Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kennewick and back to Spokane - Reunion Day 4

It seems like we have been at this longer than four days.  My brothers and their wives flew into on Wednesday and we have been to see Garfield, Moscow-Idaho, Colfax and Kennewick.  Mom's grandfather Asa Overby on her mother's side was quite the business man.   We got interested in where he lived and that's how we ended up in Moscow Idaho for a few hours on Thursday.

Turns out after his first wife died in 1907, he married Mary Hunter in 1908 and she lived in Moscow.  More to follow at some point on that story.  They divorced but we don't know why.  Asa's daughter Pearl married Martin Wysong (my grandfather) and they lived in Kennewick.  Kennewick is where our mom grew up.

Friday we talked with Ken Silliman of the Farmer's Exchange in Kennewick.  His father owned the business, then Ken owned it and now his children own it.
He is a live-long resident of Kennewick and remembered mom (Almadean) and her sister Ellen.  Ken was a classmate of Ellen's (class of 1937).  Almadean went out with Clint who was Ken's older brother.
We took notes and listened intently.
We engaged with Ken,  while Pam and the girls hung around and patiently waited.  And they found some comfortable chairs to sit in.
Sue and Pam think I have taken enough pictures…..but how can that be?  I still have film in my camera!

After talking with Ken, we decided to go by the Kennewick High School even though we knew the one built in 1936 has been replaced by a new one.  
I believe they rebuilt the newest one on the same property but there is no evidence of that.

We then drove over to the other side of town where Almadean's Aunt Tamsel lived.  She had a boarding house that is now a Senior Citizens home.
Her Aunt Tamsel was also know to have given Almadean and Ellen hand-me-downs which they appreciated.  Mom became a very good seamstress and as Ken (at the Farmer's Exchange) said, those girls always dressed sharp.

After that, we gassed up and headed out of town to Spokane.  Around lunch time, we stopped at a regional fast food place for lunch.
When we got back to Spokane, they all checked into the Fairchild Inn again and then came over to the Roadrunner for some down time and dinner.

We decided to bowl a few games at the Roadrunner Lanes on the Wii.  
They also took a shot at some tennis.
We grilled some pork loin roast and we had a big salad for dinner.
Then we sat around and talked for a while.  After 4 days of this we are running low on energy.  We have been running hard and the next few days promise to be a little less intense.

But these are good times and we want to take advantage of our time together.  It has been a special time with each other with a few more days left.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time…

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reunioning Day 3

The Warner Brothers (Jim and Almadean's sons and their wives) continued the Reunion 2011 activities from Colfax, Washington.
We made the two hour drive over to Kennewick, Washington from Colfax.
The country side along the way was beautiful.  In the short 120 mile drive, we saw a lot of wheat fields among the picturesque rolling hills.
We got to the Pasco-Kennewick bridge about 11:30.
Our first stop was the Kennewick Historical Society.  But it was closed and didn't open until 12:00 noon.
So we decided to drive over to where mom and her sister Ellen grew up.  Unfortunately, the house they lived in has been razed and replaced by a parking lot of the UMC church.
I wondered if their house in the 1920's and 1930's may have been similar to some across the street.
It was about lunch time so we went over to O'Henry's Restaurant near downtown Kennewick.
This restaurant also had a bakery where my mom may have picked up bread every day.  The restaurant had some Kennewick High School Class pictures on the walls in the back in the room where we ate.
It was fun looking at all the pictures.  And the lunch was great.  Brad had some soup made by the award winning cook.
Then we went next door to take a look at the Roxy Theater where Almadean and Ellen both worked while they were in high school.  Rumor was they let some school kids in to see the show at no cost from time to time...
It is no longer a theater.  It has changed owners over the years and once was a clothing store.  Now it is an Antique and Gift Store with a coffee shop.  We talked with the present owner who gave us some of the history.
From the theater we went back to the Historical Society Center.  There were no pictures allowed in the Center.  We stayed about an hour and tried to find out new information about Almadean or her father Martin Wysong.  Mom was second in her Kennewick High School Class of 1938.
She gave a speech on 'The Future of Education in Washington State' during her graduation activities.
From there we went over to the Riverview Heights Cemetery where her parents Pearl and Martin Wysong are buried.
The lady at the cemetery gave us a map and helped us locate the gravestones.  Pearl died in 1952 and Martin died in 1969.  Martin was once an auto mechanic, worked the wheat fields before he married Pearl and was once the janitor at the high school.

We walked around for a while and then left for our hotel at the Quality Inn.  We had dinner at Olive Garden, went back to the hotel and called it a night.
It was another fun day.  Besides learning a little more about our grandparents, we have been able to spend a lot of time with each other which has been really good.  We all enjoy each other and get along well.

Today we'll make a couple of stops before we head back to Spokane.
Another day of discovering our roots and being with family.  Its been a really good time.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  And thanks for taking a moment to post a comment.  We always love those!  Until next time…

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reunion Day 2: Spokane, Garfield and Moscow

We started out our day on base at the Fairchild Inn
and went back over to the chow hall for breakfast.

The first item on the schedule was to go downtown to the Spokane County Courthouse where mom and dad took out a marriage license on marriage license.
They were married the next day in 1942.  We wandered the halls for a little while and looked at the cool architecture of the courthouse.  Brad is an architect in Fort Worth so we thought the building would be interesting.

From the courthouse we headed to where Almadean's (our mother) grandfather lived.  Eastern Washington is a beautiful part of the country.  It has miles and miles of rolling hills.  Wheat country.
Asa Overby moved to the Garfield area in 1879.   He homesteaded 240 acres of land.  He married the same year and was active in the local church.  His father-in-law started a bible study that evolved into a Baptist Church that was built in Garfield.  Opening day and dedication for the church was December 10, 1899.

