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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Free Home Page Stories & Photos
The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit

Covers from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish & BC. An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness
Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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Memoirs of volunteers for the Retired
Senior Volunteer Program, Skagit County, 1989

Part four of six
(Territorial Daughters Picnic)
      We were given a scan of a photo of a Territorial Daughters picnic several years ago, but no one has been able to identify the year. We think this might be the meadow near the original Van Fleet homestead cabin. We hope a reader can help us with details of this and other unidentified photos in this section. Click the photo for a much larger version.

      [Journal Ed. note: We recently discovered a charming little booklet that the RSVP program published in Skagit County during the celebration of the Washington state-centennial in 1989. The book was edited by two members of the staff, Dot Schleef and Char Shipley. Volunteers in the program — 99 in all, provided short vignettes about their lives that are fascinating to read. We hope that if readers know any of the people who wrote below that they will contact us and give us more details. For instance, if they did not indicate, can you tell us what city they lived in, what their spouse's name was, etc. Do you have a photo of any of them or do you know their maiden names? For those who are deceased, we wish them R.I.P. and hope that family can provide information about their death dates and an obituary. Further, we hope that those readers 75 and over will provide us with similar vignettes of their own lives and their families' lives so that we can expand this section in the future. Keep in mind that these volunteers were generally born from 1895 to 1915 and matured during the Depression of the 1930s. They were the generation prior to the "Greatest Generation," as Tom Brokaw named them, the folks who matured during the World War II years.]

Memoirs on this website
Florence Ganske, Mary J. Eichholtz, Tom Eichholtz, Doris Masonholder, Marie Kittle
Thelma M. Richmond, Elmer Richmond, William O. "Bill" Moore, Agnes Dilworth, Mary Lou Gerber
Willnettah Harrison, R. "Bob" Noel, Irene Sollie, Paul D. Power, [14]



Florence Ganske, born 1926
    Any time, any amount, please help build our travel and research fund for what promises to be a very busy 2010, traveling to mine resources from California to Washington and maybe beyond. Depth of research determined by the level of aid from readers. Thank you.
      I was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. I I left home when I was 17 and worked in xx Aircraft Plant as a riveter in Torrance, CA. My husband, Don, and I have been married 41 years this last January. We have three great children, 3 special grandchildren and 2 wonderful daughters-in-law. I have retired as a cook, but working part time at the Iron Skillet. I would rather be called Flo.

Mary J. Eichholtz, born 1895
      I was born in Perry, Ohio. I went to school in Perry. I moved to Washington when I was eleven years old. I grew up in Skykomish. I graduated from the eighth grade. Then we moved to Concrete. I got married and had six children. My hobbies are crocheting and knitting. I started volunteering at the Senior Center in 1973. I worked at the desk. Due to poor eye sight I had to quit the desk.

Tom Eichholtz, born 1927
      I was born at Hamilton, Washington. we lived on a three acre farm. I went the first eight years of school at Hamilton. I have worked over thirty years in nursing homes. My hobbies are stamp collecting, and reading. I have been a driver for Meals on wheels.

Doris Masonholder, born 1908
      I was born in Meridian, Idaho. then moved with my parents to Gooding. we moved on a place about nine miles north. My mother was a seamstress and my father was a carpenter. In Idaho we used to have lots of snow so we went to school in covered sleighs. when we got near town we would get on one side of the sleigh and upset it. Then it would take some time to get things going, so we would be late for school. we had a foot warmer to help keep the sleigh warm but about the only thing they did was to burn a holes in shoes.
      The only heat at our home was by sagebrush which my dad and I used to gather in the summer. We'd take our 22 rifles and shoot rabbits, as they were eating the farmers crops. After I graduated from college, I got a teaching job at Cow Creek, a rural school. There I met and married my husband. After many years, my husband's folks moved here and we came along to take care of them. Again I got into teaching making 22 years.


Marie Kittle
      We always had music in our family. Always had a piano in our house. we made a number of moves, but we always took the piano with us. I always started lessons in the new places, so I had many piano teachers.
      When I was a teenager we were living in a small town. On Sunday afternoons our pastime was piano playing. There were 3 of us girls and we took turns playing. we played popular stuff like, "Yes, we Have No Bananas." I learned a lot from the other girls. I had a younger brother who played a sax. When he was in high school he had a small orchestra. They didn't play rock and roll. I still have a piano and organ in my own home. Music has always been important to me.


Thelma M. Richmond, born 1906
      Born in Exeter, New Hampshire and lived on a farm with grandparents until 12 years old. Graduated from Robinson Seminary at 17, on to Springfield, Mass., Springfield Hospital to become a Registered Nurse. Got married in 1928. I became quite active in church work, Relief and Rehabilitation for Ministers Assoc. 18 years Advisor to Youth Groups, 15 years with Guild for Blind. Came out here on a bus with 33 teenagers to a conference, decided this was it.
      Since arriving here in 1968 seniors and . their needs have been our main interest. Beginning of AARP and the first Senior Service Group are still vivid and years with SCOA and RSVP have proved a rich experience. The Island Hospital Senior Advisory Board plus Meals on wheels help keep my days shining.


