Graphic: back to Crook IndexThe Four Crook Kids

To Crook Kids Part 2

cherry blossomsBorn Judy Crook (1934), daughter of Cal Crook and Ethel Boynton Crook, I arrived 19 months after Carolyn, and was followed three years later by Janet. David was the last, and what a treasure he is. Carolyn now lives in Eureka, California; Janet in Olympia, Washington; and David in Peoria, Arizona. Near me.

Kinda funny how close we are now, considering that as children we regularly bickered or ignored each other, depending on our moods. I loved borrowing Carolyn's sweaters when she was in high school and I was in junior high. Problem was, they were wool, and there was no way I could ever hide the fact that I'd worn them. Wool doesn't do well in a washing machine, and we didn't have a dryer. In many respects, I was a real brat. Janet and David had their own dynamics, as well, but they were each buffered by their close friends, Lynene Lund and Donald Varney.

Carolyn and I had our own friends, but I was perhaps more independent in this area. And I was very busy competing. I mean, wouldn't you? I had a big sister with a perfect smile, pearly white teeth, melting green eyes, and thick brown hair. She could sing and play the piano, the flute, the piccolo, she got good grades, and was very popular in school and the community. A lot of my success in music and school politics is the result of trying to be as good as Carolyn. Grades were something else.

graphic children enjoying playhouseWe Crook kids often went to Cornwall Park, an area dotted with hiking paths, flowers, lush evergreens, oak and maple trees, and a busy, happy creek. School picnics, church picnics, solitary walks. We also had a playhouse in our back yard, and spent many happy hours cleaning it and rearranging the "furniture." The side and back areas of our house had lots of trees, mostly fruit, and they were beautiful in the spring. I remember spending a lot of time there when I practiced my speech therapy lessons. We had a tire swing or two, and through the years the playhouse and surrounding area provided recreation for us and our little friends.

We kids usually walked to school. First came Sunnyland, which was about six blocks. Then came Whatcom Jr. High, which was quite a bit farther. Bellingham High was not too close, either. We didn't have school buses, but we did have the city buses to use. Most of the time we walked to and from school. During out high school years, we'd sometimes walked downtown after school, cheerfully inhaling the sulphur fumes from the paper mill as we strolled along. Generally our first destination was the Bellingham National Bank Building, which housed Grandpa Doc's medical office. He was always good for at least 25 cents, which meant we could get a huge, delicious hot fudge sundae at (I think) the Downtowner.

When it was time to go home, we'd catch a bus that let us off on Ellis Ave., and from there we only had a couple of blocks to walk home. Those two blocks were okay in the spring and summer, but in winter, when it got dark early, walking home (or back and forth to Grandma Sue's and Grandpa Doc's) was kind of scary. We never knew what kind of monster would lunge out from behind a huge evergreen! And, in those days, monsters were scarce in our town of 30,000 people.

David CrookNow to 1998. David talks about a special Bellingham High School event held May 25, 1998, because the school is closing down for a two-year renovation:

Bellingham High School Band players marched in the Reunion Band which included members as far back as 1941. We have been practicing and marching for the past three months. We met Saturday mornings from 10 to 12 and practiced and marched. Participants had to have been in the Bellingham High School Band at some point.

I marched in band that marched in the 1957 Sea to Ski Parade. That same band marched in the Rose Parade in California that year. It was like reliving that event. Tears, memories and shouts of happiness came from all participants and viewers.Our 87-year-old mom was on the parade route in a uniform, since she is a former music teacher in theBellingham School District. She at (87) watched two of her children and many of her former students pass by. She shouted and waved with all the rest. Sister Jan, a former cheerleader, marched in front of the band, waving pom poms and strutting like a peacock. She is 60.

As we marched down to street wearing red baseball caps and red sweatshirts that said, The End of an Era, the people shouted, cheered, waved and generally went wild. The Bellingham Herald published a front page feature article, "Alumni Band Steal the Show."The Seattle Times ran photos and articles in its Sunday paper.

Our nostalgia band was also part of another ceremony that marked the closing program. It featured former superintendents, principals, teachers, board members etc.

What a great day it was! It was one of the most exciting days of my life.

Photo of rose grown by Carolyn Crook Downing, photographed by Judy Crook Vorfeld

Copyright Judy Vorfeld.
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