Posts Tagged ‘Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum’

Christmas Quandary? Here’s Hot Idea #1!

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Community Historians 2013

And here it is! December 1st already!  It’s the day I allow myself to begin thinking about Christmas – the cleaning and polishing and fluffing; the decorating; the gift-making or purchasing; the wrapping.  I know that most people are way ahead of me, but I’m a bit old-fashioned that way.  I don’t like to get ready so early that it’s all a let-down by the Big Day.

Even if you are more modern in your approach to the season and have all your gifts purchased and wrapped, there might still be that special someone on your list that you’d like to do something for, but you’re really not sure what.  Here’s my suggestion:  give them a gift certificate to the 2019 Community Historian Project.  It will entitle them to fifteen weeks of classes presented by experts in various (and amazing) aspects of local history, as well as to materials and information that they can explore on their own, and even the possibility of a field trip or two.  They will meet other community members with similar interests but, most likely, with very diverse backgrounds.  And they may even come away with a new interest or passion.

Aaron Webster, Flintknapper Extraordinaire

All that for $100!  How I wish that the Community Historians had been up and running when my dad was still alive.  He would have loved it!  And he was the quintessential “man who has everything” and was the one I wracked my brain over year after year.  But he’s been gone for 27 years now (OMG!  Has it been that long?) and the Community Historian Project is just entering its seventh season – just entering its prime!

Of course, there are a few “prerequisites” for participants besides filling out the application (which you can do for someone else if it’s a gift – they can fine-tune it later).  The participant has to be available to attend “classes” at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum every Wednesday morning for fifteen weeks beginning January 16th.  It helps if participants are interested in Pacific County history or, at least, have a healthy sense of curiosity and eagerness to learn.

Coast Guard Station at Cape D

And if participants might have a special connection or bit of knowledge related to our community, so much the better.  The greatest serendipities of the Community Historian experience are the unexpected alliances that occur when people discover that their interests intersect with an aspect that someone else is pursuing.  It is definitely one of those “infinite-ripples-in-a-pool” kind of things!

So, if my Hot Idea #1 tickles your fancy at all, I suggest you go to the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museam Community Historian website at http://columbiapacificheritagemuseum.org/community-historian/ and go to the bottom of the page and “Click Here.”  And while you’re filling out an application for that special recipient on your Christmas list, consider filling out one for yourself!  If you love learning about our past, you’ll love being part of the Community Historian Project!

“The Graveyard of the Pacific…”

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Exhibition Announcement

This Friday evening, November 16th from 5:00 to 7:00, is the opening reception for a new exhibition at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, “The Graveyard of the Pacific: Dangerous Currents, Shifting Sands.” More than 20 ships will be featured in the exhibition along with historic artifacts, photographs, and first-person accounts from the Admiral Benson, the Alice, the Potrimpos, and the Glenmorag.

Those of us who live on the Lower Columbia are familiar with the term “Graveyard of the Pacific” which probably originated during the earliest days of maritime fur trade.  Some local residents may even have ancestors or relatives or friends who have fallen victim to the unpredictable weather conditions and treacherous coastal characteristics that have caused more than 2,000 shipwrecks and along the Pacific Northwest Coast with some 700 lives lost.

The Graveyard of the Pacific

Included in the exhibition are special tributes to two men who have raised our awareness about the history of shipwrecks along our coast – Charles Fitzpatrick and James A. Gibbs.  Fitzpatrick, an Ocean Park photographer from the late 1920s through the 1960s, documented wrecks that came in during that time period and memorialized others through his postcards.  In 1950, noted shipwreck historian Gibbs wrote Pacific Graveyard, still considered the definite work on this “shore of lost ships” as he called the area.  Also highlighted will be the U.S. Life Saving Service, the U.S. Coast Guard and volunteer rescue units who have risked, or even given, their lives to saving victims of maritime accidents.

Charles Fitzpatrick Postcard

The exhibition will be on view from November 16 through March 9, 2019 – roughly coinciding with what has been called “shipwreck season” along our coast.  Although modern aids to navigation have greatly reduced the number of shipwrecks since the 1920s, there are still lives lost each year.

Every resident who lives here, whether they simply endure, greatly enjoy, or actually revel in our winter storms should see this exhibition!

