February 7, 2008
This is Cyndi Upthegrove. I am meeting and have the pleasure of talking with Pat Carter Hollowell who is a pioneer from the Highline community. Pat has agreed to chat with us a bit today about her memories from her early time at Angle Lake Elementary School. Pat we are very, very pleased that you are willing to share your time with us and we are anxious to hear what you remember. I am most interested first in how you came to be living in that area?
My father was a construction worker and we traveled all around the state because he worked on relocation of roads, towns and railroads for, like Coulee Dam, was the first one. We lived up in the log house in a corner of the world that was forgotten.
He just worked his way to different jobs and we came to Enumclaw and he worked on the Howard Hanson Dam. And so I went to Enumclaw Schools for a couple of years.
And he started working on I-90, the big cuts they were making through the hills to create the superhighway.
At that time we moved to McMicken Heights, which had new housing, for the wartime things. I think that’s the reason that was there. I know there was a housing shortage everywhere. And so that’s when I started to Angle Lake School.
Did he ever work at SeaTac Airport?
No, but when we moved there everything was already cleared off of that area. It was just this big blank.
What year was that?
Well, I’m not sure. We have to look at this and see when I arrived at Angle Lake. 1943.
So in 1943 your family moved to McMicken Heights?
Do you have memories of neighborhood kids that went to school with you too?
Oh gosh, yes. I didn’t bring pictures like that because I wasn’t sure what you wanted.
The thing that was significant about our block, and I’m sure many others, is that there were 17 kids on our block. We had from little ones all the way through high school. And the things that I remember that were so much fun was we played pickup baseball and pickup football in the street in our block, and we had older kids who taught the little ones how to handle the bat and how to throw the ball.
You must have been about 10 or 5th grade.
Did you walk to school?
We were picked up from the bus but we had to go down to Hwy 99 to be picked up.
How far was that from your home?
Well, where we lived it was just on the top of the hill on 170th and we had to walk down to the highway. It seemed like a long ways then.
Back then the highway must have been only two lanes.
Yeah. But it was very dangerous and very busy. I thought about this. There was kind of like a frontage road from about 178th, I think, to where Angle Lake School was, so that we could cross the road and walk on THAT road. So sometimes we walked to or from school depending on what was going on, because I can remember walking home from school lots of times. I guess they didn’t check us all like they do now. If we didn’t get on the bus there must have been a reason we didn’t get on the bus.
So you began in the 5th grade. What was your sense of the school when you first started there? Did it feel big?
Well, it was very similar to the one in Enumclaw, which was big for me because I had before just been going to little tiny schools wherever we could find a place to live with the work that my Dad was doing. But it wasn’t intimidating to me at all, probably because I’d moved around a lot too. I think the things that I can tell you that I remember about the school, that I don’t even know if its that way anymore, but the first classroom that I went into had big folding doors that went across the back end of it and divided it from the next schoolroom. So when they opened those big doors then that was where we would have an assembly or something like that.
They had so many students that they had to use what was their assembly room for classrooms?
I don’t think it was that. I just think that’s the way the school was built because it wouldn’t have had an assembly room if they hadn’t done that.
Did they not have the separate gymnasium?
Did they ever use that for assemblies?
Oh I think so. I just know there were occasions maybe they showed movies or something like that. The thing I do remember about the teaching movies that they would show is that we went just a short distance and downstairs to the furnace room or next door to the furnace room to see whatever movie we were going to see, you know about health.
Could it have been a cafeteria area?
No there was another space, but I don’t remember any of that as being very big. And I think at the time…
And did it have built in equipment for movies or was that just where they took people to see movies?
I just know the projector was there. And then there were projectors in the classroom a lot.
The sort on a rolling cart?
What kind of films did they show?
They might be ones about science or world history or something like that.
Were there a lot of students in your class?
I think that at the time that I was starting there, that probably for that school there WERE a lot of students. I think all the schools were being taxed in the district with the amount of students that were coming. And within the time that I was there and going to Highline to junior high and high school we grew to be the largest school district in the state.
You probably had about 30 students in a class. Did they all move together to the next grade?
I don’t remember. There was JUST a 5th grade, a 6th grade, a 7th grade.
