Creating Connections

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Saturdays were a highlight for Judith Brooks when she was a child.

Each week, after having saved her pennies, she and her family would head to a red and white store on Fourth Street in Coeur d’Alene.

“We’d buy penny candy,” Mrs. Brooks said. “They had a whole glass front of all the things you could get. We could even buy two things for one penny it was quite a deal. It was a favorite hangout as children.”

Mrs. Brooks, who now resides in Santa, recounts the memory in a short story which was recently published by Hometown Memories with a collection of other stories from the region called “A Living History of Northern and Mountain West Idaho: Coal Oil Lamps and Cattle in the Crops.”

The book includes 188 stories written by Idaho residents. Mrs. Brooks was one of eight local authors who had a short story published in the book.
A company based in North Carolina, Hometown Memories has published more than 60 books about various regions in the United States. They ask for submissions from residents and compile them into a collection of stories.

Karl Wetter of Plummer is one of several area residents whose stories were printed in a book recently published by a North Caronlina firm. The book features 188 submissions by Idaho residents.

 

According to their website, the purpose of the books is to “preserve the spirit, character and memory of a time that will never be seen again.”
In addition to her short story, Mrs. Brooks had also published a children’s book and says she has started to do quite a bit of writing. She is a retired school teacher.

St. Maries’ residents Maxine Magers, Sam Cummings, Jeanne Robinson and June Pomerinke also had stories published in the book.

In her story, Mrs. Magers recalls memories of her fifth-grade teacher, Ida Wannamaker.

“She did a travel club and we picked two states that we wrote to and asked for information,” Mrs. Magers said. “I wrote to a state representative, Ralph Harding, and he sent me a nice letter back and a picture of him sitting at a desk talking to President Kennedy.”

Mrs. Magers has lived in St. Maries for her entire life. She worked as an instructional aide at the St. Maries school district and the Avery school. She said this was the second time her work has been published.

Born and raised in Kellogg, Mr. Cummings recounted stories of growing up in the Deadwood Gulch area. In his story, he recalls there was an ore car railroad that ran between the smelter and zinc plant.

“Whenever I wanted to go to Kellogg, I could just bike, walk or stand by the track and jump onto the train,” Mr. Cummings said.
He also remembers picking up batteries and copper wire to recycle and his mother doing laundry in an old ringer washer.

Mr. Cummings said he doesn’t do a lot of writing, but thought it would be fun to respond to the call for submissions.

“I just shared my childhood and teenage memories,” he said.

He worked as a teacher for the St. Maries school district and also as a probation officer for Benewah County before he retired.

Mrs. Robinson recounts a summer that she and her mother joined her father, who worked for the Forest Service, at Loop Creek up above Avery.

“Since my father would be there all summer, we would often go and live in the same area. There was a building there and we got permission from the ranger to live there,” she said.

During this particular summer, a large band of sheep was brought in by train and the owner of the sheep had been granted a permit to let them graze in the St. Joe National Forest. One of the herders gave a lamb to Mrs. Robinson’s father who gifted it to her.

“All summer, Lamb was my constant companion,” she recounts. “Wherever I went, Lamb went, too.”

Mrs. Robinson moved to St. Maries in 1926 with her parents and has lived in the area since. She worked at the telephone company and kept books for her husband’s logging business.

Though she does not consider herself a prolific writer, Mrs. Pomerinke had already published two books about her family before she submitted a short piece for the Hometown Memories book.

In her story, she talks about her family’s first car, a 1925 Model T Ford pickup. She grew up 10 miles outside of Pierce. The main town, Orofino, was 25 miles away. Mrs. Pomerinke writes she learned to walk well as an early age.

“It was exciting when dad brought the pickup home,” she said. “It was a thrill to ride in the car up to our homestead.”

Later, her father went to work for the Ford factory in Chicago and made enough money to buy a brand new 1930 Dodge, the car she learned to drive in.

Mrs. Pomerinke moved to St. Maries in 1949. She was a stay-at-home mom and also worked full time for Robert Baltz.

Two Plummer residents also had their stories included in the collection.

Rita Kidder wrote about the childhood memories she has of her horses. In her story, Ms. Kidder talks about how as a little girl she had a love for horses.

“I can remember every one of them and their names,” she said. “My dad used them for work on the farm.”

The family lived on a farm near Kendrick. Not only did the horses work on the farm, but they also provided transportation from the homestead into town. Her father’s riding horse was also the same horse that helped put hay into the barn by pulling a cable.

Ms. Kidder moved to the Plummer area when she was 23 years old. She said she does not do much writing.

“I sort of did this on whim. It was something I could sit down and do fairly quickly,” she said.

Karl Wetter has had eight books published. A retired teacher and principal, he enjoys writing. For this project, he wrote about a time when he and a friend went out to trap rabbits.

“It was World War II and they needed rabbit hides to line aviator caps,” he said. “You were paid a dollar for each hide.”

During the camping trip, which was over Christmas vacation, he and his friend set up their traps and camped overnight in the woods.

“We were woken up the next morning because a half a ton of snow fell on us,” he said. “We ended up heading home without any rabbits.”

Mr. Wetter has lived in Plummer all of his life.

Worley resident Joe Bloomsburg also had a short story published in the book. It recalled an episode that happened more than 60 years ago.
Mr. Bloomsburg recounted how a lone cow walked over his cattle guard and into his field. He figured the best instrument to use to herd her was a 410 shotgun.

“I went down to the house and got it and shot her carefully in the side,” Mr. Bloomsburg said.

The cow headed for home and did not return. Two weeks later, Mr. Bloomsburg was fetching the mail, when the cow’s owner approached him.

“He asked me if I’d had trouble with his cows getting into my field. I said no except for the one. He told me that what’s he thought and that he’d been keeping her penned up. Up by the barn I saw her and there was an eighteen inch circle on her side where I’d shot her.”

Mr. Bloomsburg said he’s written extensively, but hasn’t had a lot published. He writes books about his life as well as science-fiction. He moved to the Worley area when he was 15 and has resided there since.

Those who would like to purchase a book can call (877) 491-8802.

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