John Galbraithwas my grandfather’s best friend. My grandfather, William Hill, managed the Standard Oil depot in Eatonville. The last time I was in town, it was still there, as was my grandparents’ house, a couple blocks away from the Galbraiths’.
When the Galbraiths left Eatonville, they moved into the vacation house they had built in the 1930s in Rosedale, near Gig Harbor. In 1946, my grandparents bought a house across Lay Inlet from the Galbraiths’. Both houses were built by the same man, a retired boat builder name Combs. When the Galbraiths sent out a photo Christmas card in the 1940s, my grandfather countered with a parody Christmas card of the barn in his own yard.
This little piece ran in the November, 1945 Eatonville Dispatch. The article is interesting because is talks about the Ashfordpublic school. It must have been a rather small school though because the Home Economics class consisted of four girls: Evelyn Akers, Patricia Balch, Nadine Reese and Audrey Straws.
Sewing in the 40s Interesting fact: In the 1940s the WPA (Works Projects Administration) created sewing projects where women produced clothing which was distributed to the poor.
This story, written by Sheryl Hegg, ran in The Dispatchon August 22, 1979
The name Jesse Dawkins inspires different recollections from different people in the area. People here in the 1940s remembered that Jesse Dawkins owned a restaurant outside Eatonville. Those herein the 1950s recall him as their friend neighborhood grocer. “He was a teacher,” insist recent Eatonville High School graduates who remember him most for his original humorous lectures in health class.
Could all be the same Jesse Dawkins? Yes, Dawkins admits that he’s done all of the above and more.
Bus Driver Dawkins grew up in Tacoma and graduated from Lincoln High School. After high school, he attended the College of Puget Sound(now UPS) where he played football and graduated with a degree in education.
During the summers while he was still in college, Dawkins became familiar with the Eatonville area while driving a tour bus from Tacoma to Paradise at Mount Rainier. At that time, Dawkins had no idea that he would one day settle down to live in Eatonville nor the fact that he would meet his future wife at Mount Rainier.
Those same summers that he was dutifully driving his bus to the mountain and back, a pretty young woman had found a summer job as a waitress and dancer at the lodge at Paradise.
The young woman, Madora, performed an acrobatic dancing act with her partner, when she was waitressing.
One day, during the act, Madora fell off her partner’s shoulders and hurt her head. Jesse, who didn’t know her at the time, volunteered to driver her to the doctor. That was the beginning of a relationship that has never ended. They have been married now for 38 years.
Football Player & Teacher After Dawkins finished college, he played semi-professional football for a year and taught high school at the same time. He is reminded of his football days every time he looks in the mirror. He said that he was broken his nose more times than he can count. Football players in those days were a “rough bunch of cookies” according to Dawkins.
Teaching in the 1930’s and 40’s wasn’t a particularly prosperous field.
“I was starving to death. The wagers were to lousy,” said Dawkins. He earned $1,260 a year then. He had to quit teaching and move when the only house he could find to rend was $105 a month (nearly his total monthly salary).
Restaurant Owner & Construction Worker Frustrated, Dawkins left education and went into the world of business. IN 1941, he and his bride bought the Kings’ Place Restaurant just outside of Eatonville. The restaurant thrived on the business brought in by truckers and tourists passing by on their way to the mountain.
“We sold a complete rib stake dinner that included dessert for 85 cents back then,” said Dawkins. He chuckles when he remembers being upset when Ole Malcom, an Eatonville butcher, raised the price of rib steak from $.19 to $.25 “We had to sell our dinner for one dollar after that.”
The hours were long and busy ones for the Dawkins during those years. Jesse also did construction work then. He spent three years working full-time days on the Alder Dam and nights at the restaurant. Madora handled the restaurant during the day.
In 1945, Dawkins made the difficult decision to sell King’s Place. He was worried that the economy would bottom-out after the war, so he sold the restaurant. The disaster he expected never happened. “Oh well,” he said, “if foresight was as good as highsight, we’d all have 20-20 vision.”
Selling the restaurant gave Dawkins a chance at another new occupation. So far he had driven a bus, taught school, played football, done construction work and owned a restaurant.
X-ray Technician & School Teacher Dawkins worked as an x-ray technician for a year for the army, the only job he could find at the time. He said that if was the most boring job imaginable.
Faced with boredom, Dawkins decided he would rather be poor. So, for the next year he took a job as a teacher in the Clover Park School District.