Not more than one class for each grade? So the odds are that you just all moved up…
There were other new people that came too. I think it was that coming for jobs and the things that were happening in the south end what with Boeing and the airport going to be built and all that sort of thing.
Do you have memories of your teachers?
The first one I really don’t remember. I recognize her in the picture but I don’t remember her. I didn’t come in until after the year had started. But for 6th grade I had a teacher named Mrs. Morrow, and I really thought I had her for both years. And so I don’t know if maybe they traded off for certain classes or something and she was the one that became my teacher in the 6th grade. And she was my favorite of a lot of years so that is probably why I remember her particularly. And then we moved across the hall for the 7th grade with yet another teacher, I think her name was Albright.
The school went through through grade 8?
No, no, no. It went through the 7th grade and then you went on to the 8th grade at Highline.
There were no middle schools or junior high schools at that time.
Our junior high was in the same building as the high school and we had our own officers and were separate and then it was quite a thing to move on.
Was there any source of class hierarchy like that at the elementary school level at Angle Lake that you can recall…a class president or anything of that sort?
No, I don’t remember that.
Do you recall activities that you did? Did you take field trips and go places? Did you do things like Maypole or have dances?
I don’t remember those kinds of things. I sort of remember sports. Boys and girls played baseball together, so we must have been doing it by class. And then even at free times we played baseball together. And the reason I remember that is that because apparently I was a pretty good baseball player, and so I would get asked to play even by the boys. And could kinda stand on my own… and then all was lost when I hit puberty, I guess, because I’m not sports-like now at all.
Did they have a nice playfield, playground facility there?
There were bars that the girls played on, and were quite competitive too, that were at the side of the building. But it wasn’t any kind of grassy thing that I remember.
Do you remember activities in the adjacent gymnasium?
You don’t recall using it at all for anything?
No, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
It has quite a fine floor, and basketball hoops and a stage and dressing rooms.
I wonder if it was built after I left there?
It looks like it is actually OLDER than the original building and I just wondered if you have any memories.
I wonder if maybe it wasn’t even in use for some reason – because then when my little girls went to schools there, I remember it then.
You attended Angle Lake School for how long?
5th 6th and 7th grade.
Tell me about some of the fellow students you remember.
Oh, see I didn’t think you were going to do that.
You mentioned Joe Matelich the other day, and when I said the thing about baseball it triggered that one time, I think I was catcher and he was batting and he hit me in the back with his baseball bat, which was quite a trauma for everybody. They thought I’d been killed, but I hadn’t. And we were friends and always friends.
And they lived on the lake?
They lived on the lake and he had older brothers. They were super swimmers and one of the things you will probably hear from other people as well is that those boys had a tradition of swimming in the lake over Christmas and New Years. It had slides and a big high swing and they would go out on that swing like they were Tarzan.
At their home?
They lived very close to the Plunge. The boys didn’t have to come very far to come to work as lifeguards. They lived on the lake too. Of course they swam in the Sound too so I suppose it wasn’t that much of a shock. Because, in the dead of summer stepping into the Sound is traumatic.
So when you look at these photos of classmates, what comes to mind?
Tell me what you wore to school daily, because I think people kind of dressed up for class pictures.
I was wondering that when I looked at these. In this 7th grade picture I look like I have on the suit that my Mother made for Easter. So we must have done that.
What would you wear to school typically?
Looking at all of us it was pretty much skirts and sweaters, or skirts and blouses. In all the pictures it seems to be like that. There are particularly people in this front row that are good friends of mine. One is Juanita Jaber. And Juanita’s family had – I think at that time they called it a road house. It fronted on 99. And they lived in a house behind that. Don’t think their mother spoke English. I was there a lot of times.
Where was she from?
They said Syria at the time. I think these countries have changed their borders many times. And then, of course not in my class, but Jamel Hassan lived on beyond Angle Lake School and they had a restaurant road house. And they lived upstairs and it was a BIG building and the upstairs was big – and it was extended family. And it was really neat to go there.
Then Lillian Manzo was a favorite with everybody all through school…Tiny, cute, smart, and could sing like an angel. I think she is somebody you should talk to because her family lived quite close to the school and had a farm. They were Italian immigrants because I don’t think her Mom spoke English either.
