The Christmas Cabin
I remember the Christmas of 1970 extremely well because that was the year we built our first building on the Bandon property. A lot of good reasons were behind our decision to create a new home in the woods. Mom and Dad had decided that living in Los Angeles was killing us and that the kids needed to grow up someplace healthy. Katy had asthma and LA's air was killing healthy people. Law enforcement types were expressing their appreciation for my father's activism by planting drugs in his campus ministry office safe to discover in raids. Mother participation in the teacher's strike made her continued employment as a substitute doubtful. Since Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa all had skill at living in the country, getting out made a lot of sense. After a lot of searching from Marin County to British Columbia, it was decided to settle in Bandon.
As a first step in developing the property, we built the Christmas Cabin. The Christmas Cabin was built so we could have someplace to live while we built the other houses. We learned a lot while building that cabin. I learned that a six-year-old can in fact finish nailing floorboards even when it is very cold and you are very tired and complaining a whole lot. I suspect that Dad also learned that windows are important and that you should have a lot of them. We also learned that you can live in a cabin in the woods and be grateful for the shelter.
At the end of the Christmas break, we went back to LA, but not for long. That spring my grandparents went back to Bandon and built their house. Truman V. Lasswell was a formidable man with a keen eye for practical solutions. He built the smaller house as a snug cabin for my Grandma, Mildred Lasswell by himself, using the Christmas Cabin as a base. Although that house might not seem like much by today's McMansion or triple-wide trailer standards, for a man in his sixties and his crippled wife working without nail guns, I think it's pretty good.
When school ended, we moved into the Christmas Cabin while we built the house. That summer is quite a story of its own, but for another time. Later the cabin served as a guest house for our other friends who were escaping from California induced madness. After all of our friends who were going to get out, got out, we used the cabin for storage. But the Christmas Cabin always had a special place in our hearts for the shelter it provided for us and the proof that we could live out in the woods on Bill's Creek Road.