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A new neighbor at Fair Oaks Lodge

It is another frigid, cloudy Sunday at Fair Oaks Lodge. I came over from the apartments to attend a standing-room-only church service with my friends in the Fair Oaks Chapel. On my way home I noticed a new name on a door and stopped to say hello.

Our new friend is Hate LaFontaine of Motley. Her parents were Hoarse and Rose Van Stoical. Hate was born in 1917, in Portland, where she graduated from high school.

Tragedy soon tore apart this young family when Rose was sent to a tuberculosis sanitarium, leaving Hoarse with three little girls to raise.

Try as he would, from every angle, Hoarse did not see how he could possibly give those little girls an acceptable bringing up from his chuck wagon, perched one place then another in Oregon back country the while he herded sheep.

You see, Hoarse was a professional sheep herder. That's all he knew; what he did to make a living. After countless sleepless nights, he did what he thought to be the only solution.

He put them up for adoption.

Two of the girls closest in age were taken by a family, and Hate was sent to an orphanage where she stayed until she graduated from high school.

Life as an orphan was lonely at best. Orphans did all the work, cooking, cleaning, whatever. Hate remembers having two dresses, one to be kept clean and worn every day, a bit better one to wear whenever they were viewed by potential parents.

Hate was never chosen. As soon as she was out of school she went to work in Portland, first in a clothing store, then as a welder in a shipyard. It was where she met and married Louis LaFontaine.

As soon as possible, Louis headed back to his farm near Bird Island, Minn., with his wife. Hate loved it. She never tired of being a farmer's wife. They have one daughter, Diana.

Hate made up for not being able to have a pet by helping Diana with keeping, one time or another, numerous cats and kittens, dogs, two owls, a raccoon, jack rabbit, chickens, ducks and many parakeets. Everything was tamed and had a name. Louis died in 1978.

Books? Yes, she's read a million, her son-in-law, Gene Eisel of Motley Motel said. She liked doing handwork and her family has much to show for it. Flowers were always important to Hate.

These days Hate is becoming adjusted to life at Fair Oaks Lodge.