Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Blessed bounty, thy name is Rose!

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

Salmonberries – the first to ripen each year.

The masked woman at our door held out a large yogurt container.  “I told Nyel I’d bring these over,” she said in her distinctive New Zealand accent.

Berries!  Almost every kind our Peninsula offers, lovingly picked through each of their seasons.  “I start with the salmonberries in April or May,” she told us.  “They are always the first.” In addition were blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, salal berries, and red and black huckleberries — picked throughout the summer, poured onto cookie sheets for freezing and, finally, mixed together and packaged in thirteen  24-ounce yoghurt containers.   A winter’s supply!  Unless, of course, you give them away because … because you are Rose Power.

Wild Blackberries

When we remarked on the numbers and the variety, Rose just shrugged (and probably smiled behind her mask.  “I consider myself a hunter-gatherer,” she said.  “I love doing it!”

“Are you continuing to pick?” we asked.  “Are there any berries still out there waiting for you?”

“Maybe a few black huckleberries, but berry-picking season is really over,” she said.  She didn’t mention that when the rains begin (as they did a few weeks ago), any remaining blackberries begin to mildew.  But she did say that she didn’t get any thimbleberries this year.  “They aren’t abundant, but I usually get a few.”

Rose’s bounty to us — still frosty from the freezer!

And now?  “I’m spinning like mad. ”   And knitting.  I’m knitting gloves.  I just took eight pair to BOLD and Danika called yesterday and said someone had come in and purchased five pair!  So, I’m back to making yarn!”  And off she went  — our lovely friend Rose, an earth mother for all seasons!  What a treasure she is and how lucky we are to call her a friend!

Before Nyel got the news… Casey was there.

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

YAY! A new publication by Casey!

I went to get the mail about the time Nyel started dinner — twelve gorgeous clams brought to us by friends.  Gorgeous clams, cleaned and each in one piece.  Easy to believe they were dug that very morning.  They were beautiful.

The package, carefully rolled a bit to fit in our postbox, was from Stevenson, Washington.  I knew before I opened it that it was a new book of poetry from Casey.   I’ve been bugging him about publishing again — as I’m sure many folks have.  And I’ve been vaguely aware that he’s been doing so, by  ones and twos in poetry journals and publications that poetry neophytes like myself know little about.   A nest blew down is a collection of thirty-six of Casey’s poems and, of course, I choose to think that if I hadn’t been bugging him over the past few years it wouldn’t have happened.

I read them aloud as Nyel cooked.  Some were hard to think about.  No.  Make that all of them were.  They sounded like Casey — but Casey in later-than-midlife.  The time when looking ahead gets easier in some ways than looking back.  “Although austere in tone…” began the blurb on the back cover, written by Paulanne Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita.  Hmmm.  I’m not sure that’s the descriptor I’d choose.  But, then, I’m not sure I have the right one, either.

And then, as the time to eat grew closer, I read Nyel’s name!  It was about halfway down the page in a poem titled “The guy who couldn’t see color.”  There is only one Nyel (at least for me).  And only one Casey who came to St. Vincent’s and managed to get into the ICU to see Nyel when the anesthesiologist halted his hip surgery because he was not doing well.  “Nyel might not walk again” begins the third stanza of Casey’s poem.

It’s really hard to eat clams through tears.  It’s really hard when you have to put hugging and visiting on hold.  It’s really hard to find a word that’s the opposite of austere to describe Casey’s work.  Especially when it comes to the poem that mentions Nyel.

Sailing To Catch The Moon

Monday, September 20th, 2021


When my friend Barb and I were setting up a telephone date for yesterday, she said to try her at five o’clock our time.  “We’ll be sailing to catch the moon,” she said, “but we should be home by then.”  Home is in Cohasset, Massachusetts and, even though we did connect last evening, I never did find out exactly how you sail to catch the moon.  I did ask if they were successful.  “Yes, but the wind died so we caught it from the deck of the clubhouse.  It was great!”  Her laughter, as always, was infectious.

