~ The Spokane Parts ~

Where I come from ~ it’s not cornbread and chicken that’s for sure. I hear cornbread and chicken, I can only think brown beans and chicken skin. YUK.

Spokane, Washington.

Where fresh bread baked, pot roasts roasted, and plums were picked. Cousin’s frolicked from daylight to dark.

Truth is the only voice that could scare any of us kids from silly to straight was the voice of Uncle Dwayne.

Dad and Uncle’s were threatened within an inch of their life by little firecracker Gramma Great if they showed up with facial hair.

Someone was always playing a card game at the kitchen table, and the yellow phone that hung on the wall rang often. Grandma could be seen talking, laughing and holding one of her extra long cigarettes.

Birds squawking because one of us kids always seemed to be pestering them. I use the word pestering because I can still hear Gramma Greats voice, “Quit pestering the birds.”

There were several birds inside that kitchen. One cage sat under the phone on the wall. One sat under the window in the middle of the long counter top. ( I say long because as a small child it looked extremely long )

I revisit those days and recall the cranky little dogs she had that wanted no part of a kids cuddle. You didn’t mess with her dogs. You knew whatever hid behind it’s smashed in face would come out and eat you alive.

I’m sure my siblings, cousins and myself would all agree that those days were the good ole days for us. The “Original 5” of us. Our imaginations took us anywhere we wanted to go.

How did we all come to be what I call the “Original 5?”


My parent’s had intercourse, Aunt and Uncle did too. BAM, just like that the Nill’s had their very own mini militia. Well okay, you got me. It didn’t happen that quickly but we most definitely were a force to reckon with, especially as a group.

You will read much more about time with cousin’s in another chapter.

Being the oldest, and what looks to me to be as the loudest and the boldest, and best cook. I can’t help feel they aren’t fibbing when they say the oldest child is always the one controlling the others.

One day I tried to poison us all. ( hence best cook ) You will enjoy that part of the book as much as I will enjoy writing it. The poison berry part.

I have always wanted to be a fly on the wall when everyone held me for the first time.

A first for everyone. A new Nill baby.

My parents were Highschool sweethearts. In fact Mom still attended Ferris Highschool when her and dad got engaged.

Young love. Does it get any better than that? My Aunt and Uncle had their very first kiss under the historic Riverfront Park Clock Tower.

Photo credit to Spokesman.com
The Clock Tower
The first kiss for Uncle Dwayne and Aunt Patty Nill

I’m fascinated most by history. The history of those I love the most. Not necessarily talking war unless it was a war that a loved one may have fought personally.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect all history. I believe it to be a treasure; However, not the kind of treasures I’ll write about.

Where I came into the mix all started in Japan in 1973 with what I can only imagine was Plum Sakè and pot. How could you not be drunk or stoned in the 70’s? No one has neither confirmed or denied this so I have made it my signature.

PLUM SAKÉ & POT = The life and story of Lynn Rilean Nill.

By the way, Plum Saké is a Japanese Wine, and Pot?, Well it speaks for itself. If you don’t see the reference, it is aka Marijuana. The Mary Jane. Reefer, according to research a reefed sail resembled a joint, and I can’t leave out old faithful’s. Grass, weed and dope. Dope was dropped when they started using it as another name for Heroin.

My dad was stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base, in Yokosuka, Japan. That was a part of his active duty in the United States Navy.

On one of what I can only imagine being a wild night for my parents; 9 months later here I came. The first daughter. The ring leader to be. The bossy one. The control freak. The Mom. The Teacher. ( Playing house and school was always a fun past time )

Thankfully they were back home in Spokane, Washington by the time I was born, because I can’t imagine having to have lived without my Grandmother.

Grandma was a great record keeper.
5 month old me.

My parents were young and new at the parenting gig. In love with me? Yes. I believe my parent’s fell in love immediately after the shock and awe of my fetal existence settled in. Still don’t know if they were trying to have me or if I just slid in to home head first unexpectedly. Either way, I’m here.

A spade is a spade. They were about to have a child to take care of. I suppose you could say they were both products of their childhood as so many can relate to. None the less, they loved me and I know that with all my heart today.

Just stamp ‘Made in Japan’ somewhere across my butt so that you know where I came from. A joke I always heard.

I fell back into a bottle of Plum Saké a few time’s into adulthood. You’ll read more about that in a different chapter.

They say alcoholism is a disease. I suppose it was most definitely in their blood that night and was passed down to me the night I was conceived. This is a small section of my fairytale, where I get to blame everyone else for my poor choices.

I didn’t truly discover until I was well into adulthood that it’s in the dna; But, it is also in the decision making.

I searched aimlessly for a bottom of something I didn’t even know existed. I couldn’t see it was all in my heart.

46 years later I’m sitting here grateful for every single rock I ever tripped on.

I’m blessed that where I came from never left me when I tried to make it disappear a few times too many.

I will forever honor the home that I come from. I plan to write about each and every person that ever touched my heart or influenced my life.

My very first bumblebee sting
happened to the right of those steps on the hill.
The hill we loved to roll down as kids.
The yard that always made everything better.

From people to playgrounds, I will write, represent, and honor my family.

Maybe I will never get all the way back home in the end, but I’ll most definitely make them proud of where I come from.

Spokane,Washington. Home of the Zips burger, fish and chips, Manito Park, Grease, The Wizard of Oz, and many more memories. It’s very hard to limit them in a blog entry.

Once my book is complete and is available to have and to hold, you will read more about the many memories I have crammed into my brain from childhood in Spokane, Washington.

Jennie, Riley and Lynn Nill
First day at a new school.

You can leave Spokane. Just remember, Spokane will never leave you.

2020 Smith, Lynn Rilean

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