Archive for the ‘Community Spirit’ Category

I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

When it comes to trains, timing is everything.  So, when the announcement came this morning from the Astoria Railroad Preservation Association concerning their Open House on Sunday, I immediately went into my scheduling mode. On the face of it, it looks like we’d need to be in two places at once.  Again!  And as far as I know, Scotty has not yet perfected the beaming operation from Oysterville to Astoria and back.

We definitely must be in Oysterville by three to welcome musicians to a long-planned and eagerly-awaited House Concert here.  On the other hand, our friend Mark Clemmens has been working on the restoration of the 1925 Baldwin Engine #21 for almost as long as we’ve known him.  I think he joined the ARPA about the time he and Sandra moved here and he’s been trekking to the Locomotive Restoration Shop in Astoria at least once a week ever since.

When asked, Mark is always happy to answer the usual question, “How’s it going?”  His responses are mostly way too technical for me – engineer talk to the max.  The ARPA’s website at includes a photo journal and annotations back to 2001 for interested railroad buffs and for those (like me) who might be impressed by the sheer persistence and dedication of the folks working on the project.

Having heard bits and pieces of their progress over the years, I have a great desire to go to the Open House.  I’m thinking that if we are totally organized on Sunday, we might be able to leave home early enough to spend an hour or so at the Restoration Shop and get back in plenty of time…  I actually have my great-grandfather’s railroad watch to assist with our timing.  But that’s another story.

Were you the one who spoke to Diane… ?

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

Diane Buttrell

At the Opening Reception for Eric Wiegardt and David Campiche’s exhibition at the Heritage Museum in late July, Diane Buttrell had a conversation with a woman about plans for the Fall 2018 Lecture Series at the Oysterville Schoolhouse.  Diane can’t remember who it was.

Not only that, the conversation was substantive enough that she (Diane) is hoping that this person might kick off the Series.  “I thought we might begin on September 6th but, obviously, that’s too soon now.  I’m hoping for September 13th – if only I can find out who the woman was.  She would be perfect!”

Diane and Hal were here last night for our usual Friday Night gathering and, as they were leaving, she very hesitantly explained her predicament to me.   And, even more hesitantly, asked for help.   As a fellow “now-who-told-me-that” sufferer, I am only too happy to do what I can which, ultimately, comes down to blogging about the dilemma and hoping for the best.

The topic for the planned series this fall is “Hear My Story” and will feature people in our community who are doing something interesting or for the good of the order and, perhaps more importantly, how they came to be doing it. She has a number of folks on her line-up but… that first week is still “To Be Announced.”  I can’t tell you how sympathetic I am to her plight!

If you are the person Diane was talking to – or even if you were eavesdropping on the conversation – Diane urges you to get in touch with her at  There is no time to lose!  Publicity deadlines are upon us for a September 13th kick-off.  And, if you have FB Friends who might have attended that opening on July 27th and just might have spoken with Diane, please share this!  Thanks so much.

It’s all over but the shout-outs!

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Regatta Viewing At Its Best

It’s back to the usual summer quiet here in Oysterville – just a few tourists visiting the church and strolling through town with the ‘walking tour’ brochures in hand.  We are back to watching “the slow breathing of the bay, six hours in and six hours out” as Willard said in his afterward to Oysterville, Roads to Grandpa’s Village.  Now that the annual regatta is over, we are basking in the glow…

Too, we are talking about all the behind-the-scenes activities and about the people who – to us land-lubbing spectators – put everything together almost without effort.  Take, for instance, the canopy that magically appeared over the chairs lined up on the shoreline just before the race began Saturday. Seemingly, it appeared by magic!

Alex at work behind the scenes.

We had lugged our chairs down to our usual regatta viewing spot and had barely settled in when that pesky rain came back.  Nyel stayed put but I hot-footed it back to the house to grab jackets and my trusty  yellow rain hat.  I waited a minute or two for the skies to clear and then went back to join Nyel and the other stalwarts who had begun to gather.  I was surprised and delighted to see that a canopy had been set up, apparently just for us and our friends!

I assumed (I know, I know – never assume) that it was the work of Charley and Amy (Tucker’s son and daughter-in-law) who had, by then, joined the crowd.  Not until Sunday night, when Tucker and I were doing a little re-cap, did I learn that it was Alex Randle who had brought his truck to the end of the lane. And it was Alex’s canopy.  And it was Alex who saw to our comfort and protection from the weather!  “Wow!” as Tucker would say!  I’m so sorry I missed all that, Alex!  Thanks so much!

Then, there was Clark’s friend Jason Johnson who, when all was said and done on Saturday, didn’t have a spot to sleep.  Jason… who has come every year since he was a kid.  ‘Back in the day’ when the boats were hauled down to the bay by hand (not with benefit of Dave and Lina’s tractor or by other mechanized means), it was Jason who would jump up to help Tucker while the others might be sitting ’round the campfire.

