Longtime Kirkland Resident, 95, Pens Book About Growing Up Poor

Former postmaster and Navy pilot Link Kaiser describes riding freight trains to leave Wyoming and start a new life in Kirkland -- a place he had been told was paradise. Today he says he made the right choice.


Former Kirkland postmaster, Lake Washington Shipyard worker and U.S. Navy pilot Link Kaiser -- still living in the family home on Rose Hill at almost 95 -- is sharing his story of growing up on a hardscrabble homestead in his book “What Became of the Sundance Kids.”

Kaiser will turn 95 on Jan. 26 and is marking the milestone by signing with a personal inscription every book purchased this year.

Kaiser’s daughter Kathi Quickstad, a 1971 graduate of Lake Washington High School, said the book relates her dad’s story of growing up poor with seven siblings on a homestead in Sundance, Wyoming, and ultimately hopping freight trains to paradise -- Kirkland.

"I wrote this book because it's a timeless story about overcoming hardship that's just as relevant today as it was when I lived it almost 100 years ago," Link Kaiser said in a press release about the book. "Keep in mind, when I was growing up, we didn't have a TV, running water or a car. So much has changed since then and yet the struggles of enduring poverty haven't really changed very much."

Kaiser came to Kirkland in the early 1940s, served as a Navy pilot in World War II and the Korean Conflict, and then returned to Kirkland, building the home on Rose Hill in 1961. During his time here has worked as a chicken rancher, at the Lake Washington Shipyards (today’s Carillon Point) and as a home builder. In 1962, he became Kirkland's postmaster.

"When I was in the Navy, I lived in different cities across the country. Kirkland is still my first choice and I'm very happy living here with my wife Virginia in the house I built on Rose Hill in 1961," he said in the press release.

Quickstad, whose mother is also from Kirkland and an LW grad, said her dad remains active. “He works out at the 'Y' a couple days a week,” she said. “For 95, he’s amazing.”

Books are available for purchase ($20) directly from the author by visiting www.tinyurl.com/c39hmd7.


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