Way Back When on Camano
I love history. I love delving into the way people used to live and how things came about. That’s why I’m excited that the Camano Historic Sites Tour is here, Friday through Sunday, March 24-26.
Trippin’ in My Way Back Machine
Looking through the sites on the tour, I see that I have a personal history with many of the tour’s historic sites.
In the 1980s
I worked at Camano Inn when it was a nursing home. Now it’s a fine restaurant. Still haunted, they say.
Couple years later, I cleaned cabins at Cama Beach Resort, also haunted, they say. (Now it’s a state park.) The store they had there for the campers had so many photos and memorabilia from the resort’s early days that it looked more like a museum than a store. The owner was my boss, Mrs. Muriel Risk, an elderly woman who told me stories about the old days. Mrs. Risk’s father, LeRoy Stradley, hired unemployed men to build the resort’s cabins, bungalows, boathouse, and great hall during the Depression. The family ran the resort for decades. During WWII, Mrs. Risk scanned the waters through binoculars for Japanese submarines. She said that in her time, she’d been a lawyer, doctor and pilot. She was quite a character and I’m glad I got to know her.
In the 1990s
My friend, Carol Hall, lived at the Mabana Schoolhouse. I helped her pack glass art for shipping. One day, she fell in love and moved to Portland. I helped pack her up to move.
South Camano Grange held quite a few memorable gatherings. I sang what may have been the first song I ever wrote at a birthday party there. It was about my massage therapist (Oh-oh, I’m aching to see you again . . .) I wrote it for a friend, Joyce Lukaczer, who was then a masseuse.
Yes, I go way back with Camano.
The Community that Plays Together
Lately, I’ve been hanging out at one of the tour sites, Camano Schoolhouse. The schoolhouse is a historic building that has attracted people dedicated to restoring it and making it a gathering place for events and education. They refinished the wooden floor, discovered original slate blackboards under faded wallpaper, and found the old school bell hiding in a nearby church closet.
On Saturday, March 25, 2 p.m., a community group will put on a play about the first teacher there and early telephones on Camano. I’ve helped behind the scenes. It’s delightful to watch it unfold as new friends and neighbors take on roles, both figuratively and literally.
Get Out and About Before You’re History
The beauty of history is to see what people did long before we were here and how it set the scene for all who followed. I can’t wait to visit my old haunts and swing by a few I’ve never seen to learn what people did before I got here.
There’s a breakfast, historic lunch (Reservations required, 360-387-0783), a play, a dance, and a light dinner. Sites are also open for drop in visits at anytime during the tour. Find the detailed schedule online or in brochures around town. Download the brochure here. There’s history tour FaceBook page, too, with video.
While I’m not out enjoying the tour, I’ll play vintage music at Camano Schoolhouse. I’m not scheduled, but if you catch me, come sing along.