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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 five of six
(Unknown saloon 1920s)
      This is another mystery in our series of photos with unknown details. A couple of old timers thought it could have been an early Woolley saloon. Do you know?

      [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
Mona Apenes, Cora Palmateer, Ralph Loy, Evald Gustafson, Myrtle Mae Greenough
Hugh Darrow Greenough, Clyde Whitinger, Martha Harjes, Ruby E. Scott, Leona Ethington
Karen Alexander Dalan, Mae Dunsmore, Margo Frederick, Agnes M. Thompson, Margaret Latimer, [15]


Mona Apenes, born 1909
    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.
      Born in Canada. Received my nurses training at St. Josephs Hospital in Bellingham. Graduated in 1928, and a job was offered in Anacortes. (Very elated, my first job.) Hospital at that time was in a large home off 5th St. Plans were in progress for a new one on 10th and M Ave., which was completed in 1931, with community funds. Now it is the library.
      My life has always been around a hospital. with a need for expansion, the present hospital opened in 1962. I retired from the nursing profession in 1974 after 45 years of service. Now am manager of the gift shop at Island Hospital since 1974, as a volunteer. Am a staunch supporter of the RSVP. My gift shop staff all belong to this. Have seen many changes over the years. All for the best.


Cora Palmateer, born 1907
      My husband, Floyd and our children and I came to Washington in 1941. My cousin had told us what I a wonderful place it was and as we were barely I making a living, we started to get ready immediately. We brought our furniture and had $50 left when we arrived here. Jobs were not easy to find here so Floyd worked at yard work and I cleaned houses. Later we both worked in the canneries, shipyard and a restaurant.
      The wages we got we thought were tremendous, Floyd had been working in South Dakota for $15 and room and board. Floyd passed away in 1984, our daughter passed away in 1977 of cancer. Washington has been very good to me. I'm retired and enjoy playing in the harmonica band. People here are so friendly. [xxadd photo of J. Palmateer] Ed. notexx


Ralph Loy, born 1906
      I was born in a sod house. The walls were about 18 inches thick. The heat was "lug' coal"; lug it in and lug it out. We could get all the coal we could pile on a triple box lumber wagon for $1.00. I went to school in a one room school house in Walworth County, So. Dakota. There were 8 grades in one room with one teacher. Sometimes the teacher was 5'4" with some kids as tall as 7' to control. She had to be a pretty strict teacher. we walked to school, about 1 1/2 miles.
      I tried farming for a living but it didn't work out too good. I couldn't raise wheat for l8 a bushel, so I went to work for the government as a electrician at the Fort Peck Dam. I worked there 3 years. I followed a caravan of 24 cars out to Seattle and the man didn't have enough to send me home, so I stayed out here.


Evald Gustafson, born 1907
      I was born in Anaconda, Montana over an old time Saloon. I went to a log cabin school in Deer Lodge Valley. As a young man I worked on a ranch. The first time I got a harmonica, I was 5 years old. while I was punching cattle I played the harmonica and also played for dances. I used to sing for the Church Choir for 30 years. I moved to Seattle in 1942 and worked for Boeing for 27 years and later moved to Mt. Vernon.
      I joined the Harmonica Band after I retired in 1979. I joined the Masons in 1948 and belong to the Vasa Lodge. I had my pilot's license and started flying in 1932.
      Ed. notexx


Myrtle Mae Greenough, born 1914
      I was born in a little homestead shack near Merriman, Nebraska. I am the 4th in a family of 8; 4 boys and 4 girls. My Dad farmed and raised cattle. When I was 6 months old, my Dad broke his right leg so he took care of me so Mother could do all the chores and chop the wood until he got well.
      I started to school when I was 6 years old. I had broken my left leg the year before, so it was pretty painful walking to school 2 l/2 miles. We went to a country school near Tuthill, South Dakota, until I was in the 4th grade. Thirty-six kids usually went there. Then we moved 20 miles north and had 3 miles to school, so rode horseback or drove a team and wagon.
      I usually herded cattle during the summer, so I got a good suntan. When we lived near Tuthill, it was on the bank of little White River where Dad built a new house, so we did lots of swimming in the river. My folks moved a lot, seemed nearly every year after that, so we changed schools often. And it was rather confusing for us kids.


Hugh Darrow Greenough, born 1907
      I was born near Bonesteel, in Gregory County South Dakota, out on a farm. I was the 8th child in a family of l0 children; 6 boys and 4 girls. We lived near the Missouri River and our well water was all alkali, so we hauled water from the river to fill our cistern for drinking and saved rainwater when we could.
      My folks raised cattle, hogs and chickens and worked horses to farm with. My Dad raised corn and oats and a big garden every year. I started to school when I was about 7 years old. It was a small school of about 15 kids and 7 were from our family. We moved to Bennet County in 1918. I was only 11 and had to help drive the cattle, a 100-head herd plus 15 head of horses. Ma and the young girls rode with Dad in a covered wagon. we lived then on the Indian Reservation and built our house, a good well and other buildings.


