Special to the Reporter
Helen Louise Bradley, a Colorado native, was born Oct. 30, 1920. When Helen was in her teens, the family moved to Pacific. She graduated Auburn High School in 1939.
As a teenager she worked in the gladiolus fields, making a dollar a day. Picked strawberries, beans, and corn to earn school money.
Helen married Frank Norman on Flag Day, June 14, 1939, and they lived an adventurous life until Frank’s death in 1992 .
Helen and Frank owned the Trojan Café across from the high school, and was a favorite hangout for students. Frank worked for the railroad and Helen ran the café until starting their family.
In 1943, Dan, their first born arrived , John was born in 1945 and was named for his uncle John, Helen’s brother who died in Okinawa in the Second World War at the age of 21. Marsha completed the family, arriving in 1952.
The family moved into the home Frank built on the area of Lea Hill overlooking Main Street Auburn. It was the first house on the hill, and no one understood why they had moved so far out of town. They owned 10 acres that wrapped around to the south side of the hill. They were in the house about a month when it burned to the ground. The whole town watched it burn, with many people arriving to see how they could help. Firemen could not respond to anything outside the city limits, so they arrived on their own without trucks to see what they could do to help. It resulted in the first fire station built on Lea Hill. It also resulted in a surge of new fire insurance policies throughout the city.
Helen loved to garden and created a park like setting around their home. The house and yard were featured in the Auburn newspaper more than once.
One of the family’s memorable vacations was surviving the 1959 Yellowstone earthquake. Helen and Frank were also recognized for their Christmas spirit. There was a 30 foot fir tree in the front yard that Frank lit with hundreds of lights. It could be seen all over town and people said it wasn’t Christmas until the tree on the hill was lit.
Helen was active in her community. She volunteered for her churches, Presbyterian, Methodist. Volunteered at the Senior Center, worked for the Museum and also served on several service groups.
Helen was selected Auburn Pioneer Queen in 2005.
Helen has often said, “My life has always been a good life. I have never regretted any part of it.”