by Deb Cook Lewis
My most fond travel memory goes all the way back to the summer between 6th and 7th grade. In my 6th grade class, we were asked to research a county of our choice in Washington state. There are 39 counties and we had 24 students, so plenty to go around. My curiosity has always been high, so I chose one I had never heard of called Asotin County.
There was no Internet back then, and I had no accessible tech to assist with my research. I typed a letter to the Chamber of Commerce explaining that I needed to learn about this unknown county. I received back a lot of print materials complete with pictures, and a very nice personal letter inviting me to visit some day and to please stop in if I do.
Fast forward to summer. I was in a summer program for blind junior high students which was staffed by classroom teachers from the public school system who were getting their summer credits by doing something with us. Most of the teacher-student groups did pretty boring stuff, but my group, which consisted of two teachers and me, took a trip to the east side of our state to explore for a week. It would take more space than Sharon allows for me to tell you of all my experiences on this trip, but because of my previous research and the invitation, we included a stop in Asotin County. We met all the dignitaries and visited the courthouse. They were delighted that a kid from the west side would pick their tiny county to do my report and treated me like I was someone, which doesn’t take much when you’re talking to a kid.
Of course, as we were leaving, they said to come back whenever I could. Little did they know!
My parents bought a summer home in Clarkston, which is the largest town in Asotin County. That was not related in any way to my having written the report 50 years earlier. In fact, I’m sure they didn’t remember that.
But five years ago my husband and I moved to Clarkston to be near my dad after my mom’s passing. And here I am back in Asotin County. I find it really interesting that it has gone full circle from my research and travel adventure. You never know where life’s twists and turns will take you.