Archive for the ‘Ocean Park Timberland Library’ Category

Little-known Facts and Quirky Truths!

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15th 2:00-3:00 p.m.

And no, this is not a children’s book!

When the Timberland Library asked me to give a book talk about ANY of my books, I just plain couldn’t decide.  So, if you come to Ocean Park Library next Wednesday at 2:00 you will hear me talk a bit about each of my books that is still in print.  That’s seventeen (count ’em 17) altogether.  Their unifying theme is, of course, the history of this area — the North (or Long) Beach Peninsula and (a few) about Pacific County.  But… how to narrow all those books into a one-hour talk?   I stewed about it today while I was polishing silver.

Thus far, I think I’ll give a one- or two-sentence overview about each book and then read one little-known or unusual bit of historic information from that same book — the quirkier the better.  Hopefully, if it’s from a book you’ve not read, you’ll be tempted to buy it.  And yes… I’ll have a few of each book for sale, after my presentation.  (I can take checks or cash, but not credit cards.)  But… no pressure!  Just come and enjoy!



Author Talk with Sydney Stevens
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Ocean Park
Ocean Park Meeting Room

When you recognize a zucchini…

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Nyel came home from the library yesterday with more than books.  A book we’d been waiting for… yes.  But, also, a familiar looking light-ish green zucchini.  A fairly big one.

“Did you run into Dobby at the library?” I asked.  I was sure that I recognized that vegetable.  I’d met other members of its family just recently.

“Not Dobby,” was the reply.  “But they had a big box of his zucchini on the counter.  I asked Beth if they were Dobby’s and she said ‘yes,’ and to help myself.”

What a good idea!  Dobby has been giving away his bumper crop for several weeks now.  We were the beneficiaries of three beautiful ones about ten days ago.  I’d been to their house on a quest for information and he and Lila loaded me up with garden goodies as I left.  The zucchini were distinctive looking – their color plus the size of some (large!) were different from the zucchini we’ve grown in our own garden in the past.

Dobby had told me to come back anytime for more.  He had been giving away those zucchini right and left and still they were coming on in his (very extensive) garden.  But… you know how it is when friends say to come back for more… you seldom do.  Obviously, he was serious about sharing his bounty.  A box full at Timberland Library – imagine!

My mouth began to water immediately!  Chef Nyel had prepared those first zucchini in a variety of ways– sautéed with onions, in stir fry, and my personal favorite – zucchini fritters served with sour cream!  Yum!  He promises a repeat of that meal tonight.  Thanks, Dobby!  And, whether you readers need a book or not right now, I suggest a trip to the library on the off-chance that the box isn’t empty yet.  Or, knowing Dobby, maybe it’s been replenished.  Yum!

With Blinders Firmly in Place

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
Library Booklet

Library Booklet

Sometimes I’m ‘sore amazed’ at what I don’t know anything about. I’m not just talking world affairs or cutting edge research discoveries here. I’m speaking of things that are happening in my immediate sphere of interest. Like our local library’s participation in the annual Timberland Reads Together program. Where in the world have I been for the last eight years?

We are inveterate library users and great proponents of the Timberland Library system which serves five Southwest Washington counties. The closest library to us is only five miles away in Ocean Park and we go there frequently. So how did this Reads Together program go right by us? And thank goodness for our House Concerts and Wes Weddell or we still would have blinders firmly in place.

When he was here last month, Wes mentioned that he was involved with Timberland’s Read Together program through the Bushwick Book Club of Seattle. He and three fellow musicians will sing original songs inspired by this year’s Timberland selection, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan. We plan to attend the performance in Ilwaco from 1:00 to 2:00 on Thursday, October 24th.

Edward Curtis

Edward Curtis

Meanwhile, having been made aware of the book (even though through ‘the back door’) I am reading the paperback copy that we checked out from the Ocean Park Library. I’m at once enthralled and annoyed. I’m loving Egan’s text; I am totally frustrated by the poor reproduction quality of his photographs in this paperback edition.

