Welcome to The La Center Historical Museum

Candy's Oral Interview

La Center Historical Museum

Clark County Stories


Interviewer: Suzi Terrell 

Narrator Name: CANDY FALK

Interview date and time: 8/04/18   10:00am

Interview Address: 628 E 18th St., La Center, WA

Transcriber:  Sharron Sunny Cathcart   January 2021


Suzi: Hello I'm Suzi Terrell with the La Center Historical Museum and I'm chatting with Candy Falk. Today is August 4, 2018 and we are going to chat about how she came to Clark County. The first question I want to ask is what is your real name? I have heard a story that Candy Falk is not your real name.

Candy: It is Donna.

Suzi:  How do you get Candy out of Donna? My aunt when I was little. She used to slip me little tiny candy bars. She always called me Candy, my mother did not appreciate it. It stuck all these years, and Linda Tracy asked me if I had any family history documented? I said yes because of the history on the Brother's side, that was my maiden name. So, she went all through it and said I cannot find you? I said these were my parents and she says but it says Donna Lorraine and I said yes, I know. Do not worry about that.

Suzi: All these years you have gone by Candy?

Candy: Since I was about five years old.

Suzi:  Do you want to talk about where your family came from? And how you came to Washington?

Candy: Originally my dad’s family came from Norway and areas around there, they came over in 1883 and homesteaded about a quarter of a mile from where we are on Mull road. And then my grandpa Pete married Della Brothers. And this is how they built a lot of the boats He was a captain. I never knew my grandma she passed away before I was born. That is where the Brothers part comes in. Before that the Anderson's married into the Brothers family and that's how that is all connected. My grandpa gave my dad 5-7 acres and that's when he built the house up there. That was during the early 40s and they didn't know what to do with me. So, they were digging a hand dug well. They put me down the well. It was only about four feet deep. I was dropping the nails down the knotholes. And metal was very expensive at that time. So, I had my own playpen. I always loved it up here and when I was stressed out from school or work, I would take the car and I would drive up here. We’d been living in Northeast Portland and Murray said would you like to move back to La Center. I said you do not have to ask me twice. And that was 34 years ago. Of course, our kids thought we were crazy moving out so far and I said, there is a freeway.

Suzi: You had been living in the greater Portland area?

Candy: Yes, I want to the girls Poly high school and then I worked for the phone company and then I started at Portland State and little by little I got my degree and I started teaching in Beaverton. I taught there for 23 years, I came out here and had a year's worth of retirement and then an acquaintance was using a field to hay. Murray said were not going get anything out of the field we might as well plant something. And offhandedly I said we should plant black caps. And he said what's that? And I said black raspberries. We took a couple of classes at WSU and one of the professors who had a bunch of letters behind his name said you do not want to do that you will lose your entire investment, they will die from root rot, mold and a whole bunch of other things. He said everyone's taking them out and no one's putting them in and I said were going to put them in. He said you're not listening everybody's taking them out, that was 24 years ago. We still have some of those original planted berries. That is how we got started with that. And one day we had 900 pounds that we did not know what to do with. We were selling them off the porch. Carla Coombs gave us the name of her processor down in Newberg who we worked with for 23 years. We took down the berries and my recipe and the following week we were at the Vancouver's farmer’s market. And it has mushroomed since then.

Suzi: And Grandma Candy’s jam was born?

Candy: We’re in the Hockinson market, and Linda Cotton who has a great big white tent on 503 near Brush Prairie and carries our stuff. And I'm going to approach grocery outlet in Woodland. It's going … what we are going to do when we truly retire - I have no clue?

Suzi: Is your granddaughter involved?

Candy: Yes, Heather and Ben do the Vancouver market every weekend. She just took down an order. A lady called and said are you still doing the Vancouver market and I said yes, and she said here is what I want, and I will pick it up there. So, we marked it and we’ve got two mail orders to send out. It keeps going and everyone is asking for the apple butter. In the fall when the apples come in. When we were tied up with that new processor there was no way we could order the apples as we had no way to process them.

Suzi: How many acres do you have of the berries?

Candy: About 2.5 acres. And we get 45,000 pounds a year. And I will contact the people that have Annie's because their bushes are overloaded and see if I can't have a couple of my kids go over and pick a couple of hundred pounds and buy them from them and then we can add them to our Black Raspberry and Blueberry jam. We will not have to buy blueberries from an outside source.

