April 29, 2017

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Water

Water, Water Everywhere

It seems like I’ve been around water in some form almost all my life.  The above picture is of the Port Orchard, Washington marina where were currently live.  But I was born in Olympia, WA which is surrounded by water sources of many kinds: It’s located on Budd Inlet; the Deshutes River flows into the inlet from mountain snows in the Cascades.

The west side of Washington state is the ‘rainy’ side of the Cascades, while to our west is the Olympic Mountains with it’s famous rain forest. It’s not a  tropical rain forest that you would naturally think of, but a temperate one with giant firs, native maples, and ferns that grow on the side of trees.  There’s even a blue glacier up there!

My parents lived in a small logging town south of Olympia from 1926-1941 and their lives were surrounded by water there too. Nearby were lakes such as Black Lake and Deep Lake, and “cricks” and small rivers like the Black, the Cedar, Waddell.

In my article Car Camping—50’s Style I describe our trips to Waddell Crick/Creek and all the fun we had getting muddy, wet and enjoying food in the great outdoors.   The article is on my older blog Pentimento if you have time to read it.

Florida Beaches & Rivers, and The Mississippi at Clinton

That’s not the extent of my adventures with “water” though.  When I left home after getting married in 1970 we visited for a short time in Jim’s home town of Clinton, Iowa.  Clinton is right smack dab on the Mississippi River and is the eastern most point in the state.  I remember the night we drove up on the levee to see the river and having ( Bye Bye) American Pie playing in my head. Oh, and we were in a ’57 Chevy too. 🙂

I don’t remember being around water when we were in Germany, other than knowing the Rhine River was not too far away.  We came back to Iowa in 1972 and for eight years I got to know the Mississippi in all it’s incarnations: at flood stage, frozen over, brown and dirty, and full of nice cat fish.  Our travels brought us to Port Orchard again in 1980 (just after the volcano blew!) and we lived here until we migrated again, this time to Amelia Island in Florida.

Amelia Island is located at the northeastern most point of Florida and a barrier island with the St. John River flowing between the island and the mainland.  In order to get to the island you only cross and bridge at either end to go over the river.  North of Jacksonville, Amelia Island is a beautiful location, but it does get some cooler weather, unlike further south into the state.

The Pacific Ocean

I think I love the ocean here the best. Yes, Washington does have rocky beaches, with lots of driftwood and is prone to wild storms on occasion too. All during my childhood we made multiple trips to places like Moclips (where my uncle Lem and aunt Della Yates lived), Copalis, and Pacific Beach to dig clams or just to visit and enjoy the sound of the surf and play in the sun.  If we went with friends we’d run all over the beach (within sight of our parents), splash through the tidepools and hunker down behind the windbreaks Dad and his friend Al would build back near the rocks.

A Visit To Old Bordeaux

Thank  you to Amy Coffin at WeTree and Thomas MacEntee at GeneaBloggers for making this meme possible!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Weather

It was a dark and stormy night… but I’m going to cheat a little bit for this week’s blogging prompt for 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Weather and do a link to a previous post I did on Disasters which included my recollection of the Columbus Day Storm when I was in junior high school.

iPentimento | 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Disasters

Week 18. Weather. Do you have any memorable weather memories from your childhood? How did your family cope and pass the time with adverse weather? When faced with bad weather in the present day, what do you do when you’re stuck at home?

This challenge runs from Saturday, April 30, 2011 through Friday, May 6, 2011.

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog (http://wetree.blogspot.com/) has yet another successful series on her hands: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History (http://www.geneabloggers.com/52-weeks-personal-genealogy-history/).

iPentimento | 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Disasters


Seattle earthquake aftermath 1965

I barely missed my first disaster by a year.  That was the 1949 earthquake here in western Washington.  Well, maybe I didn’t miss it completely since my mom was probably pregnant with me at the time.  Since I was conceived most likely in January of 1950 and the state was experiencing …

Record low temperatures and heavy snow plague Washington state for three weeks beginning on January 12, 1950.

…it was probably a good time to stay in bed and keep warm, don’t you think?

I don’t know if they were ‘disasters’ or not, but I remember we had some pretty deep snows when I was in grade school.  Deep enough that I was worried I’d get in over my head. Hey, I was a little girl and not so tall you know!


