Posts Tagged ‘Autumn in Oysterville’

“One by Land; Two by Sea” on Wednesday!

Saturday, September 30th, 2023

Tucker Wachsmuth, Storyteller, 2014

Did you mark your calendar?  The second-ever History Forum will convene at the Oysterville Schoolhouse at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 4th.  Speakers will be three of us “old ducks” — Dobby Wiegardt, Tucker Wachsmuth, and yours truly — and we’ll be talking about a subject near and dear to our hearts!  In fact, if it weren’t for what we’ll be telling you, we might not have been here at all!

Dobby with his grandfather’s hats, 2019.

We hope that you’ll have questions about our presentations — and, of course, hope even more fervently that we or someone among those gathered has the answers — or at least suggestions of where to find out.  Even more fervently, we hope that there may be some others among us who can share stories about their own ancestors who arrived in this area in the last half of the nineteenth century!

There are absolutely no prerequisites to attendance at the History Forum beyond an interest in Pacific County and Southwest Washington history.  And, whether you come to listen or to question or to share, you are bound to take away at least some new understandings about our past — maybe even some aha moments that illuminate the present.  You never can tell when the old-timers get to telling their stories!



Dianne Feinstein

Friday, September 29th, 2023

Dianne Feinstein (nee Goldman) in the 1950s at Stanford — a Stanford Magazine Photo

I was surprised at the tears that came unbidden when my morning edition of the New York Times announced that Dianne Feinstein had died.  I can’t say that I really knew her, though we went back a long time, Dianne and I.

We were at Stanford together back in ancient times — the fifties.  She, two-and-a-half years my senior, was in the class of ’55; I, in the class of ’57.  Her last name was Goldman; mine was Little.  And, though our paths may have crossed more than once in the two years we shared at Stanford, I only remember her (and vaguely, at that) as on the Women’s Senate at Branner Hall, one of two dorms for Freshmen women — which meant that she was a sort of a dorm assistant there.

However, I was at Roble Hall, the other (and much larger) dorm for Freshmen women (and where Dianne, herself had been as a Freshman.)  I don’t know how I would have come in contact with Dianne Goldman unless some of our dorm meetings were combined…  And, even so, that would have been “quite a many” young women as my mother would have said.  So I probably only remember Diane in retrospect — perhaps teaching us the appropriate Freshman behavior at our first pep rally at Lake Lagunita.

Entrance to the History Corner of the Stanford Quad

I suppose it’s possible that I ran across her going to a Western Civ class in the History Department (for I believe she was a history major) but it was years before I really had a chance to speak to her and now I don’t remember what we said.  She was living around the corner from a good friend of mine — a fellow-teacher in Hayward who happened to  live in San Francisco.  It was during the early 70s and though Dianne was not yet running for mayor, she was surely a mover and shaker in the City by the Golden Gate.

In 1979 Mayor Feinstein leads 15,ooo marchers in a 1st anniversary commemoration of the Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk assassination.

I say this only because the entire block around her house (actually, a mansion in my eyes) was cordoned off.  Always.  No parking.  And parking in that part of the city was at a premium — only on-street parking even for most of the residents whose old-fashioned apartment buildings didn’t have garages.  I remember going around and around and around the blocks looking for a place to snuggle in my VW bug.  It never occurred to me to go up to Dianne’s door and plead, “For old time’s sake…”  Especially when we didn’t really share any of those old times!  But once, as I walked by her house, having parked three blocks from my destination, we did come face-to-face and exchanged a few words.  I wonder what they were.

Nevertheless, I was definitely a Dianne fan and her death saddened me in many ways.  Mostly, it was yet another wake-up call that my generation is fast disappearing and Dianne Feinstein was one of the best of us.   We are all impoverished by her passing.

The Hardest Part…

Thursday, September 28th, 2023

Bethenia Owens-Adair — Teacher or Doctor?

