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The ballad of Everet and Barbara

Posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012.


A Thursday morn did Everet Martin

and his wife come in,

to have their story, now recorded

in the Library-

of Congress, that is.We met Everet and Barbara last month in Weippe, Idaho, when they participated in StoryCorps and shared their touching love story.

Have you ever heard of Weippe? Located on the Gold Rush Historic Byway, it’s the place where the Lewis and Clark expedition first met the Nez Perc&#233 in September 1806.

The city is remote, with breathtaking mountains surrounding it, and is home to an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal awardee: Weippe Public Library and Discovery Center.


A warm welcome: camas and smoked fish

On the day of our arrival, Friends of the Library welcomed Facilitator Mariel Gruszko and me with offerings of camas and smoked fish, the same meal the Nez Perc&#233 shared with the Lewis and Clark expedition upon their arrival over two hundred years ago.

A valuable resource to the city, the library and discovery center provides the residents of Weippe with not just reading material but a place for community meetings and research, as well. For the youth in town, this is a place to unwind and enjoy each other’s company, and many times, it also becomes a classroom: When inclement weather proves problematic, teachers shuttle their high school students to the discovery center, where they can safely learn until it’s okay to leave.

Longtime residents of Weippe, the library and discovery center has been a place of enjoyment for Everet and Barbara too. This time, it was a place for them to share their story. At the time of their interview, Everet remembered the first time he met his wife: He and his family moved to Weippe while he was in the third grade, and fresh in his memory was the moment that year when he told his mother that he’d “met the girl [he was going to] marry.” He talked of how Barbara didn’t know he existed until their high school years, acknowledging that until then he was just one of those “icky boys.” Now in their 80’s, Everet and Barbara say that a sense of humor is the main reason they’ve been married for so long, and they spoke with pride about their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Everet and Barbara’s love story might be considered run-of-the-mill: Boy meets girl, they graduate high school, they marry, work hard, have children; their children have children, and so on. But the light in their eyes, and the way they spoke to and about each other was nothing short of extraordinary. Every love story is an extraordinary one, and every love story deserves to be told, in a poetic ballad or archived in the Library of Congress. Or both.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awards The National Medal to five libraries and five museums for extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions to their communities. This award is the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries, and StoryCorps is proud to record the stories of these distinguished institutions. Click here for a full list of this year’s winners.

One Response to “The ballad of Everet and Barbara”

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  • So glad to see Everett and Barbara recognized for the good work done for the town of Weippe. They are good people. So few of that special time left. Thanks to them for trying to preserve the area’s history. Proud to know you both!

    Comment from Leann Norris on March 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm - Reply to this Comment

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