Tuesday, July 28, 2009

MEET THE PEOPLE

My friend Paul always says that the only time National News notices people like us (from small towns) is when someone gets arrested for drunk driving his horse, or a guy swallows another guys gold nugget in his beer.
And museums, they are about the past, the people featured in them are, ummm, well dead, they are history, right?
This is the second museum in Washington that deals with living people as well as those who've gone before. Its the Anacortes Museum. What a delightful peak into the local community, such as Bill Wooding who provides limo service to vets on his tank. Or Bill Mitchell who paints 6 murals a year on buildings in Anacortes. (To date, he has 125 of them and going strong.)
I especially loved the story of a young Betty Lowman Carey. She found a boat and her father gave it to her for her 18th birthday when they couldn't find the owner. She decided to row it to Alaska from Anacortes and surprise her father who was in Alaska at the time, and would have forbidden her to try such a thing. She named her boat BiJaBoJi, the first two letters of her brother's names, Bill, Jack, Bob and Jim. Betty rowed 1300 miles up the inside passage to Alaska in 66 days. Her story is in the Museum along with her beloved boat. A book has been written about her feat.
I delighted in meeting May Louise Dopps who made hats. The rim of the hat she is wearing (above) is seven feet in circumfrence. She had a houseful of vintage clothes she collected and loaned to people in the community, once clothing a whole cast for a play.

There was Mike Denopoulous, who became rich as a junk man, and later phillanthropic. He told his kids, live frugally, only one sip of brandy per day and one cigar per week. He also warned them that if they didn't study and work hard they'd end up as garbage men.
There are indepth scrapbooks with biographies of a host of town characters that makes this museum a real find. Berte Olson, the first woman skipper on the sound. A real Tugboat Annie. And scores of others.

I also learned how Anacortes got its name. Originally known as Ship Harbor, Amos Bowman, a businessman, decided it needed a better name and promoted Anne Curtis, after his daughter Anne and his wife's maiden name of Curtis. Eventually, through common useage it became Anacortes. Now you know as well.

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