to celebrate 150th year in 2012, area history included
(History continued from last week)
So often we recall long lost memories that stir thoughts of things and people we realize had more of our sense of being or bearing on our lives than we ever thought. From these experiences come all our core values which have guided us all our lives. More simply said, our interaction with others makes us decide what things will guide us through our lives and make us all better people. For instance we come to know some really good, honest people and we adjust our own lives to try to imitate the ones we admire. By the same token, we try to learn from other’s mistakes and benefit from their expositions.
As we sort through some of the stories we have gleaned from living in this great area we smile, and flinch as we recall what good times and hard times the people brought to this date.
From talking, and remembering with many people I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone has made an impression or had an effect on those they lived with. There is no such thing as an uneventful life. We all have had a bearing or made some impression on those around us. Granted, some make a lot less noise or fuss as they share this story, but none the less, they leave or make their mark.
As we “bide our time” for the next few months, we attempt to stir up memories of people and events that have been part of these 150 years.
One of the people who had his way in winning a ballgame or catching a steelhead or taking home a good poker pot was Rex Bunney. Rex and his buddy Ron Winroth took over the Hoene Implement sometime after Ed Hoene had died. Rex made friends easily and loved to play softball and any other form of competition. He was extremely active in the Lions Club heading up the Buggy Whip Softball Tournament and was an avid Prairie Pirate fan as well as a pusher in our summer youth programs.
As most of you recall, Rex was in an automobile wreck in which he lost the use of his arms and also his legs. Most of us who hung out with Rex feared that he might lose his spirit along with the use of his limbs. As we waited for word on whether or not Rex would even live I decided to find out for myself and a night or two after the accident I put in a person to person call for Rex Bunney in the Intensive Care Ward at Sacred Heart Hospital. This was about 9 or 10 p.m. when the duty nurse came on the line. I explained that Rex was one of my special friends and those of us here were most anxious to get word from him. The nurse explained that just her and Rex were there, etc. Soon I heard her speak to Rex. Next I heard Rex say, “Who are you betting on in the NCAA this weekend?” The next 10 minutes we bet on the next 16 games! As usual, Rex won 2 extra games and we continued to hold this NCAA free-for-all the next 20 or so years. George E. Seubert and I would haul Rex all over, even to auctions in Washington and North Idaho. If anything, Rex was more competitive than ever. I remember at one of the ball games at the fair grounds Rex became quite upset when a couple of pickups were “cutting cookies” at the adjoining ball park across the road. The next thing we knew Rex was on the trail heading to the field across the way. His chin dig into the “joystick” that steered his wheelchair. Man was he upset! And when he was through with those pickup jocks he had their promise to come back that night with shovel and rakes and to repair the ballfields for the games the next day. In those days there wasn’t a person in the area that didn’t have a special relationshop with “the Bunney!”
Golly, as I explained to a caller last week, these are just some of the stories that this kid gathered along the way over the last 70 to 80 years. They aren’t meant to be solid history done by the old professor. Like the people I met along the way we share this time of reminiscence and thoughts are meant to play tribute to all the special folks that made up the time here in the area. Among those who made our life so special were members of the Waldman family. Nick and Ruby with all the “down home” feeling a person can muster. Nick with tales of “like it was” both “back when” and his time in the service. Ruby with her duties around home and garden. Those big brown eyes would just sparkle telling how it used to be. And also she would talk about the last affair at the Greencreek Community Hall. I personally never head either of these, or for that matter any member of this family, use cross words.
Next my mind brings Tony and Mary Waldman. What good and gracious people! True salt of the earth, true to their family life at home, true to their part in the community and especially loyal to their faith and always willing to help others. I can’t imagine anyone who knew these people could have anything but fond memories! Tony and his water witching and Mary and her knitting.
Of course another member of this family was “Father Bob” Waldman. Young man to the priesthood and shortly thereafter a tragic plane crash that left him scarred for life, which I’m sure made him even more special as a pastor and shepherd of his many flocks. As I recall, Father Bob was the priest called when Ernest Hemingway died in Sun Valley. Father Bob was well known and was a special friend to many of us! Among other things that made this man so special was his love for a visit, with or without a fishing trip. Good company-a solid man!
I’m sure most of you can put our memories of all these people in our memory trunks and we’ll have happy thoughts for years to come.
A walk about any of the local cemeteries brings back a lot of memories concerning our friends and neighbors now deceased. How many remember Andy Sathre, our one and only lawyer for quite a few years. His love for brown suits and pin stripe shirts were his way of setting himself up in a special way. His office was on the second floor of the creamery. Andy was a supporter of most all area projects and he once showed me a shoe-box full of raffle and dinner tickets! I can’t recall ever seeing Andy out and about after dark. Andy and family lived in the old two-story Martzen House halfway up Broadway across from the Simon House until his wife died. Then he moved into an apartment near Doc Orr’s office in the new Kop Building after WWII.
Our special condolences to the family of Harold Arnzen who left us this past week. His wife Jeanne serves as a very important member of the 150 year committee. I wanted to feature their family story a few months ago but Harold, in his modest way, didn’t much care for the idea saying we should feature someone more important. Both Harold and Jeanne have been important to all of us. Over 50 years ago I used to shoot trap with Harold and I remember his skill at that too! He served as a member of St. Anthony’s as well as a great road district foreman. His dedication to family and friends will not be soon lost in our reflections. Rest in peace fellow history maker! Our best to the whole family!
I have received many comments about sharing these stories with some of our former residents who remark about things that stir memories of this area and the time they spend opening up thoughts of the years gone by. And with great gusto they share these and other memories. How great it really is to share this whole effort with those that cherish the same values! When the question comes up, “How long are you going to continue to do this?” The answer is, I don’t really know. 150 years covers a lot of ground and a lot of memories but, mainly 2012 is the year marking the story we set out to celebrate and we hope the next few months will give us time to print and distribute the books we are working on but I hope that all of us share and preserve our family bonds.
I hope too, that many of you, like me, when reading these stories, find the experience almost like living our history once again. Although too much pride can be overdone, let’s hope we all agree that there is great value in pride of self and family and friends. You have to think well of all these things to set your personal value and your worth to others. I personally believe this and like you I will always be proud of our heritage.
Grave stones for members of the Waldman family. Fr. Robert Waldman is the only priest buried in the Ferdinand Cemetery while Nick and Ruby and Tony and Mary are buried in Cottonwood Catholic Cemetery.. Photos by Don Hoene.
The baseball field to the north of Prairie Elementary School was called Bunney Field for many years in homage to Rex Bunney who as a member of the Cottonwood Lions club was a driving force behind getting it built.
The house where Andy Sathre and his family lived.