The thing that is fascinating to me looking back on it from, and has been for long time, is how quickly kids learn to be totally American in everything they do, even though I know that their family traditions and their ethnic traditions continued on – and the same with the Japanese families.
Teachers today are saying the same thing about their students – how quickly the students assimilate. Become bi-lingual.
I think it’s wonderful. Of course Lillian and her family were part of the Pike Place Market. And that’s a significant thing to me. ‘Cause As I got older I would babysit, earn money, take the bus into downtown Seattle and poke through little stores, and Pike Place Market was like Aladdin’s land. And, as I would hang out there before I would get on the bus to go back home again, the kids that I knew would be giving away the vegetables they’d been selling during the day because they didn’t want to have to pack them up and take them home again. So it was not only Lillian’s brothers, there were also some Colacurcios that went to the Highline schools as well. By this time I was a teenager and my husband says they were giving me vegetables because they were trying to make time with me. I don’t know about that (laughs).
The point I am making with that is that they all had their JOBS, and they worked a lot and they did well in school and they really assimilated into the community in addition to all those responsibilities that they had. And were active in extracurricular activities as well, you know, became cheerleaders and played in the band and all that stuff. So how they found time for all that, I don’t know. And then the Japanese kids were always the smartest kids in school. And they were doing all those too, radishes and all that stuff.
Lillian’s best friend was Carol Eckman and she still lives in the area. They were just good buddies and I think walked to school together. They may have more memories about the school because they might have even played there a lot when there wasn’t any school going on.
Did your Mother work?
No, she was strictly a housewife at the time.
Did any of your friend’s mothers work? Aside from those who had farms?
You know, I can’t think of any in my circle, in my neighborhood or my friends at school.
And when you say that it reminds me again I keep going on to Highline because Elaine Davren was in my class at Highline and her mother was the music teacher who came to Angle Lake like maybe once a week.
And was that to sing or was it musical instruments?
That I don’t remember. I don’t remember that at all.
Is Elaine still around?
I don’t know where she is. She used to write to me from China and places like that. Patti Burgess might know because Patti is our den mother. She would have the phone numbers of both Lillian and Carol because Patti always is the one that gets us together.
Which we have done all through the years, and still do, which I think is maybe a different thing from what happens to kids anymore.
My kids are still in touch with a lot of their high school friends and they are pushing 40, so its possible it will continue.
And my girls are not.
You’ve kept in touch with all these girls, do you know what happened to the guys in your class?
Joe Matelich became an airline pilot. I would assume that maybe any number of them were in the Korean War. That part I don’t remember much about. Then – Ronnie Jones went to Angle Lake and Ronnie Jones’ dad was the one who invented the hydroplane that made Seattle famous. And when we were going to grade school I can remember he was kind of a buddy too.
What hydroplane was it?
You’ll have to help me think back.
I didn’t live here then.
Was it Slo Mo? Slow Motion? Anyway that’s when the national things came here. That whole craze started for hydroplanes and Ron went on to design hydroplanes as well.
We could check with the hydroplane museum.
Anybody else can probably tell you. Patti could tell you. I just – some things just weren’t of particular interest. I remember everybody gathering around black and white
TVs and spending a week watching this stuff go on and it didn’t interest me at all.
Let’s see, who else is here in this picture? Ronnie Jones is standing right next to me.
Do you remember things like Parent-Teacher meetings, or things that you did that your family would come to school?
Do you think they did that?
I don’t think so.
They didn’t have Christmas programs or things like that where families would come and attend?
I have no recall of that whatsoever.
OK, maybe it wasn’t something they did.
I see that you have a certificate here for penmanship.
They don’t teach penmanship any more.
I just heard just lately from somebody they aren’t even going to teach them any form of writing at all anymore. So they can only do this in order to communicate? (gestures)
Do you recall penmanship lessons?
Oh heavens, yes.
Well, I think for all of those who could conform, it was probably fine. But I remember great difficulties with anybody who was left-handed. And that even continued when my youngest daughter was going to school in a small school in Tenino – where we had serious problems about her going to school because they were supposed to turn their paper the other way no matter what they wanted to do. I remember that, and I remember feeling real compassion for the people that had that issue.
