Connecting [the family] Dots

Oct 10, 2010 | 5 comments

Ocean Park School, Grades Three and Four, 1982-1983

     In 1982 John Snyder and I were team-teaching a third/fourth grade class at Ocean Park School.  We had a huge double-sized classroom and, as I recall, 54 kids in the two grades.  By the second or third day of school, we realized that we not only had several brothers and sisters among the members of our class, but quite a few cousins, as well.  We decided to do an informal “sociological survey.”
     We had all the kids stand in a big circle.  “If you have a brother or sister in this classroom, sit down,” we directed.  Four or five kids sat.
     “If you have any cousins in this classroom, sit.”  Maybe a dozen sat that time.
     “If you have any brothers and sisters in other classrooms in Ocean Park School, you may sit down.”  Quite a few more sat.
     And by the time we gave our last instruction, “If you have any cousins in other classrooms in our school, sit down,” we had only three kids left standing!
     There were other connections, as well.  At some point during that year one of our little boys shared, “I have a new Uncle Bob.  He moved in yesterday.”
    Before we could leap into the discussion with our well-practiced mantra, “Is that family business? Is it appropriate to share?” the boy next to him looked at him absolutely incredulously.  “Uncle Bob?” he said.  “I thought he was my Uncle Bob!  I wondered where he went.”
     Margaret Staudenraus was the Kindergarten teacher at Ocean Park in those years and she and I used to fantasize about doing a gigantic family tree on the back, outside wall of the school.  We thought it would be instructional for all of us and might get folks into the study of genealogy.  But it seemed too daunting and we weren’t sure there would be enough wall space.
     The idea continues to intrigue me, however, especially with regard to the interconnections in early Oysterville.  And, to further whet my appetite, within the last few months, three different people have contacted me through the internet (one from Australia!) concerning their Oysterville forebears.  Through contacts like these, I am continually learning about new pieces of our early history and about how the first families here were intertwined. I love it!
     It stands to reason that in the 1850s and 1860s, when there were only a few hundred white settlers in Pacific County, young people of ‘courting’ age had limited choices.  There were many marriages between neighbors and, in the first generations, I suspect that most Oysterville families were connected in some way.  I’m toying with the idea of doing an Oysterville Family Tree circa 1870… but not on the schoolhouse wall!


  1. sandy stonebreaker

    Undobtedly a lot of “Uncle Bob’s” still around. And, the confusion of kids as to their moving around.
    Always fun to read your posts.
    But, you haven’t given us any updates of your chickens. I have been wondering what you are going to do with each one as it quits laying. And, they all do eventually. Can you stand to put them in the stew pot?


  2. Brigid

    Wish I could make that picture bigger to see who I know.

  3. Jim Courtnier

    Hah! the Uncle Bob story is priceless! Now locked away in my “Grey Matter Storage Vault”. Thanks Sydney!

  4. Martha Murfin

    I was in Ocean Park and remember those class rooms. I have lost John Snyder—don’t know where they went. I have you in Oysterville–where else?

    • sydney

      How fondly I look back on those days. That was when the kids all called you “Mrs. Muffin.” Do they still call you that?


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