And way before me was my Uncle Willard!

Mar 25, 2024 | 0 comments

Cornelius Kistemacher died September 17, 1943 so it is possible that Willard’s story about him appeared in this December 1943 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine.

Just when I think that I’ve turned over every scrap of the “family papers” to the Washington State Research Center, I seem to run into something else.  Today it was a story that my Uncle Willard Espy (“Wede” t0 friends and family) wrote  for a column called “Family Man” for Good Housekeeping Magazine in the 1940s.  I tried to see if any of those stories are now online or if Good Housekeeping still exists.  As far as I can tell, they are not but it does.  I hope they don’t mind if I excerpt a little from one of Wede’s columns for this Blog:

A letter from the folks in Oysterville tells me that my old friend Mr. Kistemacher has died.  I feel especially sorry about it because when we were out there last summer we never visited him at his home.  I meant to sit with Hilda in his kitchen and drink green beer while his Edison phonograph played ‘Turkey in the Straw”  and Mr. Kistemacher accompanied the music very exactly and mournfully on an ocarina, doing a curious stately pelican dance, his big Dutch nose hooked over the instrument and his red cheeks bunched up like two wizened little apples.  But he was out the day we called, and it is too late now.  I suppose you would have called Mr. Kistemacher a ‘character,’ Oysterville used to be a great place for characters, and some are there yet…

Mr. Kistemacher was Gladys Kistemacher’s father — which made him Bud Goulter’s maternal grandfather.  In Marie Oesting’s  1988 book, “Oysterville  Cemetery Sketches,” she related two stories about him.  The first was by Helen Heckes:  “That’s Glady Goulter’s father.  He was a little Dutchman.  Rather excitable.  He just sputtered when he talked.  But he grew peonies, something I’ve tried to do ever since; I can’t make them grow.  But he had beautiful peonies.”

Bud Goulter

And Les Wilson had this to say to Marie about Mr. Kistemacher:  “He made real good home brew.  I used to work with a guy — off and on — on the mail trucks.  The North Beach Transit Company had a truck, 2 trucks, that they hauled mail and supplies.  I’d go with this guy, and that’s where we’d end up, was up at old Kisty’s and take up chicken feet, whatnot,  He always had a bottle of home brew there for us  This was just hops and malt with plenty of sugar in it; it had quite a kick to it.  We’d usually end up the last delivery with him, and then we’d have a beer or two.”

I was especially pleased  to note that Wede had called this series “Characters, God Bless Them!”  I think he would have loved my “Saints or Sinners? Characters of Pacific County” running weekly in the Chinook Observer  — and would probably have had a good many to add to the series!



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