Grandma’s Guest Book

During WW II and beyond, my grandmother, Gladys Corinne Walker, worked as an elevator operator at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle.

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Gladys (second from right) at the Federal Building

She often did her part for the war effort and post-war by inviting soldiers to her house near Green Lake for a home cooked meal.  Her son, Al, was in the army, and her daughter, Virginia (Ginger) was in the Marines Womens Reserve. Sometimes her dinner guests would sign her leather bound guest book, which I have to this day.   Some of them called her “Mom”.  Let’s leaf through it together.

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Rene and Emile Charvet?
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taken in Gladys’s front yard looking east (downhill) toward Green Lake

 

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photo taken in front of Gladys’s house

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Dear Mom, Thanks for the applesauce and fruit salad.  I don’t know if I deserve it tho as I really don’t get over unless there is something good to eat.”  (Al is being modest; he was a good son who visited regularly and helped her out much during her life.)

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Al Cox

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“The Walkers Inc:  The dinner was swell.  You folks are just tops.  I had a great time and I thank you lots.  Aug 22, 1943, Rodney H Hooke, Sacramento California”

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Rodney E. Hooke

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4-17-44  Dear Mom, I’m sure going to miss the Sundays here when you have had so many swell kids out here.  And I’ll miss my little blue room too as well as you.  Save it for me.  I’ll be back when the war is over.  Your daughter Ginger  Pvt. Virginian Cox U.S.M.C.W.R.”  (US Marine Corps Womens Reserves)

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May 10, 1946  Dear Gladys, On Behalf of a lonely soldier 800 miles across the Pacific—Thank you for being you.  It is a pleasure to know someone like you—for to know you is to like you.  Bless you, Micky Rodgers, Ft. Worth Texas”

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“To Gladys—a wonderful hostess and a jolly good fellow.  Bernie Pederson

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Dear Mrs. Walker and Mr. Walker, I can’t express my thanks for such a wonderful dinner and a marvelous time.  It really made me think of home.  P.F.C. Lawrence Johnston (?) Chicago Illinois December 25, 1950″

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Dec 24, 1943 Christmas Eve  Dear “Mom”, Please accept the sincere thanks of another soldier whom you have shown your unbeatable hospitality.  You should have a medal in your work in carrying out the real American spirit of friendship, the home, service to others.  If there are many mothers like you, the future is worth fighting for. —Winston Cornell”

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Dear “Mom”, Many, many thanks for a wonderful dinner and evening.  Your kind hospitality has done much toward making this Thanksgiving holiday “like home”, my first away from Mother and Dad.  Again thanks a million for everything.  Doris Mansell, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

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Ginger—I didn’t like the climb up the hill but it was worth it after I got here.  Always, Bill Hart”

“15 November 1948  Been a long time getting here—Boy, am I stuffed! “Buck” Boyd, Capt. U.S.M.C.”

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Thanksgiving 11-22-44 Dear Mom, I called you mom because you make the good old mash potatoes that my Mom makes.  The dinner was wonderful Mom.  Gee whiz, between the jokes that are going around the room I do manage to get in a good word.  Thanks for everything Glad, everything was so good especially the potatoes.  I guess I was brought up on spuds.  Thanks a million for a grand time.  Dottie “Spud” Seuvey (?)  Just a civilian  almost a Marine, maybe yet”

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4/28/48 It sure was good chilli.  Mrs. Clara Pope, Capt Benj Pope, Omaha, Neb.

To the best flower grower and cook I know—from your “ever blooming idiot” (new flower) 9/18/50 Gretchen Harlow

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Dec 25, 1946  Dear “Mom”  I hope that this little note will express just a little the appreciation that I ower you for one of the most perfect Christmases that I have ever had.  Your “Southern” hospitality is wonderful and you’re tops!  Thanks again for making my first Christmas away from home a real joy.  Jim Billingsley, Biloxi Mississippi.

25 Dec 46  Dear Mom, just a note to express my thanks for the marvelous time you gave me on this day of all days…Christmas.  I want to wish you the best of luck in the year, and may God bless you forever.  Ralph L. McCrea, Jr.  Muskegon, Michigan”

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Dec 25, 1946  Dear Mom, This Christmas will always be remembered as the best that could be had for a GI 3500 miles from home.  From the bottom of my heart may this Christmas be joyful and may the new year bring happiness and joy.  Thanks a million from a hillbilly from New York.  Kenneth G Bustel (?) Argyle, NY”

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June 24, 1952  Aunt Gladys and Uncle Harry, So long it’s been good to know you. Jerry Garety, Michigan

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April 30, 1952  To Mrs. Walker, To one who has the most beautiful collection of dishes I have ever seen as well as an interesting history that goes with them.  The rolls were heavenly as well as the rest of the wonderful brunch.  Thanks a thousand for an enjoyable afternoon.  Lillie Madsen”

April 30, 1952 A fine lunch and a most enjoyable afternoon. Bessie Parker

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April 30, 1952  Dear Mrs. Walker, I shall long remember this afternoon.  Your delectable rolls and lots of good coffee.  May some of your cleanliness and garden know how rub off on me.  That will have to happen when my family is gone, first have patience with me.  Eunice Lamoreux”

Eunice was Gladys’across the street neighbor for many years and a dear friend.

