Monday, July 01, 2019

LaConner Views

FROG HOSPITAL -- July 1, 2019

By Fred Owens

Dear LaConner Friends,

I moved down to California almost nine years ago, after living for so many years in LaConner. I have been back several times for a visit, but even so I am starting to feel not so connected to my old home. It was almost 25 years that I lived there, more than anyplace else, even my childhood home back in the suburbs of Chicago, so I will always be a part of LaConner. I read today about the new library being planned. That is such a good idea. I can still close my eyes and walk around town in my imagination, but I am starting to forget things like who used to own At's a Pizza -- oh, that was Judy Iversen.... and I can see Dean Flood's little old red house, although Dean is gone and so is the house.
But Frog Hospital marches on. We are encouraging more group participation in the writing of it, so tell me what's on your mind. Picture yourself just finishing your morning cup of coffee and taking a look out the window. What do you see?
And honestly, how well are you getting along with everybody else in LaConner?
Please send me a story, even a wry tidbit.
It will appear in an upcoming issue of Frog Hospital.
Also, Laurie and I expect to visit the Old Towne sometime in October, so see ya then,
Here is how people in LaConner responded to my letter

Denise Hollister So I’ve lost that connection to La Conner even though I only live across the valley in Bow. It is not the same La Conner of our memories of past. Too many of the ole folks have passed on for me. All the artists that have passed on, including Dana and Joel from Edison. Bill Slater, Guy Anderson, I know, so many more. John Kagoris, then way back, Charlie Berg, and I first met Bob Hollister there, playing at the La Conner Tavern.

Peter Goldfarb. Fred, I recall a meeting (1987/88?) when the younger, outraged "Locals" got together with the Chamber of Commerce to protest all the recent publicity promoting tourism to La Conner. I had been guilty of some of that, and the White Swan on my sign had been beheaded. Tom Robbins (who brought in a good share) spoke of "the old days", and how he liked it better without the tourists and how they had ruined it for him. Then, long time, senior resident Roberta Nelson, who grew up in La Conner, leaned over to me, and whispered in my ear: "And I liked it here before Tom Robbins". There was life before we got there, and there will be life after we are gone. Nothing stays the same. In reference to the comment above, I know people who complain about all the new tourist activity in Bow/Edison. Good luck with your projects.

Maggie Collinge. Fred, Larry and I moved to Anacortes almost 7 ears ago now. I go to La Conner to Dr. Fischer to get my teeth cleaned and to Lizz, for a haircut. I now go to the Episcopal Church here in Anacortes. It was just too much driving to keep up with church activity at the United Methodist Church in La Conner though I miss the people there. I attended church there for over thirty years. I can ride my bicycle to church and to many other places here in Anacortes. I was too far from La Conner to ride my bike on a regular basis when we lived out on Snee Oosh Road. I do like making the occasional trip to La Conner with folks who have come from out of town; I always see somebody I know and take the time to have a visit when that happens.

Hopie Ruiz. And I do believe Mary is still working at Pioneer Market.

Judy Booth. Yes, she is.

Debbie Aldrich. We moved to La Conner 3 years ago after hanging out here for many years. I love living here now. I see my neighbor, Molly's chickens in the middle of town.

Judy Booth. Nine years! Holy cow Fred. It's been nine years since you helped me clean a house - no hair? I get along with the people in La Conner that I like... I'm such a brat. I'm grateful to the tribe for contributing to the library. Georgia Johnson having to leave the school is a tragedy. My kids graduated from a great school - LC - and went on to be quite successful in their chosen fields - engineering and dance. I spend less time in town and more on Pull and Be Damned. I look out my window right now and see tall firs and cedars - a madronna tossed in here and there, clouds over Skagit Bay and hummingbirds at my feeder. It's still; very quiet. Not even bird song. Oops - spoke too soon, there's a Robin's trill.

Old Times Around the Ping Pong Table

We moved from Up River in Marblemount to LaConner in the fall of 1979. The Alligator Palace was in its final days. LaConner was a two ping pong table town back then. One ping pong table was in the 1890s tavern and the other ping pong table was in the volunteer firemen's rec room.

That was where the Town Council met, around the ping pong table, which was maybe a little too hokey for some people. But I liked the informality of the meetings. What I noticed and maybe it wasn't until 1981 that I noticed but it was all women. Or almost all women. Mary Lam was the mayor, Diane Goddard was the attorney, Kathi Ernst was the clerk and Pat Sherman was the treasurer. Of the council members, four were women -- Roberta Nelson, Judi Iversen, Neva Malden and June Overstreet.

And the fifth member and lone masculine vote was Don Wright. What was remarkable about this was that nobody noticed, or maybe said anything about it. It wasn't a disaster and it wasn't the dawn of a new day either. It was just eight women sitting around a ping pong table throwing spit balls at Don Wright. He ducked.

Diane Sherman. Reminds me when I first moved to LaConner-- later than you, seeing the farmers drinking coffee around the table in the Planter Hotel early in the dark morning. Wonder what I was doing up at that hour.

Denise Hollister. Ruth Bakke was the best. Those giant Norwegian crepes, that folded wouldn’t even fit on a platter. Homemade raspberry jam and cottage cheese. 50 cents. As close to a New York blintz as you can get.

Lysa Conn Sherman. I'm still here. I remember the way it was back in the 70's, probably because I was a kid and sober. Many things have sadly changed, but many remain the same. You can still get a great burger at the Tav., it will cost you, though. Many folks have stayed and raised their generation of LC Braves, too. It still has a funky vibe around its' squidgy little edges. You won't get me out of here in anything but a pine box.

That's all for now. I did receive more responses from LaConner friends than you see here, but I try not to make things too long. We should do this again sometime.

See ya,


Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

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