Last Night’s Moon Over Willapa Bay

Barbara Hedges Canney and I have been friends for more than forty years — since before she met husband John and since before I met Nyel.  We’ve worked together, played together, laughed and cried together and visited back and forth across the country.  She is one of my closest friends though many miles (and quite a few years) separate us.  But Barb is one of those fabulous people who probably has many friends who feel about her just as I do.

Barb’s Boat

Nyel’s birthday present to me last year was a gift of Barbara’s help in organizing my files — maybe for ten days or so.  The “gift certificate” was given to me on February 28, 2020 and, of course before we could get our ducks in a row (or our sails unfurled) Covid hit.  We’ve been re-planning and hoping ever since.  And, the “working trip” has expanded to include John and some quality visiting time — maybe even some sailing on the bay if Barb can line up a boat.

But first… well, you know.  We await fair winds and following seas and some assurances that there will only be full moons to catch…

Honoring Kay Buesing, The Kite Lady!

Sunday, August 15th, 2021

 Kay Buesing, c. 2013

I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who did more and talked about it less than Kay Buesing, the mover and shaker behind the World Kite Museum in Long Beach.  Not that she didn’t talk about kites and kite flyers and kite events.  She just didn’t say much about her part in it all — which was HUGE!

I’ve often thought that if we could find that proverbial bushel it would be Kay’s light shining brightly beneath it.  And well it should be!  I’m probably not the only one who has had several “discussions” with her during the past year and a half about her dying in February 2020 — right when we were first closed down for Covid.  We didn’t get to say a proper goodbye!  And now, just when we all thought that at last we could pay tribute to her in a public gathering at the World Kite Museum on Thursday… up comes the surge, the variants, and all the worries once again.  As we speak, her family is agonizing over ways to scale back the plans for her celebration on Thursday… so stay tuned.

Jim Buesing, c 1990

I don’t know exactly when I met Kay — she and I came here to teach at about the same time, in the late ’70s.  In the early ’80s, we were both involved in the establishment of the Peninsula Players under the direction of Lawrence Lessard.  And we were both members of Gordon and Roy’s crazy picnic group.  (In fact, Gordon often referred to Kay’s husband, Jim, as his “best friend.”)  When both Kay and Gordon were without partners, they often did things together — like come to the Mystery Book Club Meetings and almost always to our Friday Night Gatherings.

When I wrote about Kay and Jim for Legendary Locals of the Long Beach Peninsula, I interviewed Kay to make sure of my facts and, typically, learned a great deal about her “kite life” that she had never talked about to us — even while it was going on!  So typical!  Here is what I wrote (with her blessing!  Who knows what all was left out!)

Jim and Kay Buesing:  Jim Buesing’s love affair with kites began in 1980 when his wife, Kay, gave him a two-string “Skyro Gyro” for Christmas.  Within months, they had bought a small building on Long Beach’s main street and opened a kite shop.  Jim gave away as many kites as he sold, encouraging friends and strangers alike to “go fly a kite!1”  When the Washington State International Kite Festival began in 1981, the Buesings were soon in the thick of it, applying for grants and hosting kite flyers from all over the world.  They even traveled to China in 1987 where they represented the United States at the Fourth Annual Weifang Kite Festival.  They soon organized the World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame, and Kay, a retired teacher, became its director, devoting her full attention to “the only American Museum dedicated exclusively to the thrill, joy, art, science, and world history of kites.”  In 2003, Kay was inducted into the museum’s Hall of Fame for “immeasurable contributions” to the kiting world,

The World Kite Museum, Long Beach, WA

As of a few minutes ago, the celebration for Kay scheduled for later this week is being re-evaluated by her family. I’ll have more information on my blog tomorrow and I’m sure that any late-breaking news will appear on the World Kite Museum’s Facebook Page.  Meantime, you can bet, I’m shaking a fist or two at the Dark Covid Angels up there and hoping both Kay and Jim can convince them to fold up their kites and go home.  Enough already!


When the doorbell rang…

Thursday, August 12th, 2021

…I was just sitting down to write the day’s blog, pleased that I might finish it and still have time to continue working out in the garden.  Who could be at our door at 2:30 in the afternoon?

