Name: Linda Adair Hjelm
Education — Coming of Age
What are your memories of Issaquah High School? Which teachers were influential?
What memories do you have of Minnie Schomber, or another favorite teacher?
In the 5th grade, Louie Orth introduced me to individual rights. He told us that we had the right to our opinions and the right to express them! It was the first time I ever heard my mother threaten to throttle anyone. It wasn’t the last.
Many years later, Lonnie and I, went to our daughter’s “Welcome to 7th Grade Math” evening. There behind the desk stood Louie Orth.
My mother smiled. He was a good math teacher, too!
Were you affected by earthquake damage to the schools in 1949 or 1965?
Yes, in 1949 I was leaving the lunchroom when the earthquake began. My Dad, a Seattle fireman always taught me safety issues, so I knew I was supposed to go “out in back” behind the school building where there were no power lines. I looked at the path I’d have to tae and cringed. A three-story brick building and a wood shop swayed with the quake. Between the two was a 6” diameter pipe that looked to be made of concrete. I could just hear Dad yelling at me if I went under that pipe. Before I had to decide, Dad pulled up to the curb.
Where did you and your friends spend your free time as teenagers? What kind of mischief did you get into? How did your parents or teachers punish you when you got into trouble?
Rena’s for pie. Shamrock for boys. Stayed away from Drylies but he never smiled. Always seemed to be grouch.
What local businesses do you remember? What items did you purchase there? Who owned the business? Where was it located? What do you remember most about it?
Grange Mercantile Grocery- frozen food lockers- building immediately south of Creamery. I remember mostly Pick Pickering, the manager. He was very kind to a small, shy girl.
What barbershop or beauty shop did you frequent? What do you remember about these places? What were the popular hairdos when you frequented the beauty shop? Did you do a lot of socializing at the barber and beauty shops?
In our era, beauty shops weren’t the “in” thing. I had lots of hair, Mom would give me home permanents but when she was only half way through the solution on that half had been on too long, but the second half hadn’t been rolled into curlers. It made for lots of tension and strange hairdos.
Where did you go to buy your groceries? Did you go to Tony and Johnny’s, or RR Grocery on East Sunset? Do you remember your favorite clerk? Were there any items that these grocers specialized in?
Joan Karvia was my favorite clerk at the Grange Serv-U.
What do you remember about Grange Supply?
Dan Boni delivered oil, not Grange Supply.
What do you recall about Lawwil’s drug store?
Lou Lawwil was a very kind man and carried lots of good comic books. Wonder Woman was a favorite.
The Great Depression
What are your memories of the Great Depression? Did you have a job at this time? What ways did you try to save money? What did you eat?
The Depression was before my time but the effects weren’t. It was more important to have money in the Bank than have lots of pretty things. When I was 10, we were school shopping at Grayson’s in Seattle. I found a brown accordion pleated skirt that cost $11. It was the most expensive item of clothing I’d ever gotten. After much discussion between Mom and I, she decided I could have the skirt, but only because she could wear it too!
World War II
How did World War II affect the town of Issaquah? Did you know men or women who went to fight in the war? Did you leave Issaquah to join the war efforts?
I had two Uncles in the War. I didn’t really know them well enough to miss them.
My Grandmother and I went on air raid watches which were done on top of the old Fire Hall (where the Library is in 2001). There was a long stairway and railing to the roofline but only a ladder hooked to the roof led to a room at the ridgeline where we watched. I remember vividly looking south down the valley totally baffled that this word “war” I kept hearing could possibly invade the air space above my safe home.
How did the Japanese Internment affect Issaquah? Did you know men and women who were taken to Internment Camps?
I have one other memory of WWII. I was standing on the sidewalk in Kirkland, my hand in Mom’s. A man was running down the sidewalk yelling, “The War is over! The War is over!” I looked at mom and tears were running down her face. I had never seen this happen. I then noticed the same thing on other adult faces.
Issaquah Round-Up– Salmon Days– Labor Day Celebrations
What do you remember about Labor Day Celebrations or Salmon Days?
It seems as if all summer long we did anything we (kids in the neighborhood) would do anything we could to earn money for Labor Day. We had talent shows for our families but not much talent was available.
One year I had taken baton lessons and was somehow was asked to lead the parade with Jeannie Njos. I was pretty impressed. One booth at the Carnival was a fishing booth (all fake) that had a statue of a baton twirler as a prize. I spent every dime I had earned in that booth over a period of three days and every dime I could talk my family out of. Finally, the last night…the carnival was shutting down and still I hadn’t won that statue. I was broken hearted. As Dad lead me away, I heard the men in the booth call us. He gave me the statue.
