Editor’s note: This letter is in response to the column, “The dark side of small-town Enumclaw,” published March 13.
Wednesday, May 29th 1996, twenty three years ago, Wally DuChateau wrote a hideous article highlighting Jim Morris who had passed away a month prior to the article.There were complaints through phone calls, letters to the editor (not by just me) and walk-ins to The Courier-Herald about the article.
Jim Morris was a magnificent human being who rose so far above racism that it was he who improved our community. People flocked to Jim like a magnet. He was most beloved to the Community Choir and their audiences. Jim was often the MC of their concerts with his booming baritone voice and marvelous, warm personality. He passed away with a line up to his hospital room with well wishers who wanted to say they loved him one last time. The line to see Jim was backed up to the downstairs entrance of Saint Joseph Hospital in Tacoma. I know. I was there.
Jim recovered from his High School tormentors who are not worth mentioning or referring back to. How can we forget how backward we have been as a town? We can’t. I was born here. We have had terrible growing pains. But to relive them with another story about how Jim Morris was treated in his youth does not do his family or the community he served any justice or respect.
We are still a small town. We have evolved. We are a tolerant, loving community. By dragging us through where we have come from as a community generations ago does not compliment our growth.
Jim has children and grandchildren in the community. Is this how they want their precious Dad and Grandfather remembered? Of course not. Jim’s friends, who he made feel like family, still feel his loss. I do!
We would be foolish not to recognize our past and to grow in a positive way from our mistakes. I think Enumclaw has done a superb job of opening her arms to all ethnic groups who choose to make their home here. There will always be some backward thinking individuals out there wanting to raise their fists in the air condemning blended communities. Let’s move forward, not backward by highlighting ignorance and intolerance from the past. Let’s not give the ugly times anymore voice or dredge up any more old stories already written that have done enough damage. We won’t forget. Intolerance is on the evening news every night. It’s a daily, in-your-face fact.
Enumclaw is more populated now, but we are a better people. That’s why people move here to raise their children. Jim Morris was a master of loving everyone. Hate was not in his vocabulary. Let our memory of Jim Morris live as it should be, with abounding love, teddy bear hugs and a man who had no enemies.