Archive for the ‘The World Beyond’ Category

Grumpy Trumpy and His Nut Tree

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

Frederick Trump 1887

According to the Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy,  “Last week, President Donald Trump tweeted his unhappiness that Google search results seemed to be favoring sources critical of the president. His chief economic adviser suggested that the administration “is taking a look at whether Google searches should be regulated.”

That seems a bit strange to me.  I just saw on Wikipedia (with whom Google has some sort of symbiotic arrangement), a nice big article about Trump’s very own grandfather, Frederick Trump.  You’d think that Trump wouldn’t be such a grump.  He should be pleased that his ancestors are getting their due from Google via Wikipedia and ought to treat them accordingly.

According to the article, Grandpa Trump, born in Bavaria in 1869, finished his barber’s apprenticeship at 16.  But before he could begin to earn a living on his own, he realized that …he was also approaching the age of eligibility for conscription to military service  in the Imperial German Army. He quickly decided to emigrate to the United States,  later saying, “I agreed with my mother that I should go to America.”  Years later, his family members said that he departed secretly at night, leaving his mother a note. As a result of Trump fleeing mandatory conscription required of all citizens, a royal decree was later issued banishing him from the country.  

Sounds vaguely familiar… It truly seems that the apple doesn’t fall far from the proverbial tree. Or in this case (as my friend Sturges Dorrance mentioned to me), we might be talking nuts rather than apples.  But, at least according to Wikipedia, it gets better.  And right close to home, too:


Seattle 1896, Yukon Gold

In 1891, Trump moved to Seattle, in the newly admitted U.S. state of Washington.  With his life savings of several hundred dollars, he bought the Poodle Dog Restaurant, which he renamed the Dairy Restaurant, and supplied it with new tables, chairs, and a range.  Located at 208 Washington Street, the Dairy Restaurant was in the middle of Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Washington Street was nicknamed “the Line” and included an assortment of saloons, casinos, and brothels. Biographer Gwenda Blair called it “a hotbed of sex, booze, and money… the indisputable center of the action in Seattle.” The restaurant served food and liquor and was advertised to include “Rooms for Ladies”, a common euphemism for prostitution. Trump lived in Seattle until early 1893 and voted in Washington’s first presidential election in 1892 after becoming a U.S. citizen.

F. Trump’s Bennett, Alaska Restaurant & Hotel, Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives circa 1899

Well, the article goes on for quite a while.  Suffice it to say that F. Trump (aka Friedr Trumpf) dabbled in mining and in real estate, went to Canada at the time of the Yukon Gold Rush and, again, set up several “restaurants” in the region of the Klondike.  By 1901, he returned to his native Germany, a wealthy man.  As biographer Blair said, “the business of seeing to his customers’ need for food, drink and female companionship had been good to him.”  

There’s lots more.  I leave it to you to utilize Google (quick!  before it comes under siege!) and read about the nuts and the nut tree for yourself.  Great stuff!

Help Me To Understand

Saturday, July 25th, 2020

Tom Akerlund

If you were a student,  a teacher, a parent, or worked or volunteered in any capacity in the Ocean Beach School District from the 1970s until well into the 2000s… and if you worked at a school where Tom Akerlund was principal… the words “help me to understand” probably sound familiar.  No matter whether it was a problem on the playground or a matter of divergent views at a faculty meeting, Tom’s first response was always, “Help me to understand.”

A great opening for problem-solving of any kind, and so often in the last few months have those words come to mind!  Help me to understand, for instance, why the words “peaceful protest” or the phrase “informed dissent” no longer resonate in our society.  Help me to understand why there isn’t a much larger hue and cry about Trump sending federal agents into cities like Portland and Seattle, even over the objections of the governors and mayors?  Troops are also being deployed to Albuquerque, Chicago, Kansas City. From what I have read, Trump’s troops in Portland have escalated the problems — not helped.  I don’t know about the other cities.  Help me to understand.

Portland, OR

Why have only the Democrats in Congress objected?  Help me to understand.  Why has everything that Trump does become politicized?  Help me to understand.  Why do I not feel safe from the leadership in my own country?  Help me to understand.

Pittsburg, PA

And yes, I’ve read all the things that you, my readers, have also read.  By now, my question is rhetorical.  Please don’t advise me to read any more or to listen to any more talking heads.  None of it helps me to understand.  I’m sick of all of it and sick at heart.  How did we allow ourselves to get to this point?   Please God can we find a peaceful solution at the polls in November.  If not, I will never understand, no matter who tries to help me.






An Ode To Us Wonderful Women (My Age!)

