Friday, March 25, 2011

Tika's Sort-of Grandmother: Esther Mary Oswald Phillips

Today, March 25, is Esther Mary Oswald's birthday. Born in Spokane, her parents were living in Hillyard in 1913 where John Peter worked for the railroad but her mother Mary Ethel was adamant that her children would be born out of the city.......... the Great White Death (tuberculosis) was a city-killer in those days, and I think Ethel wanted the best for her children. So way, way, WAY west out of town (10" today) they went. Esther attended Cheney Normal School (now Eastern Washington University) and at age 18 was graduated from college and teaching in a rural school in Newport, Washington. For the next decade she and her girlfriends traveled all over the world during the summers often sailing on tramp steamers.  She met Chuck (Charles Alexander Phillips) and they were married in November 1941 in her parents' home. She was 28; he was 35 and they had a rocky marriage. Newly pregnant in Shelton, Washington, in 1942 and expecting to quit teaching, the war-need for teachers was so great that her principal told her "to put on a smock and go to work." So she did. Divorcing in 1952, she finished her teaching career in Spokane and succumbed to Alzheimers in 1998. She left two children, five grandchildren and nine greats (so far). She was a great lady with never a hair out of place and always uncomfortable in slacks and she loved a daffodil-themed birthday party with all the crystal glasses on the table. Happy Birthday, Esther.

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