Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Not Since The Civil War

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Senator Foghorn Leghorn

Nothing much in the news  surprises me anymore — mostly because I seldom pay much attention to anything beyond our local area.  (As in what’s the use?)

But there was a paragraph  in this morning’s NYT article on Menendez which did catch my eye: When politicians are unlikely to be removed, they rarely quit, and Menendez faces little risk of removal. Only the Senate can expel one of its members. It has not done so since the Civil War.

Really???  Not since the Civil War?  Not for 161 years?

Foghorn Leghorn Again

When I looked up more about it, it all became clear — and made me more disgusted than ever.  Basically, the ten senators who were removed at the beginning of the Civil War were from the southern states and they were removed for doing what their states had directed them to do.  In other words, they were doing their jobs.

Those opposed to the 1861 expulsion measure, argued that the southern senators followed the directions of their states and that no senator individually had conspired against the government.  They suggested that the expulsion rule should be reserved for individual acts of misconduct, since formal expulsion of the southern senators would only exacerbate an already inflamed situation. One of those in opposition to expulsion said he believed expulsion implied moral turpitude, a stain upon the personal character of the individuals that most would agree was unjust [in this case.]

And Yet Again

My mind whirls and twirls.  If I, as a teacher, had followed the directions of my principal, even though those directions were contrary to popular belief, should I have been fired?   But then, how can a lowly teacher compare herself to a high and mighty senator — one with gold bars secreted in the clothes of his closet.  No contest, folks.

We are so screwed up.  The mind boggles and the eyes overflow.  I KNOW BETTER than to read the news.  Shame on me!




So tell me again… what season is it, anyway?

Thursday, September 14th, 2023

Late Summer Crocuses?

The crocuses are up in my garden!  I thought that was a bit peculiar but I’m not very green-thumbish.  So I looked it up.  This is what I found:  Crocuses can bloom from late winter to early spring, depending on the area. The flowers hold up for about 3 weeks on average. 

Shasta Daisies? All dead-headed!

Addled I may be, but I’m positive it’s neither late winter nor early spring or even in between the two.  So, what’s with those croci (or crocuses if you prefer) in the beds under my rhododendrons on the east side of the house?

I did a little walk-about this afternoon to see if there are other weirdnesses.  Yes, indeedy!  The Shasta daisies are all but gone and the Black-eyed Susans are drooping toward oblivion.  I’ve watered and dead-headed and talked to them… but apparently for naught.

Droopy Black-Eyed Susans!

So what time of year is it in my garden, anyway?  Is it only this particular garden?  I am flummoxed.  The Garden Girls come tomorrow.  Maybe they’ll have the inside scoop.  And maybe we’ll have to put our heads together and plan a little differently for next year.

Thank you, Michael Lemeshko!

Sunday, September 10th, 2023

Michael Looking for the Best Angle

“Pacific County History Forum” is up and running on YouTube thanks to Michael Lemeshko, one of the Forum organizers.  Michael not only volunteered his video equipment and offered to document each of the monthly sessions.  He also explored how to get them online for those who want to experience the Forum again (and again) and especially for those who have not yet figured out how to be two places at one time.  Way to go Michael!

As he was working on the “finished product,” Michael kept me apprised of his progress:    The only negative is that the video is in 5 parts. So part one is 30 minutes, part 2, 30 minutes, and parts 3, 4, 5, a few minutes each . All due to either changing batteries or hitting pause. 

Then he went on to say: No more hitting pause. Can’t do anything about changing out a dead battery. Learning as we go...

Sydney Moderating

My “take” on it was one of total awe and amazement.  I don’t know what I expected, but I certainly did not think I would learn much by seeing the  video.  After all!  I was right there in the thick of things.  But… you know what they say about being too close to your work.  And it was true — I didn’t see the forest for the trees… (and not the trees very well, either.)

I’m so glad I can listen to each of the speakers again and again.  And I’m equally glad that I won’t be the moderator next month!  (Robby Burns comes to mind: O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us! )  There’s nothing like seeing yourself “up close and personal” to give you a taste of humble pie!

