James, age 9, and Liam, age 10
|from left: James, Katie, Liam.
Photo Carol Kerridge.
Click to enlarge.
It was an awesome experience for Liam and me to meet and interview someone who is about to have her 100th birthday.
Katie Sanford who has lived in Del Mar for many years, was born in Illinois and lived with her 3 sisters and parents on a farm.
When we asked her about some of her favorite childhood memories, she quickly told us that she loved the freedom of wandering around the nearby woods, and picking wild strawberries and cranberries with her sisters. They liked to play in the barn and loft and had fun finding and collecting eggs, just like it is on Easter. Katie and her older sister bonded really well and enjoyed climbing up on the roof of the house to lean over the front porch and eavesdrop on their parents as they sat on the swing talking.
Sadly, Katie told us about the time when their mom died. She was only 7 years old. It was then that their family life changed and they traveled to live with different relatives.
The sisters moved to California to stay with family when Katie was 10 years old. There were no school buses then, so Katie would roller skate to school down a big hill, but carried her skates up the hill when she went home after school. Most of the time she had skinned knees by the time she got home since there were no knee pads.
In High School, she loved to swim and received her Jr. Lifeguard certificate. The final test was to rescue their big burly instructor while he pretended to drown.
When Liam asked Katie about the Great Depression, she said that everyone had to work, even the kids. Life was hard and sometimes there was not enough food for a meal. She told us about some of the poorer men called hobos who had no jobs and traveled around looking for work. Sometimes they would build fires in the woods and sleep there, wrap newspaper around their waist to keep warm, and beg for food at nearby homes. If anyone gave them food, they would leave a mark on the door so that other hobos would know that they might get food from the folks at that house.
Although Katie had some very different childhood experiences than we have had, there are several similarities between us. We feel very lucky getting to know her.
Happy 100th Birthday, Katie.