Posts Tagged ‘Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum’

Walking In A Wachsmuth Wonderland

Saturday, December 4th, 2021

About The Artist

No sooner had I posted my (very late) blog yesterday, than I received a couple of photographs from Collections Manager Betsy Millard and a short note regarding the exhibition of Tucker’s Christmas Cards at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  So, in an unprecedented piggy-back on a previous day’s blog, I want to share the photos and the name of the exhibit — “Walking in A Wachsmuth Wonderland.”

Profusion From The Artist’s Studio

As you enter the Museum, you are immediately surrounded by Christmas — Tucker’s half-century of holiday cards as depicted in his yearly greetings to friends and family.  In the glass display cases immediately to the left and right of the front doors, are a few cards with explanatory displays describing his process, and steps required for some of the finished products.  In addition, are examples of the table-setting-name-tags/ornaments which sometimes accompany the cards.

Tucker’s Christmas Cards On Display at CPHM

Along the hallway leading to the museum’s auditorium, the display cases are  filled with cards — a lovely display creating the “walkway” of the Wachsmuth Wonderland.  Seen as a totality, there is no mistaking that they are by a single artist.  Tucker’s distinctive style — somewhat formal but almost always depicting a bit of whimsy or nostalgia — is clearly apparent.  It’s a lovely walk to take as winter rains and winds splash and bluster outside.   No matter what, it will put you in the mood for the Christmas Season in all its many aspects!

A Lifetime’s Creativity on Display at CPHM!

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Card and Ornaments – The Hobby Horse Year 2012

If you know Tucker Wachsmuth (or Chester or Chet or Tuck — depending on how and since when), you are probably aware that he is always busy at this time of year.  It’s the holiday season and each year since he and Carol were married in 1970, he has spent these weeks before December 25th making their family Christmas card.

Each year, the theme differs.  Sometimes he depicts something that the family has recently enjoyed doing.  At other times, it’s an activity they’ve done together or, perhaps, centers on one of Tucker’s many interests — sailing, the wild creatures that visit their Oysterville place, or possibly a more seasonal theme such as gingerbread men or snow falling on the Oysterville Church.  Some themes are personal yet with universal appeal — Carol’s childhood teddy bear (which she still has) or, in 2012, their four grandchildren riding hobby horses.

Tucker’s 50th Christmas Card — Our House!

Tucker’s methods range from silkscreen to linoleum or wood block prints or rubbings, and even to cutouts using a template and X-Acto knife.  Backgrounds or finishing touches might be made with an airbrush or by using colored pencils or hand-painting specific details.  And, as if those techniques aren’t enough, Tucker says he sometimes has to design and make some of the behind-the-scenes equipment so that his silkscreen or other printing apparatus does exactly what he would like.

Frustrations along the way?  Of course, there are many.  The greatest, according to the artist, is to successfully execute an idea but then to be unable to find the paper that will fulfill his vision.  Perhaps not quite the right sheen or the blue being close but…

Tucker’s Cards on Display at Our House – 2017

Nevertheless, after half a century of Christmas cards, there is no doubt that Tucker’s degree in art has come to fruition — over and over again.  51 years of Christmas cards plus, in some cases, a Christmas ornament for each family member as accompaniment!  (Those, by the way, began as place holders at the large Christmas dinner that Carol did each year before she retired.  They soon served a dual purpose — an ornament for the Christmas tree, as well.)  “But I don’t make them every year,  says Tucker.

And the best news of all — Tucker’s cards are now on exhibit at the Columbia Heritage Museum!  The lobby is full of Christmas — all of it Tucker Wachsmuth’s Christmas Cards and accoutrements, the work of a lifetime!  Bravo, Tucker!  I urge everyone to go take a look.  It will get you in the Christmas spirit no matter what!!  And I guarantee it will make you wonder what he will come up with for Christmas 2021!

