Archive for the ‘Springtime in Oysterville’ Category

Filled to Overflowing for Carolyn and Family

Saturday, April 13th, 2024

Carolyn Cummings Glenn 1947-2024

Someone said that there were people from all over the United States and from foreign countries, as well.  I don’t doubt it.  The Sanctuary at St. Peter Episcopal Church was filled to capacity — people I knew from all aspects and times of my life here on the Peninsula and a good many more I did not know.  All of us, though, shared a common bond — a relationship with the late Carolyn Glenn and her remarkable family.   For me… a friendship of long-standing with Carolyn, the teacher of her two oldest children, a client of her attorney husband, sometimes adviser to her book needs when Nyel and I owned the bookstore, and most recently, the delighted “hostess” when she came visiting my terminally ill husband here and in the hospital in Seattle and always with a half dozen bars of the darkest chocolate she could find — his favorites!

April 13, 2024

At the reception following the service — held at the Cranberry Museum’s Reception Hall — many people took turns at the microphone to tell their own Carolyn stories. Guy Sr. began with they met.  Rex Ziak told of seeking her help with his Lewis and Clark Centennial concerns;  Many, many others told of her traits of warmth and determination, of tenacity and perseverance in all of the tasks she undertook. But what will stay with me forever were the descriptions by her family of her final months.

In their Family Remembrances, her sons Guy, Jr. and Tucker both spoke openly about her rapid onset Alzheimer’s. And at the reception, Guy Sr. too, spoke of Carolyn — from their first meeting to their last times together. He told of their 53 years  — every bit of it precious and every bit of it “us”  he said.  Whether or not she knew at the end, Guy made clear, they were still “us.”

I imagine many  who were there today will be thinking and talking of that farewell for a long time to come.  Such a tribute to Carolyn and such a wonderful gift to the rest of us — the gift of seeing a family’s acceptance of what is while finding the deeper meaning to sustain them as they go forward.  If it’s possible to be uplifted while engulfed in sorrow, I do think that is how many of us felt.  I’m so glad I was there.

The sun is here… but where is Spring?

Friday, April 12th, 2024

Pots at the Ready

Today marks the third Friday in a row that the Garden Girls have sadly said, “Not yet!” to my query about doing some spring flower planting.  “The ground is still frosty in the morning,” they said.  “Maybe next week.”

Hanging Baskets All In A Row

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas and I have no doubt that the seeds and bulbs feel exactly the same way.  But,  I also know they’re wanting to snuggle down into a bed of warm, inviting soil wouldn’t like their new roots crying out and curling up with cold toes.  So, in the hope that next week will be “All Systems Go,” the Garden Girls readied the geranium pots on the porch for the baby plants waiting in a nearby greenhouse, and refurbished the soil amd  fuchsias in the hanging baskets.  Fingers crossed that they wintered over successfully in the garage tucked near the protective custody of the winterized canon.

I don’t remember a spring that I’ve felt so impatient to GET GOING!  And yet… I just finished laying a fire for the Friday Nighters.  Sunny it is but definitely cold around the edges!  And, truth to tell, I was glad the Garden Girls agreed about the temperature.  I sometimes wonder if it’s just my age creaking up on me…  Not this time, apparently.

Playing Musical Houses in Oysterville

Thursday, April 11th, 2024

The Red Cottage c. 1976

According to the Oyster Shell Telegraph, or as they say in other communities, “the word on the street”  (in this case, Territory Road), is that the little once-upon-a-time Red Cottage of my Uncle Willard’s has sold.  The most recent owner, Kevin, has purchased the vacant house to the north of the cottage and its new owner is a real estate personage from Long Beach.  There are probably more details, but until even these meager “facts” are corroborated, I hesitate to say more.  At least not more about the current events.

However, I do have a good many stories concerning the little house, itself,’  It was built in 1863 (or possibly as early as 1857) by Joel Munson and two of his brothers-in-law who were known as “the Kimball Boys” — survivors of the Whitman Massacre of 1847. Hearing of the “oyster boom” on Shoalwater Bay, they came from their homestead on the Clatsop Plains, but of their group only one Kimball sister and her husband Augustus Wirt stayed.  (Their descendants lived just across the lane from our house when my mother was a girl.) In 1865, Joel Munson moved to Ilwaco and became one of the first lightkeepers at the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.  He was a well-known fiddler in the area and raised money for life-saving equipment by playing for dances in Astoria.

After the Munsons moved in 1865, the County rented their house to be used as the first Pacific County Courthouse. It served in that capacity until 1875 when the two-story courthouse was built just two blocks away on School Street.  I think it also served as a store for a time and then was an “extra” house owned by my family during the 1950s and ’60s for overflow guest and, for a time, for caregivers for my grandfather.  When Willard and Louise bought it in 1977 or ’78, they spent half their time here and the other half in New York City for the next twenty years.