I really am having so much fun researching these “Saints or Sinners” stories!  And, every once in a while, a reader tells me how much they are enjoying them and that makes it even better.  And then just today, when I called Pete Heckes with a question about the name of the slough near the Moby Dick — it’s “Paul’s Slough” — he straightened me out on few errors in my story about Peter Jordan — you know, the guy who was so badly hurt when he and a buddy overloaded the cannon they had in Oysterville in the olden days.  Blew it to smithereens. And very nearly themselves along with it.

Well, we got to talking, and when all was said and done, I never used the Paul’s Slough information as I intended and I turned in my story without it.  Oh well.  If I ever find a publisher for these gems, I hope I remember to fine tune a few things!

But finding the details of the stories isn’t the hardest part.  It’s finding the illustrations — preferably photographs of the characters I’m writing about.  When you get back to stories before 1900, it gets harder.  Today, I was looking for a picture of a man who died in 1877.  “Fat chance!” thought I!  After all, he’d come west in the 1830s and just how many photographers do you think might have been doing studio portraits around here over the next 40 years?

John Edmunds or John Pickernell?

However — wonder of wonders! — I found one!  Or at least it purports to be the very man I was looking for — on the Find a Grave site which, besides photographs, contains a storehouse of wonderful information.  Is it all true?  I think as true as any information that comes to us over the years.  The people I’ve met who gather information for Find a Grave seem diligent to a fault.

And while I’m at it, if you are a “Saints or Sinners” reader and have additional information for me, don’t be shy.  If I use the information and find that publisher, I promise I’ll give you full credit!

Not Since The Civil War

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Senator Foghorn Leghorn

Nothing much in the news  surprises me anymore — mostly because I seldom pay much attention to anything beyond our local area.  (As in what’s the use?)

But there was a paragraph  in this morning’s NYT article on Menendez which did catch my eye: When politicians are unlikely to be removed, they rarely quit, and Menendez faces little risk of removal. Only the Senate can expel one of its members. It has not done so since the Civil War.

Really???  Not since the Civil War?  Not for 161 years?

Foghorn Leghorn Again

When I looked up more about it, it all became clear — and made me more disgusted than ever.  Basically, the ten senators who were removed at the beginning of the Civil War were from the southern states and they were removed for doing what their states had directed them to do.  In other words, they were doing their jobs.

Those opposed to the 1861 expulsion measure, argued that the southern senators followed the directions of their states and that no senator individually had conspired against the government.  They suggested that the expulsion rule should be reserved for individual acts of misconduct, since formal expulsion of the southern senators would only exacerbate an already inflamed situation. One of those in opposition to expulsion said he believed expulsion implied moral turpitude, a stain upon the personal character of the individuals that most would agree was unjust [in this case.]

And Yet Again

My mind whirls and twirls.  If I, as a teacher, had followed the directions of my principal, even though those directions were contrary to popular belief, should I have been fired?   But then, how can a lowly teacher compare herself to a high and mighty senator — one with gold bars secreted in the clothes of his closet.  No contest, folks.

We are so screwed up.  The mind boggles and the eyes overflow.  I KNOW BETTER than to read the news.  Shame on me!




Thunder! Lightning! Gullywashers! Oh my!

Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

It might have looked like this but it was too fast for my faulty eye-brain coordination!

Linda and I met for breakfast this morning.  It was nine o’clock — a civilized hour I thought.  It was raining, but not really buckets — although I did wonder if the puddle waiting outside my car door was going to go up, up, and inside my loafers.  It was a very close thing.

So there we were, I with my back to the front window, enjoying my first bite of hash browns and darned if a dancing sunbeam didn’t light up my life.  Followed in Nano-seconds by a KABOOM that completely disabused me of that sunbeam idea!  Good Lord!  The sky didn’t even look all that stormy.

And, just as I was getting to bite four or five (with a few bites of sausage patty in between!) here it came again.  Only this time the lightning and the thunder were as one.  No space in between.  No way to tell which came first.  But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the chicken OR the egg.

