EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN Kate’s Journal


Episode 35 Fremont, CA 1974

entrance Welcome to our house!

We had no great welcoming home party when we returned, and probably some people were unaware we had ever left. In the five years we lived in the Northwest, we forged a well worn path to family and friends between Kirkland and Fremont, so that technically we almost lived in both places.

What we needed to find first was someplace to put our stuff, which having lost Mrs. Peel, Tuffy and Rudy,now included Liza, a large German Shepherd Dog. I had thought perhaps to buy someplace where we could live and have a shop. I could work while customers dropped in and shopped. We would also have homemade soup and breads and maybe a cricket or two!

This did not work out so we bought with the idea of staying a couple of years while we looked for the ideal spot. Those couple of years have now stretched to forty-two!

Family Room Family Room

The DIY strain was strong in us after our building projects in Kirkland, so we built this very large room in which the grandchildren and I roller skated until we laid the tile.

Teaching at the City and shortly thereafter at the new College which had been built while we were gone, plus watching grandchildren were pleasant occupations while exposing two active boys to camping and fishing.

I began feeling tired. It was a tiredness which seeped into my bones, and which no amount of sleeping could alleviate. Finally seeing the doctor I learned that I had lupus and Sjogrens’s. Going to the library on the way home from the doctor and reading up on both diseases was not encouraging. There was no cure and I began feeling sorry for myself. I told my sister-in-law my tale of woe, and her suggestion was perhaps we ought to hold Christmas early. That snapped me out of it and I settled into a more pragmatic attitude. This was 40 years ago and against all odds I’m still here.

The only reason I am sharing this with you is to show you that you gain another perspective. As Gilda Radner of NSL famously said, “There’s always something.” As things turned out, this diagnosis was the first of many, and you begin to realize that everyone has something. You just keep going forward and hope you don’t trip.

Luckily, while teaching students marketing techniques, I formed relationships with several galleries to handle my artwork. We had always loved Carmel, and I found a delightful gallery which handled my work for years. It gave us a purpose to visit this lovely town often. The small folly in our garden, with its whimsical paintings and built by our late brother-in-law, is my small Carmel.

MouseMaus Haus

The City owned Olive Hyde building where I taught for so many years had become a fine small art gallery, and it was thrilling to bring in so many talented artists from all over California.

You never know what the world has in store for you.

living roomLiving Room

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MILESTONES


002 A quiet place to sit in the corner of the yard.

I’m not sure that there is a word such as “dailyness” to describe how people run their everyday activities. I suppose “routine” is a better word. Things change with the years. When you are working for someone else your time schedule operates on their schedule, but in retirement, you can pretty much do as you please. I always thought you would have more time than you could use when you were retired. This is not so.

I see we have mixed up our routine as the years pass; while we used to rise early and hit the trail for long walks/runs, we got out of that habit after my accident and have now become slug-a-beds. Coffee and the lousy local newspaper take up another bit of time. I feel bad about it, but it’s too much trouble to try and change.

While my car automatically turned into shopping malls years ago, it has now programed itself to go to medical offices. Even the habits of a non-organic machine have changed

Sam is ready to renew his driver license along with what appeared to be half of Fremont. The parking lot at the DMV was full as usual, but we found a spot right in front, near about 50 people waiting outside, most with cell phones pressed to their ear. Lots of pacing back and forth, no smiles, no interaction. Lots of odd looking characters, including one looking for a handout. Another person wearing a headscarf which covered the bottom part of the face and wearing large dark glasses while pushing an empty baby stroller. I made a milestone decision while waiting, which is not to renew my own license.

I find myself doing odd things such as going into a room for one thing and ending up looking at ten. Something always needs straightening or throwing out. As imagined, the studio is the worst. The lovely lady who helps us would love to clean in there, but I have assured her that all those piles of paper are important half finished projects I will get to when I find time.

In the meantime I can go sit in the garden and enjoy just doing nothing.

THE NEWNESS NEVER WORE OUT Kate’s Journal


Episode 34 Kirkland 1969-1974

051 “Inuit Mother and Child” watercolor by kayti sweetlanhd rasmussen

There was some success selling my sculptures in Seattle, and a minor bit of chicanery. If someone doesn’t try to cheat you, you haven’t made an impression.

For our second Christmas in the Northwest, Dr. A with the aid of a large truck and a large friend, brought home an enormous tree which reached to the ceiling of the barn, and became home to a number of enormous papier mache elves, while several more elves, dressed in colorful velvet clothes, straddled the rafters. The California family arrived in full force. and audience participation prevailed while serving up the old Rasmussen Christmas breakfast, with a few aebleskivers thrown in.

We learned that a family isn’t complete without a new generation, and in 1973 our California daughter gave us what we knew to be the world’s smartest and cutest grandson. It was troubling that he lived in California while we presently lived in Washington.

