By Janette Nelson
Thank you for the attention you have given my mother, Wanda Boness. It surprised and blessed the family for The Dispatch to pay such nice tribute to her (Aug.8, “Spanaway Speedway was king of race scene”). Can I add that while the running of so many businesses and certainly her contributions to Spanaway Speedway are worth admiring, she was so much more than that.
She was a woman, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Wherever she settled, her home became the gathering place for many, and everyone was treated as an equal. Where family went, friends were welcome to come along. Of course, that meant that friends also got scolded right along with us when we misbehaved or chores were not done.
Mom strived for excellence in all she did. Actually, she strived for perfection and too often would be upset that only excellence was achieved.
She also was a friend to all. This trait was evident in her younger years and played a part in her being given the Girls Club award her senior year of high school, as well as the valedictorian of her class.
As a mother, even exhausted from working, she stayed up late to make events special for her family. Homemade Halloween costumes were the norm, and she would work hard to make them just right. At Christmas she beautifully wrapped gifts, painted scenes on windows, sent hundreds of cards and gave packages of a variety of baked goods. Every birthday, each child got their own choice of their birthday meal and special dessert. This continued even into our adulthood.
She never missed any event in her children’s lives. Along the way she was Cub Scout den mother, classroom mother, Girl Scout mother, DeMolay mother and foster mother. And she knew the pain of being a mourning mother. One of her daughters died at the age of 10 days due to severe birth defects, and when her son, Chris, was killed in an auto accident when he was 13 that also left her oldest son critically injured. In fact, that daughter, Anita, was born just shortly after the first race was ever held at Spanaway Speedway.
Imagine being a young pregnant woman of 28 with three children, no money and your younger husband comes home and announces that he and his brother are going to build a race track in a cow pasture. I asked her once what she had thought when he hatched that plan, and she replied matter-of-factly, “I thought we were going to build a racetrack in a cow pasture.” And that was how she ended up spending so much time running various businesses. (she also ran several drive-ins at various times).
When my dad came up with an idea, she did whatever it took to help make it a success. And what it took was long hours of hard, unglamorous work. So, yes, President Obama, they did build their businesses.
But, she also was a person with her own interests, skills and talents. Some of her pleasures were yodeling, singing, playing the accordion, embroidering, crocheting, gardening, cooking, music from all eras and genres, and laughing.
But I think her biggest pleasure was having kids around. She taught many to swim, and she took many a trip to Enchanted Village/Wild Waves with her grandchildren and their friends and was a veteran of the Cannon Ball Slide. Through the years, she fed and watched over many friends of both her children and grandchildren.
And she did all these things without fanfare, never looking for applause. The testimony of my mom’s life is a consistent one. She was a hard-working, steadfast, persevering woman of integrity with strict paths. And for that, she was respected, loved and admired.
Janette Nelson is the daughter of Wanda Boness.