As we enter into our fourth year of this broadcast adventure, Christy, Jim and I were reminiscing about the great opportunities we had in 2017 through our new Yesterday's Voices series to share the stories of some very wonderful folks who have lived in our area for many years.
2017 was the year Christy joined us as co-host and brought forth this idea to do a series of personal interviews with some of the "living legends" who helped shape the personality of our town and its environs. As you recall, Christy is an avid genealogist and loves to discover family connections through the years. She views history as it affects families, so she fits right in with our philosophy of making history meaningful in our contemporary lives.
Photographs are such an important avenue to bring history alive. We're going to revisit our conversations with these lovely folks and also provide a link to Blog Post of their episode if you'd like to revisit their stories.
Norma Hamilton Cochran is a spunky, energetic lady who shared her life as a young person in Salem--going to the Prom on the City Bus was one--and also her long career in nursing in Salem hospitals. Her Stump-Hamilton roots grow deep in Polk County and Salem, including a first nursing home/hospital and an undertaking business which grew into a long-time Salem furniture business.
Speaking of spunk, Patricia Zahare Ellis spent a summer during college living with another schoolgirl friend in rural Mexico. Pat also spoke about growing up in the very agricultural Hazelgreen area in north Salem, working hard on the family farm where she first realized her love of the Spanish language--a gift she parlayed into both a career and many opportunities to experience other cultures.
Stuart and Mary Kay Compton are very humble folks who didn't think their story was very interesting, a common expression of all those we interviewed. However, we found their story is one of deep love and respect, commitment to family, and long service to the community. Both Stuart and Mary Kay's family have long ties to banking in the Northwest, especially the four generations of Compton leadership overseeing the Pioneer Trust Bank, which still continues today.
Wally and Gloria Carson were a delight to have in the studio. All our guests have connections through their growing up and making their lives in Salem. Wally spoke of his early memories of being involved with the Mickey Mouse Club, as did Norma Cochran. Wally, who would later become the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, shared wonderful stories about performing as a puppeteer with another guest, David Rhoten, when they were in junior high and producing musical reviews together in high school.
One unifying trait that we discovered with these guests was the importance of strong relationships in their lives--with their spouses, their families, friends, occupations, and their communities. Their circles of influence continue beyond them due to their commitment to nurture and maintain these relationships. Perhaps that is what defines the term "pioneer spirit"--a commitment to others to stick around, stick it out and strive to make it better, all the while embracing your special time here in history.
We'll be sharing more wonderful stories of our local treasures--the people kind--in the coming year. Hope you'll join us again.