It was fun but it wasn’t the same…

Saturday, November 13th, 2021

“Out The Window Art Auction” – Photo by Vicki Carter

In all fairness, CPHM’s “Out The Window Art Auction” was not meant to be the same as its annual “Six by Six” predecessors.  Hence the name change and the differences in entry requirements, presentations, etc.  We knew all that going in, but even so, our visit to the exhibition this morning required some serious self-talk and a great deal of wishful thinking about next year and the years to follow.

I was totally unprepared for the disparity in sizes, approaches and yes, let’s be honest, in the quality of entries.  A few  like Tucker’s  “The Jibe Mark: The Oysterville Regatta” and Marie Powell’s “Window To A Summer Garden” were downright spectacular.  And several — Bruce Peterson’s “Bus – Florence Italy”, Charles Funk’s “Cones & Crow” and Patti Breidenbach’s “Sun Flower Days” reminded me of long-ago experiences with a visceral jolt.

But honestly?  Mark Tyler’s “Daisies” and Don Nisbett’s “Untitled” are the ones that called me back to look again.  And then again.  Was it because they were the only two six-by-sixes?  Perhaps.  I’m a sucker for daisies so Mark’s subject-matter could have been part of the appeal.  But, it definitely wasn’t subject matter with Don’s.  Perhaps composition?  I’m sure not colors.  And I don’t think I’d want to live with it.  But still… those two small pieces were the most compelling for me.

“Out The Window Art Auction” – Photo by Vicki Carter

I’m glad we went and saw the exhibition “up close and personal.”  It was definitely a better way to view each of the pieces than through the online display, though that hasn’t been true in previous years.  I’m not sure exactly why this year’s online presentation didn’t seem as good.  I wonder if it had to do with the disparate sizes and how they were photographed.  Or, more likely it was just me.  Even so, do I think there is a place for such a fundraiser in the future?  You betcha.

But, the Pandemic Gods willing, could we please have both?  There is nothing that can quite compete with the excitement generated at the live Six-by-Six auction with Bruce Peterson auctioneering, Karla Nelson handling the long distance phonelines (better than CenturyLink, you betcha!) and Richard Schroeder providing security NMW (no matter what.)  Add a few bidding wars among friends, a toast or two to the winners (or sometimes the losers!) and food that is as artistic as it is tasty… and it’s the best show in town!  Fingers crossed and paddles raised for next year!

The Long Agos and The Short Agos

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

When four-year-old Christian Hawes told his his Uncle Dick, “It’s not the long-agos that are hard to remember; it’s the short-agos”  I knew exactly what he meant.  But Christian is older now — maybe in his late thirties? — and we might be a bit older, too.  Though I hate to admit it, the long-agos and short-agos are beginning to blend together.

So, it was with particular delight that Nyel and I recently reviewed the scrapbooks from the sixteen years of our Annual Oysterville Champagne and Croquet Galas.  The first noteworthy thing was the sixteen (count ’em: one-six) years.  For at least a decade both of us have thought we put those galas on for twenty years.  WRONG.  Anyway you slice it, 1985 to 2000 made sixteen and we have the registrations, the score cards, the pictures, the news reports, and the scrapbooks to prove it.

How slim we all were way back then!  How un-gray and how lithe and athletic.   And energetic!  For the most part, Nyel and I did the work ourselves.  We laid out the courts, put up the tent (loaned each year by Noreen Robinson), schlepped the champagne (donated yearly by Jack’s), sent out the invitations, registered the teams, asked friends to be judges and my uncle Willard to act as Master of Ceremony.  Whatever non-profit was the beneficiary was asked to provide finger foods (always fabulous!) and the guests (who had each donated $20 toward the benefitting non-profit) came in whatever they deemed was an appropriate croquet costume. The setting was my folks’ place (now ours) in Oysterville and, often, Willard and Louise Espy hosted a potluck picnic at their Red Cottage afterwards.

