Thursday, February 5, 2015

Betty Newman Nakamoto Passes

The news reached me a couple of days ago that Betty Nakamoto (many of you know her as the co-owener with her husband Ken of Bethken Antique Shop in Woodland Valley) died on December 8th. The passing is especially sad because Betty and her family have been in the valley for many, many years.

One of Woodland Valley's historians, Linda McDonald furnished me with some history about Betty and her family. Here is what Linda had to say:

"Betty's sister Charlotte Newman Jacobsen also lived in Woodland Valley until a few years ago. Their parents were Cornelius and Charlotte (Lottie) Newman both who had lived in the house Betty and her husband later turned into the antique store. Betty's Grandparents, William & Lizzie Newman owned the house next door (the house her husband Ken stills lives in) from at least 1879, in fact, her dad was born in it. Her parents also built a home in the Woodland Park Association at the end of WV Road. It was the last house in the WPA on the "road" side of association (the other side is often referred to as the "field" side). Her father's older brother, Howard, was one of the founders of the Woodland Park Association. As you can see, her family has been in the valley a long time, first as summer people then year round. They were originally from Flat Bush, NY and then lived in Hackensack, NJ. Her father, Cornelius, was a projector operator for the YMCA and served in France doing r&r movies for the soldiers. "

Thanks Linda for that information. I myself was particularly sad to hear of Betty's passing. One of the first things that Helen McGowan told me when I bought my house from her was to make sure I stopped at Bethken. Since it wasn't a normal store with regular hours I felt a bit shy about ringing the bell and waiting for someone to come out and open up the shop. Somehow, this felt like an intrusion. But sooner or later I was able to get my nerve up and was I ever glad I did! And, at some point, I realized that ringing the bell and waiting for Betty to arrive was an integral part of the ritual of shopping there. 

As those of you who have been inside Bethken can attest, the place was FILLED with all kinds of great stuff. Over the years I got many wonderful things there. And in the midst of the trinkets and the treasures was Betty herself, who was a gem. She was extremely smart and funny and had great stories about the valley and the people in it. We would chat as I hunted through the piles for another thingamabob to acquire (not like I needed anything else but who could resist). It was always a wonderful experience and part of the fabric of valley life for me and many others. So farewell, Betty, we will always remember you. May you rest in peace.