Louis Coynt was given the nickname “Tiger,” and he earned it. The fierce criminal had a rap sheet that made the most hardened convicts envious. Assault with a deadly weapon on a deputy, burglary, highway robbery, and sensational prison escapes were some highlights of his career.
When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, an opportunity had arrived for Joe Delay to escape what he felt was a ho-hum life on the family farm near Sandpoint, Idaho. “I volunteered the minute I got out of high school. My dad didn’t know this. Never knew this. Not even to his grave, I never did tell him.” Originally intending on joining the Navy, Delay was disappointed to be redirected to the Army recruiter, desperate for men to fill their depleted ranks. Instead of clean white sheets and three meals a day, he would now be carrying a rifle and sleeping in the mud. Eventually, Joe fought at the Battle of the Bulge, and he was there when Allied Forces pushed on to Berchtesgaden, and to victory in Europe.
When I was a kid in the mid-1960s, we traveled to the West Central neighborhood of Spokane every couple of months to spend the afternoon at Grandma’s turn-of-the-century home on West Boone Avenue. And a couple times a year we’d have get-togethers with dishes of hot and cold comfort food placed end to end on her kitchen counter and in the center of her big round dining table. And all the while, a soft image in an 8 X 10 frame smiled down over every Easter ham, every burning birthday candle, every card and board game. Nobody told me he was important. Nobody had to. I just knew. It was a photo of my Uncle Verne, who gave his life during World War II.
In May of 1935, when George Weyerhaeuser was nine years old, he was kidnapped. On May 24, George’s school, the Lowell School, let students out a few minutes early for lunch. Normally, George walked, upon lunch-time dismissal, to the seminary where his sister attended classes; the two would be picked up by the family’s chauffeur and driven home. George arrived at the seminary early, decided not to wait for his sister, and began to walk home on his own, taking a shortcut through tennis courts. He never arrived. But a ransom note for $200,000 came to the Weyerhaeuser home that evening.
What would urge a young couple to move to a far and distant land? A land where the customs are not only strange but in some instances completely different. A land where they did not speak the language. A land with hostility to those of a different color, and a special hostility at that time to those who were arriving from Asia. A land, in many instances, of harsh climates. But, it was a land where there was hope. Like many other Japanese immigrants, it was their hope that after a few years of hard work, they would be able to accumulate enough so that they could return to Japan with enough means so that they could find a comfortable living. That was certainly the hope of the Shiosaki Family, although they remained in America, and their grandchildren live in Spokane to this day.
Bob Grandinetti worked the Safety Santa Program for over 25 years. Before this program was formalized in the early 1900s, officers would take unclaimed items, such as bicycles in the property room, and distribute them, in secret, to needy children on Christmas Eve after the children had gone to bed.
On a special authors profile episode of the King’s Guide, Chuck King visits with John H. Richards and James E. Brickell, authors of new biographies on their great- and great-great-grandfathers, Patsy Clark and E.J. Brickell. For years, Spokane residents ate at Patsy Clark’s restaurant in Browne’s Addition, but how many people knew Patsy was a mining pioneer – and not a woman? And it was once said of E.J. Brickell, the “Lion in the Shadows,” that by his “vim and energy, he brought the city of Spokane to life.” But somehow, with the passing of time, we have forgotten about Spokane’s first millionaire, a man who once owned most of what we know today as Riverfront Park.
The 20th-century icon Josephine Baker was so much more than a sex symbol who danced in a skirt made of bananas. Yes, she took Paris by storm in 1925 with her “Savage Dance” – performed in little more than a strategically-placed feather – and went on to increase her fame with the infamous banana skirt which, legend has it, she designed as a joke for her first revue at the Folies-Bergère. Spokane author Sherry Jones’s novel Josephine Baker’s Last Dance goes on sale December 4, 2018 at Auntie’s Books and everywhere.
On a special Centennial Veterans Day episode of the King’s Guide, Chuck King takes a look at Spokane’s Lincoln statue, dedicated on November 11, 1930. Episode 12 of the King’s Guide features rare footage from the Swanson Family of the very moment the statue of Lincoln was unveiled in front of a crowd 40,000 strong.
Pretty Good Beards is a new regular column (more of a tidbit) in Nostalgia Magazine that features regional pioneers and their exceptional beards. The November-December 2018 issue of Nostalgia Magazine features the Reverend Cushing Eells and his excellent off-season Santa beard.