"Well, hello, old friend"
June 11, 2008 · Updated 11:34 AM
"T he weather outside was frightful - cloudy and threatening - Wednesday at Island Lake's John Horsley community building.But inside the bright log structure, conversation buzzed cheerily as long-ago neighbors of old Silverdale caught up with each other's news of the past year since they last saw one another.About 250 residents and former residents of Silverdale gathered for their annual get together, the Silverdale Old Timers Picnic.Nancy Goforth, coordinating the picnic, bustled to set up another table as more people came in from the food line and found all the chairs taken.It's so hard, it's always been a loose thing, we never know how much to set up for, she said.Goforth moved away from Silverdale in 1964, but kept tabs on old friends and the town as it grew. She and her husband, Ray, moved back after his recent retirement.The annual reunion event began in the early 1950s as a group of friends getting together, she said.Each family sort of brought another family, and it grew, Goforth said. At one point they decided it should be (on) Aug. 1 so everyone would have time to plan.Several of us gals have gone all through school together, she said, just before standing on a chair to hold up some Tupperware, dish towels and silverware left over from last year's picnic. If it looks familiar, please claim it, she announced.Rosie Carter Kovachs was one of her schoolmates who reminisced about old times in Old Town.I was a year ahead of Nancy (in school), she said. We used to go up above Pickle's Tavern ... when they had dances. My dad (Ray Carter) used to play fiddle for the dancers.Those were the days before the Navy became part of the landscape and daily life of the people.Only the bad girls went out with sailors, and they all lived in Bremerton, Marlene Brooks Hatrick piped up with a laugh. She then said apologetically to Kovachs' husband, I hope you weren't a sailor.He was, said Kovachs good-naturedly, for 22 years.Hatrick, the Carters and other old friends and neighbors had a good chuckle.Hatrick's mother, Margaret Brooks, and her good friend, Frieda Walworth, went to high school together in the 1920s. Brooks is the last living child of the Nels Nelson family for whom the road is named, said Hatrick.I have a hard time knowing it's the same Silverdale, Brooks, who turned 90 in December, said of her home town. She does like the fact that Kitsap Mall was built here.The mall is lovely, it's nice for people to not have to go to Tacoma or Seattle to shop, she said.Brooks said of her schoolmate, whose maiden name was Frieda Schubert, I remember when we were in school together, she graduated a year before I did. She did high school in three years.It was called Port Washington Union, but they went back to using Silverdale for the school because it was shorter, Walworth said.Frieda became a teacher and returned to teach as a substitute at Silverdale, then as a reading specialist in Suquamish.Three of her five sons - David, Rupert and Lloyd - brought her to the picnic.Her father, George Schubert, knew Prohibition was coming, and moved over here, Lloyd said. It was an economic decision. George Schubert worked for the Rainier Brewery at the time.Frieda Walworth remembered when Himalayan blackberries were imported to the west sound as a nice, late berry we could enjoy, before the plant became the scourge of the peninsula.Most families raised chickens and sold eggs at the Silverdale Grocers Association, to which they belonged. Eggs brought Silverdale a special distinction, Frieda Walworth added.The first eggs to be (shipped) by airplane were sent from Silverdale, she said.Betty Snedicor's father, the late Charles Snedicor, helped found Silverdale's first, volunteer fire department, and was the first chief. He also served as deputy sheriff.I used to watch how they hooked up the hoses and learned how to spray the houses. I used to watch them when I was a little kid, Snedicor said.Port of Silverdale Commissioner Harry Knapp's father came to Silverdale in 1914, Knapp said. His aunt owned most of the property around Bogard's drug store, and Elsie's Restaurant was a cleaning establishment.Silverdale in those days was just not anything to speak of until 1941, he recalled. The Army came to town and manned barrage balloons moored in the area. The balloons were a defensive measure to prevent attack on Puget Sound Naval Shipyard by planes coming in from the north over Silverdale, Knapp said.It's grown a lot, but it's still a good town, he said "