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As It Was: Adult Returns to Power House Where He Nearly Died as 6-Year-Old

When Robert Erway Sr. returned as an adult to the Fall Creek Power House where he played as a 6-year-old, it brought back memories, not all happy ones.

The small electric power facility still exists some 25 miles east of Sweet Home, Ore., but Erway’s house and other buildings are gone.

Around 1932, Erway’s only playmate was Dean, three years his senior, who enjoyed tripping or pushing Erway by surprise.  The last of Dean’s pranks almost cost Erway his life.

The power house was off limits, but the boys went there to play.  A huge horizontal generator spun four-inch steel spokes, its coils visible below a hole in the floor.  Suddenly, Dean pushed Erway into the hole, where he received blows to his head and lashes to his back.  He struggled back to floor level, where, after regaining his senses and bleeding profusely, he went for help.

At the front office, the day manager called mom and dad.  Fourteen square inches of scalp were missing, but there was no permanent damage.

Erway lived to tell his story years later in his memoirs. 

Source: Erway Sr., Robert James.  Jewels of The Past.  Southern Oregon Historical Society.  May 2, 1996.

Maryann Mason has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon.