For us, yesterday was all about Astoria and it was all about fun! About twenty members of the Lower Columbia Preservation Society (LCPS) arrived here for a mid-morning “Back to School” event at the Oysterville School House. It was the ‘fourth annual’ such get-together here sponsored by the Oysterville Restoration Foundation (ORF) and the first to feature our historic schoolhouse.
Each year we have highlighted some aspect of Oysterville’s history – the waterfront and the cannery one year, the cemetery another, the church another. This year’s “Back to School” program began with “Sharing” during which each of us told a bit about our interest in preserving history through restoration of historic buildings. Almost all of the Astoria folks live in interesting old houses, as do many of us, and we take the opportunity each year to celebrate our victories in their maintenance and restoration and to commiserate about our common concerns and difficulties in that endeavor.
For this year’s gathering we included a “History Lesson” about schools in Oysterville over the last 150 years, following which several members of ORF told their memories of attending school in the building when it was still a one-room schoolhouse. (Since 1957 when low student numbers caused the school to close, the building has served as a community center.)
“Lunch” involved oysters in the shell hot off the grill, steamer clams, barbecued chicken and an amazing array of salads and desserts contributed by LCPS. Although plans for a game of whiffle golf at “Recess” were factored in, we all skipped that by common consent and just “talked among ourselves” for a few hours. All in all, a most enjoyable school day!
We scarcely had time to help with the clean-up and get home for a quick change of clothes before it was time to zip across the bridge for the Spirit of the River — a “fundraiser for Columbia Riverkeeper to protect our river from proposed LNG terminals and pipelines.” Many of our friends from both sides of the river were involved.
Noel Thomas was the featured artist, author Bob Pyle was keynote speaker, the folk band Willapa Hills were among the performers as was pianist Jennifer Goodenberger. And everywhere we looked we saw friends and acquaintances among the ‘worker bees’ and participants. I was amazed at how ‘right at home’ I felt and how welcoming everyone was.
It was a stellar evening, topped off by the success of our houseguest, Dick, at the silent auction. He came home with a Nancy Campiche photograph of the bridge. He said that it encompassed many happy memories for him going back to the days of his childhood when he crossed the Columbia from Astoria to Megler on the ferry. We stayed up and talked about those days and these days for way too long…