This was originally posted to: Guemes Island Historical Society

Historical Society, October 9, 2017 - Minutes

GUEMES ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY

October 9, 2017

 

Present: Tom Deach (pres), Janice Veal (treas), Carol Deach, Win Anderson, Emma & Rob Schroder, Shirley & Dave Margeson, Barbara & Al Bush, Barb Ohms, Bob Anderson, Lonnie Allison, Joan Palmer, Julie deRouche, Bob & Margaret Stickrod, Ian Woofenden, Stephanie Kavanaugh, Bill Van Vlack, Jackie O’Neil, Randy & Barbara Schnabel,  Sue O’Donnell (sec)

 

Show and Tell: Win brought a picture from 2002 of Mr. Wrench’s old tractor; taken on north end of the Bessner barn, in the Valley.

 

Program: Carol Deach & Nancy Bush presented their memories of Linda Hoffercamp Porter (1947-2003), cousin to Carol and friend to Nancy and many others.  

 

Carol’s Dad, Marvin Shoultz, was brother to Linda’s Mom, Agnes Shoultz Hoffercamp (1923 –1979).  The Shoultz family was very close and the cousin children were often together, visiting their grandparents, aunts and uncles on Guemes Island where Carol Shoultz (Deach) and sister Phyllis lived.  Linda loved the island and spent a lot of time with her Uncle Marvin and Aunt Alice.  Alice Shoultz needed back surgery and was in the hospital many times.  Linda came to live with her aunt and uncle just a few years after her mother remarried.  She had a hard time with her step father and felt happier on Guemes.  Linda watched over Carol and Phyllis while she lead them on fun adventures  – picking black-berries, swimming at Bubble’s pool, playing on the farm and beach.  Carol has wonderful pictures from the scrapbook she has put together about her family.  Many of these she showed on the screen for us to see. 

 

Bubbles Finley, the very artistic neighbor on Lervick Lane, was quite an influence on both Linda and Carol as they developed and expanded their love for art.

 

After high school, Linda moved to California.  Carol reports she had work as a “Go-Go” dancer, dancing on tables and in a cage!   Aunt Alice called and told Linda her old boyfriend was now engaged and if Linda wanted him back, she’d better come home.   So, she did and was soon married (1969) to Bob Porter; in December; on the beach!  Many friends and relatives then celebrated with them at the Community Hall. They made their home on the West beach of Guemes where Linda became a Master Gardener and planted a beautiful garden with something blooming in all seasons.

 

Nancy told of meeting Linda in the late 1960s.  She and Linda became fast friends and the 2 families were close.  Linda was very community spirited and loved getting folks together for a potluck dinner and parties.  One of her ideas was to especially invite people they did not know well. 

 

Ever the learner, Linda became involved with the Washington State Extension Service.  A couple women would attend the program in Mt. Vernon, then come back to Guemes and present the information to the others;  the next program, 2 other women would be the learners and come back to be the teachers. 

Linda wanted to learn to play bridge; then got others to learn also and bridge became a thing. 

 

Linda was very community spirited!  Win told a story of Linda being nominated and elected to the presidency of the Community Center.  She was not even present at that meeting!

 

When the community center needed a new roof (1977), Linda devised a plan to make Guemes Island t-shirts to sell.  There was a funny story about the handling of the shirts - from conception to production to a group effort  to ready them for sale.  (Was this the start of an idea to do it MUCH better the next times??) 

 

Nancy said each community organization took a different month to have an event to raise money for the roof.  Linda thought a kid’s carnival would be fun.  They had slug races and children could make fish prints by pressing paper over the painted body of a real fish!  (Was this the idea that lead to the wonderful block prints Linda was known for?)

 

Linda liked to take trips and Nancy told of once being gone for 2 weeks (husbands called them “The Runaway Housewives”) while she and Linda took the leisurely route to Lake Louise and back, seeing many sights along the way. 

 

Once when the Bush family took a trip, they left their dog Buff with Linda.  Nancy read to us the very funny book Linda wrote about the adventures the dog had while the family was gone!  Nancy also showed pictures of Linda and her escapades.

 

Linda was also practical.  Rather than buy and decorate a Christmas tree each year, she would wrap the whole tree - ornaments and all – in cellophane to be stored for the next year! 

 

Linda studied and became a realtor in the late 70s.  She opened her business – Linda Porter Realty – in Anacortes, then moved it to Guemes in a building across West Shore Road from her house.  Some attendees had stories of being sold their Guemes Island homes by Linda.

 

During the mid-nineties, trips to Arizona hot-air balloon festivals involved many friends to be the “Chase Crew” for Linda’s husband’s new hobby.

