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Memories
George Partch
 

I meet Mead in the spring of 1961, The 6th grade was nearly over and he was new in Sunnyside. During the lunch break 20 kids would try to catch fly balls hit by a couple of batters, If you caught the ball then you became the hitter. He had a glove & I didn’t, he caught one and flipped me his glove on the way to hit, we became fast friends. Mead, Mike (Matthews) & Me played together all that summer, basketball & camping in the back yards. At twelve years old he read everything put in front of him, all of the James Bond books for fun. He started his own local chapter of the Hayley Mills fan club, I think there were 3 members. Oh ya, and his Dad had Playboy magazines in a desk in the basement

 

We both turned out for the 7th Grade baseball team, though neither of us was very good. The only fist fight I was ever in was with Mead between 1st & 2nd base. We threw a few wild haymakers and wrestled to the ground, we weren’t good fighters either. It was my mothers turn to pick us up and he left practice early , called her and said I had a ride. It was a half hour before I realized she wasn‘t coming. I don’t remember why we fought, and I think it took a few months to put it behind us.

 

Mead was the first to turn 16 and got his license right away. The size of our world was suddenly much larger. The 3 of us would drive to Grandview, play pool , hang out or just cruse. In the summer of 65 you couldn’t go more than 30 minuets with out hearing ‘satisfaction’ by the Rolling Stones . It was great fun, even if it was his mothers Studebaker Lark. Mead moved to Chelan before the start of our Junior year, we remained in touch.

 

He had an old green dodge with a 3 speed overdrive transmission and we went for a ride to Granger. There had been a thunder storm, the kind that rains an inch in an hour then the sun comes out and everything is dry but the puddles. Granger was a little town and most of the streets were a gravel or dirt mix and the puddles were 3” deep and as big a small lakes. We sat in the shade under a tree, Mead at the wheel & when a lady eased her car slowly into the middle of the puddle he punched it. We hit the puddle at 30 mph and I still see her face as a 10 foot wall of dirty water swamped her clean vehicle. We quickly left Granger.

 

The three of us decided to try for a job at the Alcoa Aluminum plant in Wenatchee. We soon found out they had a weight requirement, I didn’t weigh enough & Mead was just plain skinny. No problem, he strung a rope threw some dumbbell weights and tied it around his waist under a loose jacket. We didn’t get the job. I lived with him in the middle of an orchard in the fall of 68. I was going to YVC and he worked at the orchard & got the house for free. He had an old VW bug and completely rebuilt the engine, having no prior experience. He drove off to test it out, got a few miles and the engine seized up. He must have got it fixed because I remember riding in that car. I think he could just read about something and do it. He had a temper sometimes. I saw him jam his hand working on an old Plymouths muffler, he began raving & pulled an ax out of the trunk and attacked the quarter panel. My uncontrollable laughter probably didn’t help.

 

I last saw Mead in October of 1969. I was headed for the Marine Corp and I think he was on his way to Seattle or California. I didn’t need my 58 Chevy anymore and he needed a car. I signed the title over to him and we said goodbye, fully expecting to meet again. We never did. I read once that you will never have any better friends than the ones when you were young.

 

George Partch

Judi Morgenson
 
I really appreciate the website you have created in Mead's memory. He also touched my life, and he was especially kind to me the last several years. I enjoyed his visits when he came here to see Christina and the girls (and speaking of his skills, I'll never forget when he installed a bi-fold door to the basement for me, because I mentioned there was a draft coming up the stairs). It seems our lives have been intertwined for a long time, and it all started in Yosemite. I have fond memories and will always have a special place in my heart for Mead. Love to you all.            Judi
Valerie Mendenhall Cohen
 
GUNS: Mead and I were Road Patrol Rangers in Yosemite's Tuolumne Meadows, in the late 1970s. Unlike the Park's "Top Brass," Mead didn't care that I was a female. One summer, the Powers That Be decided to save maintenance money by having the Road Patrol Rangers clean the johns at Tioga Pass. The order included the directive that the female person (me) should clean the Women's side, while the male person would clean the Men's. We took one look at the nasty, stinky job and decided we were not strong-willed enough to clean bathrooms, unless we did it together (Anyway, the maintenance employees made more money than we did). Soon a crowd of park visitors gathered outside, peeking in the door, dazed and amazed the see two bathroom attendants hard at work scrubbing toilet-rims, wearing holsters, guns, handcuffs, and pepper-spray on their belts. BEANS: the summer of 1979, our Seasonal Training took place in the Valley, and those of us from outlying areas were housed in tent cabins in Camp Curry. The first night convinced me and Mead that we would never, ever return. Mead suggested that we camp out at the Shooting Range (an old quarry) at Big Oak Flat, to which we both had keys. He had food, he said. Beans. What he didn't say was that he had a HUGE pot of beans, to last us the whole week. As each day passed, I made certain that the beans were boiled longer and longer. By the last night, they were tasting quite sour. I was convinced I was going to come down with some horrid disease, but I survived. The Shooting Range was a superior place to camp, by the way ... quiet and with beautiful views ... a good antidote for the daytime culture of Law Enforcement Training.
Judy Hargis
 

I am Mead's cousin and have memories going back to our childhood. I have many wonderful memories of  family gatherings in the mountains or at Grandma Mer's. Mead and I stayed in touch off and on over the years. He had mountain climbing in common with my brother Tom. Our correspondence was more about our lives and families. What I remember most about Mead was how much he loved his daughters, Heather and George. He was so proud of them both. He would write about their activities and lives, the things that they were involved in and you could easily sense what an important part of his life they were. He wrote me when his first grandchild was born and sent me a picture of this adorable baby sitting on his lap. He was so proud, excited and happy. He was looking forward to his new role as a grandpa and all that was ahead. Mead's life ended too soon but it was well lived and filled with love of family, the outdoors and adventures. I know that he will be greatly missed by family and friends. I will miss him. Even though our adult relationship was  mostly through correspondence, I will miss the connection.

 

Photo: Mead (far right in red hat) with cousins and friends

Heather Beitler (Hargis)
 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this page.  I did not know so many of these stories.  They are making me laugh and smile.  My dad was the most wonderful father.  My Papa Bear.  I too will add a story or two.... just not yet.  Thank you for the cards, flowers and prayers.

Heather

Total Memories: 17
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