Stories are the fabric of our community. They connect us across generations.
Bainbridge Island in the 1930s and 1940s
Karen Beierle, a Bainbridge Island resident since birth in the late 1930s, grew up in the Point White/Lynwood area. She left the island briefly to attend college and begin a teaching career, returning to raise a family in the home she and her husband still occupy in Fletcher Bay. Karen describes the Point White ferry, Lynwood and Fort Ward in the 1940s, and the Navy’s presence and her experience as a student at Pleasant Beach School when the 1949 earthquake resulted in the school’s permanent closure. She concludes with her perspective on the return of Japanese American residents after their exclusion.
Wing Point in the 1940s
Listen here as island resident Dick Shryock describes life growing up on Wing Point in the 1940s, the impact World War II had on his family and the area, and two of his summer jobs, first as the Wing Point Golf Club greens keeper and later working on the construction of the Agate Passage Bridge.
Dick moved permanently to Bainbridge Island as a young boy in 1941. His family initially rented and later purchased a log home on Wing Point where Dick grew up. That house is now on the City of Bainbridge Island’s Register of Historic Properties as one of the best-preserved log homes on the island. Dick continues to live in the Port Madison area.
Bainbridge Island in the 1930s and 1940s
Listen here as lifelong Island resident Chuck Callaham shares memories of growing up on Bainbridge, including biking, ice skating, ice skating, and the early days of the Bainbridge Island Fire Department.
Chuck moved to Bainbridge Island with his family as a young child in the mid-1930s. He grew up in Winslow and now lives in the Seabold area. In this 16-minute podcast, excerpted from a one hour and 32 minute interview with BIHM volunteer Tom Arnold, Chuck describes life in Winslow the 1930s and 1940s, including some of his experiences growing up in the town and descriptions of some of the businesses along Winslow Way in that era.
Chuck and his family have a long association with the Bainbridge Island Fire Department going back to the mid-1940s, including his father’s service as the department’s first full-time paid fire chief in the 1960s. He concludes the interview with his early memories of the Bainbridge Island Fire Department from its founding in the early 1940s.
Fletcher Bay in the 1940s and 1950s
Listen here as island resident Lilly Kodama describes what it was like growing in the Fletcher Bay area in the 1940s and 50’s.
In this 21-minute podcast, excerpted from a two-hour interview with BIHM volunteer Tom Arnold, Lilly shares her memories of growing up on a farm at the head of Fletcher Bay, including her grandparent’s and parent’s journey to the island, life on the farm, and her mother’s work ethic in managing the farm before and after World War II while her father worked in Seattle. She also describes her family’s experience being forcibly removed from the island in March 1942 along with Bainbridge’s other Japanese American families, her family’s close relationship with Filipino immigrant Felix Narte, and the important leadership role her brother Frank played in bringing attention to the forced exclusion experience and in the establishing the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial in Eagledale.
Winslow in the 1940s and 1950s
Listen here as former island resident Lavina Johnson describes what it was like growing up in Winslow in the 1940s and 50’s.
In this 19-minute podcast excerpted from a one-hour and 30 minute interview with BIHM volunteer Tom Arnold, Lavina shares her experiences growing up on Bainbridge, descriptions of some of the businesses along Winslow Way in that era, and the damage to the old Lincoln School caused by the 1949 earthquake. She also describes the role of strawberry cultivation in island life at that time.
Manzanita in the 1930s and 1940s
Listen here as former island resident Ray Lowrie describes what it was like growing up in Manzanita in the 1930s and 40’s.
In this 23-minute podcast, excerpted from a 90-minute interview with BIHM volunteer Tom Arnold, Ray shares his memories of growing up in Manzanita, including learning to drive at the age of 11, walking and then driving to the movies in Lynwood, and the experience riding in the “chicken coop” school buses of that era. He also shares stories of World War II, the 1949 earthquake, and his experience as a member of the 1948 Bainbridge High School state championship basketball team.
The Indipino Community on Bainbridge Island, 1940’s
Gina Corpuz stands off New Brooklyn road on Bainbridge Island, on land that has been in her family for two generations. She looks in every direction, and sees the history of the Indipino community.
“The Romeros, who lived down the road, there were 12 children,” Gina says. “And then up the hill is where the Rapada children grew up, and there were 13 children in their family.”
Indipino stands for Indigenous and Filipino. It’s a community that began one summer, nearly 80 years ago, when Filipino farmhands and Indigenous berry pickers met in the strawberry fields of Bainbridge Island, and fell in love. That first summer, there were 13 marriages.
It was the beginning of a community where all the dads were Filipino, and all the mothers were Indigenous. While there were many aspects of the culture worth celebrating, Gina Corpuz still feels a pang at the thought that their Indigenous mothers were second class citizens in this mixed-heritage community.
For Gina, learning how to honor and understand her mother has been a life’s work. And now that she’s an elder in the Indipino community, she’s working to tell the stories of her mother, and all the Indigenous mothers, while they still can.
Listen to the story of one Indipino woman, and how she connected to her roots.
Credit: KNKX-FM, Seattle/Tacoma
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