Posts Tagged ‘Historic Oysterville Church’

The View from Across the Street

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

Tucker’s photograph of our house taken through the Sunday School window across the street has immediately gone right to the top of my all-time favorite images!  It was among the many photos he took to accompany my article for the Chinook Observer about the recent renovation of the historic Oysterville Church. The picture appeared on page A8 of yesterday’s paper but, unfortunately, space dictated that it be smallish and its impact was , therefore, smallish as well.   For a really good look at this stunning image, check out the online version at  Fabulous!

As I wrote in the caption (all of which appears online but not in the hard copy of the paper): The history of the Oysterville Church restoration can be seen through the window looking east from the Sunday School room toward Territory Road. Through the top panes, the view is wavy, like the old panes, themselves. The bottom left pane is less wavy, perhaps replaced in a former restoration, and the bottom right pane is quite clear, probably one of the two replacements needed during the project just completed.

Which brings us to the (often misunderstood) wavy glass phenomenon, itself.  Contrary to what you may have heard, window panes don’t “become” wavy over time because of gravity.  It’s the way they were/are made in the first place that determines their clarity and, if you are interested in replacing an old broken pane, you can (for a price) still buy wavy glass.  There are many sites on the internet that explain the manufacturing methods and how the advent of more modern techniques in the 1890s resulted in clear window glass rather than the old, wavy type.

I love it that we have some of each kind – though mostly wavy – in the church!  And I especially love it that Tucker captured that particular piece of church history with this wonderful photograph.

Getting Ready to Gussy Out in Oysterville!

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Prep Work in the Church

It’s Spring!  The calendar tells me so.  If it weren’t for that, I’d have thought that we’d skipped a season and leaped directly into summer.  It’s been sunny and warm – no make that hot! – all week here in Oysterville.  On Tuesday, it was 80° in the shade– almost too hot to work out in the garden.  But, even I, the very reluctant gardener, was out trying to clean up some of the ravages of winter.  (Actually, our winter was fairly mild.  Probably our garden ravages are of the benign neglect variety.)

And in keeping with all the other seasonal refurbishing in the neighborhood, the church is being outfitted with a fresh summer frock.  Yes!  At long last, the new wallpaper is about to be installed.  It will be the finishing touch to a huge restoration that began last fall with roof and gutter repairs, a new coat of exterior paint, and restored windows (which are still ‘in progress.’)  Oh, yes!  And a freshly painted picket fence and some repairs to the porch and its railing.

Scaffolding in the Sunday School Room

Now that the leaky parts have finally been identified and corrected, the wallpaper can be replaced without fear of damage when the rains come back.  The work has been overseen by the Oysterville Restoration Foundation Board of Directors – especially by Paul Staub who has been in charge of the window restoration and by Martie Kilmer who spearheaded the wallpaper project.  The restoration work – the most extensive since the church’s initial preservation project in 1980 – has been funded with assistance from the Kinsman Foundation.

I can scarcely wait until the interior work is completed!  What a treat for Oysterville and for the community at large – our 127-year-old church all gussied out like new!  And right in time for the wedding season and for the 42nd annual Summer Music Vespers series which begins on June 16th. I couldn’t be more excited if I were getting a new look, myself!

Hoping for Hip! Hip! Hooray!

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Window Project, Oysterville Church 2019

When it comes to old structures like our house or the church across the street, I am in favor of repairing (if possible), restoring (if necessary) and replacing (never!)  I know there isn’t always a choice, but I love the old workmanship and, if it can’t be saved but replication is possible, then so be it.  But the choices aren’t so varied with people just yet – at least I don’t think so.

Nyel’s Hip Repair

These thoughts have come to mind in the last few days as many folks have kindly asked how Nyel is doing after his “hip replacement” and, I have to confess, I keep thinking of what friends have experienced after one or both hips have been “redone.”  So many people have sailed through – “back to work in a week” said one friend.  Don’t we wish.  (“Work”   meaning chicken duties in Farmer Nyel’s case, of course!)

As I understand it, the surgical procedure used to repair a broken hip can vary depending on a number of factors.  According to one website: In general, fractures of the very top of the thigh bone, called the femoral neck, are treated with replacement.   If the femoral neck fracture is not at all displaced, a repair of the break may be considered.  Apparently, that isn’t the problem or solution for Nyel.