Do take a look!   If you were there in person, you’ll enjoy the “replay.”  And if you weren’t, I hope this will encourage you to come next time!

Back in the day…

Friday, August 25th, 2023

H.A. Espy and Log Wagon Headed South on Territory Road, circa 1900

…when my grandfather was a boy in Oysterville — in the i870s and ’80s — almost every house had a boat of some kind or other in the yard or the field.  It could be a skiff or an Indian canoe or a larger boat for oystering or fishing.  That’s not to say there weren’t also boats pulled up past the high tide line on the bay or in the anchorage near the Oysterville dock,  But boats were definitely part of the upland landscape — whether they were there to be worked on or just to keep safe from winter storms. In addition to boats, every household usually had a horse at pasture — often more than one.  And, perhaps a cow or two.

By my mother and her siblings’ time in the 1900s, 1910s and 1920s, not much had changed.  At our place, there might have been a few more horses at pasture.  My Uncle Ed said that there could be as many as “sixteen at the maximum,” which included the work horses for Papa’s Dairy Ranch and riding and carriage horses for the family.

By my childhood, things had morphed a bit.  The families whose men worked in the oysters often had a boat in the front yard or the  driveway — a boat they were working on, perhaps.  But only the families with kids had horses and usually, one horse per household.  Judy and Peter Heckes were the envy of most all of us because they each had a horse and sometimes Peter could be talked into letting one of the visiting cousins (mine or his) borrow it.

But… the morphing continues.  Now, at least in Greater Downtown Oysterville, there is seldom a horse to be seen — only one being ridden through once in a while by someone who lives outside of town.  I’m happy to say that there are still a few boats — mostly of the recreational variety as opposed to work boats.  And, as there have been since the early 1910s, there are automobiles and “automobile trucks” as my Aunt Medora called them.

AND… there is now a brand new wrinkle!  Electric cars (as well as hybrids) are appearing here and there in driveways around town. And so the morphing continues!  YAY!

Cold Winds and Swallowing Seas?

Sunday, August 20th, 2023

Four of Six on Saturday

It’s Regatta Weekend in Oysterville — THE EVENT OF THE YEAR — someone said at the Regatta Dinner last night!  Judging by the numbers of far-away friends who gathered to clap and cheer at bayside yesterday afternoon and the scores of folks at the traditional Regatta Awards Dinner last night, that assessment is not far off!  Still… I missed some of “the regulars” — the Charley Wachsmuth Family, Lina and Dave Cordray, and Tucker’s cousin Meredith for starters.

Kenny and the Commodore!

I loved it, though, that there were new participants — and twice as many sailors as last year!  “Commodore Tucker” — no longer sailing competitively — sat with the crowd at the end of Clay Street and offered expert commentary on what we were seeing.  I don’t know that anyone has kept count over the years, but I think that there were more sails that hit the water yesterday than ever before and, each time, we landlubbers waited for Tucker’s assessment — was everything all right out there?  Was anyone in trouble?

Lazer Down!

From this old lady’s perspective, the wind was wicked.  AND cold.  I was wearing my own winter jacket and two extra hoodies that friends had offered.  (I must have looked like one huddled mass!)  Later, at the Awards Dinner, the Dees provided a huge basket of blankets for anyone who wanted to wrap up!  (And I was far from the only one who did.)

Wes Weddell’s Potluck Offering

So, here it is… Regatta Sunday 2023.  It’s Tucker’s turn for the “Oysterville Moment” at Vespers.  I’ll let you guess what the subject will be!  (Hint:  the first Oysterville Regatta took place here in 1872…)

Amelia and Carol Wachsmuth – Granddaughter and Grandmother

Cool, Clear Water! And the hot, too!