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

My very distant cousin Bonnie Meyer, who lives in Oakland CA and who I’ve not ever met, sent me this.  I love it and, since I couldn’t say it better myself, I am re-posting it here!  Enjoy!

I’m normally a social girl
I love to meet my mates
But lately with the virus here
We can’t go out the gates.

You see, we are the ‘oldies’ now
We need to stay inside
If they haven’t seen us for a while
They’ll think we’ve upped and died.

They’ll never know the things we did
Before we got this old
There wasn’t any Facebook
So not everything got told.

We may seem sweet old ladies
Who would never be uncouth
But we grew up in the 60s
If you only knew the truth!

There was sex and drugs and rock n’roll
The pill and miniskirts
We smoked, we drank, we partied
And were outrageous flirts.

Then we settled down, got married
And turned into someone’s mum,
Somebody’s wife, then nana,
Who on earth did we become?

We didn’t mind the change of pace
Because our lives were full
But to bury us before we’re dead
Is like  red rag to a bull!

So here you find me stuck inside
For 4 weeks, maybe more
I finally found myself again
Then I had to close the door!

It didn’t really bother me
I’d while away the hour
I’d bake for all the family
But I’ve got no bloody flour!

Now Netflix is just wonderful
I like a gutsy thriller
Or swooning over Idris
Or some random sexy killer

At least I’ve got a stash of booze
For when I’m being idle
There’s wine and whiskey, even gin
If I’m feeling suicidal!

So let’s all drink to lockdown
To recovery and health
And hope this bloody virus
Doesn’t decimate our wealth.

We’ll all get through the crisis
And be back to join our mates
Just hoping I’m not far too wide
To fit through the flaming gates!

By Jan Beaumont, Auckland NZ

Hunkering Down and Planning Ahead

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

At the Tom Crellin House here in Oysterville, we are under a “Self-imposed-Semi-Shut-in-Status” which we are calling a “4-S-Alert.”

For Nyel, the timing sorta sucks — he was just getting ready to graduate from wheelchair to crutches in his physical therapy sessions but they (not we) called a halt to his appointments until virus concerns clarify.  For me, though, our 4-S Alert could be the gift of time that I’m forever seeking — time to write, time to read, time to catch up to myself for once.

Inside “The Renegade Rooster”

And, for us both — it’s a time to set a few goals for the future. High on our list of priorities is to resume our summer “field trips” to interesting places fairly close to home.  We’ve been hearing about a wonderful little private history museum in Winlock and today (on Day Two of 4-S Alert!) it just happened that Cousin Cheryl sent us some specific information about it!  And pictures!

The museum is called “The Renegade Rooster” which, right away, says it’s our kind of place!  And the photos — WOW!!!  We might have to figure out how to spend more than a day on this field trip — like how Nyel can negotiate overnight accommodations in addition to negotiating the jam-packed display areas in the little museum.

Roy Richards outside his Renegade Rooster Museum — Photo by Bill Wagner

Managing those crutches has suddenly begun to loom large in the great scheme of things.  If his forays back and forth in the house with his walker and his balancing exercises as he works in the kitchen are the path forward, then Nyel-the-Intrepid is already on the road to the Renegade Rooster!  Woot! Woot! and Cock-A-Doodle-Do!


Vicarious Living Through Larry!

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

At the Museu Picasso de Barcelona – Photo by Larry Murante

While the coffee was brewing, I went online to see what was going on this Sunday morning.  The first image to flash on my screen was the mirror image of how I was feeling before that first cuppa.  Maybe that’s what Picasso was doing all along — picturing how he thought the rest of us feel when we aren’t quite up to snuff.

The photograph was on Larry Murante’s FB page and led me on a vicarious journey through the streets of Barcelona and, then into the magic of Portugal.

It was not all that long ago that Larry and Karen sat at our dining room table and mentioned, casually I thought, that they’d be going on a trip soon.  Larry said he had decided not to take a guitar — although he had briefly considered getting an inexpensive backpacker’s model.  What he failed to mention was that he’d be photographing along the way.  And, in case you don’t know, if Larry hadn’t put his eggs into the music basket, he could easily have become a world class photographer — at least, in my opinion.  He has an eye — as well as an ear.

Larry Considers A Portuguese Guitar – Photo by Karen?

I’ve shamelessly stolen a few of his images and, just as shamelessly, urge  Larry’s fans to friend him on FB if they haven’t done so already.  Then you, too, can tag along on his trip and see the sights through his wonderfully observant eyes.   I wonder if there are songs that have begun composing themselves in his head along his journey.  I hope so.

