggie and Jiggs. I hated cats, but I loved Marguerite, so it was a labor of love. She was only 23 years old when she died from an embolism. This would never happen today --- doctors don't instruct new mothers to lie quietly in their beds after a birth.... they make them get up and move around to get blood circulating instead of pooling and clotting.
I have one vivid memory of Marguerite. It was during the end of the depression and I had just got a
treasured new pair of overalls. Must have cost at least $1.95.... a lot of money in those days. We
neighborhood kids had a marshmallow roast on Big Butte and a spark flew off the fire and
burned a small hole in my new overalls. I was too scared to go home so on the way back from the
roast, I stopped at 945 Hornet and told Marguerite about my problem. She and Will walked home
with me and stayed until they were sure that Ma had calmed down enough so that I wouldn't get
beat too badly. Ma had a fiery temper and I was always just a little bit afraid of her. Dad was the
opposite.... and I guess I learned how to play one off against the other. Anyway, the beatings I got
did not seem to have left any permanent damage.
William Taylor Trewhella was born in the old St James Hospital on the corner of Idaho and Silver streets. He was never brought home to 945 Hornet. Uncle Will was staying with us at 930 Hornet while Marguerite was in the hospital. Howard, Bert, Will, and I all slept in two double beds in the back bedroom. I can vividly remember waking up one night after Will had returned from the hospital and had been given the news that all was not well. Ma was holding him as he was crying and he sobbed, "Pray for her, Eth." Doctor McDonald had told him that there wasn't much hope. I remember that long night as I tried to get back to sleep and listening to Uncle Will sobbing in the bed next to me. Fifteen years later my wife, Liane, died as a
young bride too....and her death too could have been prevented using present-day techniques.
Will never went back to that house again. Little Bill was kept in the hospital until he was three weeks old and then was brought "home" to 930 Hornet Street. Another young wife had died in childbirth at the same time leaving a baby boy, Tim Dennehy. The nurses used to call the two little motherless boys "Tiny Tim" and "Billy Boy." I can remember the nurses all lined up and crying when Ma and Will went to the hospital to bring "Little Bill" home.
Fifteen years after "Big Bill" and "Little Bill" were nurtured here, there was an almost identical reprise
when I came home with my baby daughter. I remember a long, tearful session with Uncle Will soon
after I moved back from Great Falls in 1948. My situation had evoked all his memories of 1933. As we cried together, a strong bond was established. Uncle Will was my idol when I was a teen-ager, he was my stalwart support when I was a young widower, and a life-long confidant. Next to my Dad, he was the best friend I ever had.
Will was kind of a shining armor knight with a hair-trigger temper. I remember
when he, his second wife, Catherine, and Mrs. Sullivan -- Catherine's mother,
were on their way to the cabin for a weekend. Most of the family was already
up there and we kept waiting for them to show up. We finally got concerned enough
to drive back down towards Wise River to look for them. We found them stalled
along side the road about 15 miles from the cabin. Catherine was still rather bug-eyed
and nervous. Don't know what the mechanical problem was --- fuel pump or carburetor ---
but when Will couldn't get the car to run he started pelting it with big rocks. Catherine
and her mother sat in the car and shivered. His temper fits never lasted
long but the whole family was careful to try to avoid triggering one of them.
Bert had a friend who lived in a house at the corner of Hornet and Excelsior.
These two were a pretty wild pair. When they were in the fifth grade they tied
one of their classmates to the BA&P railroad tracks down near Caledonia Street
and threatened to let an ore train run over him. Surprisingly, the kid's mother
didn't think this was a very funny caper and Grandma Trewhella and Bert's friend's
mother had to go see the judge. Grandpa Trewhella wasn't very amused either and
I'm sure Bert felt his wrath. Bert was my "renegade" uncle. I worked with him at
Ashford's Grocery and at Fuller Paint --- he taught me a lot, probably a lot of stuff
that my parents didn't want me to learn. I had three great uncles!
Bert was another hero for me. He treated me as an equal and as an adult. He was
always unpredicable and doing slightly off-beat things. I suspect that I have inherited
most of my genes from him. He loved children. He took "Little Bill" with him everywhere.
When I picture him in my mind I always see him with little kids. He would have been a
super dad. It's sad that he never had any children of his own to benefit from his love.
Howard was more like a brother than an uncle and I was emotionally closer to him than
his two older brothers. He was a real "laid-back" guy, just the opposite of his oldest
brother, Will. "Two best friends," Howard and I, married another pair of "two best friends,"
Pauline and Liane, and until Liane's death we were an almost inseperable foursome.