Fractures below the neck of the femur, called intertrochanteric fractures, are treated with surgical repair using rods, plates, or screws. Nyel has  experienced a displaced subtrochanteric left hip fracture with full shaft width displacement.  For him it’s been the rod and screw treatment!

So, starting at the top of that long left leg:  a rod through the two parts of the  brokenhip, a connecting rod through his femur down to his kneejoint, held in place by two screws.  There, mid-leg, is his bionic knee.  Next comes the tibia and fibula – both broken in October.  The tibia was repaired with a plate and six screws – maybe more, says Nyel. The spiral fracture of the fibula has actually healed on its own.  So, there you have it.  Metal from hip to ankle!  I asked Nyel if that left leg felt heavier than his all-flesh-and-bone right leg.  “Maybe,” he said.  Maybe, indeed!

Full recovery from this hip repair may take up to a year and, according to many sources, only about 50 percent of people regain their full function.  The biggest challenges are mobility, strength, and balance.  In Nyel’s case, “full function” went out with the quadriceps surgeries seven and five years ago.  But we’ll be working hard to get him back to the best possible level of functionality. Step One:  Get him stabile enough to get out of here and get home to the chickens!  It’s in Oysterville that Farmer Nyel and his bionic parts really shine!

More Than Meets Eye and Ear

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Yesterday’s carol singing at the church sounded fabulous as it always does!  And I don’t think it was just the acoustics, although almost every musician who comes to Oysterville to play or sing in that little historic building comments on the wonderful quality of the sound.  But, truly, there is something about the community getting together – neighbors, friends, strangers – and singing those old, familiar songs that makes me misty-eyed.  And I know I wasn’t the only one!

If we are lucky, we’ll get to see ourselves – maybe on YouTube or someplace similar. (Is YouTube a place???) The photographer had set up his video equipment right in front of the pew where Gretchen Goodson and I were sitting.  What he saw, we saw.  (Later, I learned that he is Robert Leamy and has a shop called Impressing Ideas at the Surfside Mall – )

He had the advantage, though, of being an itinerant filmmaker – itinerant in the wandering-through-the-church-during-the-program sense.  He walked to the front and looked back at us.  He moved over to the Sunday school room where the Bayside Singers sat and filmed them head on.  He zoomed in. And out.  And panned.  And undoubtedly made other technical maneuvers beyond my ken.

And, several times, I just stopped singing altogether so I could immerse myself in the ambience of it all.  I can’t help but wonder how I’ll feel about the video if ever I do get to see it.  There are some things that are simply more than the sum of their parts and, sometimes, you just had to be there.  I’m glad I was!

Concerning Roses and the Oysterville Church

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Oysterville Church On Its 10th Anniversary, 1902

In Act II, Scene II of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” young Juliet says:  What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.  I think of those words now and again when things near and dear to my heart are not given their due.   Or when they are confused with something else.

In the last two days, such has been the case of the Oysterville Church.  Twice.  Yesterday, someone mistakenly thought the Church came under the auspices of the Oysterville Community Club (abbreviated OCC).  Our little church is actually owned and operated by the Oysterville Restoration Foundation (ORF).  It’s an easy mistake to make, especially given the size of our village and the fact that there are only two buildings available for public use – the schoolhouse and the church.  The schoolhouse, still owned by the Ocean Beach School District, is managed by the OCC.  The church is another matter.

Oysterville Schoolhouse, 1940s

Not only do people confuse who owns which building, they get the buildings themselves confused.  Mostly, those are people not overly familiar with Oysterville.  After all, both structures have a belfry.  Historically, both have been painted white.  Both are “old-fashioned” – built within 15 years of each other.  The church was built in 1892; the schoolhouse in 1907.  Perhaps if you’ve only seen them once or twice, you could get mixed up.  Perhaps.

But even worse than getting the church’s ownership confused is getting its location wrong!  This very morning, I received an email that said: I am happy to tell you that Oysterville Church was chosen for the 2018 Best of Ocean Park Awards in the category of Church. The Best of Ocean Park Award was created to acknowledge the best businesses in our community.

