Click to enter Cascade Peaks
Click to enter Columbia River Gorge
Click to enter Columbia River Gorge in Winter
Click to enter LDS Temples of the West
Click to enter Don's 2002 Photo Jaunt
Click to enter Don's 2003 PhotoJaunt
Click to enter Acadia to Zion: America's National Parks
Click to enter Presidents' Places
Click to enter State Capitols
Click to enter Eastbank Esplanade
Click to view Vancouver Collage
Click to enter Southern Oregon Coast
Click to enter Don's Favorite Photos
Click to see Pheatured Foto
Click to enter Silver Falls
Click to enter Two Woodland Trails
Click to enter England in the 1950's
Click to enter Don's Photo Gallery

More of Don's
photo series.

Autobiography: Donald L. Mark

The Eighth Decade: 2000-present

My kids grew up to be successful adults:
  • Gareth served in Army bands in various capacities at various locales; after ten years of that he became a professional genealogist. He is now Database Administrator for a .com in Portland, Oregon.
  • Don entered the army right after high school and and drove a tank in Germany; he is now working at Meier & Frank in Portland.
  • Reuel entered the building trades and is a house painting contractor, also in Portland.
My grandchildren are great also!

Well. I never thought I'd make it this far!

Last year (1999) I moved from Ashland, Oregon, to Vancouver, Washington. Why did I do that? Sometimes I wonder. The son who had been living in Salt Lake City obtained a position as a database administrator in Vancouver, and I thought it might be time to live closer to my family. Two other sons live in Portland, which, if you don't know your geography, is right across the Columbia River from Vancouver. Also, my sister and two brothers live in Portland.

My doctor of 20-some years retired, and I thought that since I had to find a new doctor, I might just as well move to where I could join the Kaiser HMO, which I had liked years ago.

I also thought it might perk me up a bit to have a change of scene. And I found a really nice apartment in Vancouver. So I moved.

I have been here a year now, and by-and-large it has been a good year. My three boys, one of their wives, and I have had many great times, mainly in good restaurants eating good meals. We gathered at my place for Portland Trailblazer games on my large-screen TV about 20 times. I had never liked watching sports, and rarely had I been together with all my sons, so that was a new experience for me.

Once a month we meet at one of our houses (in rotation) and have a home-cooked breakfast. My sister and her daughter join us in these. That has been a new and very pleasant experience for all of us. I have especially enjoyed living close to my sister, which I had not done since the early 1960's.

I dropped church for a year. There is a church of my denomination (Unitarian) within easy driving distance. One Sunday morning nearly a year ago I got ready and drove over there. Just as I was pulling in the parking lot I noticed that I had forgotten my hearing aids. No point in going in, as I wouldn't be able to hear. So I drove back home and didn't try it again for a year. Shows you how eager I was to get started going to church!

How I started going again is kind of interesting. The city charities were having a food drive. Just fill bags with food and set them on the porch. Hey, I can get rid of all that Y2K stuff I stocked up on and never used. So I set six bags of food on the porch. Then no one came to pick it up. Bummer. Well, maybe the UU church has a food box. I called, she said sure, bring it in, which I did. I picked up one of their newsletters while I was there. A little notice on the front page said they needed a web manager. I volunteered for that, and now I'm back on track going to church.

I had the bright idea that I could sell my photos on the Internet. I spent many hours sorting, scanning, captioning, and html-ing them. It was fun to do that, and it kept me busy for a while, but I haven't sold many, even though in my opinion the photos are absolutely gorgeous!

Then one day last spring (2000) one of my kids (Don) and I went for a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, which is just down the road. We had been hiking there a little bit before, but this time it really took! I decided to photograph all the falls in the Gorge (there are about 75 or so which are hikeable to). So for the next few months, until the weather got hot and my knees began to rebel, I went hiking once or twice a week. Many of those trails are steep and rough, so it was hard work, but really enjoyable. Generally one of my kids went with me, so that was nice. You can see some of those photos on my Columbia River Gorge section if you like.

I've enjoyed being around my relatives again. I didn't know if I would. A lot of people in Ashland said don't move close to relatives! The further you are from them, the more enjoyable they are. But I haven't found that to be true.

I am now seventy. I want to live to be 89. Then I will have been receiving my retirement pay for as many years as I paid into it. So I still have two more pages of this decade business to write. After 12 years of retirement, I still find it to be the best time of life, and if I had my life to live over again, I'd retire before I even went to work.

That is the story of my life up to now.