Guest Blog – Reminiscing with Linda Shook

Our good friend Linda Shook is here today with a guest blog filled with memories and gratitude:
I recently celebrated a birthday…it was another big one. Funny how they keep getting bigger. One of the people who sent me a ‘happy birthday’ wish on Facebook commented, “Next year you’ll be a diamond Linda.’  So there you have it. Yes, I was 74.  74!!!! It’s hard to believe. It seems like only yesterday I was a kid, going to school, helping out on our mini farm each day. Maybe I’ve lost track of all those years because I still live in the same town I was born in (in fact I retired from the same hospital where my mom was a R.N. before she had me there), where I grew up and where many of my friends still reside.   The first house my folks bought after my dad returned from WWII is exactly 2.4 miles from where I live now. After I finished 4th grade they bought 10 acres with an old house on it.  There they built a new house and that’s where I played and left for school each day until I graduated from high school. The ‘farm’ is exactly 4.5 miles from where I live now. So you can see, I haven’t gotten very far in my 74 years. (So to speak)

I’ve loved living in the same area..I always run into people I know ~ from school, places I’ve worked, people I’ve know from the couple different churches I’ve attended and I feel sorry for those who grew up here but circumstances have taken them off to another town, another state, even another country. Many of them wish they could come home…home to the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

One of the sad things about living in you home town is all the changes over the years. I remember when I was in high school, a BIG adventure was going ‘downtown.’ Now living in the country it wasn’t always easy. There was a bus but it went into town twice a day and came back twice a day. And if you missed it coming home , well it wasn’t good. But usually one of us had a mom or dad who would take us 3 miles to one of Tacoma’s main streets where we could catch a city bus. Then off to town we’d go. Downtown Tacoma was magical back in the late 1950’s. There were the usual big department stores (Sears and J.C.Penneys) and we also had a great store called People’s Store and then Rhodes Brothers Store. I remember being able to get a pair of really neat shoes at Leeds for $5 and then of course there was Woolworth’s, Payless and S.H. Kress. I remember one time several of us were in the Kress store and I opened a bottle of Blue Waltz perfume and it spilled and the whole store reeked of that sickening, sweet smell.  We laughed all the way to the lunch counter at Woolworth’s where we had our BLT’s and Cherry Sodas.

Now there’s no more downtown, no more Woolworth’s, no more S.H. Kress, no more Peoples store and no more Rhodes Bros.  I’m so grateful I grew up when I did, I was born January 4, 1942 and I graduated from high school in June 1960.   Those were truly magical years. My hometown has changed so much. I feel sorry for the kids growing up the last 40 years…they have missed some great adventures.

Each day God gives me is a blessing.  Another day to be in contact with family and friends. And another day to see the additional changes my hometown is making.




7 responses to “Guest Blog – Reminiscing with Linda Shook

  1. It’s so good to see you back with us Linda. My life in many ways is much the same as yours except I grew up in Olympia (Tumwater/Lacey). In fact the last place Jack and I owned was about 3 blocks from where the old school we both attended had been. He was in the 3rd grade and I was in he 2nd. I can relate to changes of downtown. The kids now will have memories of malls? At least they don’t get wet. 🙂

    Wishing you a belated Happy Birthday.

  2. Valerie J. Patterson

    Happy Birthday to you, Linda! Absolutely, every day your feet hit the floor in the morning is a BIG blessing! Hope you have many more!

  3. Hope you had a great birthday Linda. Thank you for sharing such lovely memories. It’s a similar picture here in the UK of losing town centres and cuts in rural services. At least we experienced a wonderful period and can share those memories with others.

  4. I remember (and miss) downtown. I used to have lunch at the Woolworth’s counter. And People’s had the best Santa EVER. I took my kids to him every year. I am loving this walk down memory lane. And happy belated birthday, Linda! Thanks for sharing these awesome memories with us.

  5. Happy birthday, Linda, even if a little belated. What a lovely post.It reminded me of all that has changed in my home town over the years, to such an extent I am glad I moved away many years ago. Enjoy every day, it is truly a blessing – that goes for all of you gals too. Live life to the full, laugh each day and enjoy every moment. 🙂

  6. Happy birthday..late. AND yes, the changes of our towns are sometimes hard to take. I have so many wonderful memories of trips downtown as a kid (in the many places we lived) and they always make me smile. Jillian

  7. It’s sad in one way how our hometowns change so much over the years, but we are all lucky to have our memories. Thank you for your interesting post.

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