All along the river are dams. They were larger than life to me growing up. One had an elevator several people could sit in that took you up and down the side crawling up gigantic stone steps. I found out later the elevators weren’t that rare and some people didn’t even think they were that special of a ride. It was for me. I dreamed of those stairs and imagined giants using the steps to run from the top down into the cool water of the mighty Columbia River.
The dam at Grand Coulee has a visitor’s center that played a movie about the history of the dam and the larger context of the time– a struggling nation, a struggling people. I was in elementary school in a small town and one of the school trips took us there. A man from the Department of Fish & Wildlife talked to us about otters and water safety. I kept the coloring book they gave us among my most treasured things and would only color a page every few weeks. I wanted it to last. Me and my sister bugged my dad so much he took us as a family. We went back every year. It was little more than an hour from home but seemed like a world away. Treasured memories, special times.