Snowy Thoughts from Oysterville

Jan 15, 2012 | 5 comments

The Oysterville Church, December 2008

     My Grandmother Espy hated snow.  And who could blame her?  Three of her seven children died before she, herself, was much beyond middle age, and all of them in winter: four-and-a-half-year-old Albert in January 1905; seventeen-year-old Medora in January 1916; twenty-nine-year-old Suzita in December 1932.
     Each of the deaths occurred in Portland and, in each case, city and graveyard were blanketed by snow.  As long as I knew her, my grandmother likened snow to a shroud.  Ironically she, too, would die in winter – in January 1954 in Oysterville.  I was unable to attend her funeral and I have no idea if it was snowing, but it would have been fitting.
     I thought about all of that as we drove back from Seattle last night.  Here and there, the world was covered in white and occasionally our windshield wipers could scarcely keep up with the falling flakes.  We were returning from the funeral of an old friend.
    Except for the snow and the occasion for our being out in it, however, there were few similarities between my grandmother’s long-ago experiences and ours of yesterday.  Our friend, Chuck Huggins, was 91 when he died.  He had lived a long and productive life.  At the service, his widow, Dorothy, was surrounded by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and at the reception following, the mood was cheerful.  This “Celebration of Life” was far different from the snow-enshrouded funerals of her offspring that forever haunted my grandmother.
     I was glad to get back safely to the snug warmth of home last night.  Unlike my grandmother, I don’t hate snow.  But I can’t say I like to be out in it, either, especially on the roads at night.  I am content to sit near our library fire and watch the outside world morph into a Currier and Ives lithograph as the flakes fall – picture perfect here in Oysterville!


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    As Dave and I made our retreat from the beach yesterday, we talked about you and Nyel and your trip to Seattle. Since we were unsure what the weather would do we thought you might have an extended stay.

    I, too, am not a big fan of snow because it makes it hard to get around. On the Peninsula, which is mostly flat, I don’t mind it, but there’s no way to the store from our house, that does not involve hills so we stocked up on our way home yesterday…just in case. So far we’ve had only a skiff of snow. I actually enjoy a day of snow because it slows everyone down. I was hoping to wake up to a quiet, white world this morning. Maybe tomorrow morning…

  2. K Gordon Schoewe

    Sydney, I was glad to read that you returned safely from the trip north and that the ceremony had been upbeat. Eight hours in a car are way too much for this old person, but do appreciate your offer to haul my carcus about. Golly, I do hope my spell check works on this as well as my regular emails. It won’t, I know and then the world will know I can’t spell, never could and it’s way too late. You’ve been talking of snow of late. It’s lovely to look at but not fun unless you’re at a ski lodge, properly dressed and with a toddy. Bah Humbug. Thanks for being at the service. Hugs Gordon

  3. Emily

    Hello Sydney – I have vacationed from Seattle to the peninsula for the past number of summers. It is a tradition begun by my late grandmother with her daughters (my mother and aunt), she herself having lived her for a while as a child in the 40’s, and am very interested to read your blog and hear a bit more about the people who lived here; Oysterville now being one of my favorite places in the entire country. It seems you have not written for some months now, I hope you will take some encouragement from me to take up the pen, as it were, again! Thank you so much ~

  4. Emily

    Oh, oops! I thought this was the most recent entry – I see now you write regularly! 😛

    • sydney

      Yes, I write every day… and thanks for your kind words.


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