Grocery Store Owner During the years that he had been away from Eatonville area, Dawkins had kept in contact with some friends there. One of the friends mentioned that he was selling his store. Would Dawkins be interested in buying it? He jumped at the chance and by 1947 he was back in Eatonville as the new owners of his own store.
The Red and White Store was located accords from where the bank is located now. It was a big old grocery store with creaky wooden floors. Dawkins said that he carried everything including animal feed there. He remembers buying a huge barrel of vinegar every few months. Customers would bring their own jugs and he would sell the vinegar to them for $.15 He was reminded of that aspect of the “good-ole days” when he went to the store for his wife and bought a gallon of vinegar for over two dollars.
The 1950’s were good years for Dawkins. Although it was hard work, he enjoyed owning his own business once again. For 15 years Dawkins worked day and night at his store.
Teaching Again Eventually, it got to be too much for him. In 1962, he decided to sell out to Keith Malcolm who was planning to build a bigger store.
For the third straight time in his life, Dawkins decided to return to teaching. He taught math and science at the Eatonville Junior High. “Things were more respectful,” he added.
Dawkins really enjoyed his junior high students and was reluctant to return to teaching high school, but eventually he did. He taught high school math, health and social studies until retiring in 1976.
Dawkins had a special talent for teaching. Because he is a big man, with a deep, sometimes gruff voice, his presence in a classroom was never ignored by students. He has the rare skill of maintaining respect without closing off communications, which came in hand when dealing with adolescents.
Although he hoped to continue teaching for a few more years, he retired early for health reasons. Madora is still teaching at Eatonville Grade School.
Jess and Madora have six grown up children. Their four sons are Jesse Jr., Steve, Mark and Dan. They have two daughters, Suzanne and Anita. The Dawkins also have five (soon to be six) grandchildren.
Dawkins said the he has never regretted any career changes that he has made. Each was unique and fulfilling in its own way. There aren’t very many people around who have had the broad range of experiences that Dawkins has had.
Photos courtesy of Margit Thorvaldson, Pat Van Eaton, Bob Walter, and the Dispatch.
Ohop Bobwas an upscale restaurant, banquet hall and motel, all wrapped up in one. Originally built by a cycle club, it was further developed in 1914 by the Washington Automotive Club for their two-day trips from Tacoma to Longmire. (Per Upper Nisqually Valley.)
It was open weekends and during the summer, and visitors had a spectacular view of Ohop Valley. And how could they not? The building was constructed on the hillside and suspended over the valley below.
“When you walked out on the balcony you could feel the building give a little,” says Rosemarie Van Cleve, who waitressed at Ohop Bob in her teens.
One meal The place was famous for its chicken dinners — the only dinner they served.
Sally McKay, who also waitressed as a teenager in the 40s, says, “I remember peeling potatoes and slicing them thin. And when people came we would tell them it would be half an hour because we cooked everything fresh.”
Sharon (Guske) Aguilar, who waitressed a decade later said the meal never changed. “The were very particular. Even the lettuce leaves had to be just so.”
What did change was the hourly wage. Sally and Rosemarie made about 50 cents an hour, and Sharon made 75 cents.
The Owners For most of its years Ohop Bob was run by Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Josselyn. They ran a tight ship and Sally recalls Mr. Joslyn as very staid and tall. “There was a small rose bush out back and he always wore a small bud in his lapel.”
However, all three recall Mrs. Josselyn’s cigarette dangling precariously from her lips while cooking chicken.
Stories A lot happened at Ohop Bob over its 50+ years, and the waitresses remember fun times, like Rosemarie being asked to grab her accordion to entertain guests.
“Once when I was sweeping the front porch this guy came. He had a long beard and rode a bicycle,” says Sally. “His name was Pruner Carlson. He was kind of a strange guy who rode around and pruned trees. He wanted some food and I snuck some out to him. When I went back on the porch he had left me a start of a little plant. I thought that was so nice.”
Rosemarie recalls yodeling from the balcony to get home. The family dairy was on the other side of the valley. “Dad [Louie Metter Sr.] would know when I was done and listen for me.”
Up in Flames In May 1965 the building burned. Arson was suspected. “You could see the glow in the sky from Eatonville,” says Rosemarie. “The old timbers must have gone up like kindling.”
These loggers thought they were high tech back in the 40s. This photo shows the shift from steam to diesel power in in the woods. Pat Van Eaton says this eliminated the need for water and the fire hazard of burning wood to fire the steam boiler.
Photo was taken about 1942 near National, WA. Courtesy Donna Rahier