Not A Nightmare and Not A Daydream

Friday, November 15th, 2019

I don’t know why the word nightdream doesn’t exist.  Nightmare, yes.  Daydream, yes.  But no nightdream.  I guess just plain “dream” is supposed to cover it, but I don’t really think it does.  I thought about that early this morning when the alarm woke me from a lovely dream that could only happen (at least to me) when I was asleep.

It wasn’t a scary dream.  But it wasn’t exactly pleasant either.  I was in the classroom (not an unusual nightdream location for a former teacher), apparently welcoming a class of first graders.  I was “introducing” them to the room and pointing out the coat hooks that marched along the walls on either side of one corner of the room.

There must have been several dozen of them — enough for the use of each student (none of whom were visible to me as I spoke.)  “These are our coat hooks,” I said.  “What do you suppose we’ll be using them for?”  (So inane, I thought to myself.  Why do we teachers say things like that?)

One little girl raised her hand (I knew that was happening but I still wasn’t seeing any students.).  “At home we use coat hooks to dry our spaghetti,” she said.  (That sounds logical, I thought.  They probably make their own spaghetti with one of those pasta machines.)

“Great!” was my response.  “But we probably won’t be making spaghetti here at school.  So what do you think we could use those coat hooks for?”  (Now I could see the children, seated cross-legged on the floor, still bundled up in their outside clothes.  Mostly jackets, I noticed.  No coats.  Should I be calling them “jacket hooks?’  But I repeated “Coat hooks” several times, each time saying the “coat” part louder — all to no avail.)

About that time, I woke up thinking, “Yeah.  Sometimes, you can lead a horse to water…”  It all made me laugh — a great start to a gloomy Friday morning.  Let’s hear it for nightdreams!

Underwhelmed at St. Vincent’s

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

Nyel at St. Vincent’s 3-6-19

So far here at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Portland, it’s been a matter of hurry up and wait.  Nyel was ambulanced here from the Ocean Beach Hospital ER late Thursday night.  He had a badly broken hip.  His surgery took place Friday morning.  The surgeon called me during the procedure to ask if, prior to his fall, he had been complaining about his knee.  It was an inauspicious beginning.

The surgeon was unaware that Nyel has had two (ultimately unsuccessful) surgeries to repair his quadriceps which failed following a knee replacement in 2010.  “I just wondered if this break to his hip somehow caused an injury to his quadriceps,” he said.  Obviously, he didn’t get the patient’s medical history…

Since the surgery, Nyel’s blood pressure has plummeted to the point that they cannot safely have him stand so he can begin walking – an urgent priority, it seems, after hip surgery.  Over the last three days they have given him five units of blood, two boluses (intravenously delivered saline solutions) and encouraged him to drink fluids to the point that he felt sick and could not eat for two days.  All this to get his blood pressure up.

Broken Hip Repair

They have stopped getting him up to stand on the scales (because of lightheadedness from low blood pressure) but as of day before yesterday, he had gained 17 pounds of weight (from fluids) in twenty-four hours.  This morning: 25-pound weight gain over his ‘protocol’ weight at which point, in the normal course of events, his regular cardiologist wants him to double his ‘usual’ dosage of diuretics.  Here at St. Vincents, they have given him no diuretics, usual or otherwise – because of the blood pressure issue, they say.  “It’s a balancing act,” they tell us.

Since Sunday, I have requested that they bring a staff cardiologist in for a consult.  So far (this is Wednesday) that has not happened.  Because he has had congestive heart failure for five years and is on a strict protocol regarding weight gain from fluids, I’ve asked why they have stopped his regular regimen of diuretics.  “We are waiting to see…” is the answer.  “Could he please talk to a cardiologist?” I ask.   “Yes, we’ve noted your concern…” is the answer.  “Maybe today…”

First Steps

Always ‘The Plan’ seems to be “let’s wait to see if this transfusion (or this orange juice or this Gatorade) will help.”  They’ve taken hm off all pain meds and muscle relaxants though his pain level is elevated from muscle spasming.  “Analgesics tend to lower blood pressure.  Let’s see if eliminating them will help,” they say.  Each time I ask for a cardiologist’s input they say, “You have the absolute right to advocate for your loved one.”  (Duh!)  Somehow, my advocacy is going nowhere at all.

Nyel told me a few minutes ago that he’d like to be moved to the Seattle Medical Center where his cardiologist is.  If they can’t honor his request to bring a cardiologist in from another floor in this very hospital, I wonder what response he will get to the transfer request…

I keep thinking about the Hippocratic mantra, “Do no harm.”  I wonder where that fits into the St. Vincent’s picture.

“It’s Sydney… spelled like Australia.”

