Ron's bio
(click on the black links below for city information)

[Hey, a baby photo? I wanted my bio to be a bit different from the standard one found on writers' websites. If all you're interested in is my work as a writer, you need to go to the main bio page and click on "Writing Life"]

I was born in St. Luke's General Hospital in Bellingham, Washington, the closest city with a hospital to Ferndale, about 11 miles away, where my parents, Harold and Darlene, were living at the time. The Terpening family farm, owned by my grandparents, was located just outside Ferndale.

City Hall, Bellingham                  Tennant Lake, Ferndale 

Ferndale, Main Street

St. Luke's General Hospital is now the South Campus of PeaceHealth, a regional medical center. Bellingham (click here to see four photos) is a pulp and paper town and a port city where tourists can drive aboard ferries headed to Alaska. The city, with a current population of just over 67,000, is located 78 miles north of Seattle and approximately 25 miles from the small town of Blaine, which is close to Peace Arch State Park and the border with Canada.

       Blaine harbor                          Peace Arch State Park

I've always felt an affinity with Canada, despite never having lived there. That's probably because when I mispronounced "schedule" at the age of five, using a soft "ch" instead of a "k," my German grandmother Olga Terpening said, "That's okay; that's the way they say it in Canada."

That seems like a good excuse when you make an error. Just say, "That's okay. I'm Canadian."

• • •

My first four years in school were tough because my family moved five times. After living in Pateros and Moses Lake, I attended grade schools in Warden, Ferndale, Wenatchee, Seattle, and Portland (Gilbert grade school). In the second grade, at Lewis & Clark grade school in Wenatchee, my teacher, Miss Betty Payne, marked me down in three areas.

Lake Wenatchee (this and all following photos by Ron)       

For "Avoids quarreling"and "Behaves well in group" she selected "Part of the time" rather than "Practically always," and for "Writing: Forms letters carefully and correctly" she checked "Improvement needed." At least that was a problem of the hand, not the imagination!

Like everyone, I have many childhood memories, but one of the things I remember with no measure of fondness are endless hours spent trudging through neighborhoods in different towns, slipping rolled brochures under doorsills or through the handles of screen doors. As a traveling evangelist, my father had a circus tent in which revival meetings were held, thus the brochures. I prefer to remember the girl in Pateros who would squat and pee her pants for a quarter. That was more entertaining.          Pateros, Washington

The family finally gained some stability when we moved to Gresham, then a small town of 5,000 inhabitants about 14 miles to the east of Portland, where I started the fifth grade. My father was minister of the Free Methodist Church at the corner of Fourth and Roberts. Today the parsonage is owned by the Salvation Army.

Gresham, Parsonage            Gresham Free Methodist Church

My fondest memories, however, are of the public library, which was located two houses away, a beautiful building that today is an historical site.


Former Gresham Public Library

continued (please click next page)

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