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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Wed., June 25, 2014

From our archives, 100 years ago

The parents of six Spokane teenagers were nervous wrecks because their children – three boys and three girls – had embarked on a “joy ride” in an auto, all the way across the state.

The only word they had received was a letter from Ellen Leaf, 18, which said, “Dear Mama: Here we are in Waterville. Are having a great time and are all safe and feeling fine. We have had no accidents. Will write you again on our next stop – Ellen.”

“I cannot understand her actions,” said Mrs. Leaf. “She never ran away before and has been a good girl. … The boys are the ones who are responsible for the girls leaving home and should be dealt with severely by the authorities when caught.”

The parents of the boys were worried, too, but refused to talk to reporters. Some friends said the boys had been heard to remark that they were “going to pick up some girls and motor over to the Coast and attend the auto races at Tacoma on the Fourth.”

Two of the girls, including Ellen Leaf, were employed as telephone operators. They were considered good workers – until they failed to show up.

Apparently, some of the relatives of the missing teens had already left for Seattle in an attempt to “head them off there.”

The only independent news came from a farmer near Wenatchee who spotted the auto “traveling at high speed near Wenatchee.”

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