Tuesday, July 2, 2019


Yesterday morning I woke up and was just lying there, not really thinking, and not really wanting to move either; there didn’t seem to be any real point.

But then a thought popped into my head, “Sunday Funday”.

And I went with it …

I jumped out of bed and into some comfy clothes and decided to go for a drive.

It wasn’t a new destination, but it was getting out of the house and doing something. Bob & I were always day-tripping. And I miss doing that. It won’t be as much fun as I had when we did things together, but I need to get past that thinking.

So yesterday morning was a good time to start making new soloing traditions.

Cheryl has been saying she wanted to go sit on a beach – she likes Seaside, but that is really quite a distance away, and if we went I’d want to spend the night; and not sure she’d want to do that. But there used to be a beach on Puget Island, called “Sunny Sands.” So, I thought I’d drive there and check it out – and while up that way, I’d walk through Cathlamet too, and revisit our past there: my past with Bob, and my past with Cheryl as a sister in law back then; and a very welcome friend now. I have to pass through Cathlamet to get to Puget Island, so it made sense to do both:

Ocean Beach Highway, past Stella.
Being a good girl and staying in the 'slow lane'.
Coming up on County Line Rest Area: the banks just past this spot, were lined with people fishing. I think salmon is running now.
NASA Point. Puget Island Bridge in the distance: when I reach this point, I know home is just over the hilltop ... even though I know that Cathlamet is not really my home anymore, it still draws me because it was home for half of my life.
Cathlamet is just over the hilltop ...


I was in for several surprises. It was sad to see the Golf Course, Ralph Rodahl designed in 1965 – and Bob & I enjoyed golfing on, in 1974 thru 1978 (Bob by himself later on, bringing home 1st Place trophies and awards), has fallen on hard times: I didn’t see the huge Clubhouse that used to be at the top hole, but saw instead a little ratty shack they tell me is the new club house.


Bob and I really liked spending time on the course. There were no carts then, but that was okay – we both had a nice set of legs on us ;-) The course was great to play and walk, and the view of the Columbia River from the top hole was simply beautiful …

Gragg's Store. Used to be Rodahl’s Store & Golf Course, then Phil's Highway Market.
Inside the revamped Gragg's Store. Found out yesterday, Paul Gragg recently died without warning.
I drove up the hill, to a street I though would take me to the Club House and was surprised to see this street sign: I couldn't believe a street was actually named after a wife-beater and a pedophile. Wally Cochran was a pig.
Nice view. I never did find the fancy Clubhouse …
NAPA Auto Parts Store. I asked at the store where the Club House to the Golf Course was; and was told to follow the gravel road directly behind NAPA that leads to the Golf Course.
2-bit shack that replaced the fancy Clubhouse that used to sit at the top of the course hill? Sad.
Mace's Drive-In hamburger joint. Used to be Bacon's Drive-In originally. Stacey worked here in HS. Bob & I ate a LOT of burgers here growing up. This was the place to BE after football, basketball, baseball & Track meets. It is sad to see it reduced to a junk yard.
High School Mascot. And literal frame of mind of Cathlamites. LOL
Elementary & Jr High School. Fenced off now. Surprised about that.
That corner on the small building, is where I first saw Bob walk past me 52 years ago, in 1967. Cupid’s arrow made a direct hit with me and every single fella after that was measured by the one who ignored me. LMAO
The High Schoolers', until the 1980’s when the High School installed a cafeteria of its own, would walk down to the grade school cafeteria to eat lunch every day and follow that well-beaten path back to their school. Fences & crosswalk markings are new.
Wahkiakum High School.
The covered area at the Elementary School was where outside High School dances were held in the summer months during the 1970’s. Bob went to 1 dance with me here when we were dating – after that 1, we went to Grange dances where it was safe for him to be with me without deputy harassment.
Wahkiakum High School.
The white posts mark the end of the school property, and that is where Bob would wait for me after school let out if the woods shut down early because a fire ban was in place. That is county road, and it was legal for him to park there - the forefront is school property, and him being 24, was taboo to him.
Down the hill from the schools, and down the hill from Main Street, Bob used to water ski right there in the river; being towed behind his cousin’s jet boat. Bob was awesome to watch because he was so agile … and SO handsome too with his sun-kissed skin, muscled arms, and those white cutoff shorts that showed his tan and manly legs to maximum advantage ;-) I had “it” bad! And “it” never abated. LOL