As the oldest structure still standing in the Oysterville National Historic District, there was a time when the house proudly displayed a sign that told a bit about its history.  Somehow, in recent years, the sign has found itself on the upper west wall of the Nordquist House, ironically one of the newer homes in Oysterville.  Perhaps, if the the Oyster Shell Telegraph is correct and there is, indeed, a new steward of the little old cottage, the sign will find its way back to its rightful location.  Should that happen, I’m sure all the houses of Oysterville will send out a collective sigh of contentment.  Stay tuned… you may hear it on the Oyster Shell Telegraph!

 

 

 

 

Yay! It’s A Party! And We’re Invited!!

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

Maggie Stucky, The Queen of Nurturing!

Maggie Stuckey is giving a party – a thank you party for some very special people here at the beach –people who many of us know and love!  And we’re all invited to say “thank you” with her — and to her, also, for that matter!  First. the particulars:

WHEN Sunday, April 14th, 2:00 p.m.
WHERE – Performing Arts Center, Long Beach
GUESTS OF HONOR – Clay Nichols, Sandy Stonebreaker. Mary Funk, Margaret Staudenraus, Dobby Wiegardt, (Marian Lee, Nyel Stevens — in absentia) Lee Johnston, Janice Yang.
ENTERTAINMENT – Music by Sea Strings (Janet & Bill Clark and Ray Hunt), Soulful Variations (Jayson Sheaux and Lee Moos) and Fred Carter.
REFRESHMENTS AND PARTY FAVORS!
SURPRISES AND OPPORTUNITIES –
  Presented by Time Enough Books in a Special Display!     

Maggie  is inviting all of us to come to celebrate with her as she thanks her special guests for their fabulous contributions to her latest book, The Container Victory Garden, A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Groceries.  And just so you know — Sunday, April 14th is National Gardening Day!  What a fabulous way to get the gardening season off to a great start!

If you already have the book, you know that Maggie’s inspiration for its theme came from the Victory Gardens of World War Two (AND World War One, for that matter!).  Maggie has always been about container gardening and during Covid’s “Sheltering Time” she was inspired to return to that theme for a book that could be helpful in a much different time of need.  As the book unfolded, she expanded on the possibilities of container gardening, many of which are illustrated in the fabulous artwork so reminiscent of the poster art of the 1940s war years.

And, Maggie reached out to those who remembered the Victory Gardens from the 1940s — the war years of their youth.  Many  of her guests of honor on Sunday will be people whose stories are interspersed throughout the book.  Such a wonderful party it will be!  See you there!!!
P.S. And if you remember any of those songs popular during the WWII era, I have it on good authority that we get to sing along!

 

 

 

Yesterday’s Mystery Solved… Mostly.

Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

Espy Coat of Arms… Perhaps

In case you haven’t been keeping up — yesterday I noticed that a “Joe Espy” from Idaho had signed the Guest Register at the Oysterville Church.  I hadn’t been home most of the day and wondered if he might have knocked at my door.

Yes, as a matter of fact he had, which he let me know about via Facebook this morning.  He explained that he was on a “spur of the moment trip,” was already on his way back to Idaho, and next time he’d give me more advanced warning.  He also said that he was Buck Espy’s son.  And part of the “Potlatch Espys.”

Aha!  Buck Espy, then a hale and hearty 83, had come visiting in June (I think) of 2016 with his grandson Jesse and Jesse’s wife Dina who (if I’m remembering correctly) was raised with her Basque parents who were shepherds in Idaho.  And did they all live part time in Idaho and part the in the Basque region of Spain? The Basque homeland, Euskal Herria, is a region between France and Spain, near the Pyrenees Mountains and the Bay of Biscay.    I think that’s what I remember and I also think that Dina is now a teacher. Or did I make that all up?

So I jumped to the conclusion that Joe must be Jesse’s father.  WRONG!  At this point Cuzzin Ralph weighed in and explained that Joe is Jesse’s uncle and went on to mention that he (Ralph) has “at least 250 descendants (not counting unrelated wives and hubbies) of Fat’s father Harry Walter Espy (brother of Lillie May Espy) in my database.”  Lordy! Lordy!  My mind boggles.

I had to quit there. Although Ralph does tell me who “Fats” is and a lot of other stuff… I had to leave the conversation.  I was suddenly on overload.  (Though I am curious about those “Potlatch Espys…)  But I’m a people person myself.  I don’t do data bases.  If all those Espys want to come visit Oysterville, I’m all for it.  Just don’t ask me to keep track of who and when…

 

 

 

Who goes around comes around?