Stand Up Straight and Other Bad Advice

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Security Guard Richard Schroeder, 2017

Richard Schroeder makes the best ever Security Guard for the 6×6 Art Auction at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  He is a natural.  He stands motionless for hours at a time.  He remains expressionless.  His mirrored dark glasses look… well, ominous.  And, this year, the handcuffs dangling at his waist cause most of the riff-raff to keep their distance.

In fact, when Richard toppled over the other night while on duty, not a single riff or raff took advantage of the situation.  No one stormed the art-filled cases.  No one snuck along on tippy-toe silently taking artwork off the silent auction tables.  In fact, a respectful hush fell over the crowd.  Richard the Indomitable had collapsed.  Whatever had happened?

I messaged his wife Dian the next morning to see how he was doing.  Her response: “Sydney and Nyel – thank you for your concern.  He’s ok, heck of a goose egg & probably two black eyes, about a 2 inch cut on his head.  No stitches, they just closed the laceration with surgical glue.  He basically fainted… vasovagal syncope … drop in blood pressure, dehydration, no food & standing too long without movement.  All tests were negative re: any other damage but we’ll be checking in with our primary physician tomorrow.”

The Presbyterian Choir with The Singing Saints, 2007

Whew!  And click, click, click.  It all fell into place, just like that.  Vasovagal syncope is something we warn school kids about – or at least we used to back when I was teaching.  With little kids we usually didn’t use the “vasovagal syncope” words.  We just said something like “Don’t let your knees lock. Keep them a little bit bent.”  Those words weren’t heard often – mostly just before a class was to go on stage and stand on the bleachers through a few songs at the Christmas program or the Spring Sing.

I can’t remember if we’d warn them that they might faint if they forgot and stiffened their legs.  It was all an oversimplification, anyway, but in the 39 years of school programs I attended, we never had a kid go down.  I wish someone has given Richard a little pre-performance pep talk.  It was usually the music teacher who did it at Ocean Park and Long Beach Schools.

Richard and Betsy – Before the Fall

According to one online site:
Vasovagal syncope (vay-zoh-VAY-gul SING-kuh-pee) occurs when you faint because your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress. It may also be called neurocardiogenic syncope. The vasovagal syncope trigger causes your heart rate and blood pressure to drop suddenly. That leads to reduced blood flow to your brain, causing you to briefly lose consciousness. Vasovagal syncope is usually harmless and requires no treatment. But it’s possible you may injure yourself during a vasovagal syncope episode. Your doctor may recommend tests to rule out more serious causes of fainting, such as heart disorders.

The Well-Guarded Culprits

Before you faint due to vasovagal syncope, you may experience some of the following:
     Pale skin
     Lightheadedness
     Tunnel vision — your field of vision narrows so that you see only what’s in front of you
     Nausea
     Feeling warm
     A cold, clammy sweat
     Yawning
     Blurred vision
During a vasovagal syncope episode, bystanders may notice:
     Jerky, abnormal movements
     A slow, weak pulse
     Dilated pupils
Recovery after a vasovagal episode generally begins in less than a minute. However, if you stand up too soon after fainting — within about 15 to 30 minutes — you’re at risk of fainting again.

UPDATE FROM DIAN:  ” … turns out he did have a concussion. Now dealing with post concussion symptoms. Headaches, dizziness, nausea etc.”

We are so sorry.  Next year:  a Security Guard for the Security Guard?

 

In the Thick of Proud

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

Tucker and Sydney

If I’d had any buttons, I’d have burst them for sure.  Last night at the 6×6 Art Auction our friend and neighbor’s oil painting went for the next-to-highest price.  And, really, if you are at all familiar with the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum’s annual fund-raiser, you know that the sock monkey painting (always submitted by Leslie Hall Lipe and always acquired by Karla Nelson and always fetching top dollar) is in a class by itself.

There was a serious bidding war for Tucker’s painting.  It came down to two people on opposite sides of the room and, unbeknownst to them during the bidding tumult, they actually know one another.  In the end, it was Kenny Tam who took “Oysterville Regatta” home with him and his smile was as big as if he had won the actual race.

