When the Red House Cousins come to town…

August 17th, 2022

From Lexie’s FB Page – (Thanks Lexie!)

I went visiting this afternoon — four houses north and two generations south.  It was a hubbub of activity at the Red House as it has always been my live-long life!  Those cousins of mine can pack more activities and fun into a short stay than any other ten families I know.

As I knocked at the open door and walked into the kitchen, Anna was mixing a serious looking cocktail that involved egg whites and pisco (a kind of brandy) and Angostura bitters — “pisco being about 95 proof” said her dad, Jim.    “Beeg and I met pisco in Lima Peru seventeen years ago,” he told me.  “We brought the bottle back with us and last night was the first time it has been opened.”  Pisco Sours — one for me, one for Jim — we being the Honorable Elders of this particular family gathering.

Although, “gathering” doesn’t quite categorize what usually happens at the Red House!  More of a meet, greet, and off to fly a kite or take a swim or, in the case of Anna’s husband, Rob — to paint another section of the house with a fresh coat of red.  (Or at least that’s where I think he disappeared to!)

I caught glimpses of all five of the “youngers” — Lexie’s boys, Kahrs, Anders and Bo and Anna and Rob’s two, Anwyn and Walker.  But not all at the same time and not all doing the same thing.  Kahrs, flat on his back in the lane managing the kite flying overhead.  Anwyn in the kitchen, in the back yard, down the lane, in the tall grass.  Bigger kids so far out in the bay it was hard to tell who was who.  No one still.  Everyone having fun.

Red House Cousins!  Wow!  And that wasn’t all of them by any means — only the ones here and now.  YAY!

RCMQ Incognito!

August 16th, 2022

RCMQ – Incognito at the Oysterville Regatta Dinner

I’ve seen them in formal wear.  I’ve seen them in casual outfits.  But on Sunday at the Regatta Dinner was the first time I had ever seen the Rose City Mixed Quartet incognito!

The four of them — Mark Petersen, bass; Helen Dietz, alto; Dale Webber, tenor; Cameron Herbert, soprano; — had come for one of their periodic weekend visits.  Mark’s wife, Elo was with them which was a special treat and I was pleased that their stay in Oysterville coincided with our annual Regatta weekend.  To top things off, the weather was picture perfect.  Never mind that there was hardly enough wind to make it a proper sailboat race.  We happily cheered and clapped, were given ice cream bars by Regatta organizer Tucker Wachsmuth, and all had a marvelous time!

Our neighbors “four doors up,” Alan and Kathy Dees, hosted the Regatta Dinner this year — pulled pork or Buddha bowls with all the trimmings!  Then the Awards Ceremony, topped off by Commodore Tucker’s presentation of the Oyster Cup to first place winner, his son Clark Wachsmuth.  Closing the festivities was this year’s Regatta Song presented by Tucker with zany vocal accompaniment by Fred Carter.  A grand finale… we thought.

Rose City Mixed Quartet – In Formal Wear

And then, when most of us were diving into dessert, came familiar voices singing “Ain’t Misbehaving.”  WOW!  “Did you know they were going to sing?” I asked Elo who was sitting next to me.  “No.  Not at all.”

As Tucker said the next morning, “It was like magic.  No one there knew who they were — just that they had been your guests at the Regatta, as such, were at the Dinner Party.  And suddenly, they were singing and there was just no mistaking that they were professionals!  Really!  It was like magic!”

Rose City Mixed Quartet – In Casual Mode

The crowd gathered, standing, behind our front row seats and you could have heard a pin drop as we all listened.  Tucker had it right,  It was magical!  Then a standing ovation, introductions, and we all resumed our dessert.  The Rose City Mixed Quartet — no longer incognito in Oysterville!

“And of course there will be music!”

August 15th, 2022

Barbara Poulshock – A Cate Gable Photo

My heart is heavy with the news of Barbara Poulshock’s death… and, of course with the inevitable regrets that accompany the last journey of a much-admired friend and neighbor.  Did I ever tell her how much I appreciated her fortitude and determination to live life on her own terms as she aged?  Or how much her (seemingly) casual remarks shared over coffee at Adelaide’s about her last years with her beloved Normand sustained me in recent times?

Probably not.  I was always overawed by her grace and fortitude and found it difficult to maneuver beyond her incredible talents. I confess that I sometimes found it difficult to feel easy in her company.  Until… until the time she told me how my own mother had helped her over the rough spots of learning to live alone!  Music and achievement had nothing to do with their bond.  It was their love of old lace and fine stitchery and the reverence for beautiful old handwork that drew them together.  Another dimension of Barbara.  Another dimension of my mother.  And a bond that included me.

