Sibling Assignment # 30: Moscow, Idaho

My mom the day she graduated from the University of Idaho in Moscow in 1967.

For this week's sibling assignment, I asked my siblings to think of a town that evokes memories from a time (or times) spent there. They couldn't write about Kellogg, Spokane, or Orofino. Raymond Pert's is here and Silver Valley Girl's is here.

When we were growing up in north Idaho we often passed through Moscow, Idaho and stopped to visit our Aunt May. There was something about the tree-lined streets, an A&W drive-in, beautiful gardens of flowers, streets named for the presidents, and the buildings at the University of Idaho that I liked. I always looked forward to passing through Moscow.
When my mother was hired to teach school she only had a two-year degree. For many summers during my childhood Mom worked on earning her four-year degree in education. One summer she stayed at Aunt May's during the week while taking classes on campus at the University of Idaho and Grandma stayed with us in Kellogg to help Dad with our care. After my sister was born we had an unforgettable summer in 1966 when Mom, Silver Valley Girl, and I moved to Moscow for the summer term. My brother and dad stayed back in Kellogg, but my brother did come and visit. I loved living close to campus. We could hear the chimes ring at the Administration Building each hour. Later in the day "Here We Have Idaho" played and I could sing the words while taking my sister for walks up the grassy knoll to the famous I Tower. There was a sense of routine and ritual that I loved as we lived in an apartment on the edge of campus that summer.

We did things we didn't often do at home. We made Jiffy Pop, we ate at the A& W, we got yummy homemade ice cream at Roger's. I fell in love with the University of Idaho and Moscow. It was a pleasure each day to walk around campus while caring for my sister. My mom was going to class, studying, and doing projects. I don't know how she did it.
Later in junior high and high school I would return to the University of Idaho for the music festival each year. Again, I was at the same end of campus and I would look down the street at that apartment on Deakin Ave. and up the hill at the I Tower and remember the summer of 1966. Each hour again the chimes would ring and I could look up and see the time on the Administration Building clock. I knew I wanted to return to this campus for college.

The University of Idaho is a beautiful campus. It has a mix of old ivy-covered buildings blended with modern structures. There is nothing more stunning than Hello Walk in the fall when the trees have turned from green to red, orange, and gold.
In the fall of 1973 I did return to Moscow for my college education. I look back fondly on those years. When I was struggling with a class or feeling homesick I would wander back up Hello Walk where I could see the I Tower, that apartment, the Music Building, and hear those chimes play just for me. I could reminisce about that summer when life was simple and I was content wandering that end of the campus. Those rituals would ground me again and I would continue on my way.

As an adult I have continued to return to Moscow to attend reunions, teach, watch sporting events, and visit old friends. The apartment is gone on the corner of Deakin Street. The original A&W at the end of town is also gone. The Music Building is renamed in honor of Lionel Hampton. The I Tower, surrounded by trees, still overlooks the campus from the grassy knoll. The chimes continue to play every hour. I love to return to Moscow and be part of those rituals and routines. I love places that are preserved in time. I love the University of Idaho and Moscow, Idaho.


  1. Laurie5.8.07

    I just love Moscow, too. I find it difficult to explain, but it is a place I love to go, for visits short and long. I may even return to campus next summer to participate in the Grace Nixon Institute. I was able to get all of my master's credits through this wonderful program. I know I'll love just being there again for four weeks. Thanks for expressing your love of this place so beautifully.

  2. I swear I remember going up to the I Tower. A very early memory for me,I must have only been 3. CRAZY!!

  3. Laurie: I know exactly what you are saying. I really need to get there in the fall again. It is my favorite season in Moscow.
    SVG: You were hanging out with the best sister in the universe... of course you would remember it... even if you were three! That's nuts!

  4. When I was applying to law school last year - I came soooooooo close to applying to Idaho .. we looked at Moscow hard. It did and still does look like a marvelous place.

    Great post :)

  5. Great law school and beautiful town. You would have fallen in love with the Palouse and Moscow! It ranks up there with the Oregon coast! :)

  6. That really does look like a beautiful campus!

  7. Rondi: This is only one corner of the campus. It is beautiful.

  8. Great reminiscence! It's sad the A&W is gone, stuff like that is the symbol of small-town America. It's nice you got to experience college-town life before you went to college.

  9. Kudos to your Mom for finishing school with children. . .not an easy task.

    Moscow is a nice place. We lived there for 4 1/2 years, while the Hunk worked on his engineering degree. We lived on Deakin (in newer apts) for a while, and ate Ice Cream at Roger's. Money was so tight, we'd buy one cone and the Hunk, M (our firstborn), and I would split it. Those were good times that helped us appreciate all that we have now.

  10. Janet: I used to love the root beer in the big jugs you could take home!
    PIMD: You can probably picture where the apartment I lived in was. It was at the corner of Deakin and Blake right down from the tennis courts and the Music Building. Now I think it is a duplex. We must have just missed each other in Moscow.

  11. Wonderful post about the U of I. It brought back my own memories of Idaho State. My mom was a pharmacy student there and my uncles both attended post-war plus it was the center of our town and I couldn't wait to go there myself. The old buildings, some of which are gone, hold the most vivid and lasting memories of my whole life. . .reawakened by your tribute to Moscow. Wow, its all coming back to me. Thanks!!


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