Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Leadership Takes Many Forms

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

Ocean Park Methodist Church (1914-Present)

The trouble with a lot of people in the here and now is that they don’t know squat about the there and then.

And just to be clear,  I’m talking about the Methodists — particularly those involved in leadership positions in our Ocean Park Methodist Church.  If you live on the Peninsula, you’d really have to exist under that proverbial rock not to be aware of some of their problems — problems so serious that the church is closed for worship services and it’s every sinner for himself — or something like that.

I can’t help but think of  the very first church in Pacific County — the Methodist Church in Oysterville built in 1872.  According to an article in the Winter 1967, Volume II issue of the Sou’wester magazine:

OYSTERVILLE METHODIST CHURCH

Oysterville Methodist Church (1872-1921) – First Church in Pacific County

1872
PACIFIC COUNTY’S FIRST
“We now desire to raise $500 to place us out of all embarrassment,” the
trustees, John Briscoe and I . A. Clark, and Board Chairman-Circuit Rider
Minister J . N. Dennison reported at the 4th Quarterly Meeting in 1872 .
“We have procured a lot valued at $200 from I . A. Clark and erected thereon
a plain, substantial building . . . 40′ x 28′, 18′ story . We now propose to
build in front an anteroom 10′ x 12′, 12′ story and finish well the belfry,
all of which will probably cost when finished $1500 .” The bell was
presented by the Crellin family, the golden cross by George H. Brown of
Tokeland. This church stood for the best interests of Oysterville until it
was blown down in the gale of January 29, 1921.
The Rev. John F. DeVore (December 7, 1817 – July 28, 1889)
was the presiding elder of the Methodist Church in 1872, his flock spreading
from his residence in Olympia south to Astoria. Called the John Wesley
of the Northwest, his vigorous 36-year ministry spanned the whole era of
Washington Territorial history. From Rock River, Illinois, in August
1853, he was appointed circuit rider at Olympia, but on the voyage up the
coast he found himself in company with Steilacoom City promoters who
insisted that a church in their wild, untamed community was more sorely
needed. Being of keen mind and ready wit, he immediately drew up a subscription
contract and by docking time on the 23rd the promoters, ship’s
captain and crew, army officers and men, and passengers had pledged
Donations. He preached his first sermon at Steilacoom on August 28 and
within six months the first Protestant church north of the Columbia was
dedicated.
In 1855, when the Olympia congregation was still without a church,
he built one. Captain Clanrick Crosby was approached for a donation of
lumber. Humorously questioning DeVore’s ability to do a day’s work, he
promised to donate all the lumber the minister could transport to Olympia
in a single day. One morning when the tide was right, DeVore went to
work; by evening he had landed a raft of lumber at Olympia. History
repeated itself 17 years later, when he appeared at the old South Bend mill
in a nearly-new frock coat and kid gloves, his lanky 6’2″ frame appearing
frail, and departed with a plunger load of lumber for the Oysterville
church.

Rev. John F. DeVore 1817-1889

Western Washington was, fortunately, sent ministers with broad
vision with a great capacity for work, men who prepared their sermons
while earning a living by the labor of their hands. They assisted in organizing
schools and city, county and territorial governments. The benefits of
their work will live forever. This was especially true of DeVore, whose
sense of humor never failed him. When a bishop once joked that he was
appointed presiding elder, not because he was the best man for the position,
but because he was the only one available, he replied:
“I understand; we had the same problem when we elected you bishop.”

It seems to me that it’s all a matter of leadership.  Either that, or they just don’t make ’em like they used to.

Whispered among the family members…

Saturday, July 31st, 2021

My Great- Grandmother, Annie Medora Taylor Richardson (1856-1902)

Not long before she died in March of 1902, my great-grandmother, Annie Medora Richardson, called her daughter Helen into her bedroom, summoned the last of her strength, and  said:  “That woman may take my place in the marriage bed, but she is NOT to take my jewelry.” Annie was 46 years old; her husband Dan was 47; Helen (my Grandmother Espy) was 24.