Won by Kenny Tam

It was a wonderful ending to a fabulous evening.  This was the ninth annual and I think it was the best one yet.  Certainly, it was the most crowded necessitating opening up a side-room-storage area and setting up several tables there.  Auctioneer Bruce Peterson immediately dubbed it the “VIP Room” and hinted that next year it will include a hot tub – or was it a massage table?  In true VIP fashion, the bidding was hot and heavy from that area, and the Wine Tasting Dinner for Six donated by the Shelburne Inn went for more than $1,000 to a man rumored to have a 6,000-bottle wine cellar in his South Carolina home.  Wow!

Our table was in the middle-ish on the north side of the big room.  We had reserved it hoping to accommodate Nyel’s wheelchair.  It was perfect!  Bill and Sue Grennan, along with Tucker and Carol shared the table with us and I felt absolutely honored to be sitting next to the artist, himself!  They always say “pride cometh before a fall,” but I don’t think taking pride in a friend’s accomplishments is quite the same.

Sock Monkey of the Wild Northwest

The whole evening was glorious – the art seemed better than ever, there were lots and lots of friends in attendance, the food and beverages were perfect, and the staff did everything so seamlessly, you’d think this was a daily activity.  And, while the entire audience was full of quiet concern when “Security Guard” Richard Schroeder toppled over, even that event was handled smoothly.  Dr. Weaver (whose wife is always a contributing artist) was in attendance, the EMTs came quickly and, as the audience clapped, Richard gave a wave from the gurney as he was carried out.  The last we heard, he should be fine.

And thanks, Tucker, for giving Oysterville’s Regatta a solid place in the local art world.  Can you hear us calling for “More!  More!”?

Time to Clap and Cheer

Friday, October 19th, 2018

If ever there was a time to clap and cheer, it’s tonight!  The crème de la crème of the local art community will have their work on display at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  Actually, the artists will be there, too!  It’s the Opening Reception for the 6×6 Show & Auction – time to check out the artwork AND the artists before the actual auction two weeks from tomorrow.

From what I can see of the CPHM website about the auction, there are at least 72 entrants this year.  The theme is “The Spectacular Wild North West and, as is always the case, each artist had his/her own take on how to express that idea.  Subjects range from our natural world – wildflowers, crows, salmon and pelicans – to familiar scenes of North Head and Washington Star Route 4 and night skies at the beach.  Media choices range from photography to collage, to charcoal to watercolor and beyond – even clay.

I had to search the website a bit for Leslie Hall’s traditional sock-monkey.  He’s peeking over the bottom of his canvas – not camouflaged, but concealed none-the-less.  I wonder how collector Karla Nelson will react to a partial monkey!  The auction may be even livelier than usual.  (And if you have no idea what I’m talking about… be sure to attend on Saturday, November 3rd from 5 to 8.  We’ll see if Karla feels half a monkey, or less, is only worth half the price…)

The auction was conceived a number of years ago as a fund-raiser for the Heritage Museum.  It has been wildly successful and has become one of the stellar events of the Fall Season here at the beach. People attend not only for the artwork but for the “show” itself.  Auctioneer Bruce Peterson, Security Guard Richard Schroeder, and Switchboard Operator Karla Nelson all have their groupies and never disappoint the audience.  They are definitely a show within a show!

From the online preview, it seems to me that this year’s entries are particularly fine.  (Or maybe I say that every year.)  I understand that, as an added attraction at the reception tonight, there will be some large panels displaying photographs of all the previous years’ entries.  What a great idea!  I wish I could conclude this with, “See you there!” but circumstances are such that we will be missing out.  If you go, take lots of pictures and send them my way!  Attending vicariously and after the fact will be better than nothing.

All In A Day’s Work If You’re Retired!

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

It was a long day.  We left the house at a reasonable 8:00 a.m. and returned thirteen and a half hours later, having accomplished two of the three things we set out to do.  Two out of three ain’t bad I thought to myself – especially since the third was an add-on to our original plan.  What we didn’t plan on was such a very long day.

First, it was up to Tacoma to meet with our friend Ed Nolan of the Washington State Research Center (part of the Washington State Historical Society).  We had arranged to pick up five boxes of books and documents – the last boxes of the Larry Weathers collection.  – for transfer (maybe today) to the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco.  It’s the final step in the process of finding the appropriate repository for Larry’s considerable accumulation of Pacific County history information left homeless by Larry’s sudden and unexpected death in 2004.  (CPHM has housed the bulk of his collection for several years and has made it available to Community Historians who find it a veritable treasure trove of information.)

