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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow A story 100 years in the making


A story 100 years in the making

Wilma Henner's hand-braided rugs grace living rooms from Baker City to New York City. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr).
Wilma Henner's hand-braided rugs grace living rooms from Baker City to New York City. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr).


I was born July 19, 1902, to Frank and Lulu Ebbert Geddes on the corner of Madison and Grove streets in Baker City. The original house still stands in its place across from Geiser Pollman Park.

My father owned and operated the Geddes-Pollman Butcher Shop on First Street in Baker City across from what is now the Baker City Herald office.

I lived in that house with my parents, my older brother Otto and little brother Joe until about 1906 or 1907 when the entire family moved to Missouri Flats. When I was old enough to enter school, I boarded the first five years at the Catholic Academy. My family would come in to town, pick me up and take me home on the weekends.

When I was about 10 or 11 years old, we moved to Big Creek, six miles out of Hereford, and either rode horseback or drove a sleigh in the wintertime to and from school. Part o fthe old place is still standing, i.e. the icehouse, some of the fencing and part of the corrals. Since our place was on the way of the stagecoach, my mother fixed a lunch daily for the driver and passengers.

At the age of 12, I challenged testing for eight grade and proceeded into high school. I went to Baker Senior High and graduated from there in 1920. At the age of 16, nearly 17, I was teaching school at Muddy Creek. Ferdinand Boesch's wife was one of my pupils.

In 1921, the teaching become short lived when I met a young man, John E. Henner, and chose to spend nearly 65 years with him rather than have a teaching career. We married that year and John, Jr., was born in 1924. During our marriage, John and I shared many interests. Among them were hunting, fishing, huckleberry picking and rock hounding. Some of our rock collection is still on display to this day in and around our home in Haines.

In 1939, after living near my brother in Imbler approximately two years, we moved back to Haines and John and I bought the Henner Garage. John and I worked side by side at the garage until we sold it and retired in 1962. In addition, during this time, we bought, restored and sold antiques, some of which are still in my home and on dispplay at the Eastern Oregon Regional Museum here in Haines.

In the late 1930s or so I started to braid rugs and sold them to hlep with expenses, or used the money to buy things I wanted or needed. I have lost count of thenumber of rugs and chair pads I have made over the years. Although I am legally blind from macular degeneration in both my eyes, I continue to braid rugs today.

I live in Haines in the same house John and I bought when we first married, although it is somewhat altered from those early days. My grandson, his wife and children live next door to me. I still enjoy gardening, my flowers, playing cards, and the many, many dear friends that call or stop by.

I will be 100 on July 19, 2002.

Party planned

Friends and family of Wilma Henner plan to help her celebrate her 100th birthday Saturday, July 13, at the Haines School. The old-fashinoned barn dance and potluck goes from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Guests are asked to bring something for the potluck, and their dancing shoes, and to remember this is an alcohol free party. The family asks for no gifts or cards.

For questions or suggestions, contact Jack and Cindy Henner at 541/854-3215.


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