Up in Coarsegold, not far from the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino, lived a grand young lady who, at the time I interviewed her in 2003, had reached the age of 96. Armed with a perky smile, a sharp wit, and tons of memories of early Madera, she held this writer spellbound for quite awhile.
At the invitation of her daughter, Janet Brooks Walters, with whom she then resided, I made a Sunday afternoon date with her mother, grabbed a video camera, and headed for the hills.
Two things about my 96-year-old host piqued my interest. First, she was born in 1907, Jan. 26, to be precise. (Great guns! Teddy Roosevelt was president then.)
The second thing that made an interview with her exciting was that she was born in Madera. Let’s see; Madera in 1907--that’s the same year our town became an incorporated city. In fact, Mrs. Brooks beat Madera’s incorporation by three months. That means she was born in Madera County before it had a single incorporated city. The Board of Supervisors was in charge of everything at the time...