But as soon as I answered, everything fell into place.  OMG!  I had asked my friends — possibly the most elegant mother/daughter duo that I know — for afternoon coffee.  At 2:30.  On the 12th.  OMG!  I was mortified and delighted to see them and terrified that I was finally lapsing into full-blown dementia — all at the same time.

“We’ll go and come back another day,” they said.  “No!  Of course you won’t,” I insisted.  “I have elegant cookies all ready for you — even if I’m an idiot!”   Thank goodness for Charlotte, the Cookie Fairy!  And how long will it take frozen cookies to thaw, anyway?    “How do you feel about instant coffee?” I asked.  “Just ice water,” they said.  And since I’m sure it was at least 450° inside my muddy garden togs, I agreed.

If you ever fall into this Number One Hostess’s Nightmare, I hope you have guests as gracious and as forgiving as mine.  We spent a couple of hours talking (mostly me; nervously and endlessly) and sampling Charlotte’s baked wonders.  I actually enjoyed myself, though I can’t speak for my guests.  OMG!

Back In Our Letter-Writing Daze…

Friday, August 6th, 2021

Back when a first class stamp cost fifteen cents and Long Beach seemed a lot farther from Oysterville, my post box received a letter every week or so from my dear friend Gordon Schoewe.  He was the best letter-writer ever!  I just ran across this one which I can’t help but share:

Dere Cydknee,
    On account of your hysterics at my tragic story… I’ve decided to write it out for you so that you will better appreciate the sorrow of it…
First we bot lovely gnu wallpaper for the dinning room… which meant building a new wall between the dine room & kitchen. — to do that…
We must remove 8 ft oak cabinet from kit side of wall — must find place to put —
Decided to put into new (perhaps to be) Breakfast room… so
To put there must level ceiling — which when looked at was a desaster — so…
tore down old ceiling — to discover that ceiling supports were none existant — so…
New ceiling supports — Then ceiling… decided on cedar… used our supply… leaving a 2’x9′ empty space… so…
Had to search out sources for cedar… foud in Marysville — north of Seattle…
Brot home — installed — then built base cabinet out of old cabinets…
Dishes had to be removed from old cabs… boxes in every nitch — where is the cooking oil?
   Then cabinets removed… cut down — wall now doesn’t reach ceiling. Oh joy.
   Then– onward to install old oak cabinet (as related to old oaken bucket) so
Discovered that we could only lift it to within 2 inches of proper height — woe to be old & feeble


Roy Gustafson and Gordon Schoewe – “Roar and Gore” c. 1980

   We lift up one end of thousand pound cabinet so that Roar can hold… Then climb on sink & other cabinet & lift…
  Then —whamo–out goes old knee (a twist injury… couldn’t it at least be a ski accident?)  I fall from cabinet to floor… (carefully setting cabinet end on sink) onto already damaged knee… and scrape-ing (sp) various parts of ye olde bawdy on various objects… a three plus foot drop into oblivion… yelling for Roy to help — but he’s in hernia heaven – holding up 1000 lb cabinet… so that it will not crash to floor — thus smashing ye olde ex-dancing darling into fat pulp…
Sew — dancing darling — when shock wears not out, but down, drawls to phone… dialy dialy number of lovely neighbor and screams for help… they come running — muscles rippling and as I… brave but stupid and damaged person… crawled erect and help — actually lift — put ye old 1000 lb, not particularly attractive at this point, cabinet in place… then fall to floor in agony — pale as death… actually more tattle tale grey…
so… the only solution is… anyone for martinis…
after two… one barely notices the swelling — and that your pants don’t fit… at least around the knee… and golly… my sequin disco trousers are now a waste of pesos… and what can one do in the can-can line without the ability to kick… let alone high…
Does this stir the cockleburrs of your heart… and if not — why —
Signed, tragic sole!
(sound fishy???)  All is TRUE.




It’s Grandparent Season at the Beach!

Sunday, July 25th, 2021

The Grandkid Generation at the Red House — thanks, Anna Hook Spooner!