Cathlamet has been citified. I didn’t like the atmosphere at all, though I DO MISS the feeling of {home} I always have when I think of Cathlamet. Every once in a while, I fantasize about living there again … but that is not logical at this time in my life, for many reasons. BUT I CAN VISIT occasionally. It is only about half an hour from where I live now, in Heron Pointe:

Directly across from the river view, is the house my family bought when we moved to Cathlamet in 1971. It was white. There used to be a white picket fence marking the drop-off edge, & the porch railing wasn't there.
Main Street Cathlamet
Cathlamet Grocery Store has changed hands several times through the years. Now it is basically just a tourist trap store similar to Apello’s in Longbeach. So crowded with tourist snare stuff that you can barely walk safely through the aisles without bumping into stuff, or knocking things over.
Used to be where the Arcade was. Bob and I used to play pool there because I was underage – and the bar scene really didn’t interest me.
Used to be Judy’s Salon; I got my hair cut here, and so did my our daughter.
That building with the big window behind my car, used to be Dr. Avalon’s Office before he moved down by the Marina in the 1980’s.
Maria’s Restaurant is a new business. Food was good; expensive, but good.
The brick building used to be The Spar, an old-fashioned soda jerk place High Schooler’s hung out at – and by the time I was old enough to get through the doors, it had been sold and bought and renamed, Marie’s; which really was a good restaurant and I frequented it quite a bit before and after I married Bob. The side Office was Peak's Realty.
This hulking monstrosity was Mickey’s Tavern & Café. It was a Pizza place in the 1980’s. Now it is vacant. I think everyone in Cathlamet has at one time worked there at some point.
The Eagle Office. Local Newspaper. Bank is next to it. When the bank first opened up in Cathlamet in the 1970’s, that was welcome news. But we continued to Bank in Longview, just the same as we (I) do now.
The far end building used to be the Post Office with neat, old, post boxes; the Cathlamet Hotel was in the center, and the Pharmacy used to be next to the hotel. Don’t remember what was in the other windowed building.
The Pharmacy moved over here the middle of the 1970's. Roy Labarge was another wife beater and pedophile. And he was just plain mean. Selfish & greedy too. I never liked Roy, and the feeling was mutual. We actually got into it twice because I don’t take bullying very well. Let’s just say, I GOT what I was wanting from the Pharmacy window. I can't stand bullying men and take them to task like a little ankle biter would.
This building used to be the local 5 & Dime – Bacon's Mercantile, then Elliott's Landing; fancy names for an odd's ‘n ends store ...
Wahkiakum Courthouse.
Pype’s Resturant. It was very upscale cuisine & had theatrical floor shows, BUT the Pype’s were not very upscale people. They bought the hotel and this old house, and built a breezeway for the family to walk from their hotel home to their restaurant. It was common knowledge they were connected to a New York mobster cartel – everyone knew drugs and laundered money passed hands here. They were finally run out of town, jumped the river, and opened another restaurant in another old house in Rainier, Oregon. That went belly-up as well – for the same reasons.
The Bradley House was a private home until the late 1970's. Then it became the town Library. Very fancy inside. Not sure what it is now - could be a B & B.
I used to sit here on this retaining wall and watch people go by. Bob later told me he used to see me sitting there while refueling the Crew Bus after work. That observance was before we met face-to-face and started dating.
Carriker’s Gas Station used to be right here on this corner across from the Bradley House. There is nothing there now …

One day, when walking home from uptown, Stacey and I watched with mouths open as a swarm of swallows went crazy and started suicidal dives down Julia Butler Hansen’s house chimney: it was just like that bird scene in the movie, “The Birds”. What a stinking mess that must have been when the dead birds were discovered by whoever was in charge of maintaining her home while she was not in residence …