Barbara’s son David has written:

Barbara Poulshock at the Oysterville Church, 2014

Mom’s Celebration is at 10AM Thursday
Hello all.  By now you all have heard the news of Mom’s passing,  Friday, August 12th (my apologies if this is the first time you’ve heard).  I want you to know how much the family appreciates your love and support of Mom over these many decades. It’s been a wonderful life!  So that you know, it was a peaceful transition and her last days were joyful, surrounded by family, listening to music, enjoying the sunshine — even giving a piano lesson!
Many thanks to Amber Jacobs, Mary Davis and the Coastal Care team for taking such good care of Mom this last month and a half. We are so grateful she was able to come home and spend time with her wonderful circle of friends.
Since the family was already here, having travelled from all parts of the world, we have planned her Celebration of Life  this coming Thursday:
10:00 AM — Thursday, August 18th
Ocean Park United Methodist Church
Pastor Mary Evelyn Long will guide the celebration.
And of course, there will be music!


Aug. 13, 2022 – A Big Day at the North End!

August 14th, 2022

2022 Regatta Invitation

Yesterday it was Jazz and Oysters in Nahcotta and, in Oysterville, it was the Annual Regatta.  When you think about it… it could have been Jazz and Oysters in Oysterville (as it was, once upon a time) and the Regatta in Nahcotta  — which has a ring to it but without historical reference like the Oysterville Regattas of 150 years ago!

2022 Regatta – Photo by Vicki Carter

Yes, really!  Regattas on Shoalwater (now Willapa) Bay were originally begun in the ’70s – the 1870s that is – by the oystermen of the area.  They had organized the Oysterville Yacht Club and, after the races each year, the club gave a Regatta Ball, “ever to be remembered as the crowning social event of the season,” according to Wallace Stewart who was known as one of the best sailors on the bay.  Their sailboats, of course were their oyster sloops – their everyday work boats.  They were 30 feet long, ten feet wide, had centerboards and were known as “plungers” perhaps for the way they looked in choppy waters.

Tucker’s great-grandfather, Meinert Wachsmuth sailed in at least one regatta in the 1890s and so it is not only generational but, perhaps a bit genetic, that Tucker and his family have been carrying on the Oysterville Regatta tradition for the past quarter century or so — but with Lasers, not Plungers.  Not only has Tucker been  Chief Organizer of this event, but his family has been in the thick of it, as well – Carol who has been hostess to the multitudes; daughter Lena who has overseen the Awards Dinner afterwards; son Clark who numbers among the competitors; and Cousin Chris Freshley who re-instituted the Oysterville Regatta twenty-seven years ago (more or less) and then did then hand-off to Tucker a few years later.

Fred and Tucker sing Tucker’s 2022 Regatta Song – Photo by Vicki Carter

This year Tucker began the next Regatta “hand-off” to summertime neighbor Alan Dees — talked about since pre-covid days and officially begun yesterday with Alan and wife Kathy hosting the Regatta dinner after the race.  Wachsmuths were still at center stage, however, with Tucker presenting the first place “Oyster Cup” trophy to his son Clark who won the race for the third year in a row.  And, in recent regatta tradition, Tucker sang his “regatta song” — this year with the zany accompaniment of Fred Carter.

And from all reports drifting up the bay from Nahcotta, Jazz and Oysters went swimmingly as well.  It was definitely a summer weekend to remember for Peninsula Northenders!


Sometimes it happens… sometimes not.

August 11th, 2022

Just because I didn’t see it, doesn’t meant it isn’t there.  I’ve missed it before and I probably will again.

I’m talking here about the announcement of the upcoming Sunday Vespers program in the Chinook Observer.  Upon my query, the editor kindly agreed to run a short article each week that I would submit telling the who, what, why, when, and where of the  weekly Music Vespers Programs at the Historic Oysterville Church.  Most weeks I see it but this week… either I missed it or other  late breaking news pre-empted it.

So… just in case:  this is what I wrote.  (If you already saw it, just move on…):

            A Promise from Fred Carter For Sunday’s Music Vespers

“I’ll be playing favorites for everyone at the Oysterville Church on Sunday and that’s a promise!” local singer-songwriter Fred Carter said of his upcoming Music Vespers program on August 14.  Carter is well-known locally as a musician who can play almost any tune once he’s heard it.  “I just need a little help on the lyrics now and then,” he laughs.