Suzi: Do you buy the apples from others?

Candy: Yes, when my granddaughter said you have to put your apple butter on the market. I said I have six apple trees. She said you could find someone who doesn't spray. So we get all of our apples from Randy in Parkdale. The thing is I'm worried about smoke from the fires. It might have affected the apples.

Suzi: I hadn’t thought about that.

Candy: We will go up there mid-September and he will peel them, and I will taste to see if we can use them. I hope we can. Because I'm going to need up to 20,000 pounds.

Suzi: Wow, that is a lot.

Candy: My processor said that she can process that many. She will keep them in cold storage and process them. A couple hundred pounds at a time.

Suzi: You and Murray do all of the labeling of the jars? And then you deliver them to the stores that you sell in?

Candy: Yes, we were in Astoria yesterday. And we will be in Eugene on Friday.

Suzi: You just have not slowed down a lick.

Candy: I do not know what it means to slow down. My son Larry accuses me of being a workaholic. And I said how do you know I'm a workaholic? I've always been this way.

Suzi: Comparing you to a lot of other people, you are a workaholic.

Candy: This is a funny story. It doesn't have anything to do with the museum. I got a Christmas card from one of the gals at Cherry Grove. And she said I found these cards and realized that I didn’t mail them at Christmas time. She said tell me your secret. How do you do everything that you do? We go to Cherry Grove and Shannon from Highland Lutheran goes with me because I still have a hard time lifting the big bags and there is a man who purchases new coats, and we get 20-30 at a time. And then we pick up whatever food they have collected for the food bank. One of the other gals was there and she said are you here again? And I said oh yeah coats and the food bank. Said how do you do everything? I said I just do.

Suzi: I know you are involved in many things. Did you teach here in Washington?

Candy: I substituted in La Center for a little while off and on for the first-grade teacher. I got a kick out of her. When I was called back, she came in and looked over the report and said to the secretary she is mine. Mainly Yale and Green Mountain with some substitution in Woodland.

Suzi: Green Mountain? You and Murray took us there when you were showing us around when we first moved in. It is a cute little school. I heard that it's one of the richest around. Because they had natural gas?

Candy:  PPL owns all of those dams and those things on the river. And the school district gets a lot of that revenue. The Yale school, which is 10 miles east of Merwin, Woodland was going to close it and have those kids go to Woodland. There was a meeting in the gymnasium that exceeded the fire code. I went down, Margaret's letter was the first to be read and it was scathing. As you've heard the stories of Margaret. I was next up to testify and I said go ahead and try to consolidate. And we will tell you why, which one of you kind men are going to ride the bus every day and clean up the potty messes from the kindergartners? And they looked to me like who is this person? Julia gets up and says go ahead and try it. We have the original agreement. We were a school district of its own we will take the money with us. Two years later Yale got the award/ grant from the state of Washington giving them $25,000 to spend however they want. They called it a school of distinction award. Rural and necessary. And that was the end of them trying to fight.

Suzi: This is interesting.

Candy: If you drive up 503 past Crescent Bay and those parks, there is a fire station, and you will see the school on the left-hand side. The parents originally built the gymnasium. There's a new gym there now and I'm sure that's where they used the money.

Suzi: And Yale was saved.

Candy: We been doing jam the last 3-4 years of my substituting. I kept telling Susanna at Green Mountain that this was my last year and she said I’ll call you and you will come.

Suzi: She knew you.

Candy: Like I told the market master that this was our last day at the market and we were there again last year.

Suzi: Tell me how you found time to write your books?

Candy:  The first one is finished, and it's been out for 8-9 years. The library has it. One is called “A Gospel Fulfilled” the other is “A Promise Hoped”. And I have three pages that are written out in longhand to put on the computer to do the synopsis and the dedication and that is it. Larry will come out and do the formatting. You take it from a 8.5 piece of paper and then the title appears. Then the author and the page number. Murray’s taken a picture of the lilac bushes that are on the front cover. We send it off to creative space and they print up the copies and then I have them in a few weeks. I started the third one which has nothing to do with this one.