Monday, April 8th, 2024

Oysterville Church, January 2019

Tonight when I went to close up the church, I took a minute to check the guest register.  It was such an uninviting day that I wondered…  But, yes!  We’d had at least two visitors today and two yesterday — perhaps more, for everyone doesn’t sign in.  And,  much to my surprise,  one of the guests was a “Joe Espy.”  From Idaho.

We don’t have a “Joe” in our immediate family.  Not among the first or second cousins either — at least not that I’m aware of.  I wished I’d been in town but it was one of those errand-running days, so even if Joe came and knocked on our door, there was no possibility of connecting,

On the other hand, Cousin David is at the Red House I think.  If I see him tomorrow, I’ll ask him what he knows. Meanwhile, there’s always good ol’ Google,  So, I asked how many people are there in the U,S. with the surname Espy. There were about a gazillion answers  (or, in some cases “almost” answers) to that question and, as you might imagine, a good number of them came from ancestry.com.

But as I scrolled down the screen, the seventh or eighth entry looked very familiar indeed.  And, wouldn’t you know, it was from that sydneyofoysterville.com site!  (Here’s the link if you want to check it out: https://sydneyofoysterville.com/2015/espys-the-name-e-s-p-y/)  It even included the Espy Coat of Arms.  I remember writing that blog some time ago but it never occurred to me that someday it would be used to answer my own question — though, truth to tell, it was a little off the point.  But isn’t a lot of information on Google a little off the mark?

R.H. Espy House – Oysterville, WA

So.. now I’m meeting myself coming and going.  Not a surprise to those of you who have known me for a while.  And after all, whether ye be a-comin or a-goin’ in Oysterville, it’s pretty hard to get very lost!

About ten days from now…

Sunday, April 7th, 2024

I spent an hour or so this morning with my new webmaster, fine-tuning and double-checking my soon-to-be-revealed updated website.  I really like it and hope you will, too.  It is very much simpler than the present site — just three main parts, really — A short welcome/introduction from me (which you can skip if you already know me!) my blogsite, and a section about my books — descriptions, where they can be purchased etc. which you can also skip.  My blog will still be accessible on Facebook or directly from my Website each day.  AND, you will be able to search on any of my previous blogs by entering a single word (any word you remember — like “chickens”) and up will come every blog in which that word was used!  Wow!

As I think about that particular feature, I’m wondering how many discrepancies in my information we’ll find.  I know for a fact that over the fourteen years I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned new historical facts and have probably incorporated them into newer blogs.  So, the question is: do I go back and correct earlier “mistakes” or leave them as an example of how continued research helps you fine-tune the historic picture? I imagine it will be a case-by-case decision and I hope that some of the history buffs among my readers can help me out with the “consistency versus evolution” discrepancies as they make themselves known!

The website, overall, is simpler and less-cluttered feeling – or at least it seems so to me.  I can scarcely wait until the unveiling to learn what you think!  Bottom line, of course — my blog, The Oysterville Daybook, will remain much as it has always been except for the ‘search’ enhancement.  I think we are scheduled to go “live” around the 17th of April.  Fingers crossed!

 

Such Great Stories About Wrecks’n’Rescues!

Saturday, April 6th, 2024

L to R — Michael Lemeshko, Phil Allen, Doug Knutzen, Sydney Stevens — all speakers at the April History Forum

If you weren’t at the Oysterville Schoolhouse Wednesday morning, or even if you were, be sure to check out the youtube presentation of the Pacific County History Forum 4-3-2024.  Such great stories!  Among those who attended were a couple of Willapa Bay Artists in Residence, one of whom wrote afterwards:   Thank you so much for the heads up on the History Forum today. I found it so interesting and informative. What a unique gathering of minds and memories. 

And,  if you are in Oysterville within the next few days, look over the fence into our yard (or walk down the lane for a bit) and check out our old pear tree that is in full bloom and is really quite spectacular.  Kathleen Davies was going to come by yesterday or today to take its picture for her Heritage Fruit Tree Project.  I’m not sure how old the tree is, but my mother said it has “always” been there which I take to mean that it was planted by the Crellins shortly after they built the house in 1869.  I believe that it was one of a number of fruit trees that were planted in that southeastern part of the yard — “the orchard” my grandmother called that area, though I don’t remember any other fruit trees there during my lifetime.