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Australia seems to be much on our minds lately.  Our friend Kenny has recently been there.  Our friend Martha is about to head in that direction.  And we had two visits last summer from our new friend Rosemary who is a third-generation Australian (though her roots go back to Pioneer Oysterville and beyond.)

Once upon a time, those connections might have been enough to tempt me into taking a trip.  Might have.  The time and distance have always seemed a bit daunting.  But, at this point in time, I’m content to live vicariously and wear the “I Love Sydney” tee shirt that Kenny brought me.  (I wish it was large enough for Nyel to wear.  Somehow, that would make more sense.)

I think that Australia was the first foreign country that I ever learned much about.  It was fifth grade at Lincoln School in Alameda and I remember that we made booklets about “The Land Down Under.”  We also learned to sing “Waltzing Matilda” and found out what a swagman and a billabong and a jumbuck were.  We drew pictures of kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses and compared the size and shape of Australia to the United States.

What I don’t remember is anything about Sydney.  You’d think I would have connected it to my name or that my classmates would have teased me or something… but, no.  In fact, my first “memory’ of paying any attention at all to the city of Sydney was in 1959 when the Sydney Opera House was built.  That was two years after I graduated from college — long after fifth grade, for sure.

Nowadays, especially when there seem to be so many Sidneys and Cydnees, and Siddnees around, I find myself saying, “It’s Sydney… like Australia.”  People seem to get that.  Mostly.  Although, every once in a while, that gets translated to Cindy.  I seriously wonder if there is a Cindy, Australia – or if some people are just amazingly stupid.  And then I think about our nominal head of state and I stop wondering about that last part.

The History Among Us

Friday, August 24th, 2018

On My Bookshelf

Sometimes I worry about what our young people are learning.  Or, more to the point, what they are not learning. I don’t like to think about all those man-in-the-street interviews I’ve seen on various TV programs where John Doe can’t answer questions like “Who was the first President of the United States.”  Or millennials who are not sure whether John Kennedy was a rock star or a scientist.  Really!  When did they stop teaching history?

But, come to think of it, I didn’t learn much history in school.  I wasn’t good at all those names and dates and battles and treaties.  BORING.  But I did love the stories of long ago that were told around the fire on stormy evenings here in Oysterville.   The stories of Mary Esty, one of our forebears, who was hung during the witch trials in Salem.  Or the story of my great-grandfather being apprenticed to a tailor back in Pennsylvania when he was fifteen and who eventually made his way west by driving the ox team for a man named Whitlock.

In Ireland

Gradually, an idea of my own family’s history began to clarify.  Even more gradually I began to put those people I “knew” into a greater context and of American history, in general, and the part that my very own forebears played in it made more sense.  Never mind those history texts.  But it wasn’t until I did some travelling – back east to visit my father’s relatives and later to Ireland to see where his family lived and where I still have relatives – not until then did I really begin to appreciate the past.  The distances, the circumstances, the courage, the hardships all began to make sense.  Historical sense.

So, earlier this week when I asked my FaceBook friends a couple of informal survey questions about their ancestry, I was pleased to get so many answers (several hundred in the first twenty-four hours).  I don’t know that all the folks who responded could answer those man-in-the-street history questions, but curiosity about one’s own ancestry seems like a first step.  And if it’s true that only by understanding our history can we avoid repeating past mistakes, perhaps there is a chance for us after all!

The Willys in Oysterville

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

They were picture perfect, parked in Oysterville in front of the church!  Six vintage Willys – 19aught-something to 1939 on an outing to the Washington coast.  They had come from California, Oregon, Idaho and Eastern Washington on one of their periodic outings.  Their owners belong to the Northwest Chapter of the Willys-Overland-Knights Registry, formed in 1960.

Oysterville residents and tourists gathered ’round like bees to nectar, taking pictures, asking questions, and oohing and aahing appropriately.  Several of the men said that their car had first been owned by their collector fathers, and several also said that there were another one or two Willys at home in their garages.

Our neighbor Tucker was interested in the engines and asked technical questions I can’t begin to remember.  When I wondered how he even knew to ask, he told me that he once owned a vintage car (not a Willys, though).  “I thought I might like to collect them, but I soon realized that I didn’t really know enough about fixing them.  So, I sold it and began collecting pinball machines instead. Those I could fix!”

When they left Oysterville, the group was headed across the river to the Fort Stevens Military Museum where they will be on display today (Wednesday, August 1, 2018.)  The last car in line was the “Trouble Truck” complete with flatbed trailer.  “Just in case,” laughed the driver who is one of several non-Willys owners who accompany the group on their outings.

Oysterville seemed pretty quiet when they left.  They were definitely a bright ending for July 2018!