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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Documentary Records Life In Orchard Prairie

A documentary film that records the sweet ties of family life in Orchard Prairie will have its premier showing this weekend.

This film portrait of Orchard Prairie has been a year in the making. Sisters Lorna St. John and Linda Sharman created it after the death of their mother, Violet Clothier, a longtime community leader.

Orchard Prairie is a rural pocket of a community, half hidden between the Spokane Valley and north Spokane. Residents celebrated its centennial in 1979 and held a 100-year school reunion just last summer.

The film has a threefold purpose. First, it’s to welcome newcomers in the community.

With its confluence of multigeneration families thriving in a still rural environment, Orchard Prairie has a magic to it. Or did.

“We feel like it’s slipping away,” Sharman said. “New people are coming in and we’re not successful in integrating them. They move here for different reasons than we did. They move here to be left alone.”

Sharman said she hopes the documentary will help newcomers understand what kind of community they’ve come to.

The film also is to keep the community’s history fresh for its children. Copies will go to the Orchard Prairie School, Sharman said, for annual showings to the students there.

Finally, the film is meant as a memorial, through the Homemakers Club, for Clothier.

“It turned out to be beautiful,” Sharman said. “People who have seen it use words like ‘water-color beauty.”’

The 25-minute video includes interviews with 30 or so residents and former residents, as well as early photographs.

It will be shown at 8 and 9 p.m. Saturday, at the Central Grange, 7001 Bigelow Gulch Road. Copies will be available for sale at $20 each.

, DataTimes

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