Clyde Whitinger, born 1904
      I was born on a farm in Iowa. Mostly to get away from stormy weather, we migrated to the Wenatchee area in 1911. I went to grade and high school in central and north central Washington. I graduated from high school in Brewster in 1923.
      While in high school, I rode to school on horseback, sometimes in 20 degree weather! After high school I worked for the petroleum industry and took a course in that. Then I decided to work for the State Department of Agriculture in 1926 and worked with shipping interests.
      In 1934 I came to Skagit County and was in charge of horticulture inspections for the state until retiring in 1969. The work included working with research about diseases and pests for agriculture and included establishing the research center. I was the secretary for the board for about 27 years.


(Unknown women)
This photo made the unknown bin because there was no caption on it when a descendant of the Hegg family found it in a collection. Do any of the women look familiar, as being in your extended family?

Martha Harjes, born 1905
      I lived in Iowa and I remember going from Turin, Iowa, on the train to visit my grand- parents in Palmira, Ima. My grandfather raised sheep and had a woolen mill. There was a building built over the spring to keep the food cold. Big round pans of milk were setting down in the water, and my grandmother skimmed the cream off. She carried a lantern to the springhouse, as it was dark inside.
      My father had a farm implement shop, and every Saturday he showed black and white movies for everybody to see. I remember a rally for President Taft, and we sang songs as we drove along the country roads.


Ruby E. Scott, born 1917
      I was born in Oklahoma, reared in New Mexico. Attended all my school years in New Mexico. I lived on a cattle ranch in New Mexico in Union County with my husband and four children. In 1949 we came to Skagit County and started raising strawberries. what a change from a cattle ranch in New Mexico!
      My husband passed away at an early age, 59 years. Since retirement my favorite occupations are church work, helping my grandchildren, making quilts, joined a harmonica band and active in United Methodist Women.


Leona Ethington
      I grew up on a farm in Nebraska. I went to school in a one room school house, grades 1-8. My first grade teacher happened to be my cousin. we walked 1 1/2 miles to and from school. we had to pass a county exam to go from 8th grade into high school. The high school I went to had the 9th and l0th grade in one room and llth and l2th grade in another room. I went to my 50th high school reunion and one of my teachers came. I grew up in a Swedish community and we spoke Swedish at home. We came out to Washington in an old "Whippet" car. It wouldn't go over 25 miles an hour without shimmying.

Karen Alexander Dalan, born 1910
      was born in Anacortes and lived in Dewey and then LaConner. My father was mayor and judge, and then had Puget Sound Seed Company.
      There was a big flood in 1915 or 1916. We had to live upstairs a while because of the water. We put Our furniture up on blocks. We kids built a raft to float over to my Grandma's. She gave us homemade bread covered with butter, sour cream and sugar. It was a treat! Arnold and I went to a dance and we went up on Pleasant Ridge and parked. Never paying any attention to how muddy and soft the ground was, we got stuck. We had to walk (me in high heels) almost to LaConner, borrowed a farmer's tractor and towed the car out.


Mae Dunsmore, born 1909
      My dad died at age 36 and left my mother with 3 small children. He worked in the Navy Yard at Bremerton as a machinist. We moved to Bryn Mawr when I was in the 5th grade. I went to school there and then to Franklin High School in Seattle where I graduated. I have good memories of Franklin. There was a teacher, Miss Gorman, and my sister and I were both in her class. One day she called on one of us and said, "Nellie Mae, or whatever your name is. " My sister and I never got over that. I worked at Paramount Pictures on 2nd Avenue in Seattle. I worked on the switchboard. I was good with figures and could remember phone numbers.

Margo Frederick, born 1902
      I grew up in Enterprise, Utah. My folks had the first house ever built there. It was made of logs brought 55 miles from Pine Valley. There was a living room and a second room was a lean-to and steep stairs to due bedroom above. Logs for fireplace were kept under the stairs. We played hide and seek and played in the sagebrush. We made pretend animals out of little animal bones. I didn't know we were poor. We had company often and plenty to eat. We had a one room school house and my father had to make my little desk. We had to walk to school. Sometimes the snow was over the fences and we walked right over the fences. Sometimes my brother took us in the horse-drawn sled.

Agnes M. Thompson, born 1910
      I was born in Kalispell, Montana in a house my folks had built. I had 2 older brothers, so I was "queen of the roost." We had a big wood stove and the pipe went upstairs through the bedrooms. Crawling into bed was a little on the chilly side. when we moved, I went to a school with 3 grades in one room. My favorite teacher was a little lady, Anna Keefe, in high school in Oakland, Ca. when I went to register in the big high school, I was scared. The registrar said, "You can't take history, you will have to take German." But Anna Keefe said, "She can be in my class."
      She was head of the history department and a wonderful teacher. I went to Pullman to Washington State College. we had our 50th reunion and it was fun. I taught school and worked for the government in Washington, D. C. we came to Washington State in 1954. From Friday Harbor I moved to Skagit Valley in 1978. My father was a grocer.


Margaret Latimer, born 1919
      I was born in Buffalo, New York. Moved to Niagara Falls, N.Y. when I was 2 years old and grew up in "The Falls." Graduated from LaSalle High School and I am the oldest of 9 children, so we never lacked companionship or chores. Our family moved from N.Y. state to Anacortes in 1945, through the years I raised 3 daughters, was a Girl Scout Leader, a clerk in several stores; 3 grocery stores, J. C. Penney's and Anderson's Shoe Store, covering some 27 years. It was through Bill's interest in the Senior Center, I also volunteered and enjoyed working at the desk, delivering meals, helping with activity work. I love to sew, quilting is my favorite, read and be with people.

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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