To the editor:
The first historical and factual account about the acquisition and development of the South Whidbey Community Center was written by Edith Buck with Dorothy Gray, Bettie Hall and Linda Colley. They have each passed away, but are remembered by those that knew them as women of impeccable character. They titled their story “The Birth of a Vision” and wrote it at my request and from my notes and collection of documents and newspaper articles. It was intended to be, and is, a detailed account of how the property was acquired and the development process to the date of their story’s publication.
The first of the ladies that I contacted to write the story of the park was my former second-grade teacher, Edith Buck. Edith had retired and was writing children’s books. She had been a Sunday school teacher for about 30 years and raised her three daughters on her own after her husband died. Edith Buck is remembered as a wise and wonderful lady by Norma Metcalf, Jim and Iladeene Leierer, Marion Henny, Louise Scriven, Anna Primavera and many others whose children were trusted to her during their experience in her classroom. Please call those named or any others that were raising children while Edith was teaching. You may discover for yourself, if you did not know Edith, what her great qualities were. She and the other three ladies felt their work documenting the history of the park was an important task that would serve a valuable purpose.
The book that I wrote with Dr. James Talbot, titled, “The Origin and Early History of the South Whidbey Community Center,” is a documentary and does not cover the fact that Providence is responsible for the 10-year process of acquiring the initial 43 acre site and the following eight-year volunteer process of developing it and establishing the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District. The details regarding who did what and when in each of the stories are the same as they are constructed from a well documented account of what took place. The story that I wrote with Dr. Talbot continues forward for about five years. The entire collection of the supporting documents is available on the South Whidbey Historical Society’s website, thanks to board member Craig Williams.
“The Birth of a Vision” along with “The Origin and Early History of the South Whidbey Community Center” are each available on Dr. James Talbot’s Western Washington University website, http://faculty.wwu.edu/talbot/.
Those interested are invited to make copies of each story from Dr. Talbot’s website. Family members and friends of those who gave their professional time and who donated the equipment that was used building the park are welcome to make copies of pictures and also may email information to friends about events that they may like to remember and share.
Dr. Talbot’s WWU website is being shared with the South Whidbey Historical Society and the updated information will hopefully be incorporated onto the link that is displayed on the Historical Society’s website. Those who would like to participate in improving what we presently have compiled regarding the factual account of the Community Park’s history may call me at 360-399-1237.
The great success of the South Whidbey Community Park complex is well deserving of having its history recorded. South Whidbey civic and service organizations are invited to participate in the process of the sharing the story of the origins of the park complex which they collectively joined together to build.
Plans for commemorative signs featuring the professionals who donated to the eight-year development of the Community Park were discussed with the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District commissioners at their May 2012 board meeting. The minutes regarding what was said are available on the district’s website.
Tim D. Scriven