The Ballad of Walt Woodward

In my story about Woodward Middle School’s celebration of their namesake, I mentioned that an 8th-grade student Ben Cowen had written a ballad about Walt Woodward.

I didn’t have room in the story to print the full lyrics, but I do here. Click down below.

By the way, Ben got a little research assistance from “Snow Falling on Cedars” author David Guterson, who also happens to be his next-door neighbor. Guterson’s novel has a key character that’s based on Walt Woodward.

“He brought over a book,” Ben said. “But what was funny was that I had already written most of the ballad. I had done plenty of research.”

The 14-year-old recently recorded the ballad and gave a CD copy to Mary Woodwood, one of Walt Woodward’s daughters. Ben plays violin on the track and enlisted a family friend to sing his lyrics.

The Ballad of Walt Woodward
By Ben Cowan

Born on a chilly winter day
was a boy named Walt Woodward.
He was a spark of light in the north west gray
Soon his virtuous voice would be heard.

As a boy he loved to run and write
Graduating from Broadway High
When a Husky, he never lost sight
of his gifts as a newspaper guy.

In the early days of the Depression,
as a cub reporter he would write
There, Millie made an unchanging impression
with her, it was love at first sight.

After marrying on one fine day,
they bought the Review, source of island words
He was a spark of light in the north west gray
And his virtuous voice was heard.

As the world was spiraling into war,
fear spread after the attacks of Pearl Harbor.
He said “dare not forget our Japanese neighbors”
as our friends had to leave the island shore.

Of what was right Walt never lost sight
While in camps he kept their memories alive
He had the courage to fight for our Bill of Rights
Upon their return he helped them thrive.

He believed in writing truth and revealing lies
Hearing prejudice that did not disappear
With the Review exposed the racist outcries
To the Japanese he would always be dear.

Shaping the island, he paved the way
A school was named for this famous Woodward
He was a spark of light in the north west gray
And his virtuous voice will be heard.

27 thoughts on “The Ballad of Walt Woodward

  1. Jim Olsen, I have no clue why the sun continues to allow you to post. You are now harassing a 14 year old? Get some human decency.

  2. amap — stop with the victim swill. The issue is the subject of the ode, not the ode writer. BISD #303 education at its best. And the ode writer didn’t even receive the Leaving Our Island full-meal deal at Sakai.

  3. that is not an article about the issue James, that is just more hate and denial from your wife. You two are peas in a pod. When you met her, did she have a white rob on, over her head?

  4. CraigPee: tell me the facts about St. Woodward, the apple of the ode, and enough of your paranoid fantasies.

    LoueLaney: if the Birkenstock fits, sweetie, eat it. You must be one of the “artists” on state pension with BIAHC. Silly, silly, silly.

  5. Hey, come to think of it, CraigPee and Lane: rather than obsessing, why don’t you check out http://www.internmentarchives.com (double-click the link) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Yq3zIci3b4&feature=related, you can watch the video section on War and MAGIC. You will find a variety of very unsettling images from WWII about spies, Fifth Column clowns and shake-down artists. No doubt you could easily pen another ode to FDR, General DeWitt or General Patton.

  6. There are ‘sleeper cells’ of Al Qaeda in the US, so say the intelligence reports. Should we lock up every Muslim in the US?

    James, do you believe Guantanamo is a mistake?
    Do you think Slavery was a mistake?

    Have you ever made a mistake in your life?

  7. CraigPee’s version of Sunday’s Meet the Depressed:
    1) lock up every Muslim in US? No but will reconsider if NYC is incinerated with a nuke
    2) Gimto mistake ~~ Hell no, great prison, state of the art and it is paid for. US policy I am sure would reveal the same attitude to future relocations of individuals in a war-time scenario.

    3) Slavery mistake? Slave trade by black Islamic groups selling their compatriots to traders was wrong. Greek slavery — wrong but a nature of the times. Roman slavery: wrong but a nature of the times.

    4) Mistake? Rarely but try harder next time with the questions CraigPee.

  8. I understand now James. You have a serious character flaw, resulting in a sense of denial.

    Look, you get free heath care, so please go see a doctor. Sit down, explore your feelings with a professional. You can be a functional adult again James, it’s not too late. Take the first step by picking up the phone and calling your doctor.

