Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Helen Louise Werst Caldwell

Dear Aunt Helen,
Cecil Oscar Werst 1900-1927
Photograph circa 1926
All photographs from the author's
personal collection.
In celebration of your 86th birthday today, I thought I would share some of your early photographs with your family and friends. Daughter of Cecil Oscar and Ada Grace Colby Werst, you were born in Pendleton, Oregon four and a half months after your father died of an infection following a tooth extraction.

Betty, Grace and Helen in Spokane circa December 1928
Growing up in the 1930s meant growing up in tough times.You and your Mom moved to Seattle, where she found a job as the secretary for a radio station, leaving your sister behind with her Aunt Madge in Pendleton. It was the middle of the depression and many people were struggling.
Helen, on left with big sister Betty on board USS Constitution "Old Ironsides"
during its stop in Portland on its west coast tour 1933

Things were a little better, when the family was reunited at Pine Lawn Farm, your grandfather W. W. Colby's place outside of Newberg, Oregon. This security did not last. W. W. died March 2, 1936 with only $12.00 in the bank. The family struggled to make ends meet, Grace taking any job she could find, even hoeing hops for ten cents an hour.
On the farm, from left Helen, Grace and Betty circa 1938

Things had hardly begun to get better, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Food, gasoline, and tires were all rationed. Blackout drapes hung at every window. It must have been particularly frightening when the Japanese bombed the Oregon Coast.

Seeing stepfather Kenneth Branchflower off to World War II May 1944
Perhaps it was not the most auspicious of beginnings, but you have never let it phase you. Your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, as well as nephews-in-law have always appreciated your support and encouragement. Happy Birthday!


No comments:

Post a Comment