“That woman” was Eva F. Gaches  of La Conner, Washington.  She was Helen’s best friend, though perhaps a year or two older, and had been boarding in the Richardson household for several years while attending nearby California College in East Oakland.  So, too, had several members of the Espy family of Oysterville, Washington — including Harry (to whom Helen had been married since 1897), his older brother Ed (also in love with Eva) and their younger sister Susie.  Helen’s 21-year-old brother Sid was also hopelessly smitten with Eva.

Eva Gaches Richardson c. 1915

Although my grandmother never talked about the “situation” directly, the story of Eva and her swains was well-known in the family.  No sooner had Annie Medora died, than widower Dan asked for Eva’s hand.  For propriety’s sake, they set the date for a year hence —  April 3, 1903.  Young Sid also asked but, apparently, Eva’s rejection did not feel final.  He stuck around until the eve of the wedding and then left California, “never to return as long as his father was still living.”  Or so the story goes.

Whether or not Ed Espy spoke to Eva about his feelings for her is still a matter for speculation  Not too long after Dan and Eva’s marriage, Ed contracted tuberculosis, and although he continued working as an attorney for several years, he finally succumbed to the disease in 1906.  Or… did he die of a broken heart?

My Great-Grandfather, Daniel Sidney Richardson (1851-1922)

My grandmother Helen and her sister Ruth both adored their father.  He could do no wrong.  Nevertheless, there was the feeling in the family that they both blamed Sid’s “lack of ambition” on their father, thinking him too wrapped up in Eva to give proper guidance to Sid and to see him situated in a suitable profession.  Apparently, neither raising cranberries nor growing pear trees was considered “suitable,” no matter how successful Sid was at either or both.

Sid did marry and although we all liked and respected Aunt Bu, she was not Eva.  And Eva, despite all, was considered infinitely more suitable  — whether for father, son, or best friend’s brother-in-law.  Her story and that of the men who loved her is probably the closest we have to a skeleton in our family closet.  But the best part of the story is that Dan and Eva had a son and that son had several kids of his own — among them my cousins Eva and Lina in Austria!  Since neither Sid nor Ed had children, we can only believe that Eva’s choice was exactly right — especially for ensuing generations!

 

Christmas in July!

Saturday, July 24th, 2021

Ambrose Greetings From The Past

A very young Ambrose (Gordon’s alter ego), sporting full seashore regalia, looked at us from the greeting card which said, “If you’re careful on the beach…. nothing BAD will happen.” Printed on the back: BEACH BUNNY CARD, The Gull Motel, Long Beach, Washington.

Ambrose, accompanied by two tissue-wrapped packets, came out of a plain brown shopping bag, left on top of our piano by Gordon’s niece, Karen.  “Open it later,” she said.  “It’s part of my down-sizing program.”  ‘Later’ turned out to be after dinner when Nyel and I were reviewing the fun we’d had at Gordon’s 95th.  We were pretty sure the package would contain Christmas ornaments.  Karen had inherited hundreds of them from Gordon and Roy’s collections and, in the course of the afternoon, she mentioned that she was in the process of finding homes for them as she and Bill were preparing to move to a smaller house.

Roy’s Bear

And right we were.  Two ornaments!  A gorgeous bear collectible from the Christopher Radko Collection which, no doubt, was once Roy’s as he was an avid collector;  and, a fabulous rabbit sitting on a checkered wooden egg — Gordon’s, of course.  “Collectible” to Gordon meant rabbits and OZ memorabilia, never mind name brands.

Gordon’s Rabbit Ornament

Also, never mind that we, too, are down-sizing.  Or that we have switched from 11-foot-high to table-sized Christmas trees.  We were delighted.  And for a few moments we were transported back to the days when ‘Gore and Roar’ owned the Gull Motel in Long Beach and to the years of Christmas parties which, eventually, required three trees to hold all the ornaments!!  It was a lovely Christmassy remembrance in July!  Thanks, Karen!

Say a prayer and cross your fingers!

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

The 43rd year of Vesper services begins a week from Sunday — “God willin’ an the creek don’t rise” as our friend George Talbott used to say.  The Oysterville Restoration Foundation waited until Governor Inslee made his July 1st “proclamation” regarding Covid protocols for the rest of the summer — assuming, of course, that things continue to get better, not worse.