Do you recall notepaper that had the dotted line between the lines so that you knew how to write?
I don’t know if they still make that kind of paper. I remember making many, many a’s and many, many b’s.
Uh huh, Uh huh.
I can tell from the way my sons write that they weren’t taught the way I was.
And you can see it really when you receive mail from different generations…. who took penmanship and who didn’t. But I mean that in every little school that I went to it was also taught. I think it was an important part of the curriculum.
Well you communicated by writing, so that was different from typing.
Typing was my downfall in high school.
So there are penmanship certificates.
This one is 5th grade and this one is 6th grade.
And this is graduation to 8th grade. And then this one is perfect attendance. Were you never sick?
It was pretty much perfect attendance or darned close to it all the way through school. I think it was important to my parents that you went to school, and it was important to me that went go to school.
You don’t remember things like chicken pox and mumps going through your family? You were required to only have them during the summertime?
No, no, no. I’m sure it happened sometimes in some of the places. I know that once we lit in a place where then I grew up and left home and got married and still stayed in the area, that things were a lot more stable than they were when we were like gypsies. I think I might have been through with those things before I got to this school district. I can remember having them, but I was in the first grade and maybe in the third grade. And that’s about the only times that I can remember.
I WAS one who was called four eyes and made fun of because I wore glasses. And I just saw something on television the other day that was in a story where the kids were doing the same thing and I thought, “My God, does everybody have to live through that? Why do they have to do that?” You know you are four eyes and the teacher’s pet because I sat in the front all the time. I sat in the front so I could see the board.
You said that you were wearing a suit in that picture that your Mother made for you. Did your Mother make a lot of your clothes?
Oh yes and about that time I started making them too.
How long did you continue making your clothes?
‘Til now. But I don’t so much anymore.
You still make your clothes?
Oh. I don’t really anymore because we don’t dress like we used to.
I made suits and coats and all the clothes for my kids and they carry on with the same thing.
My mother made lots of my clothes and I was so annoyed that she insisted on making my prom dress because I wanted a real store bought formal. My best friend wanted her mother to make her one so badly. And she said, “I like homemade clothes.”
I even made a prom dress for a classmate of mine in high school that we copied out of
one of the designer magazines. It was by a French designer and it had big polka dots on it and it was a sheer material and I found it in the curtain department somewhere and just made this thing up with her. And on the way to the prom she came with her date – we happened to have a convertible – and she sat on the like she was a princess and we had our picture taken together because I’d made her dress for her.
Do you recall taking sewing lessons in school? In Home Ec?
No, If they had sewing class I didn’t take a sewing class. I remember a Home Ec that was sort of everything in high school, where you learned how to wrap a sprained ankle, bathe a baby – how to walk and stand and turn and keep your knees together and all that sort of thing. I do vintage fashion shows now to benefit Childrens Hospital. I get teen models who love to wear those clothes but they stand like scarecrows. They have no idea how to do this. I have to show them what to do. I think it was taught to us where it was just part of what you should do.
I remember being taught how to get into and out of a car gracefully.
Yes, all of those things. It wasn’t like you were being brainwashed or anything.
I’ve had each of my sons ask me to go over how to use the correct forks and spoons. And I said, “Didn’t I teach that to you?”
“Yes,” they said, “but you really hardly ever set us down and showed what to do with three or four.” But they, in fact, found themselves in situations where they realized they didn’t know the etiquette.
But see I didn’t even think about that but that was another thing we did. We also did some craft kinds of things too, because I remember stenciling a pattern on napkins and you pulled the threads around edge to make fringe. I gave those to my Mother.
Do you remember any craft activities from Angle Lake School?
I remember drawing a lot. And Mrs. Morrow thought I drew wonderful pictures. Then in the 7th grade Ms Albright, who was new to the school that year when we went in, had something where each of us had something lined up around the room. We each had a place. And Larry King came new that year to the school. He went on to be big man on campus at Kennedy High School. He was a really good artist and drew really neat things. We sort of had of a bond. I was drawing dogs at that phase. I don’t remember what he did. Cartoons were part of it and I think they were his own cartoons. Anyway she was emphasizing our ability to do that sort of thing and to encourage us to do that by making a point of showing our work.
Did you take dancing lessons as a child?