There was, of course, the trophy which “lived” at the Heron and Beaver Pub at the Shelburne. Our festivities began the night before the Croquet Gala (always held on the Sunday following Labor Day) with the traditional “stealing of the trophy” from Tony Kischner so that it could be presented to the winning team the next day  Over the years, the Saturday night event gathered enough followers of its own that Tony had to have us sit in the garden area outside to leave room for other pub customers.

Sadly, one of the scrapbooks will probably have to be discarded.  It was the victim of a 1992 water heater disaster and, though I plan to work on it a bit, I don’t know if it will be worth turning over to the Heritage Museum with the others.  Some long-agos will just have to be remembered without benefit of visual aids!  Perhaps, if Christian’s theory was correct, the longer we wait, the better we will recall those badly damaged 1994-1996 years…  We can but hope!



And there they were! The flying scrapbooks!

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Gordon was right!

I think there are 90 or 100 of them.  Scrapbooks! Year upon year of them about our lives — about the people we love; the places we’ve worked (The Bookvendor, Ocean Park School, Long Beach School, Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum when it was still the Ilwaco Heritage Museum); the community events we’ve been involved with (The Annual Oysterville Champagne and Croquet Gala, Vespers at the Historic Oysterville Church);and on and on and on.

“It’s a sickness,” Gordon used to say.  He had 110 of his own scrapbooks the last time I remember but I’m sure there were more after that.  They are all at the Heritage Museum now and mine are on their way to join them.  Nyel and I “review” two or three a day and once a week I ferry a few dozen more of ours to join Gordon’s.  That’s what I was doing today when DISASTER STRUCK!

I was loaded down, traveling on the front road and just passing Ocean Park School, when  I heard a peculiar whooshing -clumping sound that seemed to be following along behind me.  It took me until Klipsan to realize that something was seriously amiss.  Very seriously.   The trunk was wide open and it looked like a half dozen scrapbooks were gone. As in G-O-N-E.

And on it goes…

And I proceeded on — heartsick but with little hope of finding the missing treasures.  Betsy said, “You’ll find them.  Or someone will.  Put it on Facebook.”  I was less than hopeful but retraced my steps anyway.  Nowhere along the roadside through Klipsan, Ocean Park, or Nahcotta.  Back to the Oysterville Post Office where I thought the “speed bump parking strip” might have jiggled everything loose.  No luck.  On the final turn toward home, right there on the northwest corner of Oysterville and Territory Roads was a neat stack of four scrapbooks!

Mega thank yous to whoever the Good Samaritan of Lost Scrapbooks was!  Or maybe Gordon was being my Scrapbook Guardian!  However I earned such a blessing, I am eternally grateful.  And I can scarcely believe my good luck.


It certainly wasn’t the first time…

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

Historically Speaking – The Baptist Church and Parsonage

I had to chuckle a bit at someone’s remark about our house a few days ago.  I had written something on my blog about Oysterville needing a museum and a reader responded, “I thought your home was the Oysterville Historical Museum.”  It’s not the first time that the “museum” word has come up in connection with this old house but, usually, it’s in the context of a question and not always with complimentary overtones —   As in, “Don’t you feel like you’re living in a museum?”

The answer to that, of course, is easy.  I’ve known the furniture and many of the other contents of this house for my entire life.  At various times I lived here or stayed for prolonged periods with my grandparents and with my parents.  The old rocking chairs have associations going back to sitting in granny’s lap to have my tears dried or a skinned knee bandaged or just to hear a story on a rainy afternoon.  I’ve set the table with my great-grandmother’s silver and my mother’s china a gazillion times.  Not once have I ever thought or uttered the word “museum” in connection with any of it.

All Set for Dinner

Nyel, on the other hand, as the most recent full-time occupant of the house, may feel differently.  We met shortly before he received his Master’s degree from the UW in museology and the only remark I’ve ever heard him make relative to the house is something like, “…and little did I know that before long I’d become an owner and full-time curator of our very own house museum!”  But said in a joking way.

