Everybody Has a Story: A May Day friendship that’s lasted for years



In 1947, a tradition started on Northwest 289th Street, which, at that time, was called County Road 21.

A boy named Billie and his brother were living with their paternal uncle and aunt next door to our farm. Our families had been neighbors from the time our great grandparents came from the “old country.” Billie and I played together, fed his horse and ate cookies my mom baked — all the kid stuff.

When May Day came around, at the urging of his aunt, Billie began bringing me a May Day basket filled with flowers. He would hang it on our front door, much to my surprise.

The next year when he went to school (I was a year too young yet), I would wait every day in the window for him when he got off the bus at the end of our road and passed our house on his way home.

When May Day came, I waited, as usual, for him, and here he came with a May Day basket he had made at school. Trying to surprise me, he hung it on the door and ran, but there I was in the window watching him. The look on his face was total disappointment.

This tradition has continued for 65 years, other than the few years he lived out of the area.

Even during some of the years he was away, he still made the trip early in the morning or in middle of night, so when I opened my door on May Day, there was always a May basket full of flowers waiting for me.

I still live on the same road where all this started, and Bill lives toward Orchards.

I have heard comments that we must be a pair, but quite the contrary. When we were 4 and 6, perhaps.

I am sure this treasured tradition and friendship will continue as long as we both shall be alive and able.

Everybody Has a Story welcomes nonfiction contributions, 1,000 words maximum, and relevant photographs. E-mail is the best way to send materials so we don’t have to retype your words or borrow original photos. Send to neighbors@columbian.com or “Everybody has a Story,” P.O. Box 180, Vancouver WA 98666. Call Scott Hewitt, 360-735-4525, with questions.