And they didn’t offer anything like that at school?
When I got a little bit older I took baton lessons and I went into Seattle and went up into
some building right downtown that had people squawking on clarinets and that all sort of thing. I was twirling the baton and some old man taught me how to do that.
So were you with the marching band in high school?
And you still twirl a baton?
I would be afraid to let go of it.
I did that too. I practiced in the yard by the hour.
When I got the metal end one, because I started off with the rubber one, then we got the metal. You really got a lot of respect for that one. I don’t know why I was so interested in doing that. Another gal here, Georgie Beale who was in my neighborhood, was a majorette as well in high school so we did that together and we were friends.
Does anything else come to your mind about Angle Lake School as you think about it and look at these photos?
I think that Mr. Freet was the principal and I think that he was pretty good at his job. He was quite formal, but I think ran a tight ship and didn’t let anything get out of hand. His son was going to school there as well and these might have been something. I think he was in another class….
This photograph was taken on the north side of the building and we have just acquired these leaded glass windows.
I wasn’t sure how much they might have changed it over the years because my girls are now in their ‘50’s.
Is your daughter around? Does she live nearby?
She lives in Magnolia. Her name was Laurie Bales when she went to Angle Lake in kindergarden…it looks like ‘57 – ‘58. Then I was remarried and we moved away.
This photo was the only thing I found of the girls. There are no report cards or anything. I have a feeling they took a packet of things.
Can the Society take these photos and recopy them?
Oh yes. This is Mr. Freet in the picture and that is his son.
Now that is the school crossing guard photograph? Was it an organization?
It says “5th , 6th and 7th grade boys, my 6th grade year”.
And they are all named.
Patrol Boys of ’43 – ’44.
I think there are probably some blanks here, maybe from another grade, that I may not have known who they were. Willard Julem lived in my neighbor hood and he went on to be an officer and a sports star in high school.
The interesting thing here that I see in this picture is that we had one black student. His last name was Jackson and his first name was Noble. Noble Jackson. There was lots of teasing that went on, like to me and the other girls too, that we were “Noble Jackson’s girlfriend”, which was tacky. I don’t think there were any more until in high I remember a black boy transferring from another school and going onto the high school basketball team.
There were a lot of Asians.
…at high school, but not in Angle Lake.
They were at Sunnydale?
Yes, and like some of the others even toward South Park was part of where they farmed a lot. There was a Japanese family that lived right across from what used to be the Highline office, which I think became the telephone office later on. There was a house there that was the so-and-so’s mansion. The Morasch house …. I can’t think of her name but the lady that was around in arts and…
Yes, Dotty Harper. Forever. I was back around here and working as a volunteer at the art gallery when she was active in attempting to save the Morasch house — and DID, and spent her own money on doing it and then.
It was burned.
It shouldn’t have been sitting where it was sitting for as long as it was sitting there with nothing happening to it. It was not very thoughtful on the part of the community. It sounds like you have a different sense in that community now. It’s wonderful that that’s happening.
I think when Burien incorporated things got a bit more organized. It was kind of an afterthought to King County, and then when they incorporated they were able to coalesce and do nice things. Downtown Burien is looking much better.
I think a part of that is that the airport so fractured the community. If I wanted to visit a school friend in Burien or Des Moines I had to go to Seattle on the bus and come back.
Is that right?
There was no cross bus.
You still almost cannot do it.
Right. There were buses that went other places around but they didn’t do that within our school district. It was that long skinny thing that went from Zenith all the way to White Center. And you had friends – when we went to junior high and high school – we had friends in all of those places because we had just the one school at that time. Then we had some that had big brothers who maybe would transport us until we got to the age maybe when someone had a boyfriend who would give us a ride. It wouldn’t have had the community feeling. I think that the airport continuing to grow made everybody more conscious of their surroundings and what they wanted to happen to their surroundings. Because it has just eaten away forever.
It has – there’s actually been recently noise about a fourth runway. Amazing.
Well, there wasn’t a lot going on there when they started. If you want to talk about those things I have a very close friend. We really grew up together and our parents were best friends in high school and they had two babies at the same time, one in March and one in December…. Anyway, she lived in Sunnyside and when it was just a big open space where the airport was. Then they opened a strip, a landing strip, kinda where the Jaber’s restaurant was, and had a Quonset hut for the office. And she flew from Yakima and we went over there and picked her up at the airport. It was really a big deal. (laughs)
It must have been just about 1947 – or 46.