In answer to  the question, can religious and faith based services be held:
Yes. It is permissible to hold indoor and outdoor services at full capacity with no physical distancing requirements.  The services covered in these operational guidelines include all worship services, religious study classes, religious ceremonies, religious holiday celebrations, weddings, funerals, and support groups.

So, as of July 1st, Carol Wachsmuth and I got to work!  (You might remember that both of us have long since “retired from our volunteer scheduling jobs, but it seemed important to get started” and no one else had stepped up.)  We divided the responsibilities — Carol would book the ministers and the ORF members who would present the Oysterville Moments; I would schedule the musicians and the organists.  Vespers would start August 1st and continue every Sunday afternoon through September 26th.  A bit shorter season — only nine Sundays as opposed to twelve — and a much shorter time span in which to do the scheduling — three weeks as opposed to our usual six months!!

A Sign of Summer

We had no time to wait for people to adjust their own calendars or readjust vacations  or (in the case of musicians) to pull a group together or, or…  And, miraculously, every single person we contacted was able to fit themselves in where they were needed.  THE best volunteers EVER!  We finished booking by July 16th and asked all participants to double-check the sample bulletin just in case.  On Tuesday-the-20th we  took the finished copy to LazerQuick, and distributed the finished bulletins to the ministers that very afternoon!

OMG!  35 participants filling 36 spots over 9 weeks and all scheduled within three weeks!  Unbelievable and unprecedented and a tribute to all the volunteers who have given so generously of their time in the past!  And all of whom have told us time after time how dreadfully they  missed Vespers last year.  Just like the rest of us!  Say a prayer and keep your fingers crossed that it will all work out as intended.  And see you there a week from Sunday — three o’clock, August 1st!

No matter how you slice it…

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

Label on the Carton of Books

The labels on the packages said, “Historic Haunts of the Long Island Beach Peninsula.”  SAY WHAT??  The Long Island Beach Peninsula???  I don’t think so.

The books were a rush order from Arcadia Publishing. We (meaning most every bookseller of these books on the Peninsula) were O-U-T of the books.  I had plenty on order but… there was a three day weekend AND a holiday Monday.  No books would be here until next week.

AAAAUUUUGGHH!  With an upcoming book talk and book-signing at BOLD in Long Beach (Sunday, July 11th, 2:00-4:00), I was distraught.  I emailed my BSG (Book Supplier Guru) Elysia at History Press with yet another order and she made magic happen.  I’m not sure what she did but, somehow, she got the books out of that North Carolina warehouse and onto my front porch in nothing flat!  Order placed July 6th and on my porch July 8th!  Wow!

Cover: Historic Haunts of the Long Beach Peninsula

“Are you sure they are your books?” Nyel asked.  OMG!  Quick as a wink, I opened the boxes and, yes, they were my ghost story books!  I did have a moment of panic remembering some of my Uncle Willard’s stories about editors and reporters on the East Coast who insisted that our Peninsula was a part of the Olympic Peninsula (and that we still live side-by-side with “Red” Indians.)  Long anything must, of course, be Long Island, I guess, as in Long Island Beach.

But, here they are — 50 of the first book of ghost stories: Ghost Stories of the Long Beach Peninsula and 100 of Historic Haunts of the Long Beach Peninsula!  Yay!  Tomorrow I’ll double-check with the booksellers in the area and fill in the blank spots as needed!  PLUS, I will be able to supply plenty of books for the book-signing at Bold on Sunday!  So… come on over!  Let’s talk g-h-o-s-t-s!  See you there at two o’clock!

On our porch (in the shade) 105º at 3:55 p.m.

Sunday, June 27th, 2021

The power has been out.  There was a wedding at the church across the street.  Mike Lemeshko came calling and brought iced coffees.  And we’ve just been lazing around enjoying the excuse to do absolutely nothing on a Sunday afternoon.

I can’t remember a day this hot here in Oysterville.  Ever. The house stays relatively cool — 83º right now and holding steady.  Those old builders of 1869 knew how to construct for the weather — hot, cold, rainy or whatever.  Mostly, we don’t have any huge expanses of “picture windows” anywhere.  It makes it dark and cozy by firelight in the winter and, apparently, bearable when under a summertime heat dome.  Good to know!

