One of the most fun things about the Kelley House is that you never know who or what might come in the door next. A couple of weeks ago an elderly couple from Lakeport stopped by to give the Kelley House a photo of his great-grandparents wedding portrait and a copy of their marriage license. Wed on December 7, 1895, Emil Kynell and Sofie Johnson were both natives of Finland and lived in Albion. The Bradleys took the time to bring these items to the Kelley House for inclusion in the archives so that their ancestors would be included in the annals of the Mendocino Coast. As they turned to leave, Mrs. Bradley said with a big smile, “That’s how history is made, right?”
She was absolutely right. What constitutes our local history is largely reliant on the records, diaries, letters, photos, memorabilia, clothing, furniture and heirlooms that people were mindful enough to preserve. Then, the following generations had to recognize the importance of the historic artifacts — and care enough to pass them along to an institution like the Kelley House so they would be shared into the future.
Another example of history in the making showed up in the January mail with a long-time Kelley House member’s annual dues. Walt Jackson of Boise was thoughtful enough to include a memorial donation in honor of Clyde A. Lucas, KIA 3-26-69, plus a photo of Comptche school children and teachers circa 1908. The photo was accompanied by a legend naming each person, names that still resonate on the Coast like Ottoson and McDonald.
Clyde Lucas was a member of the Mendocino High School Class of 1966 and, like far too many young men of his generation, he died in Vietnam. According to Paul McCarthy, who covers Mendo High news on his MendocinoSportsPlus web page, Clyde lived with his father and sister on Ukiah Street. His nickname was Poogy. Remembered for water balloon fights on Halloween and being “like a brother” to his neighbor Carolyn (Simpson) Shaller, Clyde lost his life in Phu Yen province when he stepped on a land mine.
Now, because of Walt Jackson’s enduring bond with his former high school buddy, Clyde is represented one more time in the Kelley House archives, along with Nellie and Lilly Chandon, Bya Jackson, Carrol Norberry and the other school children from Comptche 110 years ago. And that’s how history is made.
If you have family memorabilia, letters, diaries or photographs from the Mendocino Coast and surrounding area, please consider donating them to the Kelley House archives. For more information, contact us at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.