Posts Tagged ‘Summer in Oysterville’

An Eclectic Gathering in Oysterville

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Randal and Susan

We were pleasantly surprised at the response to our gentle suggestion that any attire typical of the last 15 decades would be appropriate at the 150th birthday bash for the house.  I don’t know that each of those decades was actually represented, but the variety was spectacular.  Even though the numbers of guests dressed in present-day finery far out-numbered the others, an outsider would have been hard-pressed to explain the disparity in sartorial splendor.

The black and white photograph of Randal Bays and his wife Susan Waters could have come right out of the 1930s.  I felt almost like I was looking at a portrait of my parents’ friends around the time that I was born.  I’ve always thought that the clothing of that period looked a little stodgy but Randal and Susan put a whole new light on that impression.  Stodgy they aren’t!  And now I can look at those old photo albums with brand new eyes and understanding.

Bill and Me

Then there was Bill Grennan who is usually dressed in a natty kilt with all the accompanying regalia.  He walked right up to me in his 1960s Greaser Garb and actually had to speak to me before I recognized him!  I think it was the black wig that did it!  OMG!

Perhaps the most unusual attire was worn by Charlotte Killien (the Cookie Lady and proprietor of the George Johnson House in Ocean Park.)  Charlotte is a member of the Chinook Tribe and she wore a button blanket made by her mother Catherine Troeh.  The blanket is from the Haida tradition Charlotte said “but you have to remember that our traditional Chinookan clothes were made of cedar and other indigenous materials that were not long-lasting.  My mother, an elder in the Chinook Tribe, made many button blankets in her lifetime.”

Charlotte and Her Button Blanket

Bob Duke wore a 1920s trainman uniform.  Tom Krueger came in a natty looking cowboy outfit and his wife wore a lovely bustled skirt.  As sometimes happens, Kitt Fleming arrived in the identical skirt (damn anyway!) and someone pointed out to me that the ladies stayed on opposite sides of the lawn for most of the party.  They both looked spectacular!

All-in-all, it was a festive looking group, indeed!  I think this old-lady-house must have been proud of the numbers of friends and family who came to celebrate her longevity and to wish her many more decades of love and laughter, both inside and outside her old walls!





Flowers and Music and Tents Oh My!

Saturday, September 21st, 2019

Flowers from Marta

The pieces began arriving yesterday.  First, a gazillion gorgeous flowers from Freddie’s — Marta’s gift to the 150th Birthday Party for the house.  She and Pat Fagerland will be arranging and fluffing and watering today — flowers in all the strategic places to make this Old Lady House festive for her big day on Sunday!

In the afternoon — chairs and tables and tents to say nothing of glasses and plates and silverware arrived and were stashed under the gorgeous tent (or Sweets and Bubbly Pavilion as I prefer to think of it.)  Today, we’ll be schlepping, hefting, and arranging — but not anything outside the tent yet.  Not until tomorrow morning when, hopefully the threat of rain has been removed Until Further Notice!

Larry Murante

Soon the birthday cakes and cookies and balloons will be delivered.  And tomorrow the stage and pop-up tent will be put in place for the musicians!  Speaking of whom — here is the line-up (not in order of appearance):  Larry Murante, Fred Carter, Cate and Starla Gable, Phil Allen, Brian O’Connor, George Coleman, Double J and the Boys, the Oyster Crackers, Randal Bays and Susan Waters, The Oyster Crackers, Ute Marx!!!  Our Mistress of Musical Schedulingd, Cate, has taken to calling this portion of the celebrtoon “A.K.A Oysterville Woodstock!”

Tent Ho!

Meanwhile, relatives and friends from afar have gathered to help.  Last night we had ten for a wonderful pasta dinner (compliments of Gina and Cynthia Raitano).  Tonight the numbers will soar some more and it will be zucchini pies, a gift from Nanci Main.  OMG!!!

Happy 150th to this Old Lady House, indeed!  The fun has already begun!

Charlie’s here! Let the games begin!

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

Charlie and the Cribbage Cards

For about as many years as any of us can count, Marta and Charlie play cribbage every evening when they are together here in Oysterville.  They don’t keep a running score.  But… they remember!  The last time they intersected here on Territory Road was 2017 (we think) and they both still remember that Charlie won every single game!