The flu can make a wet dishrag out of you, and in the midst of feeling sick and sorry for myself, alone on Valentine’s Day, our youngest daughter announced that she wanted to get married on St. Patrick’s Day. Better than that, she wanted to get married in our barn. Dr. Advice was traveling two weeks out of every month, so he was slow in getting the news, good or not so good.

marvin Oiver Large print by Marvin Oliver, Professor of Indian Studies, University of Washington

It’s amazing how fast a wedding or a climatic catastrophe (there isn’t much difference between the two) can get you out of bed. The amount of time spent on wedding arrangements today can give you plenty of time to change your mind on the whole thing. We had a month, and our daughter was in the middle of finals.

Handmade invitations, wedding clothes and food appeared in the appropriate time with the help of friends including pickled oysters from the Hood Canal from Georgia and Emmett. When everything else was set, we needed someone to marry them, and believe me, it isn’t easy when you do it at your home cold turkey. After a number of rejections, including all the regular churches, someone had a relative who was an unemployed Mennonite minister who would come.

The day of the wedding gave a display of weather the Northwest is famous for; rain, snow, hail and brilliant sunshine, not necessarily in that order. The bride walked down through our meadow on the arm of her handsome father and into a warm and cozy barn with sunshine pouring down through a large window near the ceiling. The groom was a lapsed Catholic, the bride was unaffiliated, and we were just guests, and we built a chuppah which was covered with daffodils and daisies. The new grandson slept peacefully in my arms throughout the service, undisturbed by the festivities.

North Coast Shaman “North Coast Shaman” sculpture by kayti sweetland rasmussen

We sent the new couple off with the bride carrying a small cage of crickets (don’t ask) and found that the Mennonite minister had not signed the wedding certificate. Ominous? Everything got straightened out eventually.

There are strange sights in the country which you don’t usually see in the suburbs, a lot of them involving animals. A small Shetland pony being led down our road at 5:30 Christmas morning would be one of them, an entire line of cars at morning commute time regularly stopping to let a row of ducks cross the road, a couple of escaped horses stomping through our newly planted lawn., and of course, the belching goat.

One of our friends was a weaver of lovely things, which led me to try my hand with the warp and woof, but without her expertise. It seemed a shame not to be able to even weave a reasonable set of place mats and napkins, but it was a nice feeling to sit and try on a rainy morning.

The barn allowed us to have more parties involving more than four people. On one such occasion, a woman guest left in a huff when her husband told a raunchy joke. She just didn’t fit in or got tired of her husband’s boorish behavior. At another party, planned to entertain guests from California, fell apart when the belly dancer planned for the entertainment, refused to come when she discovered one of the guests was Jewish. Later, when our house was for sale, she wanted to buy it to use the barn to teach belly dancing in. She couldn’t come up with the money.

Seattle is one of those places where float planes fly in and out to Lake Union, taking you to places further north, and if you want to, you can go even further north to see the Iditerod races, fishing and meet new friends.

A 12 pound turkey graced our table on our last Thanksgiving in Kirkland. Complete with all the trimmings; potatoes, gravy, dressing and pumpkin pie, it brought home the fact that we had a 12 pound grandson waiting in California. Not that he was eating all this stuff by then, but you couldn’t ignore the weight or cuteness similarity.

Dr. A had supervised the building of the Alaska pipeline, caught a respectable number of fish, and made a lot of new friends, so we semi-reluctantly pulled up stakes and headed back to California.

chilcat blanket

Addendum: This post was written without using the word “I” even once. In this day and age of people like Donald Trump who seems to have a monopoly on the word, and even nice people who don’t realize they are doing it, it seemed a good lesson.

THE ALASKA/FREMONT CONNECTION Kate’s Journal


Episode 33 Kirkland 1969-1974

kirkland 6

The barn was finished, with its sleeping loft which held six to eight people agile enough to climb the ladder to access it. We soon had guests from both Fremont and Alaska climbing the ladder.

Among the first guests who came, were three gentlemen from Juneau, Alaska with whom Sam did business, one of whom took an interest in the old green elephant on the bookshelf beside the living room fireplace. He asked where I had got it and I related what I had learned about it.

When the dusty old green elephant turned up in Olive Hyde’s antique shop in Fremont, it seemed a good birthday present for my husband, though she gave me no indication of its history. Sam had never shown a particular interest in elephants, but it’s green glaze captivated me enough to take possession of it.

green elephant

Olive came from San Francisco, hoping to make the Mission San Jose area a little Carmel. Hyde Street, in San Francisco, was named for her forebear, an early alcalde. She opened a tea shop, and when the tea shop went bust, she took over the old pony express building down the street and opened an antique shop. Ever ambitious, Olive kept buying up property throughout the new town. Bob McIver who owns the hardware store in Mission San Jose, drove Miss Hyde around town looking for property when he was a sixteen year old. The tea shop, much later became the Olive Hyde Art Gallery with which I had a twenty year relationship.