It seems absurd to me that the subject of the book is of one of the iconic photographers of the twentieth century, yet the illustrations of his work are muddy and unclear on the matt-finished paper of the book. Only the photograph of Curtis, himself, is printed on a satin-finished paper and is tucked inside the cover as a frontispiece. My online search reveals that the book was also published in hardback and I look forward to seeing that version eventually.

I first learned something of Edward Curtis at Stanford where I minored in Cultural Anthropology. His photographs documenting the disappearing culture of the North American Indian were subjects of great interest even back in the 1950s. And, over the years, I’ve seen several exhibitions and many, many reproductions of his work. I’m so sorry that Egan and his publishers didn’t hold themselves to a higher standard when it came to using Curtis’s work to illustrate this ‘popular’ edition of their book.

Nevertheless, I am greatly enjoying learning more about Curtis and his 30-year struggle to fulfill his dream. Egan has drawn me right into the conditions and attitudes of the first half of the twentieth century – Curtis’s world which stretched between the urban settings of Seattle and Washington D.C. and took in “the customs, cultures, lifestyles, social habits, diet, myths, creation stories… of about 80 Native American tribes.”

Curtis even picked oysters here in Shoalwater Bay while he was searching for the remnants of Chinookan culture! Given my track record for noticing things, I wonder if I’d have seen him even if he was gathering those oysters within sight of Oysterville. Highly doubtful.


A Gazillion Smiles and Stitches

Monday, March 18th, 2013

The Mozart ChicksSaturday was Nyel’s first day of walk-about-on-two-legs outings since his surgery in January and we made the most of it.  He has discarded the walker and is using his trusty cane again as he gains strength and mobility.  And the doctor said to “Walk.”  So we did.  First we checked out the Grand Re-opening of the Ocean Park Library.

We are inveterate library users so we have been in the newly expanded building numbers of times through their construction process.  But we wanted to go to offer our ‘formal’ congratulations and we wanted to check out the music of the Mozart Chicks.  The group includes several of our friends and this was our first opportunity to hear them.  Lovely!  (I was immediately thinking vespers and house concert possibilities…)

And, of course, there was the schmoozing that always happens at such events here at the beach.  We visited with many people we hadn’t seen in a while, met a few new folks, and did a lot of ‘net-working.’  (Well, I did.  Nyel says I never miss an opportunity to book someone for a future event or ask someone a history question that’s been plaguing me.  And my response to him:  “What’s your point?”  It’s an on-going discussion…).   And, there were yummy things to eat, as well!

Hawaiian StyleWe drove south from there to the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum for the “Quilting at the Beach” display.  It was the Peninsula Quilt Guild’s 18th Annual exhibition and, as usual, I was mightily impressed.  There weren’t as many quilts as there were last year or the year before, and I didn’t think there was as much variety.  But, nevertheless, I felt that warm glow of being surrounded by a gazillion stitches made by many loving hands.

Reminiscent of EscherThere is really nothing quite like a quilt show for awakening in me that warm fuzzy feeling that goes with mother, apple pie, and being coddled.  And then there’s the art aspect, as well.  I especially enjoyed the two small red and white “Hawaiian style” quilts, done much like the Colombian molas by cutting away layers of fabric in a reverse applique techniqué.  Beautiful!

And then there was the large quilt that reminded me of an Escher painting.  Actually, we had run into Cate Gable and that was her thought but I had to concur whole heartedly.  I was so busy admiring and exclaiming that I didn’t get the name of either the quilt or the quilter.  But I did take a photograph and though it doesn’t half do it justice, it still makes me feel all warm and glowy to look at it.

All-in-all, it was a fine day – a grand break from my second round of proof-reading.  Somehow, being surrounded by all those friendly faces and loving stitches made facing my world or printed words a little less onerous.