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Book Review: The story of extraordinary women who blossomed in the Southwest

In May 1903, Natalie Curtis stepped into the Arizona heat for the first time. She was accompanied by her brother George, who’d been working in the region as a ranch hand. They came from a wealthy New York family and like many vaguely unwell Easterners, had been told to head to the dry Southwest for their health. Both recovered, and Natalie found something more: a calling.

Nothing New — Tribal trials and tribulations

Long before the white man arrived on the shores of what is now Grays Harbor, it was home to the native peoples, which the newcomers had long termed “Indians.” They had lived here since time immemorial, living in cedar longhouses and subsisting on salmon, deer, bear and razor clams. In 1800, the Harbor tribes numbered an estimated 1,000 members before a series of epidemics decimated the population and by the 1870s only about 130 remained. Since then the numbers have rebounded and today the Quinault Nation is stronger than ever. Here are a number of stories from the past reflecting the trials and tribulations of the local native population.

Mark Harvey — The best time of my life

In some ways, it’s a rather magical time of year: its cooler, the leaves are turning and showing off and the more future-oriented among us are even thinking about the holidays. Change: It’s what marks and measures our lives, from one season to the next, the one constant: Change.

Caregivers for sick pets also deserve respite from stress

Dear Abby: Our family dog recently passed away after a year-long decline. I had grown up with him. He had reached the point where he needed daily care for his body, even though his mind was 100 percent there. Near the end, things got very bad. I got only about four hours of broken sleep a night caring for him, and no one in the family would help me. During part of his daily care routine, he had a second accident all over the freshly cleaned floor. I lost it and hit him.

Help out of a toxic relationship

Dear Abby: I have a very close cousin (and friend) who is in a toxic relationship with a man who breaks up with her repeatedly, manipulates and abuses her emotionally, and probably cheats. It has made me sad to see her go through the same pattern with him for so many years.

Up the Beach — From a disastrous drought to beachcombing bonanzas

Huzzah! It is fishing time! The kids are back in school. Most of the tourists are back home and the rain has cooperated to put the fishermen back in the rivers. There are a lot of females gloriously celebrating that they have the house to themselves. Perhaps men think it is great for their species to be on a quiet river, but that’s peanuts compared to a woman in her own quiet house.

Nothing New — Explosions: A deadly menace

Back at the turn of the last century, as quaint and idyllic as it may seem today, daily life was fraught with dangers that have since become rather rare. One of those is the threat of an explosion snuffing out a life. Certainly men were killed in the woods as they blew up stumps and the TNT detonated prematurely, but the fear of explosion was equally shared by those who lived and worked in the city. Whether it was an oil lamp or a peanut roaster, injury and death by explosion were very real threats in the early days of Grays Harbor. Here are a number of stories that reflect that peril from the pages of the Aberdeen Herald.