Some folks say, “Who cares, that was a long time ago,” when a historical period or event is mentioned.
Then there are people like Delta Price Bootsma, who are intertwined emotionally in their history.
Price Road, west of Sunnyside, was named for Delta’s grandfather, Walter Price. He was a Yakima Valley pioneer at the turn of the 20th Century.
Delta feels a sense of pride when she’s on that road or thinks of it.
Road names long ago were derived from the name of an area or the name of family on that road, which sometimes was the name of the area too. In addition to that, Walter Price was known as a political activist and even ran for Congress.
Walter Price broke the ground that became the Price Ranch, after arriving from Agar, S.D. in 1903.
He and his wife Mary Hartmann Price homesteaded the 40-acre unit. By today’s directions, the Ranch was about a quarter-mile north of Van Belle Road.
Walter built a big white two-story house in the style of homes you’d find in Iowa, from where the family originated.
Most people alive today who know that property would know it as McMinimee Farms. The McMinimees are gone now, as is the home Walter built and John and Mary McMinimee occupied.
The Price history Delta knows goes back, way back to her great-grandfather, William Owen Price. He was born in 1832.
He and his wife, Martha, were Pennsylvanians and Indianans before they moved to State Center, Iowa, where Walter was born.
William Price was known as a Civil War Veteran, a wagon train scout and a farmer.
Delta, 94, knows this history by family hand-me-down but also by documents and a book written in 1979 by a distant cousin by the name of William Kenneth Price. He was writing the Tramel family history, and the Price family is one the branches.
Not long after the book was written, Delta and her sister Nancy went to Iowa to meet the cousin. He drove them on a tour of the state.
Times were not easy for anyone in the 1800s. Men often looked for second chances or do-overs. That was what took Walter to South Dakota to homestead. At about the same time, the Hartmans homesteaded the 40 acres next door, and Walter and Mary met, fell in love and married.
Looking for their place in life, the newlyweds went to California to homestead and planted some of the first oranges in the Riverside area.
That didn’t pan out, and Walter and Mary moved back to South Dakota.
When they heard the Yakima Valley was going to have irrigation canals, they staked out the claim that became the Price Ranch. Both had plenty of homesteading experience.
Delta remembers working on that ranch as a girl.
“I got down on my hands and knees and thinned rutabagas.” she said. “I cut asparagus.”
Later, Clinton, Delta’s father, homesteaded on the Roza. He died of typhoid fever when Delta was only 8. The family stayed on the farm, and Delta’s maternal grandparents moved in to help out.
“We lived there during the depression,” Delta said. “We had a big garden, a cow, some pigs and chickens, and grandma had some geese. So, we ate real well.”
Delta noted there was no high school in Outlook in 1903. One was built in 1909, and her father, her Aunt Ethyl and Uncle William were members of the first graduating class.
That school closed in 1934, Delta said But she recalled a school she attended on Independence Road.
Delta took a year off from school after graduating high school. Then she went to Eugene, Ore. to attend what is now Northwest Christian University.
She dropped out and went to work for the local J.C. Penney. Her mother begged her to come home, but she loved Eugene. Eventually, after World War II ended, her mother talked her into coming back.
Delta took a job at Sunny Pack Cannery.
A young man, Richard Bootsma, returning from ship-building in Vancouver, took a job there too. They met at the water fountain one day, and two months later they married.
Richard died last year after the couple celebrated 71 years of marriage.
Delta is doing well, living in the house Dick and his father built for her on Crescent Drive in 1951-52.
“We lived in the basement (two bedrooms) while we finished the upper floor,” Delta said.
Sometimes, when Delta reminisces today, it’s about the Price family history and life at the Price Ranch.
“We played hide and seek, Cowboys and Indians and lots of other things,” she said.
“I miss those times. Everything was better, not so many complications.”