Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I’m weary of filling out forms and listing my favorite anythings and pointing out my CV on writers’ websites, social networks, and vocational databases. Here it is, folks: the definitive Mary Scriver. It’s a time-line, but I’ll run this backwards so you can assume that at the end I’ll be born.

Physical address: 709 Montana Avenue in Valier, Montana 59486. PO Box 295. If you’re sending something UPS, use the street address. If you’re sending it via US Mail, use the PO Box. They both know jolly well who I am and where I am, but their rules are their rules. Montana Avenue crosses Highway 44 at the only traffic light (a blinker) and continues north to Cut Bank. If you’re looking for me, turn south. East side of the street.

If you want to send me email, I have an account with under the name of mary.scriver. If you can’t figure that out, the phone here is 406-279-3429.

Why Valier? Because it’s at the edge of the Blackfeet Reservation but just off it, not to get away from Indians (they live in houses adjacent to mine) but to escape political jurisdictions. Because it’s a small quiet pastoral village (pop. 350) founded by Belgian farmers brought here by their Jesuit priest a century ago. Because Bob Scriver’s daughter, Margaret, was a year older than me and graduated from this high school. Because Ivan Doig, who wrote “This House of Sky” about this place, graduated from this high school, went on to Northwestern University in the same class as me, and his roommate dated my roommate, but we didn’t know each other. Because when I lived in Browning, Valier was the place where one stopped for coffee halfway to Great Falls and in bad weather the road was generally open to the south.

And because when I turned up on St. Patrick’s Day in 1999 looking for a $30,000 house, in Valier I had a choice of twelve. In Choteau there were none and the real estate agent had no time for me.

As soon as I bought the house, I went back to Portland, quit my job, put everything in a U-Haul and moved here. My neighbors from across the street helped me empty the truck into the house. Then I sat down and began to write.

1991: City of Portland Bureau of Buildings: clerical specialist, cashier, data entry.

1991: Fired from Heart Butte. (2 years of teaching)
1990: Hired at Heart Butte.

Interim Methodist minister for the Blackfeet Reservation.

Left the ministry and returned to Browning from Saskatoon.
1986: Called to the Saskatoon Unitarian Congregation.
1985: Interim Unitarian-Universalist minister in Kirkland, Washington.
1984: M. Div from Meadville/Lombard Theological School.
1982: Circuit-Riding UU minister for four Montana fellowships (2 opted out). Great Falls, Helena, Missoula and Bozeman were “in.” Billings and Whitefish were “out.”

MA in Religious Studies from the U of Chicago Div School
1978: Entered Meadville/Lombard Theological School and U of Chicago Divinity School in double-degree program.

1975: Designed the education program for Multnomah County Animal Control (contracted to Portland, OR) and became the first education coordinator: officer training, public education, wrote a textbook for AC.
1973: Returned to Portland, OR. First female animal control officer in Portland, OR.

1970: Divorced. Returned to teaching in Browning, MT.
1966: Married to Robert Macfie Scriver in Portland, OR, November 27, Westminster Presbyterian Church.
1961 - 1966: Taught high school English at Browning, Montana, on the Blackfeet Reservation.

Graduated from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
1960: Costumer for Eagles Mere Summer Repertory Theatre, Pennsylvania.

Graduated from Jefferson High School. Best Thespian, Persona Cup, Best Actress of the Senior Class, Better Crocker Homemaker of the Year, full tuition scholarship from NU, finalist for the National Merit Scholarship and the National Honor Society Scholarship.

1953: Graduated from Vernon Elementary School.
1944: Began kindergarten at Vernon Elementary School, Portland, OR

1939: Born at Emanuel Hospital in Portland, OR
Parents formerly rural, aspiring white-collar. Father from the Dakota and Manitoba prairies with a BS from the University of Manitoba and an MS from Oregon State University. Mother from southern Willamette Valley orchard farm with two years of college interrupted by the Great Depression. Sibs, two younger brothers, one now deceased.

Put your questions in the comments. I’ll be adding and updating over time.


Lance Michael Foster said...
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prairie mary said...

Thanks, Lance. I repressed that whole period. Nearly a year of unemployment. Some temp work at a place illegally rewinding huge transformers with Vietnamese labor and a Soviet guy who wasn't really an engineer. Living on my mother's sofa. My brother more and more clearly brain-damaged and hostile. My mother dying of a blood cancer. When I finally got on with the City of Portland, I found it packed with unhinged managers. The downtown streets were "owned" by Hispanic drug peddlers, even in the daytime. All of it covered up and denied.

Sometimes you're just grateful to survive.

Prairie Mary

Lance Michael Foster said...
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Lance Michael Foster said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.