Elmer Richmond, born 1905
      At an early age 1 enjoyed making things to help others, food trays and trays for birds. Time was spent with Youth Groups and 12 years with Guild for the Blind. After retiring we found a need for leadership on the Skagit Council on Aging, AARP and Skagit County Park Board and then Northwest Area on Aging. This group took more time and I was glad that they accepted my retirement.
      While this was going on I put together 5 Grandfather clocks which were raffled off. Also designed and built a special chair for a 4 year old girl. At present, Skagit Housing, Meals on wheels, Island Hospital Senior Advisory Board, and Anacortes Senior Center Advisory Board keep me busy.


William O. "Bill" Moore, born 1924
      I was born in a one room cabin on a homestead in Colorado. My folks starved out and a went back to Okla. when I was 6 years old. After graduating from high school went to Seattle to work in the war defense plants. I was drafted into the Army after my 18th birthday and sent to North Africa and Italy.
      After war they were planning on sending me to the Pacific to help win the war with Japan. The atomic bomb ended that war and I was discharged. went back to Seattle, got married, had four children and became a successful building contractor. My smoking habit caused me to develop emphysema and I was forced to retire when I was about 60. My wife and I had major differences so we divorced. I came to Mt. Vernon to live and play until I die. I particularly enjoy playing with the Mt. Vernon Senior Center Harmonica Band.


Agnes Dilworth, born 1899
      Born Grand Forks County, No. Dakota. Graduated from Inkster High School 1918. Graduated from Fairview Hospital School of Nursing in 1922, Minneapolis. Married January 9, 1926 and lived in Belle Plains, Minn. until 1949 when we moved to Santa Rosa, CA.
      My husband died March 25, 1980 and I moved to Anacortes in 1986. Have l daughter, 2 granddaughters, 1 great-granddaughter, 2 step-daughters, 5 step grandchildren and 5 step great grandchildren.


(Territorial Daughters Picnic)
      Another Territorial Daughters picnic photo, another year. We hope a reader can help us with details of this and other unidentified photos in this section. Click the photo for a much larger version.

Mary Lou Gerber, born 1912
      I was born in Tecumseh, Nebraska. At the age of six I moved, with my parents, to Denver, CO, I was an only child but not spoiled at all! My Dad had a drug store so I became a very talented "soda jerk," treating all my friends. I went through school in Denver, leaving in 1931 to attend CO State Teacher's College in Greeley, CO. I there met my husband, Victor. I taught high school and at a credited school of music.
      We had four children, thirteen grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. I moved to Anacortes after the death of my husband in 1977. Became active in RSVP in 1978. Needless to say, my association with the Senior Center has been a very special thing to me. The people are so giving;they are the very best. I volunteer at the desk, Senior Advisory Board, Island Hospital Sr. Advisory Bd. and the Miscues [band].


Willnettah Harrison, born 1916
      I was born in Butte, Nebraska and lived on a farm. I went to a one room school thru 8th grade. Went to high school and graduated in 1934. Lived in Idaho and moved to Chicago, IL for 16 years.
      Moved to Washington in 1958. I worked in the telephone office after graduating from high school. worked in a department store in Chicago and worked at the Bon Marche in Seattle for 15 years. I retired to Concrete. I enjoy working at the Senior Center as a volunteer.


R. (Bob) Noel, born 1917
      I was born in Spokane on Feb. lst. Then my folks moved to a small place in South Central Oregon, called Fort Rock. The only thing I can remember about Fort Rock is when I was 3 or 4 years old, my mother bought me a new pair of sandals. To break them in I went wading in a big tub of pickle brine that was in the store!
      We left there and went to White Salmon. After a short time, we moved across the river to Hood River, Oregon. I remember when they built the bridge across the Columbia River between Hood River and White Salmon. My dad bought a farm out of Hood River and that is where I started school. In l930 my mother and sisters and I came to Seattle and took a passenger boat to Oak Harbor. It was still l930 when we moved to Skagit County. I went to the old McRae school on Cook Road.


Irene Sollie, born l914
      I was born in Kansas. In l92l we moved to Mount Vernon. we came out on the train, six kids, Mother and Dad. we had some very interesting ' happenings. Kids falling out of the top bunks and every time the toilets closed at the depot, we all had to go to the bathroom right at that time. We moved to Avon and I have lived there ever since. I went to Avon grade school. The school is now gone.
      One winter the Skagit River froze over and we were told not to try to walk on the ice. My girl friend and I thought it was safe, so we walked across and we couldn't understand why the teacher thought it was an awful thing to do. I am a charter member of RSVP, so I have been at the Mount Vernon Senior Center for about l7 years. I have enjoyed every minute of it.


Paul D. Power, born 1918
      Born in San Jose, California. Educated in California public schools. Graduated fran San Jose State College. Did graduate work at the University of California. Hold two Masters' degrees; one in English, one in Education.
      Joined the Army in 1942; served three and a half years as an officer in the Counter Intelligence Corps of Military Intelligence. Upon release, taught in high school for four years, became a school principal in 1950. Retired in 1976. Moved to Anacortes in 1983 and bought a house on 10th Street. Began volunteer work at the Senior Center in December of 1988.


See Part One with links to even more of these 99 memoirs of Skagit County old-timers, organized in six sections.

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Story posted on Dec. 20, 2009 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them
This article originally appeared in Issue 51 of our Subscribers-paid Journal online magazine



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