An Evening with Old Friends

Apr 9, 2015 | 0 comments

Noel and Pat Back in The Day

Noel and Pat Back in The Day

Every year or so Don McQuarrie and Laura Creekman blow into town and arrange for a get-together with old friends. I think it has been more than twenty years since they left the Peninsula with their three pre-schoolers and moved to Linden. Now they are empty-nesters looking forward to retirement.

This time there were ten of us. We gathered for dinner Monday evening at the Bistro and, for once, proprietors Ann and Tony Kischner joined us at the table. (They sat with their backs to the dining room. “Otherwise, we’ll be up every time we see a need.”) Also in the group were Pat and Noel Thomas, Chris and David Jensen and, of course, us.

Ann, Tony, Chris

Ann, Tony, Chris

We had met, couple by couple, in the late seventies and early eighties. I first met Noel and Pat in 1976 at the Bicentennial which the entire Peninsula celebrated here in Oysterville. They were living in Seaview then, making miniature houses, one of which they had on display in the church. I was still living in California but had agreed to be Mistress of Ceremonies for the program at the church. Later, Noel would design the house I built on the bay.

Four or five years later, I met Don. By then I was teaching first grade at Hilltop School and Don-of-the-Big-Voice taught third grade. We had no P.A. system; we had Don. If a school-wide announcement had to be made, Don stood outside his classroom door and raised his voice – just a little. I also knew, by dint of living in Oysterville, that Don was courting Laura, the pretty young biologist working at the Shellfish Lab in Nahcotta. She lived in the pink trailer (grandfathered in to the new zoning regs) next to the Oysterville Church.

Laura, Noel, Pat

Laura, Noel, Pat

A few years later, Ann and Tony came to the beach and opened the Shoalwater Restaurant at the Shelburne – to be followed by the Heron and Beaver Pub and the Lightship Restaurant (now the Pickled Fish.) They lived in Nahcotta and both their daughters went to Ocean Park School. Jenny (who this week turned 40) was in my third grade class the first year they were here and a few years later I had Michelle in first, second, and third!

Nyel came along in 1984, an intern at the Ilwaco Museum. I think we knew Chris and David through the Thomas’s. David, like me (plus half the Peninsula) is connected to the Ilwaco Williams family and we all go to those yearly reunions. And, then, in the nineties we owned the Bookvendor which was downstairs from David’s architectural firm. And, last year Chris participated in the Community Historian class.

Don, Sydney. Nyel, Laura (I can't believe what she's doing!)

Don, Sydney. Nyel, Laura (I can’t believe what she’s doing!)

All of us were involved in the beginnings of Water Music when the focus was bringing good chamber music to the Peninsula – and of course, Jazz and Oysters when it began in Oysterville. Our paths crossed everywhere, as all paths do in our small community.

The biggest difference between then and now is that none of us live in the same house and I think Nyel and I are the only ones living in the same town.      Some of us are retired (though all of us are ‘working’ at something). Some are grandparents. Some can’t hear as well as we once did and some of our knees are new. But Don’s voice prevails and our laughter sounds the same. There is nothing like an evening with old friends – whatever kind of ‘old’ they might be!

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