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Early Promise: The Beginnings of Vitamilk Dairy -- a Memory by Dorothea Nordstrand

HistoryLink.org Essay 5736 : Printer-Friendly Format

This reminiscence was written by Dorothea Nordstrand (1916-2011), who as a young woman worked as a teller at the Green Lake State Bank, located in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood. In it she remembers a certain young man who came in for a loan.  This took place some time in the late 1930s or early 1940s. In 2009 Dorothea Nordstrand was awarded AKCHO's (Association of King County Historical Organizations) Willard Jue Memorial Award for a Volunteer, for contributing these vivid reminiscences to various venues in our community, including HistoryLink.org's People's History library.

Vitamilk Dairy: Its Beginnings

As he entered the bank, I noticed a very young man, hardly out of his teens, who seemed to be looking for someone. I leaned forward in my teller cage to ask if I could help him. He approached and said he had an appointment with Mr. Lear, our owner and president, to see about getting a loan to purchase a truck.

In my mind, I was dubious. Mr. Lear was very conscious of his role as trustee of our customer’s hard-earned money, and I had seen him deny loans to many older and more prosperous looking people, during the time I had been there. This young man looked hardly out of high school.

Slight and red-headed, to me he looked like my personal image of Huckleberry Finn. However, I had been wrong before. That Mr. Lear was an extremely good judge of character, I knew.

I smiled, directed the young man to Mr. Lear’s office, straight across the lobby, and watched as he approached it, knocked politely and entered ... crossing my fingers for him.

Some time later, when the door opened and the young man, accompanied by Mr. Lear, approached my window, papers in hand, I knew the loan had been approved. As directed, I issued a cashier’s check for the amount of the promissory note.

That was when I learned his name was "Edwin Teel," later to become the man behind the Vitamilk Dairy, a huge part of the Green Lake community for many years.

Dorothea (Pfister) Nordstrand lives in the Green Lake neighborhood of Seattle.

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