In 1979, Josephine Cornick Ross was 77 years old and lived at the Issaquah Villa nursing home. A student with a tape recorder interviewed her for a school assignment. More than 30 years later, their 22 minute conversation found its way into the collection of the Issaquah History Museums. This recording is the only narrative we have about Josephine’s life that she herself created. Unlike Ferol Jess Tibbetts and Minnie Wilson Schomber, whose letters and journals share details of their lives with us, we have only Josephine Cornick Ross’s photographs and brief oral history. For that reason, we have many more unanswered questions about Josephine.
But, there are some things one can surmise even without a pointed narrative, and a fascination with automobiles is one of them.
Unlike Ferol, Josephine’s family did not have access to their own automobile, as she explained to her interviewer:
IN: When the car came, did it take Issaquah a while for very many people to get cars?
JR: Oh, yes. It took quite a while.
IN: Did your family used to travel to Seattle very often?
JR: Well, when we went to Seattle, we would go to Kirkland, and ferry across from Kirkland to Seattle. Because when they were treating my eyes, my folks were—the doctor was in Seattle, so my father had to take me to Seattle on the Madison streetcar. And it was a trolley car, and I’d get sick every time. [laughing]
IN: How long did that take?
JR: Oh, it would take all day practically, by the time we got there and waited for the trolley, and then back again.
Although Jo’s family didn’t have their own automobile, her collection of snapshots includes photos of at least three different automobiles. They also share footage of a road trip to southern Washington taken with a few friends.
Jo Cornick Ross opening the door of an automobile.