He had scarcely arrived yesterday afternoon when Marta announced that she had brought her cribbage board (never mind that we have a perfectly good one here in the house) and, “besides that I’ve been practicing!”  Each of them had also brought a brand new deck of cards — Charlie’s purchased en route at Anderson’s Split Pea Soup restaurant on I-5.

After dinner and with a little bit of cribbage banter, they got down to it.  Charlie just kept smiling.  Marta was laughing but full of challenge.  “Cut throat cribbage!” she announced!  “Is there such a thing?” I asked.  She laughed some more.  Charlie…smiled.

The Game Is On!

Nyel and I trundled off to bed soon thereafter and so it wasn’t until morning that I could ask who won.  Apparently they just played one game.  “Well, it was close,” Marta said.  There was some kind of demurring noise from Charlie.  “Well, I was closing the gap at the end…” she said, not a bit defensively.   More laughter….

The games will continue tonight, no doubt.  It’s what they do.

Guess who just blew into town!

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Marta’s Chariot

You know how some people just light up a room?  When they arrive, no matter what the occasion, the party can begin.  My step-daughter Marta LaRue is like that.  And, even though Our Grand Affair is not happening until next Sunday, the fun began yesterday when Marta blew into town!

For starters, she arrived in a bright blue Mustang.  A convertible no less!  And, of course, there was a story to go with it.  She had flown into PDX yesterday shortly after mid-day but by the time she arrived the rental car agency had run out of compact cars.  Since she had reserved one (and secured it with her credit card) a month or so ago, they offered to upgrade her at no extra charge.

The Stanger

“How about a GMC Wrangler?”  Marta thought that might be fine but when she saw it… she was horrified.  “Wait!” she said.  “I’m really not a soccer mom — I won’t be hauling 10 kids and their equipment across country.  Do you have anything else?”   And so… she was offered the little Mustang which suits her perfectly!

She arrived in Oysterville about four o’clock.  I was up the street at Cyndy’s.  Nyel was in the garage painting a table for Sunday use.  When Marta came in the house and called (and called), no answer was forthcoming.  So, she headed for Tucker and Carol’s, endearing herself (maybe not) by seeing Carol’s silvery locks and calling out my name!  Just as she realized her error, Tucker appeared… “Marta!  I didn’t recognize you!  I don’t think of you as blond!”

Marta was still laughing when she finally caught up with us.  “I have trouble thinking of myself as a blond, too!” she said.  “But don’t you think it goes with my Stanger?”

Waste Not Want Not? In The Medical World?

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

Package Contents

Anyone who has had a recent hospital experience knows that you have the option of taking home almost anything that comes into your room during your stay — a box of tissues, a package of gauze, a pair of surgical scissors… whatever.  Either that or it gets thrown out.  Okay, an opened box or package… fine.  But surgical scissors or forceps?  Presumably, it costs more to sterilize than to throw out.  Go figure.   And, no matter what, you or your insurance company will be charged for it.

So, Nyel always has me pack it all up.  His motto is: “Waste not want not.”  That, of course, applies to everything in our daily lives, hospitals notwithstanding.   Nyel re-purposes, recycles, reuses and, when it comes to  medical supplies and hospital policies, he feels that home stockpiling beats the throw-away alternative.

Now that we are home and have the services of home health nurses and physical and occupational therapists, necessary medical supplies are ordered by the nurse and paid for by Medicare.  The waste is absolutely appalling — beginning with the packaging.  Box after box of medical supplies are delivered to our door.  (I think we are single-handedly keeping the cardboard recycling bins overstuffed.)

Tah Dah!! The Contents!

Yesterday, for example, Nyel received a package of antibiotic ribbon which I use each day to pack in his “wound” (the sloowwly healing surgical site from his aborted April 28th surgery).  The ribbon in the 7 x 4 inch foil package was 17 inches long by 1 inch wide — about the length of a wide shoelace for a child’s shoe.  It was sent in a 9 inch wide by 12 inch long by 7 inch deep cardboard box and  “protected” by a  folded brown paper eight feet long and 15 inches wide.

Talk about wasteful!! The mind boggles.  We’ve received five or six boxes of supplies just this week,  similarly packaged.  Our Medicare dollars at work.  OMG!  How ironic that my “waste not want not” husband is somehow generating this ridiculous extravagance!  It used to be that when I heard the term “medical waste” I thought of hazardous materials that were collected in bright red containers at hospitals.  Now?  Not so much.  Medical waste is delivered right to our house by FedEx or UPS.  Almost every day!