Jason at the Regatta Dinner

It was a huge job. “We’d attach a line to the bow eye of each boat in turn and then drag them from the foot of Clay Street (where the bench is now) to the water’s edge,” Tucker told me.  “It was hard work and we’d walk home pretty exhausted with some sweat trickling down our backs….  He never sailed in the regatta or even tried but was always here to help. He’s the one who gave his younger son the middle name “Tucker.” Everyone in our family just loves Jason or “Jay Boy” as they call him. I’d love to go back and haul a few boats with him if I could.”

“But he could have stayed with us,” I said.  “We had plenty of empty beds.”  It was midnight before the Wachsmuth bed shortage was discovered, apparently, and Jason “made do” on a makeshift bed in Tucker’s living room.  “We didn’t want to disturb you,” Tucker said.  “Fiddlesticks,” said I. “What are neighbors for?  Next time…”

A Summer of Connections

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Mike’s Book

At every turn this summer, I seem to come across someone wanting information about something.  Usually the questions have to do with Oysterville and someone who once lived here.  Or, about the cemetery and someone who died here.  But, there are other questions, too, and I am amazed at how many times I can provide answers.  I think it’s called “getting old.”

The other thing that has happened this particular summer is that the questioners are from places far away.  In that respect, Rosemary Peeler gets the prize so far.  She came clear to Oysterville from Australia looking for more information about her Briscoe roots.  Some years ago, Rosemary  had run across one of my Oysterville Daybook entries about Judge John Briscoe who lived and worked in Oysterville in the 1850s, ’60s, and ’70s.  We’ve communicated periodically since and, of course, I put her in touch with Mike Lemeshko early on.  I think he was still researching and writing The Cantankerous Farmer vs. the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company, which has become the definitive chronicle about that crusty old pioneer.  The three of us spent a pleasant few hours at my dining room table looking at documents and pooling our knowledge.  Great fun!

Then, a few days ago, I received a phone call from Peggy Gordon in Canada who was looking for a copy of Anne Nixon’s family chronicle The Heckes Kemmer Caulfield Family History.  I’m not at all sure how Ms. Gordon got my name (or the name of Anne’s book, for that matter) but she was hoping I could connect her with an available copy.  I contacted my lifelong friend Anne (who is now living in California) who contacted her cousin Judy Stamp (who is here on the Peninsula) and who had all the remaining copies of the book.  Alas! there are no more, so Peggy is considering a six-hour drive from Canada to take a look at the book at Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum or at Timberland Library.

Sydney’s Camp Chronicles

And, this past weekend, Susie and Gordie Andrews introduced me to Penny Parks from New Jersey (I think) who has done some work for the fabulous “Find a Grave” site – a primary destination point for almost every budding genealogist, but one that can sometimes be fraught with problems.  She is interested in completing and correcting some work that has been done on our Oysterville Cemetery and I was delighted to be able to help, even minimally, in her endeavor.  Come to find out, Penny was here at the beach because of the annual gathering of old campers at Sherwood which is celebrating it’s 100th year anniversary this summer.  I was a camper there in its earliest incarnation as Camp Willapa – not quite 100 years ago!  And that’s another connection…

Primarily speaking…

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

For the first time ever that I can remember, all the candidates I voted for in our recent primary election made their top two spot and have qualified to run in the November general election!  I couldn’t be more pleased!  And besides that, I followed my self- developed 2018 guidelines – if possible to not vote for an incumbent and, if possible to vote for a woman.  Yay!!  Good news all around for Carolyn Long, Pam Nogueira Maneman, Debbie Oakes and Robin Souvenir!!!

Not such good news – apparently there was an abysmal voter turn-out.  At last count, the percentage was 38.25% of registered voters in Pacific County who bothered to mark their ballots and turn them in.  That was just under the overall Washington State average of 38.39%.  Granted, final results will not be certified by the Secretary of State until August 24th to allow for mail-in votes to be counted.  But, even so…  it is frightening to me that fewer than half of our registered voters even bothered.

Presumably, the mail-in ballots were going to make it all easier.  “Voter turnout” as in getting to the polls need no longer be the problem.  So, what is?  Surely, it’s not lack of interest and/or opinion.  There is more political talk these days than ever before.  People are expressing their opinions right and left (so to speak.)  We’ve even had a few political discussions at our Friday night gatherings which, for almost twenty years, have been an unspoken off-limits area.  So, as I see it, the low returns can’t be from lack of opportunity or lack of interest.