Fort Peck Dam construction began in 1933. Uncle Bert went to work up there for about a year;
he would have been 27 years old at the time. During this period Will got a job working for the T.J.
Bennett Grocery and sometime in these years Bert went to work at the Ashford Grocery. I know I
worked as Bert's "swamper" after school and on Saturdays for my last year in high school. I
don't know what Howard was doing during those years....He'd have been in his mid twenties. I
can't remember exactly when he went to work as a mail carrier. Bert left Ashford's to go to work at
Fullers and I followed along with him and started working for W.P. Fuller full-time as soon as I
graduated from high school.
In 1936, we were the very last class to graduate from the old
Butte High School which was on Park Street. Our graduation ceremony was
held in the Fox Theatre since our class was too big for the high school
auditorium. The Fox was on Park at the corner of Washington St.,
kitty-korner from the YMCA. Just east of the Fox is the Masonic Temple and
Old Butte High was next, on the corner of Park & Idaho Streets. Just
across the street from BHS was Sam R. White's Funeral Parlor.
Around the year 1936, we used to go camping almost every summer weekend. We went to Copper Creek several times-- our favorite places were along the
Big Hole....especially Fishtrap. I was working at Fullers and my
co-worker, Frank Huotte, told me of a great lake to hike to in the Pioneer
Mountains and told me how to find it. It wasn't easy! We'd drive from
Butte after work on Friday and camp at Mono Creek Campground. At dawn on
Saturday mornings, we would head up over the top, down past Elkhorn Hot Springs, and go about another 10 miles or so to a special gate that only a few knew
about. We then drove another mile or so up a canyon until the road gave
out. It was a steep 2 or 3 mile climb to a beautiful little lake. It was named Sawtooth Lake because the mountain ridge which had a talus pile running down into the lake was a series of sharp little peaks. You could stand on those huge rocks and cast out into deep water and catch some of the best tasting trout I've ever eaten. Don't even know what kind they were but the flesh was pale pink....lighter than salmon.
We did this Mono Creek-camping-Sawtooth-fishing thing all one
summer. My dad, Harry, wasn't much into rock climbing so he used to stay
around the Mono camp and fish or take the .22 rifle and plunk gophers. One
weekend he said that he had found a great spot to build a cabin and asked
if anyone was interested. All the "Uncles" were. Dad contacted the
Beaverhead Forest supervisor in Dillon and we met the District Ranger from Wise River the next weekend.
Ranger Peck surveyed out a cabin site and went around slashing blazes of bark
off the lodgepole pines and stamping them with an USDA brand. These were
the trees which we were allowed to cut down. We had to pay 50 cents for
each tree, and he stamped about a hundred of them. I can always remember that we
had to pay about $50 for our basic building material. Most of the trees
were cut right in the spot where we built the cabin. All this happened in
the early fall. We cut and stacked the logs in the little clear area, just
to the left of where the outhouse stands today, and left them there all winter. Just
blind luck of the ignorant, I guess! If we had peeled them right away the
bark would have come away in great sheets, leaving a smooth white log. When
we got around to peeling our logs next spring, the bark had to be cut away
stroke by stroke with a "spoke-shave," a sharp metal blade with handles on
each end. You would have to straddle the log and pull the shaver towards you a foot or so at a time. When you reached the end of the log you had someone help you
give it a quarter turn and scoot and peel to the end again. It took three or
four passes to peel a log. This peeling process has given our cabin an
unique warm color so I guess it was worth all the extra effort.
No memory is more precious to me than the tingle I get whenever I
turn in off the Wise River road onto our little track to Mono Creek and I
get my first glimpse of that golden-bronze cabin. It still takes me an hour
or so to come to grips with my nostalgia..... to remember and mentally toast
all those friendly ghosts: Ma, Dad, Grandma Trewhella, Liane (we spent our
honeymoon up there), Uncle Will and Catherine, Bert and Cappa, Howard and Pauline, Auntie Patch and Uncle John, Bill Trewhella, and so many more. Almost every rock or tree up there has a memory attached:
The swing that arched out over Mono Creek, the merry-go-round that Uncle John fashioned out of an old Ford transmission and a few logs, the shower in the willows
where you could splash and soap and revel in naked freedom in the sun. That
huge boulder in the Wise River at the foot of the meadows which I dubbed Meditation Rock . Sit there in the sun and spot the fish darting by in the deep pool.