Sunday’s service will open at 3:00 p.m. with an “Oysterville Moment” by Sydney Stevens.  This week she will tell the shivery tale of an early minister’s wife, Mrs. Crouch, who drowned under mysterious circumstances back in 1892. Steve Kovach will present a short homily after which pianist Barbara Bate will accompany the congregational hymn-singing,  The public is invited to “come as you are” to this free Sunday Music Vespers Service.

Hope to see you all there!



I do believe she’s a little P.O.’d!

August 10th, 2022

Still Standing At 2:30 This Morning

Wow!  That was some light show that Mother Nature put on for us last night!  Two ayem — and I’m pretty sure it was the light, not the noise, that woke me up.  My bedroom was as bright as day — but blinking on – off – on – off.  And then… the thunder.  It seemed to begin south of us, came right overhead, and then travelled north.

The whole performance seemed leisurely — lots of lightning for a prolonged period and then the thunder blasted forth — also for a prolonged period.  When is was smack dab overhead, I actually went out to the dining room and looked across the street at the church.  I knew (No.  Make that hoped) I was being foolish, but I went to check on the steeple.  Was it still there?  And if it weren’t, could the Mack Brothers and Sons replicate it as their mentor Ossie Steiner had done in 1980?

I didn’t really think about this house.  I did remember my dad worrying when the house shimmied and shook in heavy winds.  “Oh, Bill!” my mom would say.  “It’s stayed standing for storm after storm for more than 100 years.  I don’t think it’s going to collapse during this one.”  My dad didn’t argue — after all she’d spent at least twenty years growing up here before he came along… But he always looked skeptical.

This old house in the early part of the 20th century — when it was younger. And so were we.

I guess I, too, feel safe within these walls, at least weather-wise.  Tsunami-wise, earthquake-wise, fire-wise — probably not so much.  But so far, I’m counting on Mother Nature to continue to look on us favorably here.  In comparison to so many, we are mighty lucky.  Though I do think she was having a bit of a temper tantrum last night.  I wonder what pissed her off?  I hope whoever/whatever it was has seen the error of their ways and made amends somehow.  I’m counting on a good night’s sleep tonight!

And in my garden — a merry minuet!!

August 9th, 2022

Dying Daisies

Do you remember the Kingston Trio’s song, “The Merry Minuet” — better known as  “They’re rioting in Africa,” the first line of the song’s lyrics?  I can’t get the tune out of my head this summer, but the words in my head have nothing to do with the status of our world.  They’re rioting in Africa, They’re starving in Spain, There’s hurricanes in Florida, And Texas needs rain.

No,  In fact the words in my head are totally unclear and the tune drowns out my real world only when I’m in my garden.  I think it has something to do with the status of my flowers.  The dahlias have finally bloomed, but some of them have turned dwarf-like — not their normal height at all.  And the daisies came all at once, grew taller than ever and are already dying by the dozens.  They’re blooming in Seaview, But not the North End… 

Stunted Dahlias

The lilies, bless them, are finally thinking about blooming.  I believe they are late this year, though the entire garden is so off on its own rant that I’m no longer sure what to expect… or  when.  And those nasturtiums that Ann Gaddy gave me a month or so ago — still there, still looking healthy, still not giving the appearance of growing.  They can’t hold their heads up, Their stems bow and bend.

So is it the weather — the wicked Climate Change?  Is it the pollinators — or more correctly, the lack of same?  Or is it my increasingly faulty memory — as in perhaps it has always been thus?  They’re still making roundup, and killing the bugs,

One thing for sure… I need not stress over the final lines. They can stay pretty much as they are:  What nature doesn’t do to us, Will be done by our fellow thugs.

Help me to understand…

August 8th, 2022

Today my mail brought a promotion from the Bank of Pacific — “Time to choose Your Favorite!” it said, the choices being “a $5.00 downloadable treat” from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com or Google Play.  Really?  A whole five dollars for “using your Bank of the Pacific Debit Card?”  And there were instructions about how to enter my reward code yada yada yada.

So I called the number and asked a simple question of the gentleman who answered the phone: “Why?”  He had no idea.  But he was prepared to help me get my reward, you betcha.  “No thank you,” said I.  So I called the BoP’s Customer Service and repeated my question.  The answer involved something about my usage (presumably high) of my debit card.

“If anything, I’ve used it less than usual,” I pointed out.  “Well, let’s see… What is your date of birth?” And after a bit she came back and  said, “Well, I really don’t see that your usage is…”  I explained that my “Why” question was really “Why is the bank doing this?”  And I went on to ask, “Isn’t the purpose of the bank to keep my assets secure?  And are the funds you are using to purchase and give away these gift cards actually the money the bank generates from your depositors?  Like me?”

