Talk with an Old Reporter Lady at the Seaport Museum; Raymond, WA


First, I was amazed to find out she and her husband drove from Ocean Shores to tend to the little museum in Raymond. But they just love the museum that much. It really is a nice museum and their reason is certainly justified. I made a little video run through of it: http://youtu.be/bNxiNyPk48E

She grew up in Anacortes, WA in the 1950s. Her husband grew up in Spokane WA. He is 7 years older than her. She claimed that she was more of a small town girl, while he was more a part of the big city. But all I could think of was how isolated Spokane seemed to be. But the city itself is quite dense.

She got a reporter job at age 14. She needed to have good grades to enter into reporting classes in grade 10. She was looking forward to the class because she thought it would be easy. Unfortunately, by the next year the regular teacher died and a different lady came to fill in the position. The first day of class, the new teacher said that she and her husband have fallen on hard times and she needed to take the teaching job for extra money. She wanted everybody to learn to write very good.

The first job at age 14 came from the substitute teacher. At the new job there was an old reporter who gave her advice in reporting. One tip was to write clearly, and the other was to have three sources. That was it. So she made a little money and wrote articles for the local paper.

She wanted to be a Forest Ranger, but felt that the glass ceiling prevented her from pursuing her dream. The best they could give her was a position as a secretary. Instead, she learned a lot about the forest ranger work through her reporting in newspapers. She would interview a lot of environmentalists.

Only in her time, they would call them conservationists instead. They didn’t take protecting the environment as seriously before the 1970s and 80s. Although, she agrees that the government has done some good work with protecting wildlife, many times the government gets it wrong. She used this analogy.

The government tends to be a bunch of pencil pushing book readers who never really learned how the environment really works. The government only understand nature through their books. Because of their misunderstandings, they make bizarre laws that are very controversial with the locals who actually live and work in the area.

When she moved to Forks, in the 1950s, she found a lot of homes were abandoned. There were still farm animals left behind and dishes in the sink. Apparently, President Roosevelt gave many of the residents 1 month to move out because he perceived they were destroying the environment. Their homes were converted into government territory without compensation. They were perceived as squatters and unwanted.

To add more insight into how the government land grab is transcending further: there is a lot of controversy with the Olympic Wild land extension. The government wants to expand the Olympic Mountains federal land boundaries, which will push out any private interests such as logging and building homes in the area. It will be protected territory only accessible by trails. The land controlled by the Feds is already quite large, but they want it expanded.

She learned a lot from the experts and has her own opinions on how the government handles the environmental challenges. Sometimes they get it right, but most of the time its wrong. The spotted owl protection may have been a bad judgement call or at least mishandled by the government. A lot of people lost their livelihoods without compensation as a result of that travesty.

There was an oil rig off the coast of Washington. I’m not sure if it still remains. But she argued that this type of activity doesn’t bring many jobs to the area, maybe 25 workers tops.

She wrote a book and is in the process of writing another. Unfortunately, she doesn’t keep up with the Internet and therefore doesn’t have anything to read or contact there.

What I found also interesting was her son whom she cared for. He died of cancer at age 37. He was 2 years older than me, graduating in 1992. His type of cancer was esophageal cancer. He was morbidly obese too. She said that he lost 200 lbs. he suffered long term acid reflux which he never really complained about. He didn’t even notice that he had a problem until one night he puked all kinds of blood in the bathroom of his girlfriends. He nearly died from that episode.

During the esophagus operation to install a feeding tube to his gut, the doctor found that the cancer spread to his heart as well. The son only lived a year and a half after the operation at his mom and dad’s house.

She was amazed all the people who showed at his funeral. She estimated about 250 people. She said he wasn’t much of a talker with people either. His death resonated with people who did know him somehow. This death was tough on mom to watch her son die, but her other children are still alive and healthy.

She started an Interpretive Center in Ocean Shores. It is a unique approach to helping newcomers understand the history and culture of the area.

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