Bud Wyatt has been living in Centralia all his life.
“I was born here in 1931,” he said standing in his back yard overlooking the intersection of Doty and Adams Street with his wife Mary.
It was what was in the yard that had the couple standing there in the late Tuesday
Outside his back door, on their home’s south side, was a semi-circle, an arc, of white mushrooms, some four-inches high. They started near the back door, curved, 22 in all, drawing a line of marching mushrooms perhaps six feet into the yard and back toward the wall of his house.
“I’ve lived here 51 years,” Bud said, “and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
And he has been around Centralia along time to see such things.
Bud entered the full-time working world, September 6, 1950, at AB Chance – as a tap clamper, a piece-work position, he said. – “They paid me 82 cents an hour and I was glad to get it,” he said, smiling at the memory.
He worked there for 43 years, finishing as a Q and A inspector – That entailed inspecting products such as underground tanks and overhead line maintenance and installation tools. “I had to work my way up the ladder to get that job,” Bud said. “But I monitored the whole process, starting with the raw steel fabrication all the way through the testing until it went out the door.”
Before he started his life-long career with AB Chance though, Bud, who graduated from Centralia High School in 1948, said he worked during high school.
“I bagged groceries at two different grocery stores,” he said. “Back then we had two, Kroegers and Temple Stephens.”
What has kept him in Centralia all these years?
I was happy here,” Bud said. “I was born and raised here. While I was growing up I didn’t have any plans to leave . . . I was happy here then and I’m happy here now. It’s home to me. I wouldn’t like living in a big town. Centralia’s just the right size, a pretty good place to be.”
Back to the mushrooms.
“Now, never seen anything like them . . . My son looked them up on his phone and said they might be Shaggy Ink Caps,” Bud said.
He said he would know if he had something like them in his yard before. He had been mowing it weekly since he bought the house in ?1967?
“I also bought the lot behind me, from Carter Tidball,” he said. “We had a big vegetable garden to help feed the kids.
Between he, Mary and his first wife, now deceased, the family raised six children.
“I used a push mower, with a motor, for a long time,” Bud said of his lawn care days. “I finally got a riding lawn mower and used that for a long time. I gave that up about three years ago. I just got to the point where I’d rather pay someone to do it than do it myself.”
One of his fondest memories, Bud said, has to do with his grandson Matt Wyatt, who Bud said was a six-state fiddle champion.
“My grandson composed a fiddle waltz here. We call it “The Centralia Waltz.”
When asked what important things he has learned about life during his eight-plus decades here, Bud thought for a moment and said: “Love everybody. Have a sense of humor. Be sociable and work hard.”