In the middle of the night Tuesday the 26th the town siren went off. Those of us that live in Portage and the people that live on the outskirts know exactly what that means! It is a big, red siren that is attached to a 30-foot pole right outside the fire station. It sounds like one of the sirens that were used for incoming air strikes during World War II. When you first move to town or just visiting, it scares you and any children or grandchildren you might have with you half to death, especially if you have not been warned in advance.
We happen to live kiddy-corner from the fire station and so it comes in loud and clear especially in the late night hours! Our dogs love to hear it and really get excited when it goes off so they can get in tune and sing with it no matter what time of day. You might have already guessed it is an alarm for any medical emergencies, accidents up on the freeway and any calls into 911.
Like I said, the siren sounded off in the middle of the night Tuesday last. All five of us in our house were suddenly wide awake. Yes, the dogs were howling along with the siren. What was different about this time was that the siren went on and on and on and on. The sound hits a high pitch and then comes down and then back up again. If you think about it, I bet you can just imagine it! The sound echoed throughout town and vicinity for a long time, or it seemed like it with all the noise in our house. I knew that the people in charge of the calls were out of town this week and I questioned who it would be racing to the fire station to turn it off. I didn’t time it but it sounded about twice as long as usual. Finally it sounded its last note and went quiet! Of course, by then you are all awake and you wonder what next? Luckily dogs went back to sleep, husband went back to sleep and I must have, because the next sound I heard was the clock alarm at 7:30 a.m.
Interesting people? Portage has a lot of them! One young man has lived here all his life and has a lot of interesting memories. He feels that times are so different now with all the television and technology that is in the world today.
I think he is absolutely right!
“In the winter,” he said, “when I was growing up we would make our own “Cleratous” which was water ice skating. Between the canal and the bridge on the Lane there was a flat place that would have water flood from the canal into it and would freeze solid enough to be able to skate on it. It froze close to the ground so that there was no worry about falling through water underneath and getting hurt.”
Loren John had an old car that he brought down to the area. He would get the car going and cut “Gigies” (circles and designs in the ice)! We had a great time and were sorry when the weather started to warm. He was born and raised in the house that belongs to Bruce and Diana Gibbs. The house was built in stages, first the middle then the front and then the rest of the house. It took some years to become the house that it is now. He was not born in the house but in the hospital in Tremonton. It is the the large brick building across the street from Kent’s and next door to Taco Time.
He remembers when Portage had its own elementary school. He lived across the street and when he was little, too little to go, he would watch outside and wish that was him going to school with his brother Sherman. When it was time for high school, Portage kids bused into Tremonton to Bear River High School.
Both Onetta and Larry Howell served as school bus drivers in those years. He also recalls the cemetery. When we was a kid it was sage brush and no grass but when he was 12-ish the town began planting grass. Maybe you have guessed that this has been about Doug Gibbs! Thank you, Doug, for letting me share these memories.