Having no grandchildren is a lot like growing up without siblings.  You don’t actually miss what you’ve never experienced, but you’ve done enough vicariously living in the moccasins of others that you know some of the parts — both good and not-so-good. But, mostly, the fun parts and, most especially,  the parts involving grandkids at the beach!

The first batch of grandkids here in Oysterville this summer were two families of Red House cousins.  They live in Sun Valley and in Seattle and, although they see one another occasionally during the year, it’s summertime in Oysterville when they really get “quality time” together.  (Not that they call it that, probably, but they might when they look back on those two weeks many years from now.)  Sad to say, Nyel and I only hooted and hollered as we drove by — all of us on different wave lengths this year.  We did see Grandpa Jim Hook briefly, though — on his way out of town for a few adult catch-up days at home.  Though he claimed “frazzled,” he looked great! Grandpa-ing definitely agrees with him.

Pelicans at Benson Beach – Photo by Opa Tucker Wachsmuth

Next up were Carol and Tucker.  This year they are spending a separate week of time with each of their four grandchildren.  Last week it was 10-year-old Gabi’s turn and oh! the places they went and the things they did!  Bensons-by-the-Beach for their (HUGE) pancake breakfast, Marsh’s Museum (probably more than once), Cannon Beach and Seaside, the new jetty to see the pelicans, Sherwood Forest out by Leadbetter Point to see Opa’s childhood campsite, Camp Tagum.  And so much more!

And today, Cousin Ruth and Cindy arrive with Ruth’s children and grandchildren.  They have been beaching it on the Peninsula since Thursday and are coming over for a look at the house and a family history lesson.  Imagine!  We may not be grandparents (or more like greats or great-greats) but we qualify as a part of Oysterville’s “living history.”  I love it!  (I wonder what the kids think…)

Happy 95th Gordon! (1926-2014)

Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Gordon In The Bath c. 1925

For the eighth consecutive year, the Gordon-and-Roy-Picnic Group gathered to pay tribute to Gordon, instigator, picnic planner, and martini maven extraordinaire.  There were lots of us missing besides Gore and Roar.  In fact, the only members of the old Picnic Group in attendance were Nyel and me and, as far as we know, the only other two still alive and kicking are Patty and Noel.  They, unfortunately, were otherwise occupied with a milestone of their own — Noel’s daughter was in town to celebrate her 60th.  Time flies!

But Gordon’s indomitable spirit and vast interests were  well represented, anyway.  His niece Karen and husband Bill were here from Sumner — full of stories about Gordon’s mother (“Grandma” to Karen) who lived to be almost 107!  Bill and Sue and Carol (with Tucker) were here representing the Mystery Book Club — a late-in-life group that Gordon helped found around the turn of the century.  (This one.)

Herb, Karen, Sydney at Gordon’s 95th!

Herb-the -Christmas-Elf came, too.  He was one of Gordon’s friends who helped him put up his incredible Christmas decorations during those final years that he could no longer quite manage by himself. I told Herb that Nyel and I are getting to that point, ourselves, and he said, “Just call!  I’d be glad to help!”

The food was picnicky beginning with hot dogs, chips, and pasta salad — Gordon would have loved it.  There was lemonade (Sorry, Gordon, no martinis!) and (of course) watermelon and cookies for dessert.  The Gordon stories were non-stop — most of them funny but a few eyes besides mine watered up a bit.  All-in-all it was a birthday to remember.  I think Gordon would have approved!

Carol, Nyel, and Tucker

The Very Best Part of A Book Talk

Sunday, July 18th, 2021

Sydney talks about Madam X at the Senior Center

Yesterday I gave a Book Talk about Historic Haunts of the Long Beach Peninsula at the Senior Center in Klipsan.  It was the third event in as many weekends and I didn’t have high expectations for attendance or sales.  However, what I didn’t factor in was how much fun I would have talking with the people who were there!