1965 Tacoma/Seattle Earthquake

OK, let’s get to it and I’ll tell you the first real disaster I experienced.  It was the earthquake of 1965 which was coincidentally 6.5 MAG.  I was in study hall in the lunch room at Tumwater High School when it began.  It happened that I was sitting on the last row of tables at the back of the room nearest the large plate glass windows.  None of the windows broke, but it was in the middle of the tremor that a huge plaster art piece fell off the wall above the folding curtain and crashed to the floor jangling already shaky nerves.

I got my first lesson in the ‘herd instinct’ that day too. Mr. Zahn, our study hall teacher had never been in an earthquake (he said later) and so when the shaking was all over he walked out in the hallway to head to the office.  He just didn’t count on a whole herd of us following him!  He shooed us all back to the hallway by the lunchroom and then went off again to the office.  I learned something else about myself that day.  As scared and shaky as I was after the quake, I remember some girls were almost hysterical and I was comforting one of them, telling her not to cry.  I probably fell apart later.  That’s my usual reaction.


Tornadoes, More Quakes, and Storms

I’m not putting all of these disaster recollections in chronological order, so bear with me here.  Before the quake of 1965, there was a killer wind storm we lived through too.  It was named the Columbus Day Storm of 1963, and it was a whopper.   I was in 8th grade at the time and I remember getting out of school that afternoon and coming down the steps of the back door of Michael T. Simmons Junior High in Tumwater and thinking it was unusually windy.  I had no idea of what was to come…

My brother and I got home from school that Friday and Mom had already been alerted by the radio that there was a storm coming.  None of us would know just how wild that night was going to be.  Our heat source at the time was an old Quaker oil stove.  It had a damper on the side of the vent pipe that went into the chimney and on normal days that thing would flap now and then as it opened and closed when the wind blew across the top of the chimney.  When the winds got up to gale force that night that thing really got a workout.  Morning brought a whole new world of surprises.  Our power pole at the end of our driveway had blown down, as had two others in line with it, just like dominoes.  The power had been out for hours and the power lines laying across our yard were being held up off the ground by our telephone wire. We lost trees, and probably some of the shakes off the roof, but our biggest catastrophe was that we were without power for three weeks because of those poles that were knocked down.

In 1973 we were living in Clinton, Iowa and I was just learning what it was like to live in tornado country.  Luckily, the house we were renting had a basement because every time the wind would come up and the tornado sirens went off, I grabbed Greg and cowered down there until the coast was clear.  Jim happened to be home during one storm, which was fortunate because it was the worst one I’d been in yet.  The radar said there were funnel clouds sighted north of us and we headed to the basement.  When it was over we headed outside to assess the damages and the ground was just white with hail. Our chimney had blown off and I think there was a bird that mistakenly had flown down into it to get out of the wind. We heard some flapping around when we were in the basement, but didn’t figure out what it was until days later.  There was a cleanout in the basement for the bottom of the chimney with a little door.  When Jim opened the door there was the poor little dead wayward bird.

And last, but not least, the most recent disaster was our February earthquake of 2001 that registered 6.8 MAG.  I was in the family room, as was the cat, and when the house started shaking, I was running out of the room and he was running in.  We just about collided at the doorway into the room.  I wanted to be at the other end of the house, away from the hot water heater in the garage and the fireplace chimney that could possibly fall into the living room or family room.  What was weird was, this earthquake lasted a really long time.  I’d made my dash down the hallway and was standing in a doorway watching the two pictures over the fireplace dancing wildly back and forth and the house just kept on rockin’.  When it did, my phone rang and it was our son Greg in California.  He asked if I was OK, and said he had been on the phone with a client in Seattle when the quake started and she told him she had to get under her desk.  They hung up and he called me right away.


Columbus Day windstorm disaster blows Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound on October 12, 1962.

HistoryLink.org Essay 5325 – by By David Wilma, February 28, 2003


52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

Week 10: Disasters. Did you experience any natural disasters in your lifetime? Tell us about them. If not, then discuss these events that happened to parents, grandparents or others in your family.

This challenge runs from Saturday, March 5, 2011 through Friday, March 11, 2011.

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog (http://wetree.blogspot.com/) is the originator of the challenge.  Thanks also to Thomas MacEntee for further promoting it.  We’re all Geneabloggers.