By Joanna Bastian
Enid Gobat Shaw has lived in the Methow Valley for 99 years.
During Enid’s lifetime, women earned the right to vote, jazz joined the great migration north to Chicago, Martin Luther King Jr. marched for civil rights, a man walked on the moon, planet Pluto was discovered, Prohibition introduced the cocktail, polio was eradicated, 17 U.S. presidents took the oath of office, and Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th stars on our national flag.
Born and raised in Pateros, Enid celebrated her 99th birthday last week.
When asked about her favorite memories, Enid’s face lights up. “My childhood couldn’t have been better!” Her family lived in a meadow on the upper reaches of Watson Draw. “The place had everything,” she said. “We had a corncrib, you don’t see those anymore. And a workshop for the men. Our barn used to be the first schoolhouse, before they built the new one. There were a lot of trees. A creek, the wild horses would come down and drink from the creek. There were so many horses!”
Enid and her siblings rode their own horses to school. The horses stayed in the lower part of their converted barn. The haymow was in the second story. “We slept in the hay loft the night our house burned down,” she said.
Enid was 3 years old when their house burned, and she clearly remembers the day. “My mother was doing the laundry in the kitchen, when she smelled burning and ran to the front room,” Enid recalled. “We did not have much furniture, so we did not lose a whole lot.” The family slept in the hayloft that night. They lived in the house across the road until her father built a new, smaller house.
“At that time there were no trucks in the valley to haul hay, everyone did it by horse and wagon. In the winter, we used sleds,” Enid said. She recounted the winter they slid hay bales across the frozen river to feed the cattle. The family had 50 range cows and 22 milk cows. They made their living by selling the milk and cream. “Times change,” Enid said, “now they raise other types of cattle, just for the meat, not the cream.”
The family got its first car when Enid was a sophomore in high school. She clearly remembers nearly every detail about the car. When asked if she drove their new car, Enid laughed and slapped her thigh, “Oh no! I did not drive until after my children were grown!”
The town of Pateros changed dramatically in her teen years. “There was too much grain. So the government paid everyone to not plant hay for five years. Everyone stopped planting and moved into town,” Enid said.
Enid attended Kinman Business University in Spokane and trained as a secretary. When she was 22 she married Roy Shaw, who went by his nickname of Dick. During WWII they lived in Seattle, before settling down on Lower Beaver Creek. Dick worked at the McFarland Creek sawmill. Enid raised their five children: Marshal, Lynn, Jim, Warren, and Wendy.
Today Enid lives with her dog, Lady, in a quiet corner of Carlton, near her family. Happy Birthday, Enid!