Oysterville Church by Bob Duke

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Ocean Park is a fine community.  But it is not Oysterville.  Our little Historic Church defines our National Historic District and is symbolic of our Oysterville community which was the first to be established on the west side of Shoalwater Bay back in 1854.  Until the 1880s, it was the ONLY community on the Peninsula and it is, nowadays, the oldest village in Pacific County.  Choosing our church for “the 2018 Best of Ocean Park Awards” is just plain wrong.  No matter how the roses smell!

Never-ending Entertainment and Inspiration

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

Capturing Doorknob Detail

The church across the street is what I’m talking about here – a constant source of pleasure!  And, this time, I’m not talking about what happens inside it’s hallowed walls, either.  I don’t have to set foot over the threshold to be mesmerized by the building and its calling.  Heck, I don’t even have to go outside my house.  The view through my dining room windows is sufficient.

Yesterday afternoon when I glanced out, I was rewarded by a sight you don’t see much these days – a photographer with his 8 x 10 view camera set up on the church porch double checking his light meter and, apparently, bracketing his shots.  I don’t think I’ve seen a view camera in Oysterville since 1964 when Marta’s dad, (my then-husband) Bill LaRue was here for a family reunion.  But, in that case, I’m pretty sure it was his 4 x 5 speed graphic, not an 8 x 10.

I went out and asked the photographer if he minded me taking a picture of him with my cell phone.  We both laughed.  It seemed so wrong and yet…  It was he who called himself an anachronism and I who said that he could be speaking of the entire village, so it seemed just right.  We got to talking and it did not surprise me in the least to find that before he began to do serious black and white photography, he was into re-enacting.

“One of them arty fellas,” Bob Meadows would have called him.  (see  “Zane Heath from Aloha, Oregon,” I think he said but he didn’t offer me a business card so I’m not so sure of the spelling.  He told me his work could be seen on Instagram (which I don’t do) and that he had a website (which I can’t find) that deals mostly with his reenactments.  Too bad.  I’d like to see some of his work.

I didn’t tell him – although I’m sure he already knew – that the doorknob on the church has been photographed about a gazillion times now.  (Raise your hand if you’ve done one!) Photographers don’t generally care that they aren’t the “first”.  It’s their own vision and how it’s captured through the lighting and composition and I-don’t-know-what-all that makes a difference.

When I came back inside, I looked through my own photographs and I was amazed that I have not a single photo of that dear old doorknob – not of my own, anyway.  I have only a quick shot that doesn’t even include the striker plate and that was done by Tucker a year or two ago.  It was one of the clues in a scavenger hunt for his grandchildren and friends.

Tucker’s Clue

And, here it is… another day in Beautiful Downtown Oysterville.  What will I see outside my window on this day?

Picture Pluperfect!

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

September 2, 2018

Adj plu-per-fect.  more than perfect; utterly perfect.

“If I had a dollar for every photograph taken of the church…”  I can still see my father shaking his head in amazement at all the attention the little Oysterville Church began to receive in the early 1980s after it had been restored. Make no mistake about it though, he took his share of pictures too.  And why not?  The little building seems the iconic symbol of 19th century rural village life and most especially so with a bright coat of fresh paint.

This past week, the painters hired by the Oysterville Restoration Foundation arrived.  They came early on Monday and I think there were three of them, but they worked more efficiently and faster than I could keep up with.  First, they pressure-washed and painted the fence.  On both sides in one day!  Then they began scraping paint from the church, itself.  They began in the front and on the north side – up-close and personal, board by board.  Then pressure-washing using generator and manlift and carefully aimed water.  Abandoned swallows nests: gone.  Peeling paint: gone.  Mossy, mildewy areas: clean!  Mess: none!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The weather cooperated and the painting began before I’d had my second cup of coffee on Wednesday.   A painter on the roof… no, two of them up there for a while – on ladders and scaffolding and the manlift again – painting the steeple white and then the red trim. A team spray-painted the walls using a hose and a ladder; the brush man was close behind painting the trim around the windows.  So quick.  So deft.  A pleasure to watch.

They worked late on Saturday – until 7:30 or so when the light gave out.  All the equipment was gone by Sunday morning – except for the portable generator which they tucked into the north end of the churchyard.  All was in readiness for the final Music Vespers service yesterday. In less than a week!  Truly a miracle of the first order.  There may be finishing touches to take care of in the coming days but, once again, the little church is more than picture perfect!

