Tude Richter has made many friends in her 84 years. Her dearest friends — her “core group” — were classmates at Rosehill School.
From first through ninth grade, she attended Rosehill in Mukilteo’s Old Town, graduating in 1941 before going on to Everett High School.
“At Everett, they looked down a little bit on these hicks from Mukilteo. But we all knew what we had. I have wonderful memories. We had such fun,” said Richter, who was born in Mukilteo and has spent her whole life there.
The former Rosehill School, now the Rosehill Community Center, will soon be torn down. A new Rosehill Community Center, a modern blend of steel, wood and glass, is nearly finished at Mukilteo’s Third Street and Lincoln Avenue. When the new Rosehill opens in February, the footprint of the school built in 1928 will be a plaza.
Their old school will be gone, but for Rosehill alumni and generations of people who took classes and gathered at the community center, the memories are strong.
Richter still laughs about being caught playing hookey. Kept after school the next day, she had to clean blackboards. She recalled that it wasn’t long before her teacher gave in and said, “Let’s go home, Tude.”
Richter, whose husband, Bruce, was on the Mukilteo City Council, shared her truancy story at an Oct. 16 meeting hosted by Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine. She and others were taped for a video called “Rosehill Farewell: It’s the People.” The project is being produced for the city by Puget Sound Video. And it isn’t complete.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, people are invited to the Hogland House, a Mukilteo bed and breakfast inn, to add to stories that have been captured by videographer Richard Eaks. Already recorded is a lively rendition of the school fight song, with its chorus: “Rah-rah for Rosehill, Rosehill will win, fight to the finish, never give in.”
“It started with an idea from Dr. Sanford Wright, a graduate of Rosehill School,” said Eaks, owner of Edmonds-based Puget Sound Video. Wright, an Everett neurosurgeon and local arts supporter, has worked with Eaks on other projects, including the annual Christmas Spectacular, a benefit for the Volunteers of America food bank.
Wright completed sixth grade at Rosehill in 1955. He went on to be in Olympic View’s first class for middle school. He makes no secret that he opposed the destruction of the old building, which was built in 1928 after a fire destroyed the original wooden Rosehill School. “I thought a community center could be put to the side of it,” the Everett doctor said. “That’s not the way it turned out, so how do you make lemonade out of lemons?
“Why is a school important? It’s all the people, all the lives,” Wright said. “The people are more important than the landmark itself.”
Wright introduced the mayor to Eaks. Together, they planned to create the oral history on video. “The thing you learn about video, its importance isn’t to us. The importance is to the next generation and the generation after that,” Wright said.
Wright’s late mother, Dorothy Jayne, started a dance group at Rosehill called the Rosebuds. He has indelible memories of a show his mother put on for a Rosehill PTA fun night in 1955. The Rosebuds included a male comedy act, with teachers and school leaders dressed in drag.
Richter’s roots at the school go back a generation. Her mother, Peggy Zahler, started as a Rosehill teacher in 1928, the year of the fire. After the fire, as the new school was built, students were taught in Mukilteo’s churches.
Ed Morrow, a retired Everett school administrator, said his mother was also a Rosehill teacher. Mary Lou Morrow taught third grade at Rosehill. She used to tell her son Ed about two smart boys in her class at Rosehill — they were David Dilgard, now a historian at Everett Public Library, and Dr. Wright’s brother, Bob Wright.
Mukilteo’s mayor was born in Seattle and has lived in Alaska, Edmonds and Everett. He knows that Rosehill holds a special place in the city he leads. In the long debate over whether to keep or tear down the old building, he recognized a fear of history being lost.
“If the building was gone, that might lessen the memories. Now we’re able to capture some of those,” Marine said. “At the end of the day, it was never really about the building. It was about the memories.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, email@example.com.
Share memories of
People with memories of Mukilteo’s Rosehill Community Center or the old Rosehill School are invited to share them at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Hogland House, 917 Webster St., Mukilteo. The event will be taped for a “Rosehill Farewell” production.
Learn about the project at: www.ci.mukilteo.wa.us/
To see video of stories shared so far: www.pugetsoundvideo.com and click on “Rosehill School.”
The old Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave., will be open from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday for a silent auction to sell surplus items. Soon to be demolished, the building will be replaced by a new Rosehill Community Center scheduled to open in February.