Then, lunch at the RAM with Ed – a ritual that we’ve repeated periodically since 1996 or ’97 when we began our first donations of the Espy Family Archive.  We hadn’t had a “catch up” visit for at least three years – not since Nyel’s serious heart issues began back in 2015.  I, for one, am grateful that Ed is continuing to work though he could have qualified for retirement more than a decade ago.  His knowledge of the WSRC archives is prodigious and his awareness of what’s “out there” looking for a permanent home is singular.  Talking with him is always a treat.

Then, it was on to Seattle to pick up my very distressed (probably in all senses of the word) leather jacket.  I’d left it at Judy’s Leather Repair in early June and between our infrequent trips north and Judy’s unscheduled closing in July, yesterday was the first day I could collect it.  She had relined it for me which cost an arm and a leg and was well worth every dollar!

It’s the second re-lining since I bought the jacket in 1991 – a $40.00 Nordstrom purchase made on a trip with my mom to Timberline Lodge the day after Christmas that year.  It must have been on sale.  I don’t remember.  The best purchase I ever made – never mind that I’ve spent close to ten times that amount on relining it over the years.  And thank goodness that Judy, in her late seventies, is still in business!  She’s the best!

Then, on to Goodwill.  Nyel is on a quest for vests (maybe even a well-used leather one) and the Seattle Goodwill is a great place for such a search.  But, it wasn’t to be.  We hadn’t counted on the three-thirty five o’clock traffic or the road construction or the game at SafeCo Field.  OMG!  It was a nightmare – an hour-and-a-half long exercise in frustration and misery without getting even close to our hoped-for destination.  And why are we always surprised that Seattle ain’t what it used to be when Nyel lived there in the ’70s?

Goodwill aborted.  Homeward bound by six.  Twenty-one-minute delay on I-5 out of Tacoma – a car crash said my cell phone.  Fairly clear sailing beyond that and home at last at 9:30. Do NOT ask me what we do now that we are retired!  Especially do not ask me if we do much traveling.  It’s a bit of a sore spot at the moment

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!

I could smell the cotton candy!

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Pinball Fun!

The clapping wasn’t over before the balls started rolling the lights began flashing!  It was that never-to-be-forgotten sound – pinball machines in use!  As soon as Tucker had completed his “pinball talk” at the Heritage Museum’s annual meeting yesterday, the crowd dispersed toward the machines – 25 or 30 of them, but who was counting?

Everyone I talked to seemed to have a story that began, “When I was a kid…” and ended “…just like this one!”  Talk about nostalgia!  The room absolutely vibrated with old memories – even if pinball hadn’t really been a part of their lives.  Or maybe I was the only one.  I don’t believe I’ve ever played a pinball machine… so why was it such an amazingly visceral déjà vu?

Pinball Conversation?

Nyel and I spent a long time talking about that afterwards.  BT (Before Tucker) I had truly associated pinball with poolhalls and taverns and, since I’ve never been in either that I can remember… no pinball experiences for me.  My clearest memory of pinball machines is of walking (quickly) by the pool hall on Fourth Street in San Rafael on my way to and from high school.  I tried not to look inside…  but the cigarette and beer fumes drifted out the door and I could hear those pinball machines as clear as clear.

And then Nyel asked, “But didn’t you ever go to an arcade?”  Bingo!  Yes, indeed I did.  The summer I was six or seven I spent two weeks with friends at Russian River.  By day we went to the beach or went for explores in the woods and every night after dinner (or so I remember) we went down to the arcade.  I played Skee-Ball – not exactly a pinball machine but they were all around me as I spent nickel after nickel trying to rack up my score.

Time Traveler?

I think I was sort of addicted!  I was bound and determined to win a creamer and sugar set to take home to my mother – and I finally did.  I can still remember my disappointment that neither she nor my dad seemed at all impressed at my accomplishment.  Nor did mom ever use the treasures I had worked so hard to get.  In the cupboard they went, never to be seen again.

I think that was the end of my interest in ‘gambling.’  Saved from a lifetime of debauchery at seven years old!  Wow!  I’m not sure if it’s that Russian River arcade at Guerneville that I associate with pinball or not, but how else to account for the smell of cotton candy that was so clear to me yesterday?