But, I do sometimes feel a bit of responsibility beyond family when it comes to some of the “stuff” that has been deposited here.  Take Reverend Robert Yeatman’s chair, for instance.  His daughter, Dorothy, brought it to my mother shortly after my folks had retired in the early ’70s and moved into the family house.

Reverend Yeatman’s Chair

Dorothy, who lived in Ocean Park,  had spent several years in this house when she was a little girl.  “My father used to sit in that chair when he was writing his sermons,” Dorothy told Mom.  “The chair belongs here as a reminder of the days the house served as the Parsonage for the church across the street.”

And, though I never knew Reverend Yeatman, I do think of him each time I use that chair!  I “remember” that he and his family lived here from 1898-1901 — just before the Reverend Josiah Crouch took his infamous turn as the Baptist pastor and left behind his ghostly wife.

In a way, I guess, that sort of memory-association with the things in the house do make it seem a bit like a museum. The house not only provides a context and an environment for the artifacts that are associated with it, but it also helps keep the stories of those artifacts “alive.”  The downside, though, is that our “artifacts” are still in use so there are no guarantees about their longevity or protection.   And, as wonderful as it would be to have an honest-to-goodness Oysterville Museum, the reality is that it takes more resources than our little village could possibly provide.

So, until that changes,  let’s hear it for the Columbia Heritage Museum and the Pacific County Historical Society Museum – two worthy institutions that we all need to support in order to keep our local history alive — even the history associated with our old houses and old folks!  Hear! Hear!





A Truly Wonderful “Normal” Morning!!

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

Michael and Charlie at Our Grand Affair, Sept. 2019

Yesterday morning our friend Michael Lemeshko came bearing drinks (café mochas and English Breakfast tea) and a book (UNSETTLED GROUND – The Whitman Massacre and Its Shifting Legacy in the American West by Cassandra Tate.)  It was so great to see him and have a “good-and-proper visit,” as my Great Aunt Minette used to say.  My cheeks still ache from all the  smiling!

It was our first visit with Michael since long before we went into sheltering mode.  We had lots to catch up on starting with the changes at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, the future prospects for the Community Historian program, and the status of local history in general.

Grandpa Michael with Two of Six!

We lamented the many “academic” and “otherwise” sites on the internet that are grabbing their history from who-knows-where and disseminating amazing flat-out-lies about once-upon-a-time here in Pacific County.  And we hope Frank Lehn’s ears were ringing — he is our hero in the local history department and if you haven’t caught his FaceBook site you are definitely in the minority among local history buffs.

All-in-all, it was a lovely visit.  Long overdue doesn’t begin to cover it!  And we hardly even touched the important stuff — like family and book projects and when “next time” will be.  We’re hoping it’s just the beginning of the New Normal around here!

Mentioning Unmentionables and More!

Thursday, February 27th, 2020

It took four helpers to get the corset laced up tight!  Photo by Tucker.

Yesterday, our Community Historians were treated to a rare program, indeed!  Tames Alan,  actress, historian, and fashion history teacher, brought us “The Intrepid Victorian Traveler.”  Billed as “a five-costume program,” she gave us a look at the clothing and lifestyle of a Victorian woman during the mid-1850s throught the early 1860s.

The program fit right into the focus of Community Historians this year — the grand resort hotels of the 19th century here at the North Beach.  It was a time when families “removed” to the seashore from the hot inland valleys of Oregon — some to “camp” in tents they could rent in Tinkerville (now Long Beach), and the more affluent to stay in upscale accommodations such as the Shelburne or the Breakers or the Driftwood hotels.

Next, the hoop!  Photo by Tucker.

Tames first appeared in a wrapper (our equivalent: a bathrobe) and told how a Victorian woan began her day.  Then, before our very eyes, she dressed for travel to the seaside, beginning with a complete (and extensive!) set of Victorian undergarments, discussing their various functions.  Finally, she prepared for a formal dinner and dance, all the time discussing the many layers women wore, the tight lacing of the corset, the circumference of the hoops, the weight of the clothing (which could reach 2oo lbs.).  As she demonstrated the restrictions  Victorian clothing placed upon a woman’s movements, she also spoke of the social constrictions placed upon women at all levels of society.