Every day I walked past this quaint little house, and admired it: all through High School, and even after Bob & I married, and Stacey was born. One day she came out and asked me to come in and have tea with her! I didn’t know she was an important person until several years later. I think she liked that I didn’t treat her special ... she could just be herself with me.
Julia Butler Hansen and I had tea together many times; she liked our tea times; and she enjoyed Stacey playing in her back yard. To me, she was just my elderly friend who treated my daughter like a granddaughter. Julia Butler Hansen was a great Lady. Very kind. A privilege to know.
I always liked this wrought iron gate with its lion face. It's very old - could even be cast iron; the real thing.
This used to be the Optometrist Office in the 1970's. Dr. Pierce was very kind and took time with his patients - not like the money-grubbers today.
Paint and wallpaper store; I think they even had plumbing stuff here too.
Bob’s family house (and later, our house together) was down this street from main Street, past Julia Butler Hansen’s house. I walked this walk every day for 21 years: 18 of those years as wife and mother.
Museum to the left ... our house to the right at the bottom of this little hill. I noticed that the Museum is now called 'Strong's Museum’. Strange, since Bob's Smalley Family Memorabilia is most of what the museum is about: I don’t think there is any connection at all to Gene Strong or his wife. Just sayin’.
The upper end of what used to be the Hargand property. Bob & I lived on the back end, in the big family house – his brother, Ralph, & his wife at the time, Cheryl, had a very nice modern trailer home here for 12 years. This house is the house Bob, his Dad, and his brother Ralph built for Bob to finish out his final High School years in when the rest of them moved to Toutle; it has been added to over the years. The 2 jutting rooms are new additions, as is the deck. The built-up area where the truck sits is also new.
This is where I walked from our back door to Main Street every day as long as we lived in Cathlamet. The hedges were not there - it was all open area.
The rock gardens and fence line back there used to be all open area between the Hargand brothers’ homes.
New Fire Hall – fancy, but not very small town anymore.
Bill Swift and his family used to live here in one of the Hargand rentals; they eventually bought it from Bob Sr., in the 1980’s. I understand the house burnt down a few years ago and the city built this newer house for the Swift’s. The sidewalks are all new.
Before the Fire hall was built, there used to be a huge cement pavement area at this 2nd & Una corner, where an old gas station stood: the neighborhood kids would congregate here and skate, ride bikes, skate board, ect. It was the kids’ hang-out place and parents always knew where the kids were and could keep an eye on them.
Used to be the Wendell House. The decks, huge upper window, & carport are new additions. There was an ancient tree in the front yard, but when the Election day storm blew through during Clinton's Presidential march down Pennsylvania Avenue, I heard it be shattered by the high winds that destroyed trees all around the area.
Used to be the Quigley house: my 2nd cousin, Lisa Anderson, lived here with her 1st husband – his last name was Quigley. It was white then; and didn't have a deck.
The Sturdevant house was taken down to build this end of the new Fire House; the Nettles lived there for a while too.
Agnus Larson lived in this house until the 1980's. She loved Bob & she treated Stacey like a granddaughter; baked her cookies and invited her in to play sometimes … she must have missed having little kids around. The house used to be white with yellow trim, and those stupid rocks were not there. Lilacs and a white picket fence with a gate used to face the street, and run around the entire house.
The Johnson house is gone. Never could see the Marina from here before.

I’ve only revisited our old house twice in the 25 years we’ve been gone from Cathlamet – once Alyna was 5 years old and I wanted to show her where her mother had grown up … I was sorry I did that because the people who bought it had taken out the 2 apple trees, the pear tree, the plum tree, the current bushes, the blackberry bushes, the rose bushes and lilac tree; and built a metal garage on the garden plot. They also changed the physical appearance of the house itself, and removed the grass, replacing it with beach rock and silly looking round raised beds made out of cemented river rock that had dead plants in them. The side porch is a new addition too.

The current owner appears to have planted a line of trees along the fence-line, and dumped dirt over the beach rock to seed with grass – without first leveling the dumped dirt. I KNOW better than to revisit the house I was a happy  bride and wife in; but something draws me back, and I am always disappointed:

The Marina seen from the upper end of our old driveway.
Our old address – I see that the Knowles house is gone.

Our old driveway. It has been blocked off from curling around the back of the house. I spent quite a few days backing up this driveway until I could do it in my sleep without running off it on either side. I wanted to make Bob proud of me, and let him know that I HAD been paying attention to what he had been trying to teach me.
Our old house has been changed in appearance - and the driveway has been raised to rest on a rise. And they painted the house that terrible town buildings color! The town is obsessed with this unappealing drab brown. YUK!
I walked up to the side door and knocked. I wanted to take some pictures of the house and property - and to see what the back yard, by the slough looked like now. We used to have a resident Great Blue Heron, cute playful Otters, and a Harbor Seal that would come close to the back yard when we lived here. No one was home to ask.

Local Brewery. New.
Looks like tourist rentals.
River Mile 38 Brewery
Elochoman Marina Cabins. New.
More tourist rentals. New.