Suzi: Is the second book a sequel? >> Jeanette our pastors wife asked when the sequel was going to come out and I said there was not going to be a sequel. Driving from Battle Ground to home I had the entire sequel playing in my head. And I said I guess I'm doing a sequel >> Isn't that the way that inspiration strikes? I probably did 3-4 handwritten pages. The total standalone book I’m writing is about an Oregon state senator who abuses his wife, and she gets a fake idea and leaves with her young daughter.

Suzi: Oh, my goodness, that’s totally different. That is great. Did you also write a children's book?

Candy: Yes, it's called the adventures of Bruno and Izzy. How that got started my dad when I was little was a night watchman for a while. It was next to the lumberyard, and he asked if he could have the pine scraps. He would carve little wooden animals, paint them and give them personalities and tell me bedtime stories. I wanted a legacy to leave to my grandchildren. So, I wrote the book, it has illustrations, a niece and a friend of mine did the illustrations. She could only do it at certain times because she was in the Master’s program at age 19. She's brilliant. So the book was published by creative space and I got 35 copies and I gave one to each of the kids and grandkids, and then my great-grandson when he was 14 years old, I called his mom and asked what he wanted for his birthday and I could hear him in the background and he said I want my own copy. His mom would say be careful Nana wrote that. And we don't want to get it dirty. Heather’s son who does the market, so I know that the kids have their own copy, but I asked her, have you told him the stories and I said you need to start telling them some of the stories. Just make them up and use the animals. So I guess she will.

Suzi: That is really great. Tell me how you got so involved with the museum?

Candy: That's pretty obvious, Margaret was being honored. And she came up and said “Candy” I responded, “Yes Margaret.”  “You have a lot of history in this area and I have not seen you at the Museum.” This is before we had a place. I think we're meeting at the TDS building. And she said, “I expect to see you the next week”.  “Yes Margaret.” And that was it. Couple of years later she said, “Candy I want you to be vice president.” And I said, “I'm not the kind.” And she said “No, no matter.”  So, several months later I was vice president for a few years. You do not tell Margaret no. She was such an inspiration I wish you would've had a chance to know her. She was the kind of person that everyone could aspire to be. She was very well-off and was very generous. She came from very humble beginnings. You probably heard that her childhood home was washed away underwater.

Suzi: I read her book “The Water Babies”. That was a very interesting book.

Candy:  I have a nice note from when we attended her service. If I wanted to go through any of her stuff to let them know. It was quite a compliment in one section of the scrapbook I have it on dark green paper. Because Margaret was raised in Yale Valley which is very wooded. I have the newspaper articles on green paper, the whole section the other ones are on other paper.

Suzi: You put together quite a legacy. How many scrapbooks have you done?

Candy: This is the second one. The other one is in the museum.

Suzi: It's a wealth of knowledge and history every time I go through it I find something new that I barely glanced at in the past. Some of the information. I find it fascinating.

Candy: I met up with Margaret’s daughter, Gladys before she passed away. It must be her daughter-in-law. Because it's Linda Gunderson upon Aetna Road. And that's where Margaret lived. We got to talking because she wanted to buy some jam for a basket for the music Association raffle. She came up to the house and we talked for three hours. I'm going go down to her place. I am waiting until the death of Gladys settles down and then were going to go through some stuff and have a nice chat.

Suzi: I am sure that there's tons of information that we would happily glean history from.

Candy: Margaret was a very generous person. I told you about the time that she called me around 11:00 A.M. and said, “Candy I want to go to lunch.” I said, “What time”? And so, I drive up to her place and I open the door and she said “We're taking my SUV” she had a Cadillac SUV and I said please do not let anyone hit this car. So I started for the freeway and she said “Turn here.” She was telling me about everyone's house that she knew along the way and it took us three hours to get up to the Columbia Gorge Hotel where she wanted to go. Then we had a nice two-hour lunch on the patio and then we came back going the back roads. I have a picture at the Columbia Gorge Hotel and a picture of the both of us, she was quite a lady.

Suzi: Was that how you got involved with the friends of the library? I can't remember the exact history of when the buildings were moved over.

