Sunday, May 6, 2012

Looking for Local History: Ruth Kees' Magic Carpet


May is local history month! All month long, we'll be sharing bits and pieces of Issaquah's collection, as well as tutorials to help you find local history on your own. Enjoy!

Ruth Kees was well known in the Issaquah community for her environmental education and advocacy work. We conducted an oral history with Ruth Kees in 2006, and learned more of the details about her fascinating life. Did you know that Ruth Kees and her sister co-owned a Piper Super Cruiser airplane? Our oral history collections are filled with fascinating details about the lives of Issaquah residents, before, during and after they lived here. Here's an excerpt of our interview with Ruth Kees in autumn of 2006:

Ruth Kees: But right after World War II, my sister worked for the booster station, you know. Five different pipelines run through Beatrice, oil and gasoline... North of town, there’s a booster station – she worked there.

And she drove past the airport all the time. And so she stopped in one night and they gave her a ride. And she started flying lessons. That was the end of 1945... She got me to go out with her and I got hooked, too. So I had my license before she did, my flying license. And the money I’d saved up to go back to college, I spent – we went together and bought an airplane! [chuckles]

Interviewer: You’re kidding me!

RK: No!

Interviewer: And where did you fly to?

RK: All over. It was our magic carpet. We hadn’t gone traveling very much and boy, we just took off like big birds.

Interviewer: Were you intimidated at first?

RK: A little bit. But then, it wasn’t bad at all. Back then, too, to get your license, you had to learn to do a loop and be able to do a few tricks in a plane.

MM: Did you have to fly upside-down?

RK: Yeah. And now they don’t require that.

Learn more about Ruth's flying career, and the rest of her life, here. 

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