We drove into the town of 600 people and started talking to people.  The first person Reid talked to was Shelly in the town bank.  Larry was out for a walk and Marty and Reid talked to him.
Then we went down to the Community Church that had strong similarities with the picture of the church in the dedication brochure.  There were people outside and we went over to talk to them.
Denise was very friendly and showed us around inside the church.  We looked at the windows, steeple, additions and determined it was in fact NOT the church we were looking for…  We left without locating the church.

We drove onto a dirt road on the outside of town for a couple of miles and found the farm Asa Overby's farm.  Reid and Amy had actually spoken to the lady (Eva Mae) who lived here 6 or 7 years ago when they came out here on a prior visit looking for some family history.

When we drove into town, Reid had talked to a lady at the bank who knew Eva Mae's son.  She called him and asked if it would be ok to go by and see her.  He gave us permission and we drove up to the house.  Reid and Amy knocked on the door and we were invited up to the house.
After introductions, she invited us all in for a few minutes and told us what she knew about the house.  Then we took a quick look outside and got a group picture.
Wow - our 20 minute visit revealed she has lived here since 1947.  She showed us around and showed us the different additions that had been made. What a nice lady.  She was pretty excited to talk to us but we were even more so!

Then it was lunch time.  We heard they had pretty good hamburgers at Grumpy's Tavern.  Since it was the only place in town, that is where we went.
From Grumpy's we went to the cemetery outside of town.  We wandered around for a while and found Asa Overby's grave.  We found the grave stones of some of his 8 children.
We had some unsigned letters from a woman addressed Asa as her 'loving husband' who was away a  lot.  She pleaded for him to come home… Asa was a busy business man and travelled a lot.  We knew he was married to Alma Overby who died in 1907.  Pam noted these letters were postmarked in 1909 and 1914 from Moscow Idaho.

Who was this mystery woman we have never heard about?  We drove over to Moscow Idaho.  Our first stop was the Latah County Courthouse.  After getting some help from Stacy, we found a marriage certificate in the  auditor's vault for Mary Hunter and Asa Overby.  Aha!
We found they were married November 24, 1908.  Hmm.  Alma died in March 1907.  

Then we went over to the Latah County Historical Society in Moscow.  We weren't sure what we were looking for but now we had a name.
And found that Mary Hunter was on the 1910 census that listed her as married with property holdings of $10, 228.
The Historical Society folks were great.  Dan- the director, Christine and another volunteer were very interested and asked probing questions so we could find out some things.
We saw that Mary was later listed as head of household long before Asa died, so we are trying to find out if she and Asa ever divorced.

More detective work ahead.  Mary's address was a couple of blocks from the Historical Society.
By time we saw her house it was about 5:00 and we had reservations at the Best Western in Colfax.  It was almost 7:00 before we checked in.
Then wewent to eat at Eddies Chinese / American Restaurant in town.
It was a long and interesting day.  We found some answers, learned a lot, saw some great countryside in Eastern Washington and enjoyed each others company.

Now on to day 3!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Warner Brothers Reunion - June 2011 Day 1

This is the first of what may be 7 posts on our family (Warner brothers and our wives) reunion.

Our folks were married here in Spokane in 1942.  I am blessed with three older brothers. We had no sisters.  Dad always wanted a little girl and when they tried a third time for one they got twin boys.  Me and my brother Reid.  Marty is the eldest and Brad was next.

Our parents are no longer with us and we have a lot of questions about our heritage and ancestry.   Reid's home office of Environment Control is in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho about 45 miles from Spokane.  When he was here in 2002, he started looking around the area and retracing some places where our mom lived and worked after she graduated from Kennewick High School.

Mom and Dad met here in Spokane (in 1940?) while she was working at the State Street Theater and going to Morse School of Beauty and Culture.  And Dad was stationed at nearby Fort George Wright.

So we have planned on a trip together to the area and it began yesterday.  Reid and Amy flew in on Southwest Airlines from Albuquerque.
Marty and Elena flew in from Walnut Creek, California.  And Brad and Sue drove from Fort Worth, TX with the most recent stop in West Yellowstone, Wyoming.
We got everyone checked in to the Fairchild Inn here on base.
Then we went back over to the coach and enjoyed the nice day.
Reid and Amy have been the impetus behind this event and did a lot of prior planning and preparation for it.
Reid laid out a schedule of the next seven days and we went through it.  He prepared a package for each couple with memorabilia and notes related to where mom and her relatives lived in the 1850's in eastern Washington.  

The plan for the first couple of days is to start out at the Spokane County Courthouse where our parents got their marriage license, drive over to Garfield where mom's grandfather Asa Overby homesteaded 240 acres of land, then look through some records at the courthouse in Colfax before we spend the night there.  
On Friday, we plan to look around Kennewick where our mother grew up and graduated second in her high school class of 1938.  

After reviewing the plan and the information, we went over to the Airmen's Mess Hall for dinner.
But before we got there, Elena and Marty surprised us with T-Shirts.  By then I figured we were  official.
Aren't t-shirts part of reunions?  I am sure we'll see more of them later.  

On to the chow hall and a good dinner for a great price.
After dinner we returned to the Roadrunner and enjoyed the evening. The girls talked inside the coach while we played a few games of ladder ball.  It was fun and we were not too concerned about the score.
We traded team a few times and I think Brad came out the big winner.  
We watched the sun go down and pretty much called it a day after that.  We are looking forward to the rest of our time together and learning lots about our family history.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Stay tuned for more on the Warner Bros. Reunion of 2011.  Until next time...