Beulah Violet Blair (Leonard)
Early Memories - Recorded 8/28/97
I remember going to see Charles Lindberg at the Fair grounds in Spokane about 1926. They dismissed school so we could go.
I remember going to the Davenport to see the unveiling of the model A Ford. It was quite an occasion.
I don't remember but I was told that I went to Natatorium Park in 1910. I was only 2 or 3 months old. My Father took me in the basket of his bicycle. We met my Mother and 2 sisters there with a picnic lunch. My Father was killed in August shortly after that.
All businesses were downtown. There were several large stores. I can recall Kemp and Heberts, Miller, Moore & Flynn, Tull and Gibbs, J. W. Gruhams, John T. Little, Ware Bros. Hardware, Vinther, Nelson Hardware, Culbertion Grot & Rankin. Culbertsons had a balcony all around the main floor. At Christmas time a huge tree was erected that was two stories high. It was beautiful. Then of course The Crescent. It was the store where we met under the clock. It was a popular store for nearly 100 years and downtown never held the appeal to me after it was gone. As teen agers we loved to go there but often bought at a less impressive but more reasonably priced store. Sometime before 1910 the horse drawn street cars were replaced by electric-street cars and that is what I remember. I can see the Conductor leaving the car to assist Mothers by securing the baby buggies to the front of the car. Bicycles were also carried in this manner.
After my Father was killed, my Mother often took we three little girls, 3-2-6 months by street car to Greenwood Cemetery where he was buried. We took our lunch.
The street cars had woven straw like upholstery. They were slick and hard for little ones to stay on. They also smelled funny and I could get car sick on them.
Theatres were plentiful and reasonably priced. I recall the Rex, Lyric, Liberty (they were usually 10 cents) Orpheum, Pantage (where we saw Sally Rand in person) Clemmer, Granada, American, Auditorium. The Garland was a new theatre and not right downtown.
I attended North Central High School. There were really only 2 high schools then besides Gonzaga which was very small. The rivalry between the Indians and the Tigers was terrific and sometimes led to very unpleasant happenings at games or rallies. Our graduation exercises for a class of 250 were held in the Masonic Temple on Riverside. It was about 3 miles to N.C. and we usually walked. The street cars didn't go directly there and it was a long commute downtown and transfer to go back to school.
My sister had diptheria when I was in the second grade. She was very ill. We were quarantined forever it seemed. When the quarantine was lifted we weren't allowed to leave until the house was fumigated. My Mother promised us a day at Natatorium Park to celebrate, but the men didn't come until late and we missed the occasion.
I remember horse drawn drays or wagons delivering ice, vegetables, furniture, coal and wood. There were several delivery businesses--Grimmer Transfer & Storage, Diamond Ice and Fuel, Johnson Bungay Fuel. Those are the ones I can recall. The Barns for the horses were along the rivers north bank approximately where Cavenaughs on the River is now. McGoldrick Mill and mill pond was east of that near Gonzaga.
I remember seeing William Wiley who was a local character. He never wore any clothes except shorts winter and summer. He had a very luxurious beard and long flowing locks. He was a big muscularly built man. Everyone knew "Wild Willie". We saw him changing a tire on his old touring car in midwinter. He did have overshoes--there was about 6 inches of slushy snow on the streets (streets weren"t plowed much then). I saw him again with his menagery of wild animals in Mission Park. He would show them for a price. He sold post cards of himself and his animals.
I remember going to a show with a boy whose name was "Allen." We went on the street car. I think we went to the Clemmer Theatre. Afterward we went to Bobs Chili Parlor for tamalies. I had never eaten one before.
I attended Longfellow Grade school which was quite a distance from home. We were not allowed to bring our lunch. So when we were dismissed at noon I would run home, pick up my lunch that I had prepared before school and eat it as I hurried back to school. When we graduated from grade school all the girls wore white middies and white pleated skirts. We had red ties.
In High School I had Miss Elsa Pinkham for gym and swimming. She was a no nonsense teacher and a strict disciplinarian. I had Jack Friel for a history class. He was young, unmarried and handsome. He was a coach at WSU for years. I had a teacher named Chandler for Civics. He grew up around Farmington. LaVern Garrett was in the class. She was well endowed and I envied her. She had a crush on Mr. Chandler.
Next year will be our 70th reunion, but I don't think we will go.
Albert and I met at a party when we were sophomores. We were "steadies" from then on. We graduated in the same class (1928). One of our Friday night dates was attending the Maylon Players regularly. The Maylon Players were a group that put on a different show every week. We thought they were wonderful. I think the cost was 50 cents.
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