But if I hadn’t done that I probably wouldn’t remember that there was a Quonset hut there and that there were little planes that landed there and took off. I remember going to the opening of the airport, too, when they had the dedication of the building.
Of the terminal building. But the airport had been functioning from quite some time.
Yes, that was a fancy piece of architecture.
In 1945, my mother had taken me when I was 1-year old to Pt. Barrow, Alaska, where my father was in the Corps of Engineers doing who- knows- what in the Army, and spent 2 months up there during WWII. He was the senior officer in that part of the world. And we came back & someone took a picture of me playing in the grass at about 18 months old at Seattle-Tacoma, at Bow Lake Airport, while she was waiting to catch another flight to Texas. Until I was married I never came to this part of the world again so that is a rather unusual family photograph.
I don’t remember what the interim might have been. I just remember going to the dedication. I’m sure that Boeing or the airport has photos taken from that day from a long ways away that shows the mob that was there. I know I’ve seen that photo quite often of the planes flying over.
We’ve been talking for about 40 minutes and I want to thank you for sharing your memories of Angle Lake School. One day I’ll catch you and we can talk about Highline High School.
I will say that when Laurie and Lynn were at Angle Lake I was in the PTA, and before that I was in our co-op kindergarten PTA, our parents group and a leader in those things….and I remember a Halloween carnival where I did face makeup on all the kids and they thought that was the greatest ever.
But you don’t remember those kinds of activities from when you were a student?
So they had a very active PTA by the 50’s.
Oh yes, but in my case it might have been that there wasn’t transportation and my father didn’t have any interest that we would participate in that sort of thing. Because my father really didn’t…..
He decided what you would participate in and didn’t?
Kinda – yea
It’s a new generation.
My mom was really good at seeing that we did well in school and that we read lots of books and that we were exposed music and all those kinds of things. My dad was disappointed he had two girls because fishing and hunting and all that sort of thing were what HE did.
But the baseball?
Well, I would have thought. And when I got a bicycle I did NOT want a girl’s bicycle. I wanted a boys bicycle because I thought girl’s bicycles were sissy. That was when there weren’t new bicycles. This is an interesting thing… the man that was the school bus driver for me all the years I went to school was the same bus driver and he had a little tiny bike shop over on Des Moines way and he restored bicycles.
What was his name?
I can’t remember. I think his first name was John, that’s all I know. He threw kids off the bus. My sister married a cocky young guy that when he was on the bus when he was in grade school he got thrown off all the time because he threw books out the window and did all sorts of terrible things. This gentleman commanded respect. But he was our only bus driver forever. We were like his children and he knew how to read each one of us, I’m sure. He’d tell you to “Hurry up — come on”….or maybe let you off a little beyond because it’s pouring down rain. He just was a neat guy. He had this bike shop, and that’s where my dad bought my World bike with “knee action”. And it was a boy’s bike. I think I got it in 6th grade. I could have brought you a picture of that too.
We also used to walk from where we lived to Angle Lake to the Plunge all the time too. And I brought report cards too, if you want to see what they did with report cards.
Progress reports… A “C” in Spelling?
I don’t understand that. When I looked at these, I thought, “I thought that I got straight A’s!” Apparently not.
Maybe you just had a bad quarter.
(laughs) I see on one of these that my grade was down because I didn’t turn in a book report. I thought, “Well, I can’t believe that either. I read books every day. “ My mother and dad were always telling me to get my nose out of the book a go do whatever it was I was supposed to do.
The one in high school that I found that was my downfall was typing. I just froze in typing. After a time I asked the teacher as politely as I could.,, because I was a spooky little kid that was afraid to not do anything really well. I told her that in time trials it made me really nervous when she stood right behind my shoulder. And she said, “Well I was going to have to get used to that.” So I got C’s in typing and I’ve not touched a typewriter since. I might have been just an absolute whiz if she had just moved down the aisle a little ways.
I thank you very much. We appreciate your memories.
You’re very welcome.