Nevertheless, we had a lovely time.  When we finally decided we should make a break for it, I noted that the puddle was now quite a bit deeper than it had been.  So I went on tiptoe as fast as ever I could.  BUT WAIT!  Someone was calling me!  I hadn’t paid, a voice called out.  Yes I did! and squelched into my car.  Doncha hate it when everything happens at once like that?

I’m pretty sure it didn’t look like this.

Well, I didn’t drive clear off and the waitress, bless her, figured that I was coming over to park on higher ground — which I was.  It seems she had forgotten to take my credit card and, after a time, I thought she had brought it back.  So… I scooped it up and boogied out of there.  I felt bad for being such a dolt.  She felt bad for not taking the card right away.

And do you think the Bard was right?  Will the rain it raineth every day??

Money, News, and Other Random Thoughts

Sunday, September 24th, 2023

At last! It’s time for my signature chapeau to make its reappearance!

I can’t decide whether that advertisement that prefaces the NYT Morning in my inbox each day is meant to piss me off or give me hope.  Usually, it’s the former.  “7 ways to Retire Comfortably With $500k” it says.  Well… duh!  In my world that wouldn’t take rocket science.

I ignore the ad and scan the headlines, looking to see if there is anything pertinent in the day’s news that could make a big difference to the reality of my own retired life — a life in which the words(?), symbols(?) of “$500k” have no substantive meaning at all.  Sometimes I wonder if the NYT news, itself is slanted toward those who fit the “retired on $500k” category.  On the days I think “yes, probably” I move on to other concerns.

It’s not news to my friends that I’m not very well informed on the “big issues” that are of current times.  Or even the smaller ones.  I try to keep current on local news — mostly so I won’t be arrested for burning during the burn bans (and btw, our current one has been lifted as of today) and know when to batten down for a big storm that’s barreling in on us.  (Actually, that last one isn’t rocket science as our forebears knew very well.)

Always at the ready in Oysterville.

It’s not that I have “given up” hope for effecting change toward a better world.  Not even that I despair of “setting an example” for others or “influencing” the way young people think.  It’s just that keeping abreast of the “news” seems an incredible waste of the time I have left, whatever amount that might be.

Mostly, I think it’s what  Confucius said: “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” And besides, I zoom every week with son Charlie and bonus-daughter Marta.  I can count on them to keep me up-to-date (whether or not I buy into that $500k thing.)  And it looks like rain is on its way to us in Oysterville right now.  Yay!  Life is good!

Tomorrow is the first day of fall… or is it?

Friday, September 22nd, 2023

NOW they tell me!  Doncha just hate it when you go through life thinking you understand something and then you find that you don’t.  Not even a little bit.

I thought I understood that tomorrow, September 23 is going to be the fall (or autumnal) equinox  And I thought I understood that the word “equinox” comes from two Latin words meaning equal and night.  And, therefore, on the fall (and spring) equinoxes there are 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night.  That is, of course, if we are dividing the seasons astronomically — that is based on Earth’s position as it rotates around the sun.

But apparently, there’s another way to divide the seasons and that is meteorologically, based on annual temperature cycles. If we are reckoning that way, fall arrived September 1st!  Go figure.

My advice:  Put on a sweater.  And a hat if it’s raining.  Because any way you slice it, fall is upon us and winter won’t be far behind!

Cooler, Darker, Moister — Is Fall in the air?

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

It was mighty dark when I woke up this morning.  Imagine my surprise when I looked at the clock and it was getting on toward seven o’clock.  It seems such a short time ago that it was full light by 5:30 in the morning.  I guess Fall is truly on its way.

Ten days from now on September 23 and we’ll be officially into autumn. I, of course, am still saying that we really didn’t have much summer weather, though my friends say I’m crazy.  But, it didn’t seem like there were all that many days when we could sit outside in comfort — with sunshine and no wind.  Truly, all those windy afternoons don’t say “summer” to me.