“Well… ” she began… And I cut her a little slack.  “I know that you don’t make these decisions and I really don’t want to talk to the people who do.  Not unless they would consider giving incentives in another way — like increasing the interest rate on my savings account.  I really don’t need them directing my “buying habits.”

The call ended on a fairly positive note.  I think.  The nice young woman gave me a chance to vent and maybe — just maybe– she’ll mention my call to someone who will listen.  I told her my name twice, just in case anyone wanted to set me straight.  (Or increase my interest payments.)

The whole thing is right up there with my mystification years ago that the BoP took their staff on an overnight Christmas shopping spree to Portland.  Right in the dead of winter.  When all of us merchants were struggling to get folks to “BuyLocal.”

Go figure.  I’m not using my gift certificates, thank you.  It just doesn’t sit right, somehow.  And, come to think of it, none of those gift cards are “BuyLocal” either.

Vespers Bounty Beyond Expectations!

August 7th, 2022

Peninsula Guitar Project

It’s happening more and more frequently these Sunday afternoons.  I am coming home from Music Vespers at the Oysterville Church laden down with gifts.  I’m not talking spiritual gifts here for they come along almost as a matter of course when you spend time in our lovely little church.  No, I’m talking about actual pick-it-up-and-carry-it-home sorts of gifts.  Today there were three!

First, was a CD that Bill Svendsen handed me just before today’s service began  “The Peninsula Guitar Project – Live at the Oysterville Church” it was called and, lest there be no doubt, there was a picture of our church right on the disc!  Bill had set up the recording equipment last week before Ken Emo, Jason Sheaux, and George Coleman — The Peninsula Guitar Trio — took center stage.  How lucky I was to be able to listen to them all over again this evening!

Vespers Flowers by Sue Svendsen

Then, as I was leaving the church, Sue Svendsen called to me and  offered me one of the bouquets she had done for today’s service.  I took the smaller of the two and it was absolutely the right choice.  It is perfect on our entry table in the living room and cheers me each time I pass by.

And… before I had even reached my gate, Deborah Perry called out to me and came hurrying over with a loaf of bread that her friend had made yesterday.  “The loaves are small, but she made 15 of them!” Deborah said.  “If you have company, I can give you more than one loaf!”  Wow!

And as if all of these treasures weren’t enough… I am still basking in the glow after a familiar looking woman came up and spoke to me as I was helping gather up hymnals.  She said she was from the Sacramento area of California and she has been coming up to visit our Peninsula each summer for years.  “I remember your sweet mother,” she said, “and the wonderful hats she always wore to Vespers.”  How lovely it was to have someone speak to me of my mother.  It was the best gift of all!


Cloudwalk, Sunshine, and Moon River!

August 6th, 2022

Today was the “Celebration of Pam” — an Open House gala event presented by her husband, Sturges, and their four daughters — a fabulous, festive occasion to commemorate her remarkable life.  Friends and loved ones gathered from 2:00 to 5:30 at Cloudwalk — the Ocean Park beach house that she and Sturges designed not so many years ago.

The guests arrived by the scores, guided to the magical property by balloon bouquets to mark the way and by helpful, handsome parking attendants.  At the beginning of the driveway, we were greeted by a sign-in table and a copy of “The Book of Pam” for each of us.  This is our love letter to Pam, from her daughters, Elizabeth, Sarah, Meredith, Jennifer, her family and her many friends — and most especially from Sturges.  The book is a unique telling, complete with pictures, of Pam’s remarkable life.

The sun shone and but for the gentle breeze off the ocean, it might have been almost too hot.  There was music on the deck.  And a banquet to die for — served by a white aproned crew under the direction of Chef Nanci Main.  Bartender Pamela Jewell served white wine and, later, champagne for a toast following heartfelt words by Sturges.  And then “their song”– “Moon River” sung by Fred Carter with all of us joining in the second time through.  There wasn’t a dry eye.

We admired Pam’s gardens, now lovingly tended by Todd Wiegardt who worked closely with Pam during her last years at Cloudwalk.  And we were invited to roam through the house and to go up to the balcony for the best view of the Pacific Ocean anyone could desire!

I loved it all.  And the best part?  The best part was knowing that Pam had not only created this piece of paradise, she had enjoyed it to the max!  She was house-proud and garden-proud and reveled in sharing her domain with those she cared about.  She would have loved today’s “Celebration of Pam!”