Up the Beach — The season between seasons

We have arrived at that peculiar time of the year when it isn’t really spring, not really winter, certainly isn’t summer, not graduation time, almost past beachcombing time, but a time similar to being thunderstruck, except there is hardly anything new to contemplate so may as well remember when it was like about 20 years ago.

The erosion wasn’t the big topic up at Taholah. No. There were busy celebrating Mattie Howeattle’s 105th birthday at the Lighthouse church. She was still weaving baskets and selling them at the Ocean Crest and Lake Quinault Hotel. It took her two weeks to make a basket and she got a whole $7 to $10 for each one. Some of her baskets also went to Bend Morgan’s Museum of Northwest Indian Arts &Crafts in that new town of Ocean Shores.

Just down the beach at Moclips the high school kids and proud parents were talking about winning the Pacific League Basketball Sportman’s Trophy for 1965-66. Also exciting was the Moclips High School band’s forthcoming trip with Mr. Aho for the Southwest Washington Class D adjudication in Onalaska. On the ground at the high school military recruiters were looking for aircraft mechanics, airframe repairmen, gear installers and aviation maintenance men for the Vietnam war. The boys were pretty interested in getting off the beach, wearing a uniform to impress the girls and to see the world. Their mom and pops weren’t too happy about it all. They knew Gary Trumbull was on his way to Vietnam.

Eleanor and Harvey Gerry were opening the Surf &Sand for the summer season and were looking for waitresses. Many of the high school girls had moms working the season and the restaurant and wanted a job there too. Probably they wanted to buy the newly fashionable go-go boots at the Sea &Spice in Ocean Shores. But if they didn’t get hired there they could always put their name in the hat at Marge and Jay Farwell’s In &Out drive-in at Ocean Shores. Or, try getting a job at the Beachwood, which was looking for “ladies for maid work” who would get a whole $1.75 an hour.

A little excitement was stirred up by a fire in the penthouse at the Ocean Crest. And on a different scale at the Carlisle School a big meeting with all sorts of health officials was being held regarding the many incidents of bovine tuberculosis on the North Beach dairy farms. There was quite a bit of grumbling over the Postal Saving System being abolished by the Feds. For many rural folks they didn’t have enough income to save at a bank but they sure could go to the post office and drop a few shekels into a rainy day account. The deadline to withdraw funds was March 27,1966. Any money left in accounts would be deposited in the U.S. Treasury Department Trust Account.

Moms were pretty fed up with kids moping around the house with nothing to do so they joined the Grays Harbor Art League potluck at Uldine Burgon’s Bluff House and told dad to mind the little buggers.

Well, that was a mistake, the kids were going nuts, too with all the rain, cold, and nothing to do. Practically every night they were taking the door off the phone booth next to the post office just for fun. There was a sign on the Moclips post office stating, “The party that took Rusty Colson’s bike is known” and threatening dire consequences if it didn’t show up at his house with “no questions asked.” The kids were putting various stuff on the railroad tracks to see them smooshed when the train ran over them. Some kid decided to see if the train could smash and angle iron bar. The car Ken Stuart was riding in was thrown from the track and he was badly bruised and off of work.

It wasn’t just the kids in a spring slump. Adults were too. The “tired” club members of the Moclips Community Club put the old high school up for sale. School District 98 had accepted a bid from the club for $100 for the old gym, cottage, bus garage and property for a community center some years before. But there were not enough leaders doing the work and the go-getters were just fed up. There was also a fed up attitude towards the “nitwits” that parked every which way in the Moclips streets. The ambulance and fire trucks were all having a hard time getting to accidents and fires. So the men were fed up too. Even Dave Trask. He had his dune buggy for sale. Guess he figured good weather was never going to hit the beach.

Ahh. But in those pre-cell phone days it was really good news that May 1 the phone service installation for the beach would be complete. And, by golly, it would be toll free between Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Copalis Beach, Copalis and Copalis Crossing. Modernity had arrived.

The Newton Ladies Aid was holding plant sales and the 11 members of the forthcoming graduating class who would be attending college included JoAnn Black, Central Washington College; John Baller and Dave Foss, Grays Harbor College; Wally Weidman at the University of Washington and Warren Shale at Western Washington College.

So, even though nothing much is happening right now, life goes on. Perhaps on the silly side , but it is something different, the Ocean Shores police found a four-foot alligator found in a car. What is it with alligators in Ocean Shores? The last one found by the police department was about 1998. Are those guys trying out for swamp men? Or what?

And how can anyone grumble too much after Dan Ayers, Fish &Wildlife shellfish manager, announced nadditional razor clam digs in April and May.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced a tentative schedule of new digs in light of updated harvest estimates that show a sufficient number of clams to support the additional openings.

“This has been a great year for razor clams,” said Ayres. “Clams this year have been bigger than average and abundant enough to add another series of digs.”

Final approval on upcoming digs will be announced after marine-toxin test results confirm the clams are safe to eat.

“Digging at Mocrocks has been fabulous lately,” Ayres said, noting that the upcoming series of digs includes three dates at that beach.

The upcoming digs are scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

• Apr. 27, Sunday, 5:53 a.m., -0.3 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach

. Apr. 28, Monday, 6:39 a.m., -0.8 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach

• Apr. 29, Tuesday, 7:22 a.m., -1.1 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach

• Apr. 30, Wednesday, 8:03 a.m., -1.2 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach

• May 01, Thursday, 8:43 a.m., -1.0 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach

• May 02, Friday, 9:23 a.m., -0.7 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks

• May 03, Saturday, 10:04 a.m., -0.3 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks

• May 04, Sunday, 10:47 a.m., 0.1 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks

WDFW shellfish managers will analyze harvest data after this series of digs is completed. If enough clams remain for more digs, the best tides are around the weekend of May 17, Ayres said.

Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container. Razor clam diggers are reminded that they may not harvest any part of another person’s daily limit, except for those who possess designated harvester cards.

Diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2014-15 fishing license to harvest razor clams on state beaches. Fishing licenses of various kinds are available on the department’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

For updates on upcoming digs, visit the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

Ranger Wes John over at the Twin Harbor’s State Park passed along spring/summer information that will interest some of the old beachers. Check out the website www.parks.wa.gov for all sorts of information regarding passes that provide discounts for some senior citizens, disabled veterans, and people with disabilities. The passes eliminate Discovery Pass fees in state parks and some provide 50 percent off on camp sites. The excellent site provides information for fishing areas and Department of Natural Resource areas.

So there are some things to look forward to in the season of nothingness. Clams and possible free passes. Such a deal.

Gene Woodwick may be reached at 360-289-2805 or genewoodwick@coastaccess.com.


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