Or, maybe we’ll have a few weeks of “Indian Summer” — egads!  That’s probably not politically correct to say anymore either.  (I looked it up and found:  “An Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.”  Then I looked to see if it is PC to say so and learned: “The AMS says using the phrase is discouraged and claims that it is disrespectful of Native American people. In its place, the AMS chose Second summer – another phrase used to express an unseasonably warm and dry period in autumn in mainly temperate climates of North America.”

Then I had to look up AMS.  Oh my.  I found all sorts of meanings but nothing that related it to being the arbitrator for Politically Correct.  “Altered mental status (AMS) is a general term referring to a change to your average mental function” was one example. Another informed me that “The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) administers programs that create domestic and international marketing opportunities for U.S. producers of food, fiber, and specialty crops.”

And the beat went on.  Not worth the aggravation.  I take it all back.  I don’t really care what kind of weather we have going forward — politically correct or not.  It’s just too damned difficult for this old broad to keep up!

It used to be…

Saturday, December 10th, 2022

Sick girl in bed

Remember when you were feeling puny and the words to live by were “take two aspirin and call me in the  morning…”?

Now, if you are just a skosh off your normal, exuberant self, people immediately ask “Have you taken a Covid test?” and then cancel that coffee date you were counting on in the morning.

And just when things were settling down — when we could once again recognize our friends because they weren’t all masked up like Ninjas — and the headlines were telling us that the worst was over IF we’d been vaxxed and re-vaxxed, boosted once, twice, triply, and stayed off airplanes and out of crowds — then here came a host of other concerns!

Long Covid, for instance.  Supposedly non-contagious.  Supposedly only affects those who successfully got through Covid (or is that an oxymoron?) and for which there are no answers to the obvious questions like how long?   Or why me?

When I began sleeping round the clock a few months back and ached in every muscle, bone and orifice, I was finally told (but not by a member of the medical community) that it might be my body’s reaction to an anti-toxin overload. Say what?  Well, it’s true that my first bout with this dread-whatever-it-is began two days after my third booster (with which I also had a flu shot.)  So… maybe so.

Do I accept that it’s (in some way) Covid related?  No, of course not.  Do I honestly expect someone from the medical community to tell me what is going on?  Repeat second sentence of this paragraph.

And having written all of this — it’s high time for another nap.

When Commissioners Worked for Pennies!

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Dr. Elija White, Pacific County Commissioner 1852

I’m not advocating that our county commissioners — or anyone else for that matter — work for pennies in these days of struggle and strife.  But when I was writing my column for yesterday’s Chinook Observer, the question did come up concerning what our first three commissioners were paid — as a comparison to what the compensation is these days.  The best I could find was was this:

For services rendered from Jan. 1 to Sept. 8 that year [1852] Meldrum recived $31.50, White received $ $27.70 and Hall, $21.90 — though the meeting minutes do not make clear for what exactly.

As is so often the case, the very day of publication I received an answer to my question from Washington State Archives.  In the spirit of “better late than never” I am reporting the information (as received) forthwith:

We apologize for the delay, but we needed to dig into the territorial laws.  Please find attached the law establishing the board of county commissioners.  Section 8 should give you the information you need.
Sec. 8  The commissioners shall each receive three dollars per day for each and every day they may be necessarily employed in the county’s business, and ten cents a mile for every mile travelled in going to and returning from the meeting of said board, or in the discharge of any official duty to be computed by the most usually travelled route.

Frank Wolfe, who has served as County Commissioner since 2012, resigns at the end of this month for health reasons. Chinook Observer Photo

So there you have it!  Or at least as much as I have learned so far.  The exact nature of the “county’s business” for which the three commissioners were paid or which portion of their salary reflected payment for mileage is, so far, anyone’s guess — at least for 1852.  Nowadays?  I have no idea how the accountability works and, frankly, don’t much care as long as the results are clear and produced in a timely manner…

Mostly, I hope that we have some viable candidates for Frank Wolfe’s position.  I believe that the application deadline is at the end of this month. I’m eager to hear that those hats are piling up in the ring!