Thelma Barlow has been a part of the life and times in Golden since she was born on Valentine’s Day in 1926.
Her last name before she was married was also a well-known local family, the Kings.
Barlow said she has seen many changes in Golden over the years.
“There were gravel roads and wooden sidewalks but it was great. I have had a wonderful life here,” Barlow said.
Barlow’s father, Thomas King, ran the Thomas King General Merchant which would eventually become Barlows Department Store. Barlow ran it with her husband Fred for 28 years.
While in the store one day her father was made an offer that led to four-year-old Barlow getting a new pet deer named Nelly.
“She was four days old when I got her. There was a gentlemen wandering around Cedar Lake and noticed the baby without a mother. He went there for days and on the fourth day she was panting…the gentlemen went to my dad and asked him if he had a little girl and if he could give the deer to me. My dad said sure,” she said.
She raised Nelly for 10 years and felt it was a great experience to have at that age.
“It taught me a lot of things. My mom always watched me but it taught me a lot,” she said.
Barlow looks back on her time growing up in Golden fondly.
“A bunch of us kids went to school together. We would take flashlights in February and skate from the bridge in Nicholson back down the Columbia River to the old mill. It was beautiful,” she said. “There was so much to do for kids if they just think about it.”
She was also an avid riders of horses when she was growing up and thinks children today should get out and enjoy where they live.
“They are told to do this and told to do that. There are lots of things they could do. They could help an older person do their lawn. Anything to help them develop and be strong inside themselves,” she said. “Let them be responsible.”
Barlow said teaching her children about sharing and doing things for themselves was good for them.
“I always say, make each day the best that you can,” she said.
To this day, Barlow said she still loves housework which was the same as her mother who whistled every day while she was doing her own cleaning.
In addition to her own children, Barlow now has four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren whom she loves to spend time with.
She enjoys her trips to the coast at Christmas with her son Gord and his wife Connie.
“Golden never died. It always came back from what its problem was. I think that is the way it has been for all the years I remember because places like LP have down times but always come back. I always think there are good people in Golden. I was always around good people and that is important,” she said.