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Eglon School reunion scheduled for Aug. 10

Naomi Lilquist poses with her first- through fifth-graders in September 1950 at the Eglon School. - Courtesy Photo
Naomi Lilquist poses with her first- through fifth-graders in September 1950 at the Eglon School.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

EGLON — More than 50 years ago, the children of Eglon filed into the one-room schoolhouse located on Eglon Road.

Each morning they would walk by the walls graced with photographs of George Washington and Abe Lincoln. A world globe hung from a pulley-cord.

The school, built in 1922 and ran until 1951, was a gathering spot of sorts for the town kids back when Eglon had a post office, grocery store, fishing resort and a ferry that came once a week carrying supplies from Seattle.

“Our entertainment was at the school or at the beach,” said Sandi Birkeland. She recalled the day she got in trouble with her father for staying out after dark. She was having too much fun at an Eglon beach party with high school boys from Seattle.

When her horse arrived home — reigns tied to her empty saddle — her father was furious.

Sandi, her brother David Birkeland and lifelong friend Donna Svarthumle sit in Sandi’s home, now in Poulsbo, laughing about the old school stories. The three are gearing up to build new memories and rehash the old with their schoolmates at Eglon Beach on Aug. 10 for a makeshift class reunion.

Anyone who went to the Eglon School between 1922 and 1951 is invited to attend.

The three swap stories, some a bit dodgier than others. Including one from the winter of 1948, when a severe blizzard kept them from attending school for two weeks.

The bad weather hit while school was in session.

“The bus wouldn’t come. They tied us together with rope so we were all together holding on to each other and we had to follow the fence lines to get to our homes,” David said.

The three remember their teacher Mrs. Naomi Lilquist teaching grades one through five in just that one room.

“She taught my mom, me and my kids,” said David, who also remembers Mr. Thure Lilquist, the busdriver.

“If you didn’t behave on his bus he would just throw you off somewhere between Eglon and Poulsbo,” David said. “I was thrown off several times.”

Besides working as a teacher/busdriver duo, the Lilquists also owned the Almo Theater in Poulsbo and the Big Bear Drive In.

“None of that’s there now, of course,” said Svarthumle.

When the school closed in 1951, all the Eglon students had to attend David Wolfle Elementary, which seemed like miles and miles away from their little town.

“That was traumatic really,” Sandi said, adding it took a lot of getting used to from going from the little schoolhouse to Wolfle.

The transition just wasn’t comfortable, they said.

“That saying, ‘it takes a village,’ Eglon was exactly that,” Sandi said. Even discipline was a joint responsibility handled by any parent in Eglon.

“Especially at Donna’s,” she said.

Sandi recalled one time biting Svarthumle when they were playing.

“I bit her and her mom came after me and switched me,” she said laughing. “Actually, it might have been a wooden spoon.”

“Yeah, it could have been,” said Svarthumle, also laughing. “You were being mean.”

Discipline was handled no differently inside the Eglon schoolhouse.

“When kids were bad they were tied to their desk with an apron or put in the broom closet until they apologized. They’d never want to do it again,” Svarthumle said. “It didn’t hurt us.”

“Yeah,” added Sandi, “now it’d be child abuse.”

The three said they don’t expect any grade-school crushes to re-erupt after so many years have gone by.

“Growing up like that there really weren’t any [crushes]. They just all seemed like brothers,” Svarthumle said. “We were like family.”

“Yeah, the sparks just didn’t ignite,” agreed David. “But when I saw that girl from Poulsbo, that was different.”

The three look forward to seeing their classmates from so long ago. Some have even stayed in the area. David, for instance, continues to mow the grass outside of the old schoolhouse, which is now the Eglon Community Hall.

Although there have been many changes throughout the years, there are a few things that remain the same, David said.

Including, he said, “Those photos and the globe, they’re still hanging inside there.”

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