By Laura Colvin
Kuna Melba News editor
Madge Cook Wylie’s new book “A Centennial Scrapbook of Melba, 1912-2012,” includes a 1924 photo, with names, of all four students in Melba High School’s first graduating class.
A page or two later, readers will find a photo, including names, of the Melba High School class of 2012, standing together on the school’s front steps, as dictated these days by tradition.
Wylie, who graduated from Melba High School with 17 other students in 1944, said she began working on the book several years ago in anticipation of Melba’s Centennial anniversary.
The new book — she’s written several over the years — is a 245-page compilation of Wylie’s writings, along with newspaper clippings, photos, historical documents and other treasures she’s picked up along the way.
And, while many consider her the resident expert on Melba past and present, Wylie said she even learned a thing or two while assembling her Centennial collection.
“When I put the word out, people I don’t even know, who went to school here and lived here a long time ago, sent me some really neat stuff,” she said.
Within the pages of Centennial Scrapbook, readers will find photos of Melba’s early farmers working the field, the letter that arrived from Washington D.C. in 1912 authorizing establishment of Melba’s post office, and a 1917 photo of city namesake Melba Todd and her classmates at Melba Grade School.
Also included are chapters on the community’s founding families, its series of gas stations, and its churches, including a photo of the little home that served as the first St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, which was “a little drafty and the mice sometimes ate the candles.”
Readers will also find a chapter on Melba’s service men and women, WWI and WWII veterans, as well as those who served in the Korean War including those killed in action and notes on those who served in other conflicts.
Wylie will be out selling and signing copies of her book — $18 each — at the city’s Centennial Celebration festivities this weekend, although she wasn’t sure where, exactly, she’d set up shop.
“I’ll probably take my little table over by where the food is and sit there,” she said.