Monday, August 7th, 2023

Camp Willapa Map, 1940 — as I remember it

I’m sure there’s a saying about not really appreciating something until you don’t have it.  If you’ve been without one of those “take-it-for-granted” things like running water — and not for just a day or two but for a full week or more — you know just what I mean!   After  seven full days and nights in that situation, I can scarcely tell you how joyous it is to shower and to flush to say nothing of use the dishwasher and the washing machine!

It’s not that I’ve never done without the amenities of running water or even electricity.  From the time I was seven until I was fourteen, I spent every July and August at Dorothy Elliott’s Camp Willapa.  We had neither of the above and I honestly can’t remeber giving it a thought.  Each group of campers (“Squirrels” were the youngest — five and six year-olds, I think) included roughly 12 or so girls of a two-to three year age span.  By the time I was 14, I was a “Junior Counselor” and lived with the Squirrels in Squirrel Lodge.

From My Scrapbook – “Our Tent, 1947”

Before that, I worked my way up the age groups, each group having their own large lodge and four or five “tent cabins” in which we slept.  Each group also had an outhouse, a fire pit over which hung an huge cauldron from which we scooped warm water in our tin basins for washing ourselves and maybe our underwear.  Most of our clothing, though — shirts, pants (called “longs” and “shorts”) were sent once a week to the Chells Laundry in Ocean Park.

Our various  daily “duties” were rotated each week and  included “outhouse duty” (sweep, mop, make sure there was T.P. and a supply of lime, “fire duty” which meant having a supply of firewood handy to the fire and keeping an eye on it throughout the day so it never died out completey; water duty which involved pumping buckets and buckets of water from the pitcher pump and filling the cauldron each day.

Hot Water Supply at Camp Willapa

Fortunately, we all took our meals at the Cook Tent whcih most years was run by Mrs. Eberhardt from Ocean Park.  I think it had electricity and I know there was running  water because one of our “punishments” was KP Duty (which I do remember, but not what my transgressions were.)

Those years were later followed by dry camping out of our VW Bug when Charlie and Marta were little.  After many camping trips with zero amenities during my Camp Willapa years, I thought having a Coleman Stove was a luxury beyond compare!

All of these memories notwithstanding, this past week waiting for my ancient pipes (not my personal ones… not yet) to be replaced by the plumber was not a pleasant time.  I would have traded almost anything for the old outhouse that I remember here when I was very young  or that old pitcher pump by the back door with its reliable stream of running water!

Are we zpp,omg tpmogjt???

Monday, July 31st, 2023

Our Weekly Zoom — A Day Later Than Usual!

It was a great weekend — but last night I realized that I was just about done in.  It was about time for our weekly family zoom get-together — Marta, Charlie and  me — and so I wrote to find out if we were “on” — and probably to wiggle out of it if I could.  In the subject-line of my zoom I wrote:  Are we zpp,omg tpmogjt??? which gives you some idea of my condition.  (Even worse, I didn’t notice what I had written until this morning!)

As it turned out, Marta was at a movie that lasted longer than planned — (“Barbie” she reported today.  She gave it a mixed review although she siad she did go all in pink including a pink Barbie Tee Shirt!  YIKES!)  Charlie wasn’t checking emails at all, apparently — going along “as usual” the way guys do…

A Sign of Summer

So… I went to bed.  Marta re-scheduled the zoom meeting for tonight and all was well with the world.  I slept ten hours.  AND took a nap today.  And, in trying to reconstruct the whys and wherefores… I only had the cowboy breakfast on Saturday.  I didn’t even ride a bull or rope a steer!  As for Sunday… it must have been the music of Millionth Street that did me in — soothing to a fault!

I’m loving the Saints or Sinners feedback!

Friday, July 21st, 2023

Isaac Alonzo Clark’s story was in the May 24, 2023 Observer.

For all of you who have contacted me via email or text or through my blog… Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and interest in my current “Saints or Sinners?” series in the Observer. I’m having such fun researching and writing about these “characters” of Pacific County and I’m delighted that readers are enjoying them.