I see online that my friends are covering their hydrangeas and taking their potted plants inside.  Mine are taking their chances.  No way am I going out there to rescue the garden.  I was going to water, but I see that that is a no-no as well.  Not until the sun goes down — by which time, I’ll probably be sound asleep.

Who knew?  I’m a California girl.  The hotter it got, the more we watered.  I don’t remember ever frying a plant, but maybe it’s a matter of acclimatizing.  (Them as well as us.)   We’ll see what the next few days bring…  I hope it’s not higher numbers.  And even more fervently, I hope there are no crazies setting off early fireworks or disregarding the burn ban.  This place is a tinderbox!  Stay cool, everybody!

Blogetty Blogetty Blogetty Blog!

Thursday, June 17th, 2021

I began blogging late in March 2008.  My original intent was to post a new entry every single day.  I’ve not quite made it, but today’s Number 3985 isn’t far off the mark.  I haven’t counted the actual days so I’m not sure how many I’ve missed.  And, truth to tell, I’m no longer sure why.   Maybe sickness — mine or Nyel’s.  For sure the week we were off on a cruise with my old high school friends.  It probably bothered me at the time but I seem to have survived.

Though blogs had been around since 1994, the idea was new to me (and to most people) when I began.  Even so, by 2008 blogging had evolved from a sort of personal diary that people shared online to a new way to communicate information.  I saw it as an opportunity to convey information about this little corner of the world and, most especially, about Oysterville.  Oh, and of course shameless advertising about my books!

For me, of course, Oysterville includes my family (past and present) as well as all of the events and stories and slices of life (past and present) that have come to my attention during my long life.  All things Oysterville… or at least almost all.  “Oysterville Daybook” is meant to be part journal, part commentary, part advertisement and as interesting as I can make it.  Except when I can’t.

At first, I posted each day’s entry on my website, www.sydneyofoystrville.com.  Soon, in order to become more visible, I began to post the Daybook on Facebook, as well.  That has been fabulous — lots of feedback and great clarity as to favorite topics.  Chickens win hands down!

But my facebook blog posts have led to a bit of confusion, too — especially if I am on a rant about something-or-other.  Yesterday, for instance, I was sounding off a bit about the dangers of parking at the Oysterville post office and suggesting that speed bumps on the other side of Davis Hill might help slow things down.

In good FaceBook modus operandi, I received several responses to that blog that suggested how I might solve the problem.  Sorry.  While I’d love to see the problem taken care of, I do not in any way see myself as the one to do anything about it.  My role is to observe, inform, report, and perhaps to lament or castigate or criticize — sort of in an editorial sense.  If a problem needs “fixing,” my fondest hope would be to inspire someone to do just that.

Concerning those speed bumps, though…  I haven’t much hope.

 

Never mind the calendar — IT’S SUMMER!

Monday, June 14th, 2021
The Heckes Place, 1920s

The Heces Boarding House in Oysterville was busy during the summers in the 1930s and ’40s.

It used to be that you could tell it was summertime when “the beach filled up”  — a phrase meant that all the summer homes and boarding houses were full of people who had come for “the season.”  Nowadays, with mobility and telecommuting and year-round tourism such as they are, it’s harder to see that line of demarkation between the seasons.  Lately, I’m finding it’s the recycling centers that give the best clue.

Last Friday I went to our nearest recycling center (Nahcotta) with two tubs full of glass and plastic.  There was still room in the container for glass — barely.  But the plastics container was full to the brim.  At one time I thought Peninsula Sanitation emptied those big containers on Thursday, but maybe not anymore.  Surely by Friday morning there should still have been some space.  But maybe the pick-up day has changed or maybe there are just more recyclers making use of the service.  If that’s the case… hooray!  Or maybe the beach has filled up even though official summer is yet a week away.

August 2, 1949 — Clam Chowder served at Dedication of the Ocean Park Arch

But, no matter the season, it’s not unusual to find all those big bins full to overflowing and I always wonder why Peninsula Sanitation doesn’t have their “transfer” times posted.  Or I guess that’s what you call the clean-out process.  The Nahcotta center and seven others throughout south county are listed as “Drop Box Recycling” centers on the Peninsula Sanitation Website, but no times are given.