What, then?  Inertia?  Too busy to bother?  Do people really not understand that their personal part of the democratic equation – the relatively simple act of making an informed choice and marking a ballot – is crucial?   It’s discouraging.  And, I have to say that there’s a lot of stupidity going around.  I heard more than once from my friends who were working to get people to register that there are those still giving that old I-don’t-want-to-be-called-for-jury-duty excuse.  OH PULEEZE!

Thanks to everyone who did vote and double thanks to all of you who helped get people registered and gave encouragement to us all.  The good news is that the turnout was higher this time around that it was in the 2016 presidential primary (34.78% in WA.)  But surely, we can do better.

Form and Fluidity Opens Tonight at CPHM

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Dwight Caswell Photo from Coast Weekend

Eric Wiegardt and David Campiche will be front and center at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum tonight.  The opening reception for their Retrospective Exhibition of Ceramics (David) and Paintings (Eric) begins at five p.m.

It should be a meet and greet of the first order and never mind the “meet” part.  I’d wager that there won’t be a person present who doesn’t know or, at the very least, have a nodding acquaintance with these two popular local artists.  Many probably have a Wiegardt painting on their wall or a Campiche pot or two on display.  Many of us older folks have watched their development over the years and take pride in their progress and accomplishments.

Eric Wiegardt

Not that we can take even a modicum of credit, of course.  We know that.  But, somehow, clapping and cheering and buying (even if only occasionally) makes us feel proprietary in some way. I wonder if they mind?  I hope not.

Both men graduated from Ilwaco High School. David attended Lewis and Clark college and studied art in Paris and New York.  Eric went to the American Academy of Art in Chicago.  Each returned to the Peninsula to raise their families and pursue their careers.  And, both live within hollerin’ distance of their boyhood homes – David in Seaview and Eric in Ocean Park.

Even more than is usually the case at a CPHM opening, I’m sure I’ll be hard pressed to pay much attention to the artwork.  There’s no doubt in my mind that this reception will be more about congratulating and schmoozing than really taking in the progression of Eric’s and David’s art over the past forty years.  We’ll have to revisit. Thank goodness the exhibition continues through October 6th.   I already have it marked on my calendar!

Let’s hear it for Grand Marshall Dan!

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Dan Driscoll

The Ocean Park Fourth of July Parade is the funkiest, funnest, flakiest parade ever!  Over the years we’ve clapped and cheered for Bubbles-the-Pig, the Pepsi Truck, candidates for county and state offices, various and sundry marching bands, horses, Okies Shopping Cart Drill Team, Senator Sid Snyder, classic cars and, in 1990-something-or-other, my own parents as Grand Marshalls.  This year will be a bit different.

For starters Bubbles has been re-homed off the Peninsula but I don’t think she’s been clamoring to come, anyway. Okay. Understandable. It’s a long walk for short legs.  But the biggest difference this year will be NO “candidates or political party entries.”  That’s right.  None. The Ocean Park Area Chamber of Commerce who sponsors the parade has so declared.  Wow!  A Fourth of July Parade with limitations on politics.  A curious spin on our Independence Day Celebration – a national institution known since its inception as a time for orations and declarations and displays of political aspirations – no matter the party or affiliation.

Ocean Park Parade 2016 – Fred and Bubbles

I’m sure there are reasons for banning political candidates and incumbents – reasons that someone thought were important.  But, most of us have no idea the why or the what or the who of it.  From what I understand, some politico was way out of line at a previous event, or so some thought, and the Ocean Park Chamber, after much quiet deliberation, decided to separate the parade from the political scene, somehow.  If the letter to the editor in last week’s paper is to be believed (and I’m inclined to do so) the decision was made without input from the community at large.  Bad form!

In an interesting twist, however, the Chamber has chosen Dan Driscoll of Oysterville Sea Farms as Grand Marshall.  I couldn’t be more delighted!  I’m sure that there won’t be a local at the parade who doesn’t know of Dan’s continuing troubles with Pacific County officials.  For seven years he has been the focus of unrelenting assault by our County, despite several court cases which have exonerated him from wrong-doing.

Okie’s Ahopping Cart Drill Team

So maybe the Chamber has changed the parameters of the parade away from the political candidates and toward citizens who appear to be at the mercy of our current elected officials.  An interesting twist.  But it would also be informative if the prospective candidates for office were marching in the parade. Since they are not being given that opportunity, I urge readers to go the AAUW Candidates’ Forum at Ilwaco High School on July 10th from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Or… you could go the Ocean Park Fire Hall at 8:00 a.m. on the morning of July 12th – the regular meeting time of the O.P. Chamber – when they will give candidates an opportunity to speak.   (Wouldn’t it have been easier on everyone to let the candidates march in the parade?)

