I was born in Seattle’s Providence Hospital on June 7, 1943. At that time, my parents lived at 1202 Fifth Ave. N. In 1945, we moved into a house at 910 Third Ave. N, where we remained until February 1952. I began school at Warren Avenue Elementary School in 1948. I remember all of my teachers very well. Evelyn Reisig, my fourth grade teacher, was one of my favorites, as it was in her class that I got to listen to the Standard School Broadcasts, kindling a love for music which has not died. Carolyn Silva, my sixth grade teacher, encouraged my reading abilities, and I was often called on to read from the books, our “treat” after studies were over.In September 1955, I began my six- year journey through Queen Anne Junior-Senior High School. Teachers along the way included geography teacher Robert Colescott, who became a very successful artist. He had both ordinary works and those that lampooned great historical American paintings reflecting on his experience as an African American and racial stereotypes in general. I began a three-year study of the Spanish language and all things Spanish under the tutelage of Helen Hill. Ed Ottum was my music teacher, followed later by Eugene Brown, the choir director. Drama teacher Jay Pollette gave a series of fine plays and musicals which left many fond memories to me and my classmates.
At 14, I was given the chance to take on a paper route with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It was from the many conversations I had with older customers that my deep love of history began to flourish. I worked before and after school in the high school library. When it came close to graduation, I was given a referral to Seattle Public Library, where I applied for and obtained a position as a page in the History, Government and Biography Department.
The library helped me to focus on certain areas of book collecting, an avocation I have cheerfully followed since my grandfather kept an antiquarian bookstore in Walla Walla. In the late 1960s, my boss helped me take a course in advanced book collecting, which allowed me to work with many scarce and rare items within our department. After that series of classes some of us students formed a nebulous group called the Bibliovermis Club (“bookworm” in pseudo-Latin). Through that group I began to meet authors, printers, bookbinders, artists and illustrators. Seven years later the Book Club of Washington grew out of the Bibliovermis Club, and I served on its board at various times.
In 1985, I joined the Queen Anne Historical Society, and little more than a year later I was elected to its board, a position I have been proud to hold ever since. I’m also active in the American Radio Theater and the Seattle Seachordsmen, a barbershop chorus. After all these years I am still working at the Central Library downtown with little more than a year of service to go before I finally retire.
I currently live in “exile” from Queen Anne Hill on Third Avenue N.W. on Phinney Ridge. The years in which I lived on the hill were filled with change: small food suppliers gave way to supermarkets, buildings disappeared for the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962, and housing changed dramatically.
It isn’t the same, but I return to Queen Anne Hill often to practice singing with the Seachordsmen and for board meetings of the Queen Anne Historical Society. It is more fun than anything else, and the recent walking tour of Mount Pleasant Cemetery with the Saint Anne’s School’s History Class was well worth the time!