On Being Three

Jul 26, 2010 | 2 comments

Sydney with Cousins Wallace and Charles, 1938

      Danielle Wachsmuth turned three yesterday.  Danielle is the granddaughter of our neighbors Tucker and Carol Wachsmuth, and she visits Oysterville frequently.  News of her birthday set me to remembering…  I think my first clear memories, though few and far between, are of things that happened when I was about Danielle’s age.
     I wasn’t as lucky as she is to live within a few hours’ drive of Oysterville.  At that age, I lived in Boston and my first visit here was by train in 1938.  I was two and a half and I remember only the scary thrill of walking from one train car to another – the warm oily smell which greeted us when my mother opened the heavy door at the end of one car, the loud noise of the wheels on the tracks, and the scary few steps across the coupling to the door of the next car.
     In later years as my mother recalled the trip, she declared that I walked the entire way to the west coast.  I, apparently, wore her out wanting to walk back and forth and she was much relieved when, in Minneapolis, we picked up my cousins Wallace and Charles.  Wallace was thirteen and Charles was nine and they eagerly took over mom’s walking duties.  She said the conductor also took pity on the three of them and walked with me some of the time.
      From the few pictures of that summer (and the perhaps the next – no dates on them, of course!) I’m sure it was an idyllic visit from my viewpoint.  We went on picnics and outings with family and friends and there were lots of children about my age – Johnny and Ruthie Holway, Peter and Judy Heckes, Anne and Nancy Cannon.  Whatever blurred impressions I retain most certainly set the tone for my feelings about Oysterville.  I loved my time here then and I love it now.  I have no doubt that Danielle’s memories will be as wonderful!


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Creating memories for children is so important. What a lovely memory a train trip from Boston to Oysterville must be! You perfectly describe my own memories of taking the train from Seattle to Vancouver, WA where my grandparents lived. I love train travel and am sorry that our network of trains has become so fragmented. I used to take my children from Seattle to Vancouver on the train and they “walked the whole way”, too. As an only child my cousins were as dear to me as siblings would have been. Perhaps dearer since we were not competing for our parents attention!

  2. Charley Wachsmuth

    Thanks Sydney! Oysterville sure is a wonderful place with some wonderful people!


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