Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Autobiography of Edith Marshall II

A Summer to Remember

Life was young and  life was sweet!  The First World War had not become a reality as yet, and we lived in ignorance of it becoming so.  Birch Bay was far removed from the cares of the world.  It was a beautiful resort place with a lovely pavilion where people gathered every Saturday night.  It had a very nice floor -- smooth glass and dancing was so enjoyable there.  

I was spending part of my summer there, and I look back upon that summer as the most enjoyable one of my entire teenage years.  It was the first Saturday night I had gone there was a boy friend and a couple of girl friends.  I was dressed in a white cotton dress with trimmings of black and white stripes.  My shoes were white, and I was bubbling over with youthful happiness.  

As we entered the pavilion, I looked across the room, my eyes encountering a young man leaning against the wall.  He was tall, slender, and blond.  A lock of hair over his forehead seemed to have a way of falling in the opposite direction of where it was supposed to go.  Little things that just stood out, which gave me a desire to meet him.  I said as much to my sister, and as though he had gotten the message, he crossed the room rapidly and asked for the next dance.  I can't remember whether it was a waltz, a two-step or what.  All I could think of was that I was dancing with him and I was very happy!  There were others, too many to count, but call it what you will, I was really hooked!  

I counted the days each week waiting for Saturday night.  My boy friend who was always so good to take me and my girl friends, did not dance himself but he said he wanted me to have a good time, even if it was with someone else.  

Each Saturday night my new "heart throb" was there and almost as soon as I entered the pavilion, he was there at my side.  Then all too soon it was the last Saturday for me.  I was going home.  I did not tell this handsome young man of my plans, and that last night as we danced cheek to cheek I felt that if we could just go on dancing and being held close by him I would be the happiest girl in the world.  But even then, I knew in my heart that nothing could come of it. 

It had been a beautiful summer, but now it was ended and I must return home and to school for another year.  I went out of his life, and he out of mine without a word -- leaving no address with him, not even telling him goodbye or that I would not be back.  Life it like that!  So many people in passing who could perhaps make for much happiness if only there was time.  But time moves on and so we must move with it.  But there are memories which come to us from time to time like perfume from a lovely rose.  

(Note: the following almost two pages are written quite faintly: I'll transcribe what I can.  After that, things become much clearer.  The date of 1920 is given for the car in a darker pen, and Grandma says this was a great treat for teenagers in the early 1920s, but Grandma would have been 20 in 1917 already, so that doesn't fit. -- DM.) 

Beatrice was my very closest friend, and when she suggested that I drive with her from Mount Vernon, WA, to Seattle, in the new Chevrolet her Dad had just purchased, I was delighted. 

Back in the early 20s that was quite a trip for two teenage girls.  After . . . Skagit County . . . (This paragraph is hard to make out)

We had left quite early in the morning, and arrived in Everett about noon.  Everett was quite a mill town, and gave every evidence of that fact, as the mill whistle blew for lunch, and workers began to appear as if by magic; they had been disgorged from the (smith's . . . ).  

. . . from Everett there were more woodlands and scattered farm-home.  The farms were smaller and more scattered than those we had known in the Skagit Valley, but mostly attractive and well-cared for.  

The trip was a very pleasant one, for Beatrice and I had much in common.  We (sang) and enjoyed every mile of the way.  I had made reservations at the Arlington Hotel for the night, and when arriving in Seattle, we made our way there.  

(The next paragraph is illegible to me.  Maybe someone else can make it out.  The following several paragraphs are spotty.) 

. . . home . . . by the University District where some of Beatrice's family lived.  We spent a short time walking along Lake Washington, enjoying the beauty of the day and of the area.  

We had . . . driven a third of the way home . . . to Beatrice, that something was wrong . . . I said, 'Beatrice, I'm not going to . . . '  

Beatrice pulled over to the side of the road, opened the . . . under the seat where we had just sat . . . and taking . . . 

(The rest of this story is illegible, and then a stronger pen takes over.  I rearrange the following sections, however, to place more of Grandma's Skagit experiences before experiences involving World War I, the move to Seattle, and influenza . . . it appears that the following chapter will being with a story that takes place at Alki Beach.)

The County Fair

When I look back upon the years I keep wondering about the special days such as the Fourth of July, the County Fairs and celebrations that were so important to us in those days.  Of course there was a certain excitement with great crowds of people coming to town to partake in it.  I usually went to such celebrations with my sister or perhaps a friend or two. 

Perhaps one that I enjoyed more than any other was the County Fair, where there was much to see besides people.  One night we went with a couple of young men, and we had such an enjoyable time.  I still can't remember what we saw as to displays, but we were having so much fun, they didn't seem important.  

I can't remember either what I wore, except a new black velvet (looks like "tam and shanter?)"   ) with a red feather on one side.  The young man with me liked it too, and he proceeded to take possession, wearing it as gauntily as a (Sear's?) man would.  

Strange how such small things remain as little shalfts of sunlight peaking through the clouds on a dark day.   This McFee was indeed a Scotsman who made one feel sort of special just being with him.  I indeed carried a torch for him many days. 

The Square Dance

Living in the country all the years of my young life, there was little entertainment, except perhaps a movie on Saturday night and church on Sunday, so it was a real lark for me when a young man who was living in a small house we had rented to him, asked me to accompany him to a square dance being held at his brother's house, who lived five or six miles further out in the country. 

There were very few cars being used then, and Jim had called for me with a nice buddy drawn by two beautiful horses.  As we went farther out into the country, the road seemed to get worse by the moment.  It caused me to wonder if Jim deliberately hit all the rough spots, which threw me against him, which seemed to please him.  He knew I was fearful of being thrown out, or the buggy being tipped over in one of the deep ruts.  But he was very pleased with himself -- was he not being the big strong man who had everything under control -- even if I wasn't?  

Arriving at his brother's home, I was received royally -- for wasn't I Jim's girl? 

The night went all too quickly.  The house was filled with young people.  I did not know how to square dance as all I knew was ballroom dancing.  This presented no problems as all of the young men were eager to teach me, and it wasn't hard as we listened to the man who called out 

In 1923 I moved to Seattle where I had a job with the telephone company.  It was difficult for me coming to a strange city, not knowing anyone.  But I felt constrained to go.  

(Next: A Meeting at Alki)

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