Friday, May 4, 2018

Betty MacDonald and moving to Washington State


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Betty MacDonald in the living room at Vashon on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle author Betty MacDonald on Vashon Island
<p>Time Out of Mind (1947) - avec Betty et Don MacDonald et Phyllis Calvert</p>

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Betty MacDonald fan club fans

Betty MacDonald and her books influenced many people - including famous writers and artists to move to Washington State.

Don't miss this great story, please. 


Islander Kay Longhi and her twin sister were only 6 years old when they moved to Vashon from Chicago in the 1950s, but Longhi, now in her 60s and still living on Vashon, can vividly recall the move and the events leading up to it.

The decision to leave the Midwest was made by Longhi’s mother, Patricia Longhi, who Kay said was tired of living in cities and longed for the same kind of authenticity she witnessed on childhood vacations to a farm in Maine. Patricia found that opportunity in a 1954 radio interview with infamous island author Betty MacDonald.

“Arthur Godfrey interviewed Betty MacDonald on his radio program. She talked about her book ‘Onions in the Stew,’ and it intrigued Mother,” Kay Longhi said. “When Daddy came home, she announced that we were moving to Vashon.”


Bildergebnis für Arthur Godfrey  Betty MacDonaldBildergebnis für Betty MacDonald Onions in the Stew


( see article below ) 


I totally agree the author of an oustanding Betty MacDonald biography needs a very good sense of humor.
 
We will be able to offer you very witty and exciting stories because of our outstanding Betty MacDonald research and many  interviews with Betty MacDonald's family and friends by Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel.

We are going to publish new Betty MacDonald fan club items including new Betty MacDonald interviews by Wolfgang Hampel.

Work and life of Betty MacDonald had been honored by Wolfgang Hampel in Vita Magica.


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Betty MacDonald fan club fans from 5 continents enjoy these unique very witty interviews and new ones will follow.


We are looking for signed or dedicated first editions in great condition with dust jackets by Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard Jensen for our fans.

Betty MacDonald Memorial Award Winner Wolfgang Hampel  and Betty MacDonald fan club research team are working on an updated Betty MacDonald biography and new Betty MacDonald documentary.


Join one of our Betty MacDonald fan club research teams, please. 

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Let's talk about Betty MacDonald fan club book cover contest.

You can vote for your favourite Betty MacDonald book cover.

Deadline: June 30, 2018

Betty MacDonald fan club book cover contest winner will be  owner of a signed first edition of one of Betty MacDonald's books.  



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Our most important research item is an updated Betty MacDonald documentary with  lots of new info and interviews with Betty MacDonald, her family and friends.


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Kay Longhi’s parents, Francis and Patricia Longhi, at their north-end home on Cowan Road in the 1960s. (Courtesy Photo)

Coming Home: Betty MacDonald interview drew Longhis from Chicago

Editor’s Note: This story is the second in a series about the interesting ways current islanders came to end up on Vashon and how being on the island has changed the course of their lives.

Islander Kay Longhi and her twin sister were only 6 years old when they moved to Vashon from Chicago in the 1950s, but Longhi, now in her 60s and still living on Vashon, can vividly recall the move and the events leading up to it.
The decision to leave the Midwest was made by Longhi’s mother, Patricia Longhi, who Kay said was tired of living in cities and longed for the same kind of authenticity she witnessed on childhood vacations to a farm in Maine. Patricia found that opportunity in a 1954 radio interview with infamous island author Betty MacDonald.
“Arthur Godfrey interviewed Betty MacDonald on his radio program. She talked about her book ‘Onions in the Stew,’ and it intrigued Mother,” Kay Longhi said. “When Daddy came home, she announced that we were moving to Vashon.”
Kay called the early 1950s the “go-go time,” as the interstate system was being built and car culture was catching on. So, a couple months after hearing the interview, the family packed up their canary, dog and belongings — Kay said her mother was a “great animal lover” — and drove the more than 2,000 cross-country miles to Washington.
“I remember crossing the border into Washington and remember standing in the back seat — those were the days where you could do that, no seat belts — and Dad stops the car in Spokane and says, ‘We’re here,’” she recalled. “I just remember thinking, ‘We came all the way for this?’ Spokane was not much to look at and didn’t quite meet the expectations I had.”
The family’s journey obviously had to go a little farther west, but ended at a motel on Seattle’s Aurora Avenue. Kay and her family stayed there a week while her father found a job. Shortly after, the Longhi family moved to West Seattle.
“A tiny house clinging to the hillside” is how Longhi recalled that first home.
She and her sister started first grade in West Seattle before the family moved to a home on Cowan Road at the north end of Vashon the following year, 1955. Her mother fell in love with the island and never looked back.
“We came to this island, which was secluded, out of the big city,” Longhi said. “We could see the mountains, as well as the sound. She would walk all over Vashon and loved being surrounded by water. She was very, very happy.”
The home was also not far from MacDonald’s, although Kay says her mother did not find that out until after she bought the home.
“I don’t know how she knew the house (Betty Macdonald’s) was close … but she was aware of it,” Kay Longhi said.
And while her mother never met MacDonald, she did meet her sister, Mary Bard.
Patricia Longhi went on to live in that same north-end home for 56 years. She moved out in 2011, three years before her death at the age of 91.
“Mother was very much a loner in her heart. She liked solitude and wanted to be in the rugged, great outdoors,” Kay Longhi said before explaining that her mother grew up in an affluent family in New York City and was expected to become a socialite.
“She abhorred the life,” Longhi said. “She loved the summers she spent on the coast of Maine. They always went to Laudholm Farm — a working farm with outbuildings that were rented out in the summer.”
It was a lifestyle similar to that of the farm that Patricia Longhi found on Vashon, and that authenticity and community is what has kept Kay Longhi here. Longhi attended college in Portland, moved to Seattle, then moved to North Carolina and Mobile, Alabama, but because her mother was here, she followed what was happening on the island and would always come visit.
“Because I was raised here, I never lacked a sense of home,” she said. “The community here has been my go-to place both mentally and physically. I’ve always been very centered. There’s a real sense of community and home I’ve never felt anywhere else.”
Longhi moved back to Seattle in 1997. By 2008, her mother was in her 80s and suffering from dementia, and Kay moved into a small cabin on her mother’s property to take of her. She was eventually moved to a memory care home in 2011 and died in 2014, but her mother’s dream of rural living in the north-end home continues to this day, as her great-grandchildren are growing up in the same house.
“My sister’s child, so my niece and her family, live there,” Longhi said. “Houses don’t come up for sale on Vashon because one generation leaves and another comes in.”
But the Vashon home is not the only lasting evidence of Patricia Longhi’s search for a more rural, authentic life. During her life on Vashon, she discovered the Washington coast, and Kay said her mother saw many similarities between it and the Maine coastline of her childhood. She and a few other island families bought land and primitive cabins in the mid-60s on a strip of coast that is now part of the Olympic National Park.
“The federal government came in and claimed eminent domain and declared it wilderness. There were two choices, either have the home torn down and take the money the government gives you, or have the government take it over when the owner dies. Mother put the home in her children’s names, so it’s still there.”

The three-story cabin has no electricity and no running water. It’s tall and skinny, perched on a cliff so her mother could see the water below her.
“For Mother, it was the ultimate solitude,” Longhi said. “It was just about where she wanted to be.”