Used to be Dr. Avalon’s Office after he moved from Main Street. Now a family health center.
Neglect. So sad to see.

Used to be Schroder’s Restaurant, and it was a pretty fancy place; built in the 1980’s. Stacey worked here in HS. So sad that it has been so neglected.
And that is the end of this short loop of Cathlamet ... Ocean Beach Highway in the back.
Making the loop back to Main Street. the streets are so short, you can see the Fire Hall very clearly from here.
Faubian’s Law Office.
Used to be the Optometrist’s Office when he moved from Main Street. Then, it was a Yarn Shop during the 1980's.
This used to be another bank in the 1980’s; now it is just a Pizza place.
I used to know everyone on this street: Sharon Lee lived this end, then Donnie Seaburg, then the Cleaveland family.  Jimmie Lou Cleavland helped me get my Driver’s License in the '80's so me and the kids could go visit Bob in Glenoma when he was working and living away from home 9 months out of the year for several years. Donnie Seaburg was Bob's friend all through High School and Bob's 1st marriage. Sharon Lee and I were friends for at least 2 decades - our kids grew up together.
Linquist house. Ruthie is a shirt-tail relative of Bob's – her mother was his Aunt Vivian's sister.
The Love family lived here until the 1980’s. The house used to be white with a white picket fence. That gravel and the garage was not there before.
KOI HOUSE. I forget the lady's name, but she was a spinster with a very gentle spirit; and had 2 big fat spoiled Persian cats with long white hair, and a huge koi pond with monster koi swimming in it. She would let Stacey feed the fish, and play with her cats. It is sad to see that this house is not loved anymore; it used to be kept up so well.
Used to be the Assembly of God Church. Stacey and I went here for 10 years before they went off the rails with the vineyard cult doctrine.
I might come see what they do now for this festival … it’s been decades since I’ve been to a Bald Eagle Day event. I’m curious.
Ocean Beach Highway again: told you Cathlamet was only an eye blink town. LOL
And here we are; right back where I started the walkabout.
Ad for ATM machine – definitely citified.
Heading towards my car on the opposite side of Main Street.
Margaret Strubey’s Flower Shop used to be in this building after the P.O. was moved under the Pharmacy that was moved across the street ...
Cathlamet Hotel.
I don’t know what this building is supposed to stand for: very chaotic window display.
Here is the city beast …
Eagle Office, the local newsletter-newspaper. And I am back to my car after a leisurely 5 minute walk along ALL of Main Street, ALL of Marina area, and ALL of the few back streets. If Bob hadn’t been working away from home, I probably would never have gotten my Driver’s License; I really didn’t need it. Everything I could ever have wanted when we lived here, was only a few seconds away. Seriously. It is a 5 minute walk to walk all of Cathlamet: it is a 7 to 8 minute uphill walk to reach either school from where we lived down on the flats by the Marina.
I headed towards Puget Island to find Sunny Sands.

Sunny Sands no longer exists: beach houses have been built literally right on the beach; basically, eating up the beachfront and cutting off public access. There IS a sliver of public access further down the road, BUT you have to have a Discovery Pass now to walk the 6 ft. x 6 ft. sliver. CRAZY! Not gonna happen with me because it is not worth it. I would get the Pass if there was something to DO once the access was granted, but there isn’t – so I won’t …

Puget Island Bridge. Long bridges usually make me very nervous, but I have to master that feeling and bring it under control if I plan to do more Sunday Fundays …
An Osprey in its nest!
Cutting straight across the Island; no time to drive all the side roads today. I am on a mission ;-)
I went to a lot of Junior High-High School dances here before Bob and I started dating.
Storage Units. Something new.
This building used to be a Grange. I had Girl Scout banquets here when I was young. Now it is a church. That awful color again!
Toll Ferry access road.
The Ferry.
A dredging barge.
Disappointment ...
Only a sliver of what the beach used to be. Sunny Sands beach used to be so vast that there was a beach shack on it, with sand stretching far out before it, even before water met sand; people would bring beach chairs to sit all day in the sun ... kids played with beach toys on it; people swam here, and had picnic days - like would happen on any big beach. People fished for sturgeon and salmon. Now, they are fishing, but there is barely room for a beach chair between sand dune and waterline! This is ridiculous - it certainly does NOT warrant a Discovery Pass.
Taking a loop road back towards the Bridge; Wayne Moore scared Shannon Spears here.
The Scott house at the end of the bridge, on the Cathlamet side. The Scotts' were always punks; thought they were better than everyone else. Bob didn't like them at all. Could my tormentor, Candy Scott, be a relative? She sure behaves like it!

