Recently I watched a video of a job interview that was done via a web cam. Potential candidates for the job listened to the interviewer as he described the job, which included the following job conditions and requirements:
Not just a job, the most important job.
Requirements are extensive skills needed; medical, finance, culinary and more
Stand up most of the time
24 hours a day seven days a week
No breaks, you get to eat after everyone else is done
Work all holidays and the work load actually goes up
Pays nothing but the rewards can be immeasurable
Each one interviewed could not believe the terrible requirements of the job and said the conditions might even be illegal. Each one told the interviewer no way they wanted that terrible job, with the cruel working conditions and no pay! Then the interviewer revealed what the job was … it was mother.
Today’s mothers have it a bit easier than those 100 years ago. I am continually interested in the lives of women that came to settle the West End of Clallam County to make their home.
In a May 1953 Forks Forum, R.O. Whittier wrote in a letter to the editor about his mother’s journey from Texas to finally the Pacific Northwest in the late 1800s. The family ended up settling in what is now Forks.
Martha Weir Whittier was born in 1853 in a wagon train on the Santa Fe Trail. She joined a brother and sister and her parents as they traveled from Bowie County, Texas, to California — the journey took them two years.
Martha’s family eventually came to Sequim and after her marriage to Merrill Whittier, she moved to the Forks Prairie around 1900.
Her first home was built on a half mile square of land which now includes the entire town of Forks and surrounding residential areas. It was a dwelling made of logs hauled with oxen to the prairie. The 1953 letter states that a brass plate was placed at the intersection, where the stop light is today, recognizing the location of the first Whittier home. If anyone remembers this plate or what happened to it, please give the Forum a call.
At the time the log home was the only building on the north side of the Forks Prairie. A double fireplace of clay and wood provided both heat and cooking facilities.
Water was drawn by hand with a rope and bucket on a wooden drum. Cooking for Martha was endless, year in and year out, and everyone had a good appetite.
It was a tough life for women but with her talent for cooking with the skillet and the rolling pin, her skills were highly respected.
From her home Martha had an unobstructed view of the whole Forks Prairie; many horses, a tame elk, dogs, cows, chickens and crops. The air was full of geese and the rivers full of fish.
The Forks Prairie was the end of the Pysht Trail and a haven for the weary traveler.
With Mother’s Day this Sunday, we thank all mothers for their hard work, sacrifices and unconditional love … 365 days a year.