So whadjathink?

Did you see this drawing by the late Larry Weathers on Page B-1 of the Observer this week?

Or maybe you don’t get our weekly paper, the Chinook Observer.  If not, you might as well stop reading here, because this is going to be all about yesterday’s issue.  And me.

One of my grandmother’s is rolling over in her grave at that first paragraph.  My beloved Oysterville Granny who believed most firmly that we should keep our light under that proverbial bushel.  My Bostonian Nana, however, thought that if you didn’t toot your own horn, no one else was going to do it for you.  So for this blog, I’m going with Nana.

In case you don’t get our paper (for shame!) or in case you didn’t really have time to read it (REALLY???) I will tell you that my new series began yesterday with a story about F.C. Davis.  Don’t know who he is… or was?  You are missing out on one of the true characters of our local heritage.

That’s what the series is about.  It’s a collection of short stories cobbled together from bits and pieces found hither and yon — that I hope will become my next book.  Tentative title:  “Saints or Sinners?  Characters of Pacific County.”

Oysterville Cemetery Sketches by Marie Oesting — one of many sources for stories about our local history

And, as I hope you come to understand over the weeks ahead, there’s a reason for these stories.  I have long believed that it’s the memories that we gather and that we tell and re-tell that are important in the great scheme of things.  It’s through our memories and the stories — not just the names and dates and battles fought and won — that we pass on our history, generation after generation.

When I was a child, before cell phones and television and even before decent radio reception, conversation was our main form of evening entertainment.  We might be telling the “news” we learned in the neighborhood or the fate of the two chickens who “flew the  coop.”  Or, the old folks might be reminiscing about their own childhoods — those days long ago when there were no roads here on the Peninsula and almost everyone had some kind of a boat.  What was talked about around our old fireplace was my first inkling of “history” — so much more engaging than the history classes of my school years.

Years later, when Nyel and I owned the bookstore in the ’90s, there seemed to be a big push on for grandparents to write down their memories for posterity.  I can’t say we got rich selling those “Memory Books” but I did like the idea.

Papa and Aunt Dora c. 1896 — Storytellers Extraordinaire!

My fondest hope is that readers will enjoy the Saints or Sinners stories that will appear in the Observer and will even be inspired to tell a few of their own.  Better yet, write them down!  A hundred years hence those stories will be the historic record — the words that will convey who we ordinary, everyday folks are.  God forbid that the glaring headlines in the metro news about mass shootings and spy balloons and war ad nauseum will become our only history of record.  Not my history and not yours.

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