From Oysterville to Russia and Back Again

Sep 14, 2010 | 0 comments

Our Sign Online

     Yesterday John Downer sent me this message:  Young colleagues of mine in Russia operate a site devoted to type and lettering. Your new PRIVATE HOME sign is the latest image posted:
     The sign he is talking about is the one that is on our gate.  John has recently redesigned and repainted it along with another small sign on the fence which says Thomas Crellin House, 1869.  Both were in great need of restoration and we were delighted that John had time to do them while he was visiting on the peninsula.  Most peninsula residents have seen and admired his work many times, whether they know it or not. John is the one responsible for the well-known ‘Jack’s Country Store’ sign on Jack’s building in Ocean Park.
     In order to repaint our signs, John needed to remove them from our fence which worried me a little.  The reason that my folks had the PRIVATE sign done in the first place was that tourists often came into our yard assuming that the house was a museum of some sort.  Once my mother walked into the living room and actually found a young couple there looking around admiringly!  The PRIVATE HOME sign went up shortly thereafter.
     John kept his promise to be as fast as he could but, even so, we did have several strangers come into the garden during the time the sign was gone.  I think it’s the TSAKO-TE-HAHSH-EETL sign above the gate that confuses them.  Maybe they think that means “Welcome, Come On In.”  Anyway, we are delighted to have the signs back and looking better than they ever have.
     Learning that our sign went online through a Russian site made me smile.  Haven’t we come a long way, though?  I remember after World War Two when everyone was worried about the Cold War and the very thought of Russians made us shiver.  We lived in Alameda, California in those years and some of our neighbors actually built bomb shelters in case of an A-bomb attack.  Not too many years later, when I was a student at Stanford, I remember standing around the teletype machine at the Stanford Daily to learn what new atrocities Joe McCarthy was committing against anyone he suspected of being Russian or communist sympathizers.
     And… isn’t there some irony in a sign which says “Private” being displayed on the World Wide Web?  Maybe it’s a kind of new- age oxymoron.


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