Thanks for the memories, Tucker!  Hurry up and set up your pinball museum right here in Oysterville!  I have a lot of lost time to make up for – a mis-spent youth for sure!  Who knew?

Tomorrow, meet the quintessential Tucker!

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Tucler and His Pin Ball Machines

Tucker Wachsmuth is an artist, a storyteller, a collector. a photographer, a sailor, and now and then, when he leads all the kids in town on a historical scavenger hunt, he’s the Pied Piper of Oysterville.  He loves to help and is the one the neighbors count on to bring his chain saw or maybe a special tool or a ladder to the rescue.  Perhaps more than anything else, Tucker loves to have fun.  It’s almost a given that he will drop everything to play a game of whiffle golf if only you will ask!  Tucker is definitely “a man of many parts.”

Danielle and Opa Tucker, 2012

But it’s when he’s talking about his pinball collection that Tucker really shines!  Tomorrow at 1:00 he will be doing just that as speaker at the annual meeting of the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  He’ll be telling about some of his more unusual machines, how he came to have them, and how he came to be one of the preeminent collectors of pinball machines in the Northwest.

His pinball machines date back to the early ’30s when they first became popular in the United States. On display will be machines from that decade and on through the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.  He’ll explain how the machines gradually became more complex with electric bumpers and the addition of flippers giving the games a greater challenge.  And, he’ll point out the changes in pinball artwork as it evolved decade by decade.

Tucker Demonstrates Oyster Tongs, 2014

I hope he talks a little bit about how he got into collecting and about the discoveries he made along the way – especially about himself!  To me, that’s the most interesting part of Tucker’s pinball story!  No hints here, but I’ll surely give him a nudge if he skips over that part tomorrow!

And the best part of all – fifteen of the pinballs will be on display and available for audience members to play at the conclusion of his talk. Don’t forget your nickels!

High Water Slack

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Naselle-Grays River Valley School

Every year about this time, the Pacific County Historical Society (headquarters: South Bend) holds its annual meeting in Naselle.  The gathering is always timed to coincide with the American Legion Auxiliary Smorgasbord – a fabulous array of main dishes and desserts with, as you might expect, a distinctive Finnish emphasis.  The luncheon is served, cafeteria-style, in the Commons at the Naselle-Grays River Valley School and the PCHS meeting takes place just down the hall.

We went with our neighbors Carol and Tucker, or rather they went with us.  Nyel drove and, in typical old folks’ double-date style, Tucker rode shotgun and Carol and I were in the back seat.  We drove the river way – through Chinook, past the Columbia River Quarantine Station and into Naselle.  Carol and Tucker had never been on the school campus before and they seemed properly impressed at its size and layout.

Quarantine Station at Kanpton

Quarantine Station at Knappton Cove

The guest speaker at the PCHS meeting was Betsy Millard, Director of the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum (headquarters: Ilwaco) and the audience was comprised of history buffs from both sides of the bay, many of them members of both PCHS and CPHM.  I couldn’t help thinking back to the 1980s when CPHM was just beginning and how we all wondered how if our little county could sort out having two museums devoted to local history.  Although there were rocky spots along the way, thanks to the professionalism and leadership of both organizations, they continue to support and bolster one another.

Betsy’s talk was grand – complete with a power point accompaniment and sprinkled throughout with mentions of people who happened to be in the audience – giving kudos and credits to their contributions over the years. I couldn’t help but think about the dynamic quality of both organizations – of the ebb and flow of energy and commitment by the volunteers and staffs and how, right now, there seems to be a feeling of forward movement, collections and organization-wise, on both sides of the bay.

Point Ellice from Megler Rest Stop

On our way home, the river looked full.  And quiet.  I wondered if it was high water slack – that time when there is no movement either way in the tidal stream occurring right before the direction of the tidal stream reverses – “a time when the water is completely unstressed” says one dictionary definition. Sort of like the feeling between CPHM and PCHS – a kind of détente.  Like river and ocean, each organization is on the move but where they meet is a place of calm.  For the moment in the case of the Pacific and the Columbia and for the duration, I hope, in the case of our repositories of county history.  Probably a dumb analogy, but there you have it…  I probably just like the sound of “high water slack.”