If you want to know what life was like on South Whidbey in the 1920s and ’30s, then watch this excerpt of an interview that Bill Steiner did in 1981 of his neighbors, Leon and Marie Burley, of Maxwelton.
Leon’s parents moved from Nebraska to the Ravenna neighborhood in north Seattle via a buckboard wagon in 1902. Leon and Marie met in 1915 while playing together in her father’s orchestra (music was a shared passion) and married in 1916.
The Burley family had spent many summers on South Whidbey with their friends, the Mackies, who moved here in 1905. The Burleys moved to Maxwelton in 1921. In addition to farming, Leon drove the school bus to Langley and Marie taught piano lessons for 50 years.
Leon was 90 when this interview was done, and Marie was 86. He died in 1996 at the age of 104, three years after Marie had passed away at age 97.
The Burleys’ recounting of South Whidbey farm life, family, work, values and community is priceless.