a gathering of community… a gamut of emotions…

A Signing Event I guess it happens to all of us – yesterday afternoon was so so SO fun that it is really all a big wonderful blur.  It was a celebration of Legendary Locals at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum and not only was every one of the 75 chairs taken, it was Standing Room Only.

There were “Legendaries” and their friends and families and other community members.  Everybody knew somebody and there were greetings and hugs and laughter and even some tears.  People brought or bought copies of the book and mixed and mingled as they asked one another to sign photographs in their books – just like back in high school!  I heard so many people say “page 111” or “page 72” as they directed others to the proper page.  So so SO fun!

Name Tags, June 29, 2013Nyel and I arrived early and, as we entered the main room, Museum Director Betsy Millard presented each of us with a name tag.  A pre-printed name tag!  Wow!  Very classy.  Already there was a large screen showing a continuous loop of photographs from the book and the cookies and punch were being arranged on a large table in the back.  Chairs at white-clothed tables dotted the room, placed so guests could easily sit or wander and, as the afternoon progressed, they did lots of both.

Soon the other ‘speakers’ arrived –  Singer/songwriter Mary Garvey, Fisher/poet Geno Leech, Emcee Bill Garvin – and people began to line up asking one another for signatures!  I managed to introduce the youngest of the Legendary Locals, Danielle Wachsmuth (almost six), to 97-year-old Pete Hanner who was the oldest Legendary at the event.  (Betty Paxton, 98, was off in Mt,. Vernon at a family “do”.)  And then it was show time!

Pete Hanner Serenades SydneyBill was eloquent, as always – the perfect host and spokesman for any special occasion.  I rambled on about the process of writing a book for Arcadia Publications and then in a totally unplanned surprise, Pete Hanner stepped to the mic and actually serenaded me in his lovely tenor voice with “You’ll Never Know How Much ‘We’ Love You!”  I, of course, blushed — also just like high school.  (Nyel took a photo during Pete’s song and there, above him on the screen, was the photo of my beloved grandfather Harry Espy, ‘Papa’ looking down.  So, of course, when I saw it this morning, I cried.)

Next Mary sang, beginning with her tribute to Luke Jensen, “The Lady Cecelia.”  There wasn’t a dry eye in the room – a powerful community moment.  Luke’s parents, Chris and Dave were sitting near me and I resisted the urge to get up and hold them close.  I think many people felt the same way.

June 29, 2013Geno wound up the formal program with three of his poems – including a new one, “Popeye’s House” about our Nahcotta neighbor, Cap’n Phil.  Only those at last winter’s Fisher Poets gathering in Astoria had heard it before and like all of Geno’s poems, it was a big slice of reality filled with both humor and pathos.

And then we were back to signing one another’s books and visiting and continuing the party.  It was a wonderful time.  Over and over people asked when we were going to do it again.  When indeed?

One Response to “a gathering of community… a gamut of emotions…”

  1. Cate Gable says:

    Sydney: so sorry I had to missed the event. It sounds absolutely fantastic! And all due to you, the one Legendary Local not captured in her own book! In so many ways and on so many days, you add luster and warmth to our community. Thank you!

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