In honor of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting West Seattle Hall-of-Famer, L. Jane Hastings. Born in 1928, Jane grew up in the Fauntleroy neighborhood. After graduation, Jane went on to become an internationally-renowned architect. While her professional career has been well-documented and celebrated (you can read more here), she also made her mark in the West Seattle community.
She recently participated in our War on the Homefront Oral History Project where she related stories about growing up in Fauntleroy. The interview focused on her time at West Seattle High, but we want to share a story from her earlier days at the Fauntleroy School. In 1939 Jane was in 6th grade at the small school. In her own words….
“During the lean “30’s” the only interschool game played was boys’ softball. As Fauntleroy was a very small school there were only about enough boys to make up one team. Thus, they lacked practice to develop their skills and be truly competitive.
Jane Hastings noted this and suggested to the head teacher that she could organize a girls’ team to practice with the boys after school. Sixth-grade teacher Elmer Swedine approved of the idea. The practice sessions did not last a week before the fourth-grade teacher discovered the event and demanded it cease, as little boys and girls were not allowed to play with one another. It was even suggested that Jane be removed from school as a bad influence.
A meeting with Jane’s parents was held where they explained that Jane did not know any better as she had always played with the boys, her only playmates in the neighborhood She was allowed to complete here sixth grade.
Elmer Swedine purchased the softball and had her team autograph it for her effort. (Certainly, our team had the shortest season in recorded history.)“
Jane Hastings (left) holding the infamous softball at the Log House Museum
The “Playground League SoftBall” (with) genuine horsehide cover reads:
1936, Elmer Swedien, Barbara Amidon, Dolores Cronquist, Patsy Henefer, Carol Jessup, Kennetta Moore, Marbeth Parry, Bonnie Rochester, Terry Sylliaasen, Barbara Taylor.
The War on the Homefront Oral History Project, funded by 4Culture, has yielded many wonderful stories like Jane’s. Please consider donating to the Historical Society to support our development of forthcoming exhibits and events that will share these stories with our community. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the Log House Museum!