Ready For The Journey

A fabulous program!  If you ever have an opportunity to see Tames Alan in performance, don’t think twice!  You’ll love her!  And, if you’re like I am, afterwards you’ll appreciate your jeans and sweatshirts even more than usual!

P is for… Pleased as Punch!

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Yesterday at our weekly Community Historians gathering, the class was devoted to the early history of Pacific County government.  It’s a topic that we’ve only touched upon lightly over the years — almost “in passing” you might say.  So, last fall when we were planning the sessions for 2020 (our 8th year!), I suggested that we devote one of our 2020 sessions to the beginnings of our county.

So it was that class members gathered around tables in “the little conference room” at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum yesterday for a read-aloud experience using my 2004 book, K is for Kidnapping the County Seat – The A-B-Cs of Early Government in Pacific County, Washington.  I think there were eighteen of us but (of course!) I didn’t think to take a picture which might have corroborated that impression.

It took about an hour and a half to read through the book, each of us reading a page in turn.  I had provided sticky-notes for people to use for marking pages or points they’d like to discuss afterwards — so we wouldn’t get sidetracked during the reading.

From my viewpoint it went very well.  We spent the rest of our time (about twenty minutes) discussing points that people had “marked” —  in particular, specifics about early Donation Land Claims, the  changes in the distribution of our population over the years, and how improvements in transportation have affected the location of the county seat.

I came home feeling  elated — not just because I thought the class session was successful.  Far, far beyond that!  I felt totally gratified that I had witnessed, first-hand, this book being read (and enjoyed!) by a group of adults interested in our local history.  That was my intent in writing it, but in retrospect I have realized that I should never have packaged it as an A-B-C book.

As I explained to yesterday’s class,  from the get-go, my A-B-C series were written specifically for adults who want a basic overview of a subject. Whether it be O is for Oysters or C is for Papa Train or any of the other nine titles in the series, these books were NOT written for children.  A glance at the concepts and vocabulary should be the first clue.  They were written for people who want some factual information about our history — whether it be an industry or an event — but who don’t have time or inclination to read a more definitive treatment.

Nevertheless, I have been unable to convince booksellers or the buying public that A-B-Cs can mean “nuts and bolts” about a subject… that A-B-C books are not necessarily meant for Kindergartners.  Maybe if I had named the series something like “Information for Dummies” they’d have had a better reception among my target audience.  You know what they say about hindsight…

P.S.  Lest you think I’m name-calling potential readers, I want to point out that a very successful series on basic information about a variety of subjects had “Dummies” in the title.  Hence my reference.

Mom would’ve been pleased… I think!

Monday, November 4th, 2019

Dale Espy Little – “Mom” 2010

When my mother advised “moderation in all things,” she was speaking of indulgences, not character traits.  Or so I’ve always thought.  Not too many desserts.  Not too many drinks.  Not too many party clothes — not too many parties, for that matter.

Saturday night, however, 6×6 Art Auctioneer Bruce Peterson put a whole new spin on what mom might have meant.  Just before the bidding began, I had been asked to draw the winning raffle ticket.  As I recall, I performed that task last year as well — without incident.  But this year, when it was time, Bruce introduced the drawing with a bit of an explanation.

He reminded the crowd that, for many years, Kaye Mulvey had been the one to draw the winning ticket.  “Kaye was the most honest person we knew,” explained Bruce.  “And so now that Kaye is no longer with us, we looked for the second most honest person…”

Bruce and Betsy, Nov 2019

“Gadzooks!” I was thinking.  “I really hate to be identified as second best at anything.”  However, before I could finish the thought, Bruce said something like, “But we finally had to settle for someone who is moderately honest… Sydney Stevens!” That got a big laugh, of course, and I’m sure mine was most enthusiastic of all.  It sure put a different spin on my mother’s life-long advice.  I think she’d have been proud!