Laura Thane Whipple, an active woman involved in real estate, was a pioneer descendant of the Bay Area’s Tilden family and by marriage, the Whipple family. The two women had a contentious relationship through the years, with Laura claiming that Olive talked her out of a number of pieces to put in her antique shop. Through the years Laura became a close friend of mine.

Laura and her brother Bart, had been born in Oakland. When her family moved to Centerville there was no high school, so the children stayed in Oakland during the week, coming down to the country on weekends. The family had built a home designed by Bernard Maybeck, one of the early proponents of Berkeley brown shingle homes.

Laura’s mother didn’t wait long to campaign for a high school in the area. She was a reporter on one of the early San Francisco newspapers and as such she was accustomed to going to where the news was. She hiked up her long skirts and strode out into the cauliflower fields of Centerville to coax money donations from the farmers to build Washington High school, and Laura and Bart moved down to Centerville.

I learned that the elephant had been purchased in China many years before by Laura’s unmarried niece, a young teacher, whom she had raised. In the early part of the century they moved to Alaska to join Laura’s husband John, and her brother Bart Thane, who like many others, had gone to Alaska to find gold in the mining business. They settled near Juneau in an area subsequently named “Thane” for their family. Many years later Laura gave me a gold coin made from some of the first gold which had come from their mine.

The young teacher started a school for elementary grades, and told stories of her time in China, even sharing her mementos, among which was the green elephant. Amazingly, our guests had all been students in her class. Also in a surprising coincidence, two of them remembered seeing the green elephant.

When I asked if they had ever heard of “Thane”, they laughed and informed us that it had become Juneau! So our old green elephant has the distinction of being one of the first residents of Juneau, Alaska.

CAT HOUSES I HAVE KNOWN


Along the Oregon coast north of Brookings, is a turn off from the highway toward the cold grey sea. On a dismal rainy day it exudes a depressive feeling, signaling a “don’t go there” air.

We drove off the road at the invitation of my uncle to visit the cat houses. To care for the burgeoning population of local cats, local residents have been leaving food for them after capturing and relieving them of their sexuality. Much like the resident cats of Rome.

After meeting the acquaintance of these interesting dwellers of this uninviting territory, local artisans began building homes to shelter them from the elements.

Cat House 5

Cat House 2

Cat House

Cat House 4

Cat House 3

Viva the Oregon Food Bank!

R.I.P. OUR FRIEND, EMMETT OLIVER


Emmett

Our dear friend, educator and mentor, Emmett Oliver has completed his long journey at the age of 102. He was the oldest member of the Quinault Nation, and a true hero. The following is a reprint from KING NEWS.

“Oliver was born in South Bend, Washington, and served in World War 11 and the Korean War, before going on to make his mark as a teacher and coach.

“Emmett will be dearly missed. He achieved so much in his life and leaves a legacy that will truly last forever.” Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp said in a release. He was a United States Coast Guard Commander, an educator in and out of the classroom, an equal rights activist and a cultural icon. He was known and loved by thousands of people near and far, and will be remembered as a man who gave of himself throughout his life, always with the objective of helping others foremost in his mind.” she said.

After serving as an educator in the classroom, Oliver continued working to improve tribal education by serving as director of Indian student programs at UCLA and the University of Washington before becoming the supervisor of Indian education for the State of Washington.

In 1989 he established the Paddle to Seattle, an event that taught physical and spiritual discipline, and shared his culture with countless people.

“The fact is that Emmett saved hundreds if not thousands of lives. It is hard to underestimate the great positive impact that the resurgence of the canoe culture has had on American Indians in this country. It has helped somany of our children and adults turn away from drugs and alcohol, and displaced depression and despair with hope and culture-based principles. People are learning their culture again. So many more know their language, their songs, their history. They have pride again, and they are staying in school. Emmett Oliver was a true hero among our people, said Sharp.

Born December 2, 1913, Oliver was a stand-out scholar and athlete at Sherman Institute in California, before studying at Baconne Cllege ( a two-year Indian college) and the University of Redlands.

He and his wife, Georgia, have three children, nine grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.”

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Our family was blessed to have Emmett as our good friend and mentor for the past fifty-six years, even being responsible for our move to the Northwest. They unstintingly shared their home on the Hood Canal with our family and friends.

I am reflecting today on the many lessons that Emmett, and his wife Georgia, taught me. To have the opportunity to learn their separate cultures, and to love them and their extended family, has been a true blessing.

Beginning with our first meeting when Emmett was a high school counselor and coach, and continuing through the next years, my horizons widened as I became aware that under the fun that Emmett brought to every gathering, a very serious educator always resided.

His efforts to understand and help his people have been legion. Some years ago the book “Two Paths” was written about Emmett’s life and was self-published by him. It was distributed free to schools on the Washington State reservations as an inspiration to young students as to what can be achieved with education.

Goodbye Emmett, our memories of you will leave a happy glow within our hearts. You and Georgia introduced me to Indian America for which I am forever grateful.