One comment, however, prompted me to go back and do a bit of counting up.  The writer expressed concern that I was dealing with more men than women.  That’s certainly true to date, but will tend to even out at time goes on.  Thus far, I’ve written 30 stories but, if my count is correct, only 18 of those have been published so far. (And there may well be more!) Those first 18 have featured 11 men, 4 women and several stories involving both a man and a woman.

Cecelia Jane Haguet Johnson Howard’s story was in the June 7, 2023 Observer.

Though I’ve not confined myself to a chronological order, I have leaned rather heavily on early “characters” of Pacific County, and a great preponderance of those — at least those who were written about — were men.  I guess the pioneer women were busy tending to the home fires and not as apt to have snippets of gossip or speculation written about them.  Certainly, they are harder to research!  But in the next weeks, more women will surface as “saints or sinners.”

And, by all means, if you have suggestions for me — especially if you can give me some reliable sources for factual information about them — do share!  I can be reached at and am always interested in a good story about the characters of Pacific County!


Some days are like that!

Saturday, July 15th, 2023

Ruth’s Box of Works In Progress

Mostly, it was a day of people.  It began when I picked up my nail guru, Gina (whose car is in the hospital) and then met a new (to me) Oysterville resident whose appointment followed mine. I invited her to the Oysterville Community Club Barbecue which is today and from then on, my day was a whirl wind of people and laughter and plans and fun.

Community Historian Mike Lemeshko arrived — he’s taking folks on walking tours of “Old Ilwaco” today at 2:00 and tomorrow at 10:00; and Cousin Ruth and Friend Cindy from Mercer Island arrived a bit later with a box of Ruth’s books about the Espy Family — several completed, several more in progress.  She and Michael and I are eager to talk about the pros and cons of self-publishing companies and the various pitfalls — they both being experienced along those lines and me still leery.

But we ran out of time.  Friday Night happened… and what a Friday Night it was.  I think there were more than twenty folks who arrived.  Did I manage to have a word with each of them?  Probably not.  But I basked in the glow of a score of conversations happening around me and did have a chance to visit with a few folks from out-of-town who don’t come very often.

Wreck of the Grace Roberts from the Chinook Observer

Tucker brought an interesting artifact from the wreck of the Grace Roberts, an American barkentine stranded two miles south of Leadbetter Point, December 8, 1887, without loss of life.  Parts of her barnacle-encrusted remains could be seen on the Peninsula as late as 1964 –the oldest visible ship’s remains in the “Graveyard of the Pacific” according to James A. Gibbs in his definitive account of local wrecks in his 1950 book, Pacific Graveyard.

All-in-all — a great day!  No photos.  Too involved in “the moment” all day long!

A Final Goodbye to Nyel

Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

Gathering at the Cemetery

We gathered at the cemetery today to wish Nyel our final farewell — just a few of us — Charlie and Marta, of course.  Tucker and Carol who were with me in the immediate hours after Nyel died June 8, 2022.  And Miki and Cate, our long-time friends who spent the difficult hours a few days later going through his clothes and helping me decide — Good Will, Peninsula Players, or a keepsake for one of his friends or farmily.

Sydney says “Goodbye.”

All this time, Nyel’s ashes have been waiting in the Ginger Jar just as my father’s did in 1992 and my mother’s in 2009.  I guess it’s now a family tradition and I may well be next,

“Who will talk to me Who will answer me…” From “The Owl’s Lullaby”

Each of us placed a handful or two of ashes in the hole Tucker had dug in front of our stone and said a few words of farewell.  Cate, (bless her!) brought her guitar and sang “The Owl’s Lullaby” with Marta and me joining in as we could.

The “ceremony” was mostly solemn, yet poignantly upbeat.  Nyel would have approved.  And I think he’d have loved the tea and goodies we had at the house afterwards, as well.  Will this “closure” provide some respite from grief?  No, of course not.  Will I still talk to him, seek his advice, follow what I know would be his example?  I hope so.

Nyel LeRoy Stevens will always be the best part of me.  How lucky I am!