As a very young attorney in Spokane in the late 1940s, my dad, Joe Nappi, was given space in an office by Charles Cowan, an established and respected attorney. Our families soon became close friends and by the time I came along, Charles had died. His widow, Iowa, and her widowed sister, Keo, lived together in North Spokane. They became like surrogate grandmothers to us, as both our grandmothers were dead.
Iowa and Keo were part of the King family, a well-known family in Spokane in the early decades of the 20th century. Iowa lived to the late 1970s. Childless, her estate went to charity and to two nephews. Remaining were about six boxes of photos, letters and greeting cards, given to my dad. My dad, before he died, told me I could have them because I was always interested in Iowa and Keo and their younger lives before I knew them and in Spokane's early history.
For more than a decade, the Iowa-Keo boxes have been in bins in my basement storage. I wrote a few articles about them over the years and scanned into our photo archives some of the historic photos in the collection, especially those featuring early Spokane scenes.
I have always felt a great responsibility to share the memories and the history in the boxes and often pictured writing a book in my retirement years. Maybe I still will. But in the meantime, I hope to share some of it, on occasion in this blog and in the newspaper, too.
In Sunday's paper, we published four of the historic lake photos compiled by Keo, with my essay on lake life then and now.
Almost everyone I know has these collections of photos and letters and so I ask today: Who would you designate your Keeper of the Boxes?