I met several women who read my blog every single day!  They asked after the chickens, were pleased to meet Farmer Nyel (who was helping Vicki sell books for me) and one expressed a desire to meet Tucker.  “I want to find out if he is related to the Glass family.  They were best friends to my husband and me.”  I know that Tucker is related to the Glass family but I don’t know if it’s the right Glass family.  Even so, I found myself saying, “Why don’t you come by the house sometime and we’ll walk over and I’ll introduce you.”  I hope she does.  She and I were “of an age” as they say, and had it not been for people waiting in line for my autograph, we probably could have spent the rest of the afternoon becoming best friends!

A Small but Mighty Interesting Audience

Actually, there were several encounters like that and I did think to myself, “Well, after all… it’s the Senior Center and I’m bound to meet a few soulmates here.  I should come more often…”  But, it wasn’t just ‘Senior Serendipity’.  Along came a good looking “young” (50s?) man named Paul who said that we are “sort of related.”  And, indeed we are!  My first cousins were brought up by his mother’s inlaws (got that?) in Minnesota in the 1930s.  Paul was visiting the Peninsula and had just happened upon the book signing and… here he was!

Sydney with Wallace and Charles, Ft. Canby, WA, 1938

As it turned out,  when  Nyel and I returned home a half hour or so later,  we saw Paul taking pictures up the street.  I hailed him, invited him in, and we spent a pleasant half hour looking at family pictures and sharing information about my cousins Wallace and Charles Pearson whose mother Suzita was my mother’s older sister.  As Sue was dying of pneumonia on December 27, 1932, she asked her mother (my grandmother) to send the boys to Lake City, Minnesota to the Pearsons, her husband’s people.  At that time her father (my grandfather)  was in a sanitorium recovering from a horrendous automobile accident and my grandmother, always frail and losing her sight, could not have coped with two young boys.  Even by pooling our information, there is much that Paul and I don’t know.  Time to get Cuzzin Ralph looking on once again!

And… even so, I sold a fair number of books.  But the best part of all (as usual) was meeting and talking with everyone!  Even my Facebook friend, Terry Eager. came all the way from Chinook to meet me in person and say “hello.”  Wow!  What a fun afternoon!


And suddenly… summer begins!

Saturday, July 17th, 2021

Sydney in Oysterville, Summer 1940

In the “olden days” of my childhood, summer in Oysterville meant visitors.  Lots and lots of visitors.  The relatives came from Portland and Puyallup and California and they usually came for two weeks or more.  Often, they “overlapped” and we were hard-pressed to find sleeping spots for everyone even though there were five bedrooms and all but one had double beds.

As I remember, the “overflow” relatives stayed at The Red House three properties to the north.  I’m no longer sure how many beds and bedrooms there are in that old house, but I think it can comfortably accommodate seventeen or eighteen people — more if there are a lot of little kids.

Many friends from afar visited, too, but they seemed to arrive more according to a “schedule” and so we devoted ourselves specifically to that group or that family.  I think the attitude about the relatives was that the houses belonged as much to them as to us — most, whether of my grandfather’s generation or my mother’s, had grown up here, after all.  There was always room and, as I remember, they immediately helped out by taking on any extra host and hostess duties when non-relatives arrived.

H.a. Espy Family Reunion 1943

I’ve been thinking about those days as we plan for the arrival next week of our bonus daughter extraordinaire, Marta. to be followed in short order by Randal Bays and Family, Cuzzin Ralph from Virginia, Cousin Alex and friend Katie from New York, Kuzzin Kris from Sacramento (who is actually staying at the Red House but we hope we get our share of her!) and then the Rose City Mixed Quartet!!!  And at the very beginning of this grand parade will be Cousin Ruth and Cindy from Mercer Island who are staying somewhere spiffy with a whole raft of children, grandchildren, and I don’t know who all.  I think our house is on the schedule for a “tour and history lesson.”

I can’t wait for it all to begin!  It will be like summers of old but “on steroids” as we are all eager to make up for the Sheltering Year that we hope against hope is over for good and all!  Now… if the sun will come out and the soft breezes blow — just as I remember from those olden days! — it will be a perfect summer, indeed!