Excitement Mounts in Oysterville!

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Tom Crellin House – Built in 1869

Sometimes, I have really good ideas!  I’m not sure I can claim that having a celebration of our house’s 150th was solely “my” idea, but I do take full credit for asking volunteers from the Community Historians group give house tours that day.  I promised a training session for potential docents and a “cheat sheet” with the highlights of the house history outlined for them.

Papa’s Rolltop Desk

I was so gratified that enough people volunteered ‘to cover the waterfront’, so to speak, and the training sessions are going exceedingly well!  On the day of Our Grand Affair, tours will be limited to groups of eight.  Two docents will accompany each group through the house for a half-hour of information and stories and a walk-through the last 150 years of Oysterville life.

In the Pink Bedroom

Party participants can sign up for one of the six tours (yes, sadly, only six!) at a table situated near the front door — the original front door on the east side of the house.  The tours will begin every fifteen minutes from 2:15 to 3:30.  That will give time for everyone to be out of the house for the Cannon Salute at 4:00 to be followed by the final Musical Extravaganza and debut of a song by Starla and Cate Gable in honor of the house!!!  Yay!

“How many people do you expect?” is the question everybody asks.  We keep saying, “About 200” even though we have not received that many RSVPs yet.  We hope that all of our friends and acquaintances out in the community will come to help us celebrate this grand old domicile!  Sweets and bubbly, lawn games, music, house tours, and a cannon salute!  What could be more fun on a late September Sunday?  Our house will feel special, indeed, as well she should at the venerable age of 150!


And, finally, the green grass grew…

Monday, September 9th, 2019

Baby Grass

Tenor Dale of the Rose City Mixed Quartet took on the mole scars (the hills had been long removed) and other blighted areas of the lawn ten days ago.  I had been re-seeding and watering for a month to very little avail.  (It did not make me a happy camper to learn that the grass seed I was using “might” have been as much as ten years old!)  So, I supplied Dale with a new bag of seed and a passel of topsoil.    He worked like a Trojan.

I watered and watered and watered.  Even the tourists noticed.  “Your lawn is beautiful,” one woman said.  (She couldn’t see the mole blight.)  “It must cost you a fortune,” said her husband.  “Or do you have a well?”  Fortunately, we do have a well.  We use “city water” inside the house but, for irrigation, we use the old well that has served residents of this house for 150 years as far as we know.


Day before yesterday, the first green glow appeared.  Dale had said, “Watch for the green fuzz.”  But it was more like a wimpy buzz cut.  Not everywhere, but almost.  I watered some more.  Every day the glow gets more obvious but I doubt that it will be a seamless blend into the old grass by the time of Our Grand Affair.  Not that it really matters, but it’s always nice to have a target date.

And… never mind that there was a brand new mole hill yesterday.  Sometimes I despair.

A Tucker Story comes to Oysterville!

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

German Hunting Horn

It has become Tucker’s habit to bring something to “show and tell” for the Friday Nighters at our house each week.  A year or so ago, he brought a German hunting horn (or was it a post horn) like the one his cousin Ute (and maybe, also, Ute’s father, Manfred) plays.

If I remember rightly, Ute actually plays in a hunting horn (or post horn) band (or orchestra) and when Tucker went to Germany to help celebrate Manfred’s birthday a few years ago, he heard them play.  He described the experience in glowing terms and apologized that he couldn’t really play his horn to give us an idea of how wonderful it sounds when played by an expert.

Yesterday, when Nyel and I were out trimming the rhododendrons in the back yard, the quiet of the village was suddenly broken by the most elegant and melodious sound.  “It’s Ute!” I said.  “She’s playing her horn!”  It was absolutely fabulous!

Ute in Oysterville

I left Nyel to his clipping and went over to see for myself.  I’d had hints.  I knew that Ute and Manfred had arrived in Oysterville on Friday.  And, I also knew that they would be here long enough to attend Our Grand Affair.  Plus, Tucker had suggested that Ute bring her horn to help with the celebration!  And she did!  What a glorious sound!

Although I’ve never heard a German hunting or post horn being played. there wasn’t a doubt in my mind about what I was hearing.  And there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that it would be the perfect “Let The Fun Begin” announcement at two o’clock on the twenty-second.  And maybe the perfect punctuation for various events of the day — like the cannon salute!  As Tucker would say, “Wow!”