 

Linda’s artistic talents grew and she got into block prints and screen-printing.  Nancy, Carol and others attending tonight’s meeting brought several examples of the beautiful garments they had bought over the years at Linda’s big “bring-a-friend”-for-wine-and-cheese-while-you-shop parties.  The clothes and art prints (“East of Eden” Christmas cards) were sold at shops in La Conner as well as in the shop Linda and Mugsy Duryee Peterson partnered to open at 4th and Commercial.  They obtained a license to operate the store in 1990, but waited to open until April Fool’s Day, 1991!  “The Red Snapper” sold the wonderful garments that came out of their Lin-Lin Designs studio, the works of other artists, as well as the “joke” gifts the store is known for today.

 

In 1995, Linda found she had the same kind of breast cancer her mother had died of.  (Carol reports their grandmother and two aunts died of the same cancer; it is genetic and aggressive.)  Linda set to work to survive and was game to try any new treatment.  Many of the pictures shown were of Linda without hair from the treatments.   Nothing much seemed to slow her down.  Her husband said she would have a treatment, be sick the next day, then get on with life!  This went on for 11 years until she died in 2006.

 

Treasurers Report:  (attached) Janice reported on the proceeds of last month’s “Harvest Moon Cruise.”  A profit of $2,889.80 was made.  It was such a success, we will try to do it again next year, earlier in the summer to have more light and perhaps a different route through islands to the north or through the Swinomish Slough to La Conner. 

Current account balance is: $30,566.17 plus the 2 CDs (~$4,400.00)

Old Business: Janice has been gathering information about a photo display option.   Island View Elementary in Anacortes has a piece of equipment which displays photos and documents.  Historical Society is interested in finding something similar.  Janice will keep looking for one.

“Name The New Ferry!” – Since the Historical Society has been deputized to collect possible names for the new ferry, we will decide on a process.  Win says, “anything but The Guemes, name of a person who probably never even set foot on the island!”  Perhaps a suitable name will come from history of the tribes.  We may collect possible names, narrow it down to 5 or so and have an Island-wide vote.

 

New Business:

 

Tom has been in contact with property owner Michael Repass.  Mr. Repass has expertise in museum collection and is willing to talk with us about our plans for a museum!

 

Native Artifacts: Recently there has been information in the press about the now-extinct “woolly dogs” from which local native peoples would cut their fur and weave it into blankets.  Refer to University of Washington “Columns Magazine”, September 2017, pg. 16.  From the article: “The blanket is now the only object confirmed to be made with woolly dog hair in a Northwest museum.”

 

Tom proposed a field trip to the Burke Museum on UW campus.  However, the place will soon be remodeled, not to reopen for 2 years.  Win suggested we find out about a display case at the Fidalgo RV park, Convention Center.  It may have a rotation of artifacts it would be fun to go see. 

 

Next meeting:  November 13, 2017.

 

Coming Events:  Historical Society Annual Calendar fund-raiser.  Holiday Bazaar.

 

 

Holiday Bazaar – Nov. 25, a lovely way to showcase local artists and raise funds with our bake sale and soup lunch.  Bob A. will help with the map of exhibitors; new signs will direct folks to both the G.I. Comm. Church and the Community Center buildings.  Janice will notify Lintetme.  Nancy & Lorraine Francis are organizing the food sales.  We will need folks to help with set-up, Friday evening, 7pm. 

 

 

Possible program on Westenhavers: Dave Margeson and Tom are trying to contact sons of Bill Westenhaver.  He had a house at end of Edens Rd (6544 Driftwood Drive).  Gordon Coey (193? – 2016) built a house on Driftwood also (1973?).  The current owner will soon remodel the Coey house, so we would like to document what’s left of the furniture and carvings built by Westenhaver which were incorporated into the Coey house.

From Dave: Here is a bit of history as I remember it. Bill was a graduate of the Los Angeles School of Art and he and his wife Pat moved to Skagit County in the 1950s with their family. They lived in Mount Vernon and spent summers on West Beach. Bill founded a very successful company manufacturing and selling polynesian tiki style wooden sculptures that were sold nation-wide. They bought property on Driftwood Drive and built a summer cabin that displays Bill’s sculptures. The cabin is still used by the family. The Coeys bought property near Westenhavers and built an A frame beach cabin (1973?). The interior of Coey’s cabin also incorporated Bill’s wooden sculptures.

 

Possible programs for future:

Glen Veal repeating his report on farming in the Valley (where Sal Werner has donated 127 acres to the Skagit Land Trust)

Thomas D. Wooten, Chairman of Samish Tribe

William Bailey, Samish master carver

Fund-raiser: put on the play “Waiting in Line”!

North Beach walk

Children of Madge Welch  (Bob A will contact family)

The LaVeque/Gould families

West  Beach settlements

 

 

Recent Guemes losses:  Richard “Dick” Iversen (1943–2017) 

Ruth Elizabeth “Betty” Koerber Curtis (1934-2017)

 

 

 

 

Sue Stapp O’Donnell, secretary               

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