April 30 1952  Your hospitality is inspiring.  How grateful I am that I insisted on coming to visit you.  What a lovely homemaker you are.  I trust that our friendship will long continue—Please come and see me soon.  Sincerely, Catherine Chandler.  P.S.  The lightest rolls I have ever tasted—Didn’t dream bread could be so ethereal!  And what a font of Delft and Meissin information.

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“June 24, 1952  Dear Aunt Gladys and Uncle Harry, It’s been so much fun really knowing you.  I hope I can be as proud of my family in the years to come as you are of yours.  I’ll feel my life well spent.  We’ll never forget your many kindnesses to us.  Love, Doris Garety, Huron Co Michigan”

Dear Aunt Gladys and Uncle Harry, I had a wonderful time at your home. The flowers were beautiful.  Jimmy Garety, Michigan

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16 Sept 1959  Dear Gladys—Your neighborliness has certainly meant a lot to us in the past three years.  We certainly enjoyed your hospitality.  We don’t want to lose track of you so you’ll be hearing from us and we’ll see you again three years from now.  Love, Esther”

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“July 18, 1950  You are such a wonderful hostess one feels so at home around you.  The buffet supper was out of this world.  Thanks so much and hope we’ll get together soon again.  Maude Rehman (?)”

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Sept 30 48  Dear Gladys, I still ate too darn much.  Ethel B.

Sept 30 48 Everything is so nice here—I’d like to stay.  Alma”

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March 11 49  Dear Gladys, You are a wonderful cook.  I ate too much.

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“Nov 11 -51  Dear friend Gladys, I thank you so much for the grand time I had at your home in Seattle, it was never be forgotten.

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July 18 1950  To a nice lady that I liked very much the first time I came here. To day has been such a nice visit. Everything was so good. I do hope we see more of each other.  Love, Elsie Purdy”

18 July 1950  Dear Gladys—You have been the sweetest person—year after year, I enjoy you more.  Love, Lucile Hodges

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Dear Mom (Gladys Walker), Some folks are never forgotten, whether they are close by or far.  Some folks are thought of each hour of the day and that’s just the type you are.  A Pittsburgh friend, Albert Bohn”

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second from top, Irene Cox, Gladys’s daughter in law, third from top, Ginger Cox, Gladys’s daughter

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August 10—1945  Dear Mom, Thanks for a wonderful dinner and I hope I may be able to repay you someday old Southern Style.  Jackson L. Smith, Fort Royal VA

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Hi mom: Have enjoyed your dinners, breakfasts, the nites I spent w/you, etc.  A son, Pfc Ira L. Chenier  P.S.  Your disposition runs true to your name.  “Mrs. Happy Bottom”

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taken on Gladys’s parking strip

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Hi Mom, Your home is wonderful and your dinner was swell.  It makes a soldier feel so close to home when he puts his feet under the table with such a swell dinner and folks to dine with.  I hope someday to be able to return your invite to my table some day soon.  Floyd C Weaver, St Louis

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Dear Mr and Mrs Walker, I wish to thank you for your kind, generous and thoughtful invitation to your wonderful house.  I wish to thank Mrs Walker for having such wonderful food.  Thank you both for making my first Christmas away from home as if I were in my own house.  Thank you for your swell gift.  May I someday be able to return  to you this kind deed.  Muchas gracias.   ….Houston, Texas

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Ginger, I am glad I came out with Bill so I could meet you and your Mother.  It was sure a pleasure, believe me.  Yours truly, Vick.”

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12/25/44  Dear Mom, Many thanks for your kindness and wonderful hospitality during the the most loneliest part of the season which I would have really felt had I been alone.  Words cannot express my sincere appreciation.  Let’s hope we can have our loved ones home next year at this time.  Sincerely, one of the sailors wives  Christina, half pint to you ha! ha!  God bless you always.”

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Hello!  Remember me—I’m the WR [Womens Reserve] who liked your steak and gravy so much that I sort of moved in for the rest of the week.  It was really swell both times and thanks for letting me borrow your daughter her last night home on furlough.  Thanks for everything.  LaVonne Bain  Toledo, Oregon”

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‘I’m from Missouri and I was shown’  Jan 20-44  Probably the first time I ever enjoyed K.P. was when I came up last Sunday Jan 14 and the meals were really super.  At first I didn’t know how I was ever going to start talking for I was nervous when I knocked on the door.  You did that for me and I felt as if I knew you for years. Thanks for everything.  Truly, Al J Petru”

photos and letters inserted in the guest book

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on the left, Gladys’s son Al Cox
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Al Cox
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Bud. He wrote to her as “mom” during the war and signed his letters “Your son, Bud”.

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“...How wonderful it is to live on 66th with so many fine and friendly neighbors—but I’m especially grateful for your friendship.  Your many kindnesses and warm understanding have given me so much comfort and pleasure that we will always be more than just neighbors…..I personally  feel a great enrichment in just knowing you and a greater joy in our friendship which shall always be held most dear.”

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Thanks for giving attention to these old memories.  I’m inspired now to look in my grandmother’s old recipe box and seeing if I can find the secret of her lightest ever delectable rolls.

 

 

 

 

 

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