Candy: I can't remember the date, but I do have it at home. I also have the original picture that came out in the little paper. There was a paper from the Vancouver museum. It was slick paper; it wasn't regular newspaper print. And it showed them moving it up there. There was a parade. People in town turned out to see this dilapidated building moved. Of course, you know the story of Margaret and the fire department? They were going to use it for a test burn. Margaret marched up there and she has the deed in her hand and says you put that down right now. This is my building and it's going be the new La Center library. Do you hear me?

Suzi: They were about to do this practice burn. The fire department was all there ready to do the fire burn. It was another “Yes Margaret” moment. She arranged for the movers to move it to the current location. It was on the hill where the dental office is. And some people turned out to watch the building be moved. They sold the bricks and had spaghetti dinners and they had a bunch of other fundraisers.

Suzi: How long did it take for them to move until they opened it?

Candy: A couple of years. There were some codes that had to be done. Stairs in case there's a fire and elevator for the handicap. Foundation, practically everything had to be rebuilt. Margaret oversaw all of it. It had to be historically correct. If it wasn't historical it had to be a concern about safety.

Suzi: I assume that it took even more time for the library system to get in there and get set up?

Candy: I'm not sure how long that took. There were a lot of dignitaries that came out. Bill Walton came and the Vancouver mayor and a bunch of others. Because of her we have our library. When we moved here there was a real estate office in a café where the casino is now. If you wanted a book you reached into the bookcase, pulled it out took it home, and you either returned it or brought a different one. And then Ruth Rivers and I were on a community education committee and I said it would be nice to have the bookmobile out her. Her husband was on the city Council at that time and she told her husband even Candy thinks we need to have a bookmobile out here. And in a few months the bookmobile arrived. And that's what we had until the library. When I was subbing at Yale schools, they had the bookmobile that came every two weeks and now they are getting their own library out there. And Julie and her sister are both responsible for that.

Suzi: That is a good deal. Let’s backup to Bill Walton. I have heard stories that he grew up out here in La Center, and that he was part of a commune at one time?

Candy: As you go down the Pacific Highway, I'm not sure which road it is on. To the right of this road, there is a log building. And that is where they met. On the corner where Anthony's is, they had a bakery. And that's how they made their money. Of course, they had marijuana too.

Suzi: Was it a big deal? A big population?

Candy: Maybe 50 people, they kept it quiet. The one thing that was scary in this was happening in the early 80s we were having lunch at the La Center Café, and here came this great big, long limousine and I said oh shit, pray that they go somewhere else. We thought that they were looking for land out here. They had taken over Antelope. Their population outnumbered the voters, they went right on, and I said thank you God. It was scary to see them come through a small town like La Center where you probably had 600 people. Very tiny, a lot of interesting things have happened before the casinos went in.

Suzi: I am amazed to see how many businesses have been here in your scrapbooks. The story of the two pharmacies and the man who burned one down.

Candy: He basically killed himself in the fire.

Suzi: Two pharmacies?  Wasn't there a photographer's studio in between?

Candy: I do not remember. There was a drugstore. I'm not sure where that was that you could take your film to be developed. Where it went from there I do not know? I think there was a shoe store. There was Rhodes Mercantile, and they carried everything. This was when we lived out here when I was five years old before we moved to Portland. My parents were in there talking to the owners and we knew them because we were related to them, we were looking around and they were looking for me and my mother was mortified. I was sitting in the window on the toilet seat. I had never seen a toilet before, because where we were, all we had was an outhouse. So, this is the brand-new display. She raced up there and pulled me. I can still remember her pulling me off. It was a regular general store with everything. You could buy bags of flour and tools and whatever. There are so many things gone now. All of those stores and the skating rink which was a big deal.

Suzi: It was. How long did that last?

Candy: I think it closed down in the early 80s, the building was still there. The skating rink and then to one side was the La Center Café. And then next to that was a real estate office and it has evolved a lot. Were you here when there was a gas station, I forget the name of the man who ran it. He had a monkey the kids would come in feed the monkey peanuts there was a woodworking shop. That would build chairs and repair stuff. And stuff like that. I think I was telling you about Maddie Sheldon? I read in the book that she was a midwife. The funny thing about her, some of us from the Imperial skating rink in Portland came out to skate. They would close down on the weekends. And the fellow who had the car was low on gas and I said I know where we can get gas and he said there is nothing out here. And I said trust me, so I knock on the door at 11:00 P.M. and Maddie answers the door and says what do you want. I said we need some gas. Maddie said who are you?  And I said I'm Pete Mose’s granddaughter. She said okay but don't wake me up at this hour again. There were some real characters out here. And then up by us the Sorenson's, did I tell you about the blueberry buckle?

