ARTICLES Roseburg Then

I wrote an essay about Roseburg Oregon

Roseburg then and now

I grew up in the small city of Roseburg. Officially, I moved to Roseburg to its rolling green hills, from Salt Lake City, where I used to float in the Great Salt Lake when I was 10. In my 4th grade, I, and other students, participated in Roseburg’s Centennial where we dressed up like Sacajawea, Lewis and Clark, Patrick Henry, and famous pioneers who had made their names in Oregon History. I wore my curly red hair in ringlets underneath a bonnet made of pink- flowered material, cardboard, and ribbons, and slipped into pantaloons that my mom had made for me. The style of the day. In grade school, we opened our song books and sang softly “from this valley they say you are going,” (lyrics from “Red River Valley”), and “Roll on mighty Umpqua roll on,” instead of lyrics “Roll on Columbia” ( from “Roll On Columbia”). Oddly enough, when I became a teenager, the Umpqua River flooded its banks, and the flood of Oregon 1964, claimed lives and left many people of Roseburg homeless. The river filled my family’s duplex with five feet of water. My sister’s off-white Catholic prayer book with its gold crucifix exposed was found lying on an upper shelf next to the top of our Christmas tree. A neighbor picked us up by boat. As we rode on during the night, we prayed to the lucky stars in the sky, that they would kiss the muddy waters and the waters would become smaller. We were grateful that our lives were spared. A few years prior, we experienced the blast where a truck carrying two tons of dynamite and four tons of blasting agents blew up in the center of town injuring many and killing 13 including one other who died from injuries. News of the disaster was all over the Oregon newspapers. We had moved to a tiny house on Maple Street, where the maple leaves on the trees turned gold and orange once a year, and we awoke in the morning to our house tilting to one side. The explosives shattered the air. It was scary. It was a morning to remember. Even when Roseburg had yet, another disaster-this time the Columbus Day Storm- where shingles burst wildly and madly flying off of rooftops, Roseburg repaired its spirits, recovered and moved on. The quiet, quaint, town of Roseburg was in altered states, but it was strong. How does one manage with these catastrophes you may ask? The good thing was that the town’s people huddled together. They offered food, clothing, friendship, and faith when needed. They kept building brighter, better houses, and buildings to compensate for the cold barren streets and the shock of loneliness. The community built a Community College on the north side of town named Umpqua Community College. It was clean, bright and beautiful. Offered dynamic courses with profound techniques and tools to learn by. Roseburg was expanding. However, the children of Roseburg, who are 30 and 20 years my younger, were facing another catastrophe. They weren’t facing what we faced in our younger years. They weren’t forced to face the environmental and atmospheric challenges, that comprised the daily living of the past. Instead, they were challenged with far more deadly forces. Ten were killed and nine injured at Umpqua Community College. The shooter had committed suicide. Life for them changed from keeping focused while writing an essay in class or taking a test to, being afraid that someone may take their life. Children living in fear carrying a big load. Shouldn’t have had to happen. Especially when one realizes it’s not safe to go to school. I can see how difficult and insistent this could be for them. Difficult that they must constantly watch out for themselves and for their fellow students. Insistent that they must be meticulous about taking care their psychological needs and look beyond the beauty and innocent to survive. I went to Umpqua Community College one semester in my freshmen year. I took two Certified Nures’s Aide courses there, learning to bath patients, feed them, take care of their special needs. Umpqua gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dreams as a caregiver. I was able to comfort the sick, help many with diseases like cancer and be with them at their end stages of life, with my certificate. Now I hear the news today. I am sad beyond repair. Ten killed and nine injured at Umpqua Community College, I don’t see how another can take another’s life. We need to channel more resources into Suicide Prevention, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Behavioral Health, Life Works, and Research Centers to help those who are contemplating suicide and want to hurt another human being. We need more resources to help people with mental illness stay out of the hospitals and prisons and to be stable. Our Senator Merkley lost his cousin’s great granddaughter. It’s very sad. I feel so sorry for his loss. It is hard not to be affected by this tragedy. Life is a precious gift. People have lost their loved ones and children. We, as a society, needs to change the way we are treating people. We need better gun laws. Roseburg doesn’t need another disaster.

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