The Color of Monday

Monday, June 4th, 2018

At Kevin’s Memorial

For all the years I was working, I thought of Monday as a day of new beginnings.  In the school environment where Monday is the first day of the week, it’s the day for getting the new list of spelling words; the day for new projects to begin; the day for looking forward to next steps.  In my teacher-mind, Mondays were always sunshine yellow.

Now… their color varies.  Retirement causes the days to lose their distinctive character.  One day often fades into the next and, for me, Mondays are defined and remembered more by what happened the weekend just preceding.  If it was a quiet weekend, Mondays are often an energetic red.   If Saturday and Sunday were busy with activity, Monday might be a calming blue or peaceful green.

As far as the eye could see.

Today is the Monday after Kevin Soule’s Celebration of Life.  And it’s the Monday after the silent auction at the Shelburne for the Pacific County Immigrant Support organization. On this day, the color is fractured… like reflections in water.  Tear-stained cheeks, arms opened in hugs, smiles of greeting, heads bowed in prayer – bits and pieces of imagery with an overlay of bright colors and soft music and the generosity of giving hearts and hands.  Hundreds and hundreds of reflections.

It’s a day meant for contemplation and regrouping and I can’t quite wrap my mind around its color.   I just know it’s not sunshiny yellow.  Not this Monday.  Not yet.

Tomorrow: Sunday, June 3, 2018

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

The Celebration of Life for fisherman Kevin Soule will be tomorrow at two o’clock at the Chinook School.

The fundraiser for Pacific County Immigrants will be tomorrow at two o’clock at the Shelburne Inn.

Somehow, Nyel and I will go to both.  We will be in Chinook to support Kevin’s family and friends.  Later, we will be in Seaview to support our Hispanic friends.

Poster from website:

It’s one of those times in our close-knit community when I wish I could clone myself.  There just aren’t enough hours or days or lifetimes to be all the places we need to be or to do all the things we want to do.  Too many condolences to offer.  Too many benefits to attend.  Too many tears to shed and hugs to distribute.

As always, we want to do it all.  It’s what living here is all about.  I hope to see you ‘there.’

Going Along for the Ride

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

“Our Crap Could Be Your Crap”

It’s Garage Sale Weekend here at the beach. A tradition of long-standing.  “The Longest Garage Sale in the World” offers “four days of bargain-hunting fun. Garage sales dot Peninsula streets from Ilwaco to Oysterville…” according to the Long Beach Visitor’s Bureau.

Truth to tell, we are a divided household on the matter of garage sales. Nyel loves them, especially visiting them, but has been known to “join the fun” and host them now and then, too.  I would rather read a good book or even walk across hot coals. Spending time looking at other people’s discards, whether in garage sales, “estate sales,” junk stores, consignment stores or thrift stores is my idea of a total time-waster.

Deja Vu, Bubbles!

But this weekend I was outnumbered three to one.  Our house guests and Nyel wanted to just “take a quick look.”  Maybe even a “drive by.”  So, being the gracious (ahem!) hostess that I am, I went along for the ride.

Another Enticing Sign

“We find it helps to have a quest,” said Cousin Ruth.  And we did.  A fish poacher so that we could cook the one remaining trout that Phil had given us – the one too big for our largest cast iron skillet.  We didn’t find it, but Nyel managed to spend an entire dollar on a book. (Say what??  A book?  In a house containing several — three? — thousand books… why?) American Carriages, Sleighs, Sulkies, and Carts is now looking for space in the reference section of our library.

Yard art or items that could conceivably be used as such were what caught Ruth and Cindy’s eye.  Two whimsical metal frogs and I don’t know what else rode around in our trunk as we looked for additional companion pieces.  We ended our excursion at the Oysterville Schoolhouse where Nyel spend a dollar for a two-gallon container of kerosene.  “Well, we have all those kerosene lanterns…” was his explanation.  Which, I pointed out, all contain an adequate supply of kerosene for the next twenty winter power outages…

But, of course, logic doesn’t enter into the Quest Syndrome.  It’s a matter of finding a bargain.  Or of traveling down memory lane – “we have/had one just like that!” – or just enjoying chatting with hopeful sellers and other bargain hunters.

Light Fixture at Leadbetter Farms

Not my dish of tea, I’m afraid.  Plus, we didn’t find a poacher and ended up wrapping that trout in foil and baking it, instead.  I did enjoy going along for the ride, though.  It was a beautiful day, the mood ‘out there’ was friendly and, as always, we saw parts of the Peninsula we didn’t know existed!  But, I couldn’t help wondering how Greg Tillotson managed to furnish his faux lighthouse up near Hines Marsh with all the interesting kitsch that he presumably has found at the World’s Longest Garage Sale.”  A good eye and deep pockets, maybe.