Suzi: No, I didn't recall that.

Candy: In 1982, Kevin Anderson who is also a cousin. He had made some blueberry buckle and taken it up to Ralph and said you give this to Candy and Murray. So no thank you, no acknowledgment, no nothing. And he said did you give them the blueberry buckle? He said that I didn't know when they were coming so we ate it. And he said it was very good.

Suzi: A little too much temptation.

Candy: They had a general store and the gas station. It was very much like the View store where they had gas stations until a few years ago and then they took it out. Looks like someone else has recently remodeled it.  Yes, it's now called Cole’s. I've been in there a couple of times. It’s nice, clean, and small. If I need a quart of milk, I'm just going head up there and forget going to Safeway in Woodland.

Suzi: You seen so many businesses come and go what would you like to see move back in or move back up to the junction?

Candy: I would like to see a skating rink or something for the kids. When you have activities for the kids most of them stay out of trouble, when they don't have anything to do that's when they get in trouble, they get bored. When Jim was the Mayor, we proposed a good-sized community building. One with the swimming pool, basketball courts, meeting rooms and etc. They even took a trip to Ocean Shores, Washington, they have a great community center. And how they pay for it is the people in the town pay for it in their taxes. The people outside of town that want to use it pay for it on a use basis. Which seems fair. They have rooms for cards and crafts and crocheting, needlework whatever. And it’s just like, the athletic club certain activities on certain days of the week. At certain times.

Suzi: Did they have the wheel club here in town?

Candy: Yes, probably since the 40s. Were you proposing that they use that land for a new building? Or was there another piece of property? >> What I had proposed was that they use the land east of the post office. That would've been a really nice piece and close to town.  We supported Woodlands swimming pool since when we first got here in the early 1980s. And it still hasn't been put in.

Suzi: I didn't know that Woodland had a swimming pool?

Candy: They don't, there were arguments about it between Hansen and Dodi about where it was going to go. So that's one of the reasons that it got held up. And now the YMCA is now involved. To run it once it gets built. Who knows when?

Suzi: What you think about the building going on here? All the homes?

Candy: I do not like it. It's going to put an overload on the schools, my teacher voice is talking now.  And if the families of the casino workers move down here, then that's a double overload. How many years is it going to be before you need another school? I am glad they didn't do the one on Walnut Road. It's too far away. I like the fact that they have the campuses close together. It evens the playing field. In Beaverton the schools that are in the well-to-do districts got everything first. And others had to wait. Sometimes kids had to sit with their coats on until 11:00, until the furnaces kicked on. They will not be able to go up the hill for any development. Because the hill is quicksand and clay. If you go up that hill in the wintertime after a lot of rain you will see that.

Suzi: Highland Hills?

Candy: Brother Road, in order to put in water, they had to go up and around.

Suzi: Tell us about when you were teaching, I'm just curious about the attitudes of the students. Were they still respectful at that point? I haven't been inside a school in a long time. The stories I hear of disrespect to teachers and to each other and the bullying. I am curious, have you experienced any of that? Or was that before kids started developing these attitudes?

Candy: When I was in Beaverton there was a lot of discipline that they had to do. I had a girl that would throw a chair across the room, and it would take three teachers to hold her down. When I was subbing out here it was like I had died and gone to heaven. There was no problem. Most of them are apostolic Lutheran and if they were acting up, they would get sent to the office to Suzette who would give them extra work to do plus what they had in the classroom. And she had it all laid out for grade level. And we had parent helpers, the kids knew that the parent helpers knew their parents I had no problem at those schools. Kids were always first-graders, wonderful and I never had any problems because whenever I subbed for a couple of others it was like third or fourth grade. That was before they built the middle school and that's as far up as I go. One day Green Mountain asked me to help and she said these kids know you and I said okay. Well one kid started to act up and I said do you want to go see Suzette? And he said no and that was the end of it >> I think attitudes are changing, and I have high praise for those teachers. I would not want to be in the classroom now. You have to be careful about what you say. Extremely careful. If I could say what I want to say I would talk with junior and senior girls about boys, drugs, and unplanned pregnancies. I would have my you know what in a sling because those subjects would be off-limits.