Our Pear Tree – April 5, 2024

In any event, Kathleen has been taking pictures of the tree at each stage of its development.  It does still give us fruit –pears (bosc I think) as hard as rocks.  The birds don’t even try them — they seem to know that they are beak-benders.  My grandmother, then my mother, then Nyel, all used my grandmother’s recipe for pickled pears which, in my opinion, helps them not one little bit.  The deer seem to like them, though, (the raw ones, not the pickled ones) and I long ago told them to come and eat their fill.

And, still along the lines of heritage and history, the Pacific County Historical Society’s annual meeting will be held in Raymond on April 14th with Roy Nott as guest speaker.   Roy told about his 40 years with Weyerhauser — many of those years in our Naselle area — at our February Forum on Logging.  That’s where Steve Rogers, PCHS President, met him and prevailed upon him to share some of his stories and information in an upcoming Sou’wester as well as at the Raymond gathering.   Yay Steve!  Yay Roy!  Yay History Forum!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s all about perspective!

Friday, April 5th, 2024

Oysterville Sky, Thursday Evening, April 4th — Photo by Cyndy Hayward

Truth to tell… I completely missed this fabulous sunset sky last night.  My neighbor, Cyndy, often walks her dog along the bayside path in front of our house and last evening, this was her spectacular reward!  And mine, too — vicariously.  I was actually in the kitchen and the windows look out at the church in the same direction but, apparently, the perspective was all wrong.  My view showed a small patch of dark blue sky with white clouds but mostly the darkening woods behind the church.  Obviously, it pays to go out, back off, and look up!

Getting the picture in my mail this morning was a good reminder about sorting out what’s important and what’s not — all of which, ultimately depends upon your perspective.  It’s that glass half-empty-half-full thing.  And, of course, it’s necessary to put yourself in a position to have a bit of perspective in the first place.  I think that’s what some of us elders forget to do sometimes.

Understandable, yes.  Our sight dims.  Our hearing fades.  Our mobility becomes more difficult.  And somehow our perspective becomes oh so much more all-about-us.  (And do I hear Nyel’s voice saying softly, “Speak for yourself, Sydney.”)  Never did he actually say that, but always his vision was outward, not inward.  Without his daily example, I am even more appreciative of the gentle reminders from my friends and loved ones.  Thank you, Cyndy (and Mimi), for a renewed perspective!

 

One time, not so long ago, I was fired…

Thursday, April 4th, 2024

Oysterville Schoolhouse 2008

I’ve spent the last hour or so reading all the “school news” in the Chinook Observer — way more than I really care about and even more that I don’t fully understand.  For one thing, back in the dark ages (from 1961 to 2001) I don’t think either of the School Districts I worked for — Hayward Unified in California and Ocean Beach here — had a Human Resources Department or even a Human Resources Person.   I’m not entirely sure what that is — someone who deals with homo sapiens rather than with bots?  In any case, the word “fired” wasn’t really used in the paper,  but I’m thinking that an enforced resignation comes close to the same thing. and since it sounded as if both sides were in agreement, I was left wondering what all the consternation was about.

I couldn’t help but think back a few years when — during the time that we were slowly recovering from the pandemic —  I was “fired.”  Yep.  Right there in black and white on an email because I had been too outspoken.  Never mind that I refused follow an “order” that I felt would put people in jeopardy — the circumstances really aren’t germane.  What is to the point, I was a volunteer, and as I replied to the email from person-in-charge, ‘it’s hard to fire a volunteer.’  Plus I was here at Ground Zero and knew what we were up against; I have no idea where the firing squad was. It’s difficult to know with emails.

Anyway, the articles in the paper saddened me.  You would think that “educators” of all people, could sit down together and rationally decide how to solve a problem.  And, if the problem has been going on for some time, as the articles indicate, why hasn’t it been dealt with before?  Another case of Oh let’s not air our dirty laundry in public?  Or fear of a messy lawsuit?  Or a desire by school leadership to save face in our small community?

Oysterville Schoolhouse circa 1880

But, it seems that even our schools have gone corporate. (Says the web:  When it comes to business, going corporate means to create a body of systems: policies, models, frameworks, procedures. Going corporate means being organized, knowing how things work, and intentionally choosing to operate in a way that gets results. )  Here in the Ocean Beach School District, of all places, we are small enough that we should be able to deal with one another as human beings, not as appropriate paragraphs in a procedural manual.

I hope this situation will be a wake-up call to us all.  We need to hold our administrators, educators (and our students!) to high standards and. as community members. we need to stay well informed about what is going on in our schools.  Our responsibilities don’t end with passing bond issues.  Besides paying taxes, we need to pay attention.  Most of us aren’t in danger of being fired or having to face a Human Resources guru.  We are actually volunteers and we can’t be fired.  So let’s get more involved and speak out when it seems important.