I joined the Girl Scouts when I was nine years old. My troop leader was a Cowlitz Indian woman named Maude Waunassay Snyder. She was a short, round lady and lived in a river house at the Cowlitz River in West Kelso.
Sometimes on Saturdays we would put on a variety act; she would dance and I would sing, and we would charge the neighborhood kids two cents admission. Carol and I would divide up the money and buy penny candy at the little store up the street.
My next memory was of us living in a tiny house with a dirt floor… with kerosene lamps, and baths in a washtub placed near the wood-fueled cookstove.
“My earliest childhood memory was when I must have been two or three years of age. It was when my family lived in Colorado.”
Wilma descended from immigrants who landed in America in the late 1600’s, and whose heritage included German, Dutch, Russian, and Welsh ethnicities; gold prospectors, ranchers, loggers, bootleggers, rail-riders, homesteaders, and a US Supreme Court Chief Justice. On her father’s maternal side, her family (the Risings) has been traced back to 1225 A.D.