Was there any year that these celebrations were especially memorable to you?
Did you spend a lot of your free time outside? What do you remember about fishing, hunting, or hiking in the area? What was your favorite hiking trail?
Hiking when I was a child wasn’t considered recreation. In many cases it was a necessity. If you wanted to go somewhere, you walked. There were 5 areas that were considered off-limits. They didn’t require Keep Out signs. These were the slag dumps from the old mines. They continued to smoke.
What type of fish did you catch? How many trout did you catch in the Issaquah Creek and what was the biggest? Did you fish in the kids fishing derby held in Issaquah? Were your methods for fishing and hunting any different than they are today?
One Saturday morning I went fishing with my Grandad, Archie Adair, at Alexander’s Beach on Lake Sammamish. After a couple of hours I hooked a big one! All the men yelled their best secrets for landing fish. I was so excited I put my right hand on the butt and my left hand about 18” higher and rammed my right hand toward the lake. This had the effect of sailing the fish back over my head into the wall of the cabin. The men weren’t impressed but I had landed my fish….all 24” of him.
What are your memories of Vasa Park? What did you do while there?
We roller-skated there, but it was rather unremarkable.
Did you go swimming in the local lakes in the summer? Or ice-skating at the Horrock’s Farm in the winter?
For years we only swam in the creek. No adult had time to take us anywhere else. If you could swim upstream against the current, you could swim pretty well.
Later Dad bought me a used bike (It was a really good bike). All of us would ride down to Alexander’s. There was no State Park, boat launch, or swimming pool. All went well until we were on the way home on Front Street near the Villa. The change in elevation is considerable and deceptive and the bike awfully heavy. I don’t think I was ever able to ride to the top of that hill and home. I always ended up walking.
Logging and Sawmills
Do you remember the Monohon Mill, the Red Hall sawmill by the fish hatchery, the High Point Mill, the Preston Mill, or the Issaquah Lumber Company Mill on Front Street South?
The Red Hall Mill, yes, but only that it was there.
How has the salmon hatchery affected Issaquah?
It reduced the number of fish in the Issaquah Creek, considerably. I could fish there as a kid. Later there weren’t any fish of legal size to catch.
Did you travel frequently into Seattle? How did you get there? What did you do while in Seattle?
My Grandmother, Chattie Adair, used to take me to Seattle on the bus on Saturday. We’d have lunch at Ben Paris Restaurant, buy a gardenia from a street vender, then go to the Palomar Theatre. The first time I saw Sally Rand, the fan dancer, I was about 10. No one told me there was anything “wrong” with burlesque. I thought the point of the act was the strategic placement of the fans.
How did the construction of I-90 change life in Issaquah?
It opened the door to the world.
What was your first car? Did you buy it from Hepler Ford Motors, Stonebridge Chevrolet, or the Kaiser-Frazier dealership?
55 Ford from Jerry Malone Ford
Fraternal Organizations– Local Halls
Did you attend the Sportsmen’s Club? Do you remember when it was built in 1937? What did you do at the Sportsmen’s Club?
I remember going to Turkey Shoots at the Gun Club. I never heard it called the Sportsmen’s Club until after 1990. It seemed to be more of a gambling affair than shooting turkeys, though my Uncle always came home with one.
Did you attend dinners, dances, banquets, or other events in the upstairs Grange Meeting Hall?
Yes. Many years after our family was too large to celebrate holidays in one house, we had Christmas upstairs.
What movies did you go to see at the Issaquah Theatre (the Old Movie House) to see? How much did movies cost? Did you ever go to the back upper corner of the theatre to kiss?
As long as it was Roy Rogers and Dale Evans I didn’t care. Cost was maybe 20¢ You were supposed to move? 🙂
What church did you attend? What memories do you have of this church? Were there any pastors, reverends, or church leaders that stand out in your memory?
My cousins and I went to church at the Bethel Mission with our great grandmother, Ellen Bonnar. Then, one Sunday morning, a new feature was added an older man sat in the front row, first space. We kids were told to line up and pass by him. When I got to him, I was told to show him my fingernails to make sure I wasn’t wearing any fingernail polish. If I had nail polish on, that meant I was a sinner. My mother had beautiful hands and nails and wore polish. I knew she wasn’t a sinner. That was the last time I attended that church.