The bar is set high in Oysterville!

Monday, June 18th, 2018

“I’m going to get a petition started.  Will you sign it?”  The speaker, a long-time Oysterville friend, approached me yesterday as I was helping gather up the hymnals after Vespers.

Ordinarily, I might have had a question or two, but my response was an immediate and resounding “Yes!”  I knew exactly what he meant.  The Killingsworth Family had just finished their 25th Vespers performance and they had announced that it would be their last.  Their audience made it clear that they aren’t going along with that decision.  Perhaps a petition will help.

I’m pretty sure we’ve been to all 25-years-worth and we both think that yesterday’s was the best ever.  From “Midnight Special” to “Shenandoah” they kept us laughing, teary, and riveted.  At the conclusion of the service they were swarmed.  Old friends, newcomers, youngsters and a lot of us elders had hugs and handshakes for them.  It was their turn to get a little dewy-eyed.

All-in-all, they set the bar high for the rest of the Vesper season.  Whether or not that petition will materialize or, for that matter, do any good at all, it was a Sunday afternoon to remember and a fabulous beginning to this 41st Vesper season.  Thank you Casey, Monte, Josh, Meagan, and sideliner Sean, as well.  The petition is on its way!

(Photos by Tucker Wachsmuth)

Ready for the Next Million Plus

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

I’m not talking dollars here, although that would be nice.  I’m talking feet – as in pedestrian foot traffic in and out of the Oysterville Church.  Although math has never been my strong suit, I think that over the past forty years, many more than a million feet have walked along the walkway into and out of the church. Now that the walkway has been replaced for the first time since the early eighties, I think it’s ready for the next million or so.

This is how I figured it:  10,000 visitors a year (according to signatures in the guest books) times two feet each is 20,000 steps in – 40,000 when you count the exit process; times 40 (more or less) years.  That makes 1,600,000 feet that have marched, hopped, dragged, or sauntered their owners into our little church to have a look around.  No wonder that wooden walkway needed replacing.

New, also, is the porch deck and the four posts that support the railing. All that’s needed is a little paint and the entrance will be ready for the summer onslaught.  Yay!  Of course, all this begs the greater question of the wear and tear on the church floor within.  The last time it was refinished, as in stripped and sanded and resealed, we were told “that’s it.  The floor will be compromised if another layer comes off.”

And then there are the dear old, uncomfortable pews.  They, too are beginning to show their age.  Who wouldn’t after being sat on for 116 years?  But like Scarlett, I choose to think about that tomorrow.  Or maybe not at all…  As the old Polish proverb goes, “not my circus; not my monkeys.”

Church Work in Oysterville

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

When we say, “There’s a lot of church work going on in town,” it’s a literal statement.  We aren’t referring to the faithful going door-to-door spreading the Good News. Nor are we talking about church ladies slaving away over hot stoves so their husband can take meals to those in need.  No.  We are talking about work of the hammer-and-nails variety.

Day before yesterday the lumber arrived and was stashed in the “rear-behind” (another of my mother’s idiosyncratic expressions) of the church.  Yesterday, the work was to begin… and, eventually did, but not until Friday-the-thirteenth had her way with the workman.  Apparently, there was also lumber waiting at the schoolhouse and, the workman not knowing one steeple from another, went and made some repairs on the schoolhouse porch.  The mistake was discovered only after he had completed the job.  Whoops!

It couldn’t have been too extensive an undertaking because, by late morning, there was a flurry of activity at the church.  The porch railing and supports: down.  The porch deck: gone.  The walkway: cordoned off.  And by day’s end, despite the “Church Open” sign… it wasn’t.  Of course, this morning it is pouring rain, so it remains to be seen if progress will continue apace.

I believe the plan is to replace the walkway, the porch deck, and one of the posts that support the porch railing.  It should be completed in plenty of time for Oysterville’s Memorial Day celebration at the end of May.  Also, perfect timing for a busy summer ahead.  Weddings lined up for the months ahead and, beginning on Father’s Day, June 17th – the 43st annual Music Vespers series gets under way.  Perfect timing, schoolhouse repairs notwithstanding!