This morning about 9:00 I tried again and found that today was the day!  All drop boxes were closed as the bins were being unloaded into huge black plastic bags and readied for transport.  It was an errand morning for me — returning library books, picking up prescriptions, taking Nyel to OBH for some lab work — so I swung by the Long Beach Recycle Center and found it ready and waiting for my plastics — and anything else, for that matter!  Yay!  Had I known, I’d  have brought the cans and cardboard, as well.

So… I wonder if Monday is always clean-out day now.  And is it in addition to Thursday?  And are there other days?  I should’ve asked…

 

Ta dah! The cover is perfect… book to follow!

Monday, May 17th, 2021

Cover: Historic Haunts of the Long Beach Peninsula

A proof of the cover for my up-coming ghost book has arrived and it couldn’t be more perfect!  I love it!  The parsonage (Mrs. Crouch’s place) is in the foreground with the Oysterville Church (where you-know-who used to preach) peeping from behind.  It says it all — especially if you already know the basic outlines of Mrs. Crouch’s story!

The new book, Historic Haunts of the Long Beach Peninsula, is not exactly a sequel to Ghost Stories of the Long Beach Peninsula (2024).  But sort of.  First of all, The History Press doesn’t do sequels — they told me so, themselves.  Nevertheless, this is the second book they’ve published by me about the ghosts of our area and it does contain a follow-up story (just one) about the only ghost I’m sure actually lived here. In this very house (where Nyel and I now live) from November 1, 1892 – July 22, 1893 — the final nine months of her short,   20-year-old life.

In the new story, “Closure for Mrs. Crouch,” readers will learn more about her preacher husband and what happened to him after he left Oysterville some months following his young wife’s death.  You will remember that he left “under a cloud” — a warrant was out for his arrest — and, until recently, there was little information about what happened next.  But, thanks to Cuzzin Ralph and his penchant for following the constant updates in digitized information, I was able to tell a great deal more of Josiah Columbus Crouch’s horrifying story.

My own experiences with Mrs. Crouch began with this ancient typewriter.

If you haven’t read the first story, “Mrs. Crouch, The Preacher’s Wife” in the 2014 book, I suggest that now is the time.  The “sequel” will be available on June 21st — just a few weeks hence.  Stay tuned for where it will be available and for possible Fourth of July book-signings — depending upon Governor Inslee’s soon-to-be released decisions about “re-opening” the State.

It was just one of those days…

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

Today we drove to Portland to the Casey Eye Institute at OHSU — specifically to the Glaucoma Department to consult with a specialist about the pressures in my eyes — specifically my left eye.  It’s a trip I’ve been dreading for over a year — not just because of the “verdict” I might hear, but because of the  drive, itself.  When you don’t trust your ability to see, driving to unfamiliar territory is a bit terrifying.  But along came Covid and “saved” me from having to face the inevitable… until today.

It went well on all counts.  Nyel  (who cannot drive anymore but can see circles around me) rode shotgun and made sure I was aware of changing speed limits, upcoming “Men At Work” and other road hazards that are bound to get in the way of smooth sailing (or whatever we do on dry land.)   My appointment was for one o’clock and we arrived in plenty of time to scope out the building and find a spot to eat our lunch which Nyel had made before we left home — tuna fish sandwiches, chips for me, an apple for him, and some tangerines for both of us.

I was pleased with the doctor who dealt with me.  He was wonderful about answering my questions and totally reassuring about my glaucoma status — as in… so far I’ve lost very little peripheral vision and by following up with this appointment I’m actually being “pro-active” about my eye health.  Yay!

A Page from 2006!

When we arrived home we followed our “usual” recent cocktail hour routine of looking at a scrapbook that is headed to the  Columbia Pacific Heritage  Museum.  Tonight’s was “2006, January to June”.  So many meals out with friends!   And, I’m happy to say, so many with my mom!  And, sadly, so many “goodbyes” — to Lee McHugh and to my cousins by marriage John Speziali and Ralph Rittenour, and to my very best friend through high school and beyond, Joanne Bruner Dangerfield.  Plus it was the year I signed the contract for my Dear Medora book with WSU Press.  Fifteen years ago!  It seems so short ago and so long ago all at the same time.

A full day for sure!  We are counting our blessings once again.