Enumclaw Courier-Herald


Enumclaw Centennial | A farm, a fire and a memorable night | Sallie Box

By SALLIE BOX Enumclaw Courier Herald Columnist
August 29, 2013 · 1:05 PM

One of the places in Enumclaw my grandparents, Chris and Helga Nelsen, lived was a farm in the Osceola area where a few Danish farmers lived. Chris and Helga had three children – Melvin, Bob and Doris. The farm was around a mile from the school house where the kids had to walk to school.

Doris, Bob and other children went to the large school that was built in place the smaller one was located. The new school was used for different school functions.

They had two outhouses for the bathrooms, one for the boys and the other for the girls. They had to take their lunches from home. They did not have a choice buying a school lunch, or grabbing a pizza in town. Today school kids have a lot of choices what to eat for their lunch.  One side of the school was for the younger grades and the other side was for grades seven and eight. Grades nine and up went to the high school.

The tiny little house that is close to the road was the home to the two women teachers that taught at the Osceola School. The old garage and the old tiny house are getting run down condition. The house is so small it is hard to believe two women lived there.

If you stood in front of Chris and Helga’s farm, to the left of their home, lived the Westen family. They had a large family, with 13 children, the parents and the grandpa and grandma lived there too.   They were a nice, hardworking family, and my grand-parents and their children liked them.

One night Bob and Doris went to their bedrooms and Bob remarked on how funny lights were in his room were. He looked out his bedroom window. Weston’s home was on fire! Bob ran down and told his dad and mom. My grandpa ran next door to see what he could do to help.

The family gathered all but one son. My grandparents said Mr. Westen was a tall, very strong man. He filled a wash tub full of water and dumped some water of himself, then he entered the burning home, splashing water on burning spots on the stairs. He went into his missing son’s bedroom. He had to wake him up, his son didn’t know the house was on fire. Mr. Westen poured water on his son and more on himself.  He picked up his son, then headed back down the stairs. The two of them made it out safely, I can only imagine what a happy, thankful the group was that gathered that night. The house could be and it was rebuilt.

My grandma said she remembered seeing the Westen’s grandpa and grandma walking hand and hand, in their night clothes going to the barn for the night.


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