Extensive post, be warned. History

Here are a few snippets of what I’ve written so far for the book on the history of Hunts Point.

“Hunts Point started in the 1800’s with three bachelors, an attorney, an architect and an insurance guy. Originally from Seattle, the men built their homes for Sunday picnics and summer retreats.”

This of course excludes the indians and their crops which weren’t actually on Hunts Point, but were really close. That’s why I feel I can get away with starting with the bachelors (which, let’s be honest, are far more interesting).

This morning I met with a local historian, Mr. Coffin, to swap notes and compare time lines and books. I’ve got a lot more recent history and he has a lot of documents from government archives and such, so the meeting was very productive. It was really interesting to learn that he grew up on Hunts Point and left in the ’40s. I think he’ll be a great resource for the logistical history of the book.

We made plans to meet up on Thursday and check out Leigh Hunt’s old house, which now belongs to a nice family with three kids. I think it’ll be good to actually see the property as it is now and compare it to photos and documents I’ve found.

Last Thursday I met up with Nancy Davidson Short, former editor of Sunset Gardening Magazine and the oldest resident of Hunts Point. She’s 92-years-old and sharp as a tack. She still writes an article and a column every month for Lake Washington Arboretum. In her own words, despite her age she’s still “as busy as a bird dog.” It was particularly great to learn how much we have in common. She loves writing, art and nature and is originally from California. We have a lot of the same favorite authors and she’s loaned me a book called “The Kite Runner” (which has been absolutely amazing so far). I think we have a very similar tastes and writing styles.

I went with her to church yesterday. Sacred Heart Parish. It was an experience! I brought Kyle with me and I think all three of us had more fun watching the little kids on the bench in front of us than we did listening to the message. The service that day was dedicated to baptizing the little ones and hearing from a local charity speaker. It was fun to be with Nancy and to get a peek into her world.
She’s been working on a novel and we talked a lot about it last Thursday. She said she would let me read what she has so far. I can’t wait to see it! I’m anxious to get her involved in the small writers group I’ve been hosting. She said she really missed being around writers since she retired from her editor position in ’95. Anyway, here’s a bit of her history that I’ve been working on for her portion of the book:

“In 1938, when the Lacey V. Murrow Bridge joined Seattle, Mercer Island, and the countryside farms east of the lake, a young UW journalism graduate and her new husband settle into a small rental cottage at 3267 Hunts Point Road. They loved the peaceful lakeside setting and abundant wildlife. Two years later they bought the cottage for $3500, with no money down. Time went by and Nancy Short went on to become Chief Editor of Sunset Magazine. Her beautiful gardens display the labor of her love. She has lived in Hunts Point for 69 years. While taking periodic job assignments in California, she never sold her home. At 92, she is still sharp as a tack and living in the expanded cottage.”

So that’s what I’ve got so far. I’m anxious to get the more intersting stories she told me down on paper. I think one of the most profound things she said about the town was that the people haven’t changed it a bit.
“Hunts Point goes on and looks very much the same as it did 60 years ago. It goes on in spite of the people, the people have not changed the town. It’s like our Constitution, we go on as our founders intended and the people of Hunts Point go on as the town founders intended; privately and peacefully.”

I’m very thankful for a wonderful birthday weekend. Many of my friends and family blessed me with unique and powerful gifts, some given inadvertently.
I think Nancy gave me the best birthday gift this weekend along with Kyle. They both gave me encouragement and inspiration to continue doing the things I love to do. Nancy inspired my imagination and became a much needed partner in writing for me. Kyle encouraged me by showing his appreciation for the passions I have, even if the things I’m passionate about are “a little odd.” Sarah, Loreanne, Andrea and Israel called me gave me the gift of laughter when I was having a crummy day on the 8th. On my birthday it was raining and I woke up sick. I ended up cleaning and running erans all day. I had just walked out of Jamba Juice (treating myself, hehe) on Queen Anne and started heading toward Safeway when Sarah called me. I ended up talking to her for nearly an hour and a half while standing in the card and deodorant isle. By the time I left the store she’d talked me into getting fake press on nails and “The Aviator.” ha-ha! I will admit the press-on nails may not have turned out as I’d hoped, but the movie was a good purchase.
That evening Cassie and friends surprised me with two cakes at L movie night (complete with sprinkles, thanks Cass!). It was great to blow out candles and be among friends on a special day. I only wish I could have stayed to see the end of “Leon the Professional”! But alas, the 520 bridge was closing at 11 pm and I had to leave so I could get home. (It was the only way I knew!). I didn’t make it before it closed, so I called Kyle and followed signs all the way home. Sure it was the long way, and people were driving crazy, but I made it.
Saturday I woke up way earlier than I wanted to and spent most of the day reading outside on the grass until the gardeners came around noon. I went inside, so as not to get in the way, and continued the battle against the spiders that I had started the day before. (Thank the Lord for garden-scented Raid!) Around this time I got Matt’s Happy birthday text message, which was a nice pull back to reality among the madness of my bug genocide.
Speaking of bugs, today during lunch with Jack I noted the unusual amount of flies blindly bouncing against the overhead lights in his office (where we usually take our lunch break.) After a few minutes the number grew and grew some more. We concluded that a nest somewhere must have just hatched and all the offspring were now flittering about and smacking into the lights above our heads (and no doubt landing in our drinks and sandwiches, yuck!) So I ran back to my cottage and picked up my handy dandy can of garden-scent Raid and we went to town. Jack called the pest control man just before break ended.
Anyway, back to Saturday…Kyle came over around 5pm bringing two beautiful vanilla bean cupcakes from the New York Cupcake Bakery, a rose and a gift. He’d gotten me this perfume I’ve been wearing lately (of which I only had a sample bottle and was running out) and a really sweet card. We were in a rush to get to a wedding so we saved the festivities for later.
The wedding was for his friend Jeff, (who I later found out I’d met at an Incubus concert freshman year!). We didn’t know very many people except two SPUers. After the wedding we stopped by QFC and got a lasagna and drinks for dinner. It was a lovely meal and we had fun listening to my radio shows. We were too full to enjoy the cupcakes so we had them the next day. He even got candles to go with them. 🙂
After Kyle left for a concert Sunday afternoon, I cleaned up and got ready for bed early. It was nice to listen to my radio shows and then have an extended quiet time before bed. I actually got to hit the sack by 11 pm! It was fantastic! Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is that both of the radio stories last night were about old people and their homes. I thought this was kind of interesting considering the fact that it is the exact topic I’m writing this book about. The stories centered on the attachments that people make with their home and history and how you can never really separate the two. of course, these stories differed from mine in that the houses the people lived in went to extra measures to keep things the way they were even to the point of killing new owners. But yeah, that’s a little different.

So, I think that’s all I can remember for now. Probably more than you wanted to know, ha-ha!

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2 Responses to “Extensive post, be warned. History”

  1. tikijam says:

    awww sarah happy belated birthday! sounds like you had a good time 🙂 see you soon!

  2. an “insurance guy” ……..
    sorry i just read the first line.

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