Coming to Seattle
Dad was already working in Seattle when I'd finished my
first year at Linfield in 1925. He wanted me to come to Seattle
and find work here. I remember going through Portland the
day of the Rose Parade.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived here was the smell
of roasting coffee. Whenever I smell it I remember my first
The first two or three days I stayed with friends from Missoula,
Mrs. Shields and her daughter Josephine. Mrs Shields made
Josephine show me around the city which she hated doing.
We had never got along too well back in Montana.
In those days there was a huge scoreboard on the wall of
the Times Building on
5th Avenue which was used for baseball
playoffs. The place was called Times Square. Maybe it still
is. Back then hundreds gathered to hear the scores.
Dad and I lived in an apartment on 9th Avenue almost across
from St. James Cathedral. I remember Maggy Wright, a Seventh
Day Adventist telling me that the two towers were stored
with guns and ammunition ready for the time the Catholics
were going to try taking over. She really believed it.
My friend from Linfield, Norma Ellis Mills, arrived in Seattle
the same day as I did so we did many things together. We
were fascinated by the Pike Place Market. She took me and
introduced me to their garage man on 11th or 10th. You will
understand what a naive girl I was when I stopped to say "hello" to
him as I walked past one day. I felt lost and very lonesome
as you can understand. I did have sense enough to know I
shouldn't accept his invitation to spend the night with him.
Norma and I later even tried to be waitresses. I worked
one whole evening at Roger's on University Way, but refused
to go out with the manager. I was fired. We also tried a
restaurant on Pine or Pike. Neither of us seemed to be cut
out for that career.
My last attempt before going to Mt. Vernon was housekeeping
for a wealthy family who lived in a beautiful three-story
brick home across from Volunteer Park. The first thing I
asked was if they had a piano for I had to practice since
I was scheduled to play at the Chataqua in Portland in the
late summer. The piano was on the third floor in the ballroom.
The poor woman must have been desperate for she hired me.
I lasted one week.
By that time Dad had met one of my college friends, Eva
Findley, on the train coming back to Seattle from McMinnville
one weekend. She asked Dad to get me to go to Mt. Vernon
and share an apartment with her while we worked in the cannery.
So away to Mt. Vernon I went.
Eva and I lived in the Anabel Apartments, which were across
from the tower with tulips painted on it that you can see
as you drive north on I-5.
Eva had gone to Mt. Vernon from Oregon because she had worked
the summer before in a cannery in Salem and the managers
there were running the cannery in Mt. Vernon. The over-all
manager was a Mr. Walker with whose son I'd play tennis at
6:00 am. The head fore-lady was Mrs. Bothner who became a
friend of mine.
The night I arrived several of us were put to work emptying
a freight car of tin
cans, which is very noisy. It didn't
help my headache a bit. That night I took my first aspirin.
The second day Mrs. Bothner, much to my surprise, made me,
an inexperienced person, a fore-lady. I was to inspect each
tray of fruit before it was taken to be processed. Nothing
escaped my eagle eye and I am sure I was very much disliked.
But I was doing what I had been told to do. Nothing undesirable
got into any cans I inspected.
Sometimes Eva and I and several others were asked to work
evenings packing special orders. I remember finding bugs,
bandages and other extraneous material in cans for restaurants.
I've never ordered a fruit pie at a restaurant since then.
Several friends I met there: Thelma Moore Smith, Lydia Young
Johnson. Later Lydia and her family lived in the 3800 block
on Corliss Avenue, just behind our home. Thelma moved to
Seattle to attend the Metropolitan Business College and graduated
before I did. She is living on Greenwood Avenue now (1992).
One of the girls in the Cannery didn't have a very good
reputation and she was hanging around a good-looking young
man as often as she could. The women urged me to get better
acquainted with this fellow. So the next time Dad sent me
some of his home made cookies I gave some to Wilbur Washburn.
He liked them and we started to talk. I found he had just
finished a year at Washington State and he found I had done
the same at Linfield so we had something in common to talk
about. He finally invited me to see a Charlie Chaplin movie.
His father managed the theater so we sat in the loge seats.
I went to sleep! In spite of that Wilbur took me out again.
The results of my giving that young man cookies are three
children, ten grandchildren and eleven (almost twelve) great-grandchildren.
After the cannery closed I came back to Seattle and resumed
going to the Presbyterian Church.
Some times I would stop in to see Mrs. Woody, Mother's friend.
Knowing I was looking for work she advised me to apply at
the Metropolitan Business College where they wanted someone
to work for them in return for getting a business education.
I applied and was accepted immediately.
08/20/2000 JA Typed. Handwritten on green spiral notebook,
top spiral in 1992.
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