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Chinese Memorial Cemetery

Johnnie B's daughter, Kim, called me last summer and told me about the six Chinese railroad workers that were killed in a dynamite accident and buried near present day Bliss, Idaho. She had no details and no location. Kim thought I would be interested and go looking for this bit of history. She knows me pretty well. Bliss looks like a small farming town that time has passed by. There is a two-story brick school there at the edge of town, so there must have been money there at one time. The buildings in town are small, inexpensively built and poorly maintained. You wouldn't want to breakdown in that town. I had Red with me and we stopped in the first gas station-convenience store that we came to in Bliss. I talked to the first woman I met in the store. She was a friendly, farmer's wife that worked at the store. I liked her right off. She said she had never been to the cemetery, but her husband had. She said it was west of town, past where the old rodeo grounds once were. I asked how I would know where the old rodeo grounds were and she said to look for a big flat area. Everything around Bliss is a big flat area. I grinned at her, thanked her and started the search. We had a bouquet of yellow Chrysanthemums that we bought at Albertson's grocery store. We ate lunch in Haggerman then spent the afternoon driving around west of Bliss, but when it got late, we called it a day. A few days later I was talking to a couple of Mormon girls, telling them about this adventure. One of them got on her phone and found the coordinates for this cemetery, the other girl took my phone and plugged in the numbers and pulled up a color photo of the area taken about 500 feet up. I recognized the corrals in that area. Red and I went back a day or two later and drove to the corrals. From there we walked about 200 yards toward the railroad tracks. We found the six stone piles not 100 feet from the railroad tracks. I should have known that the railroad workers would not pack them far from the tracks for burial. We still had the flowers in the backseat of the car. I put the flowers on the center grave and paid my respects the way Mr. Lau had taught me when we visited his father's grave in San Fransico. Around the graves was a small barb wire fence with an old 2X10 attached, carved with a pocket knife, which read: Chinese Memorial Cemetery. From here the tracks ran to Glenns Ferry, then Reverse and on to Mountain Home. The only memory I have of the train station in Mountain Home was when I took my brother, Bill, there. He was in his army uniform; his leave was over and his next stop was Vietnam. I saw him off, then drove away in his 1956 Chevy hotrod. He came home a year later skinny, with jungle rot on his feet, but he was alive. Life is good.