Almost Pillow Talk

Saturday, September 7th, 2019

The Great Bed of Ware — one of the largest beds in the world

Today I’m thinking about beds.  Not a subject I usually give much thought to but, as it turns out, beds are a complex and fairly interesting subject — probably even more interesting than the reason my thoughts have turned in that direction.

In recent months, several visitors to our house have had occasion to take a look at our bedroom — not in itself an unusual circumstance as you must enter the bedroom to reach the downstairs bathroom. Plus, prior to the 1940s, the bedroom was the parlor and I often show off its original (1869) ceiling paper and coal-burning fireplace.

Vincent Van Gogh’s Bed

No, the unusual part of these recent visits has been the remarks about our bed.  “You and Nyel BOTH sleep in THAT bed?” has been the gist of it.  Truth-to-tell, until these comments/questions began, I had never given the bed a thought.  It’s the same bed that my grandmother bought in the 1940s from a friend in Ocean Park.  At that time it had an old-fashioned cotton mattress and bed springs.

In the early 1980s when my folks, in their turn, gave up the “master bedroom” upstairs and moved down to this bedroom on the main floor, they replaced the old springs and mattress with a new box spring and mattress.  Before those could be installed, however, they had to have Floyd Rank add six inches to the bed frame to accommodate those modern bed accouterments.  Neither Nyel nor I have ever given its “double” width status a second thought — except to notice that “doubles” are now referred to as “fulls” — apparently to allay the thought that they are meant for double occupancy.

John and Yoko’s Honeymoon Bed

Just now I looked up the History of Beds on Wikipedia and found that beds not only come in all sizes and shapes, but they also have a variety of names.  Here are some:  Adjustable bed, air bed, bassinet, box-bed brass bed, bunk bed, captain’s bed, camp bed (cot), canopy bed, curtained bed, daybed, futon, four poster bed, hammoc, hideaway bed, hospital bed, infant bed (crib), iron bed, kanga bed-stove, loft bed. Manjaa, mourning bed, Murphy bed, Ottoman bed, pallet, platform bed, roll-away bed, rope bed, sofabed, state bed, toddler bed, trundle bed, vibrating bed, waterbed.

Wow!  Who knew?  More to the point, who cares?  In this house there are three double beds, one cot, two twins — plenty under most circumstances, doncha think?  As for the three doubles… snuggle up, I say!

Naked Ladies All Over The Place

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Tatty-Looking Slutvana

Today I did a walkabout in the garden on my way to have a little chat with the Ladies-of-the-Coop.  I’m beginning to get anxious about their costumes for Our Grand Affair.  It’s one thing to have the 150-year-old house in order for her birthday bash.  After all, people are forgiving about the wrinkles and warts of extreme age.  But the garden?  And the girls?  Not so much.

Wing Feathers: Gone
Neck Feathers: Gone

And, of course, neither garden nor girls are in good fettle at all.  The garden is on its last leg flowering-wise and the lawn!!! OMG!  Between moles and an aborted thatch-job several years back (to say nothing of a septic project that meant a total new grass planting that went bad on the north forty) the lawn is at a low ebb.

Colchicum – “Naked Ladies”

As for the girls…  We are down to three this summer.  The Little Red Hen is looking terrific… so far.  But the other two have chosen this time to begin their molting process and they couldn’t be looking less attractive.  Today, I told them that several people are coming to Our Grand Affair specifically to say “hello” to them.  And, would they please put more effort into re-feathering between now and the 22nd.  Naked hens are not attractive.  But… chickens, as I have often mentioned, are poor listeners.  (And even poorer planners.)

Little Red – So far, lookin’ good!

Naked flower beds aren’t a great attraction, either. Right now, the few dahlias we have are looking good, but by September 22nd, I doubt that there will be a single bloom.  The daisies, of course, are gone.  So are the York Roses and most of the geraniums (thanks to the deer people).  We do have a few fall crocuses — really called “Colchicum” or, sometimes, “Naked Ladies” because they bloom after their foliage has died off.  Too few to be titillating, I’m afraid.

So now…  as Willie Nelson might say, it’s all up to those healing hands of time.  There’s a lot of that going on around here come to think of it.