When I got back to the mainland, I was hungry and decided to eat at the new restaurant there (new to me, anyway). Truthfully, I wasn’t sure I could eat, even though I was hungry: but I made myself DO it … and I didn’t choke on the hamburger, or break down seeing the empty place across the table from me:

I paid tourist price for this hamburger with onion rings & a coke: $17.00! And that concludes my Cathlamet-Puget Island/Sunday Funday

I am healing. My thoughts aren’t so scattered – and my amputated heart is learning a new rhythm. My love-sick and love-starved heart will always limp along now that I am a solo lobo; but at least the pain is lessening, and it isn’t seizing up like it used to do.

A LOT of money has been funneled into Cathlamet to make it over into a yuppie encampment for the fake hippies that blew in here in the 1970’s and started buying properties up left and right – these lucky mud swindlers had old money resources and high-end college diplomas, with ties to mob activities and drug dealing. They are not as innocent or peace-loving as they put forth. And they effectively shut down the woods work and fishing businesses too.

It is really sad.

When I left our past behind us, and started heading home, I decided to take the backroads home through the Elochoman Valley, up over Beaver Creek Road, and cut over Germany Creek Road that ties into Eufaula Heights that ties into Coal Creek Road … which drops right into my back yard here at Heron Pointe on Ocean Beach Highway. A long and winding trail back home for sure, but a FUN drive to round out my Sunday Funday ;-)

Davenport house on the Elochoman Valley Road. Bob almost drowned me here when he got saved in 1981, and we were baptized together – he floated – and my arm was around his waist while his body refused to be dunked! Finally, it was a done deal and I could pop up out of the water and breathe again. But it got dicey for a few minutes. We laughed about that for decades, until the laughter was permanently halted in December 2018.
I was helping Bob spot Elk up Beaver Creek road one day when we were dating. I had never seen an elk before and really didn’t even know what I was looking FOR, but I got an up-close & personal view of an Elk when it ran up the road in front of the pickup ON THIS SPOT – and I was so startled, I couldn’t even speak: it was as big as a horse! I just started tugging on Bob’s shirt sleeve until he finally turned and slammed on the brakes. What an introduction!
I used to occasionally walk this road from our house in Cathlamet after Stacey left for school. Before it was black-topped in the 1980’s, it was a primitive rough gravel road that was barely maintained by the county. I always had a gypsy soul and wandering feet; and I liked this view of the Columbia River seen from the top of Beaver Creek Road before it drops into Mill Creek road at the bottom junction - I only ever walked down to that junction if I was a glutton for punishment because the climb back UP that steep incline is pure hell on the hamstrings: very punishing hike up that unforgiving incline.
Leaving one county and entering another: both home.

While cruising along Eufaula Heights, I decided spur-of-the-moment, to nip into an old friend’s place and let him know of Bob’s graduation – and invite him to Bob’s Celebration of Life event if he wants to join us – our lives had gone in different directions over the years, but when I stepped out of my car, and we saw each other, it was like time hadn’t passed at all …

Driving down an old friend's driveway. There are memories centered around Bob here too … we lived on this property for a few months in 1995 when we moved to Longview from Raymond, where we had been for 2 years after leaving Cathlamet in 1993. One night I had to walk the dogs and I had our granddaughter with me; it was Winter time, so I strapped her to my chest in her little carry thingee, under my coat leaving it unzipped enough to give her fresh air to breathe, and took the dogs out. It was very foggy, so it took me a few minutes to realize I had inadvertently walked right into the middle of a huge elk herd: I could literally have reached out my hands and touched elk on all sides of us! I told those dogs to tread carefully ... and they were as good as gold, thank Elohei. We all made it safely back to our humble abode, without undue incident; Elohim sent our Guardian Angels to walk with us that night.

We got to talking, and 4 hours passed! We talked about Bob, and the man we both knew him to be; and we both affirmed that we know where Bob is now.

And we had a LOT of catching-up to do.

Even with the surprising and disappointing changes to the old hometown, yesterday was a very GOOD day on many levels.

I am looking forward to more Sunday Fundays :-D