Suzi: I know that you are involved in the Highland church up there? The oldest church in the state?

Candy: West of the Mississippi. They just celebrated their 140th anniversary.

Suzi: And the little church?

Candy: They use it during Lent and Christmas time, and for weddings, my son was married there. And then they use the other church the rest of the time. We flip-flop back and forth between Highland and Cherry Grove. A friend of mine says when you're not at church I know you’re at Cherry Grove and I said well how do you know that I'm not at the beach?

Suzi: That's a wonderful community that we have here. And I am very thankful for people like you and Murray who know the history and like to pass it down. I know that when we first moved here you showed us around and told us about every nook and cranny that you could find. It is a true blessing for the community.

Candy:  So much of the time in history is lost. And I'm more than willing to share what I now. I wish we could've stayed out here. My mother got very lonesome. My dad was working in the shipyards and took the only car. He had to haul in my grandpa and his brother.

Suzi: So that's when you went to the Portland shipyards?

Candy: Yes, 2-3 years after that.

Suzi: I don't know my timeframe, were you involved in the Van Port flood?

Candy: Not directly. This was Memorial Day in 1948. I would have to look it up. I got a paper booklet called “God's Destruction” that shows the pictures of all of the destruction of Van Port. We had just gotten home from visiting my grandpa and the phone ring and it was the National Guard, my dad was a member of the National Guard. He didn't even bother putting on a uniform. He was out the door. And said the dike broke. He was over there helping rescue people. And one woman was sitting on the roof of her house with her cat in her lap. Unconcerned she grabs her cat and said that I knew somebody would come and rescue me. The devastation was horrible. They cannot build anything on Delta Park because it is a flood plain. They were warned an hour before, that the dam had a crack in it. And the people who took the call thought it was a prank from two Portland State students.

Suzi: How many people drowned in that?

Candi: There was some lives lost. They got most of them out. These were the houses that were built for the workers of the shipyard. They had kitchens and were home to so many families. There were some in Southeast Portland near Kellogg lake. Is not really a lake. But anyway. An area that was pretty bad. I get upset when the governor or the president want to send all the National Guard over to foreign lands. Who is going to protect our shores? This is what the National Guard was created for. To protect our shores. And then the other military can go over to foreign countries. Things and times change.

Suzi: And we move on. Do you have anything you would like to add any other stories? I don’t want to put you on the spot.

Candy: You have the Columbus Day storm. I was on my way to work at the phone company and as the driver says I'm only going as far as the bus yard and I said that's fine. I figured that I could catch a different bus. I walked to my aunt’s house a block away and she said call your mother and let her know you're here. But there was no phone line because of the 100 mile-per-hour winds. It was three days before they had the phone lines fixed and on the fourth day when I was able to get to work.  I was chastised by the supervisor about why I was not there. And I said there was a storm, and I couldn't get here. And then for the next couple weeks they had us stay at the Benson Hotel around the corner so that we could walk to work and take as many calls as we could.

Suzi: How did your mom find out that you are okay?

Candy: Finally, when the phone lines were back up, I was able to get a hold of her. She was taking care of Larry he was about one years old.

Suzi: How frightening.

Candy: It was. The winds were over 100 miles per hour. And Portland had never seen anything like that before. There were trees down and buildings damaged and cracks in cements. It was pretty awful. Is there anything else that you can think of that you want to know?

Suzi: I didn't have anything specific. I just wanted to chat and get some background. I do appreciate you taking some time to do this for me. Every time I do one, I learn more about our community, and that is what I enjoy. I wish I would've known Margaret. She would've been fun to talk to.

Candy: And she could talk your ear off.

Suzi: I can imagine.

Candy: I could have reams and reams of recordings on her. She told me about everyone who lived in these houses and I wish I would've had a tape recorder.

Suzi: I will go ahead and sign off. Thank you again for all of your knowledge and dedication to the community and the museum. I think it is great.

Candy: I feel like I am honoring Margaret. And if I can do that that is fine.

Suzi: That is great. Thank you very much Candy.