  9. Lois — what’s with the mini skirt? Is that just to make CraigPeeWee pant?

  10. Testy Lois — you’re having issues with CraigPeeWee — really don’t share.

  11. Sorry, 12 signs at $15.00 each!!! $180.00!!! What were you doing when you made up those bloated prices? Huffing printers ink?

  12. Mr. Olsen, Our Chief of Police is John Fehlman, not Feldman, and I now believe that it must be a typographical error on your part (big surprise!)where you stated that your horrible little signs are worth $15.00 each. You must have meant that the whole bundle of allegedly missing signs, (12 by your count, always suspect),were worth $15.00. That would be much more in line with the signs actual value considering the materials used to make them. That is, unless of course, you are using a ‘special’ gold flake printers ink, gold nails and some kind of rare South American hardwood that is on an endangered species list for sign posts. Please Mr. Olsen, stop using rare and endangered species for your sign posts. Think of the destruction of the Rain Forests. Much cheaper and sustainable products are readily available.

  13. John Haydon, Lois Lane, you are living a reality I left years ago. It quite nearly killed me. If you get all lathered about what Mr. Olsen is yapping about it will eat you up. The best thing to do is just ignore him. He won’t go away, but he’ll bother someone else.
    John in particular. Let it go. Stop fanning his flames. You’ve been bickering for more than a year, so stop already.

  14. Oh, Lois L.: as to cost for signs: labor rates are high here on Our Island. Perhaps it could be added to the Obamanation Stimulus Bill — a cool $1M for signage. I’ll have to contact Jay “Who” Inslee to see what he can work up. As to use of exotic hardwoods for the signs, I have paid my money to Al Goreliono for carbon offsets.

  15. Registered voter: this matter is tragedy, not comedy. I’ll have to try harder. But you are on to a new vein in these commentaries.

    Why doesn’t Lois use her journalistic abilities and street creds to write a rap ode to Woodward? Or CB could write his ode in in pig English or Yiddish.

  16. Thanks for asking, Mr. Olsen. I call this ‘The Ode To Jimmy O’, by Lois Lane

    Little Jimmy O,
    He loved to pick a bone.
    He littered up the countryside,
    With signs of a particular tone.

    He’d get all fired up,
    Hot wind would start to blow.
    “Curse you ankle-biter’s,
    Give me some NO! NO! NO!”

    NO! to Kids and Women too,
    He’d pound his scrawny chest.
    And off to North Korea,
    With all the ding dang rest.

    NO! to this and NO! to that,
    Oh how he’d blow and spout.
    Calling names and playing games,
    And shouting all about.

    He’d plant his signs of NO! design,
    In every right of way.
    Some would last a week, a month,
    And some would last a day.

    When they went a-missing,
    Oh how he’d cry and pout.
    About the thuggish miscreants,
    That were lurking all about.

    Well somewhere there is a pile,
    Of NO! signs a mile high.
    And who do they belong to?
    Oh. THAT GUY.

  17. Registered voter: this matter is tragedy, not comedy. I’ll have to try harder. But you are on to a new vein in these commentaries.

    I assure you it is high comedy. But indeed, tragic, particularly if any of the participants are above the age of 21.

    Carry on, and thank you in advance.

  18. Lois — where’s the rap? Too white bread, Lois. Back to the rewrite.

    This ode sounds like it was crafted by a 6th grader at Sakai.

    Lois — stay away from the short skirt, palling with coylee and writing for a career. Don’t give up the other day job.

  19. Oh, and Lois, the subject of your rap ode was supposed to be the saintly Walt Woodward and not your humble blogger. Stay focused and away from your fatal attractions. Focus, focus, focus.

    Now here was the opening lines of our Woodward Woodie Guthrie: ”
    Born on a chilly winter day
    was a boy named Walt Woodward.
    He was a spark of light in the north west gray
    Soon his virtuous voice would be heard . . . . ”

    Charlene B and Lois L, and you too, Mochi balls, carry on.

  20. James must feel like a Clippers fan. Always losing… back a winner James, it will make you feel better.

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