Dedicated to the citizens of Mason County, Washington since 1886

Mary and Sam have adventures along the Columbia

In 1948, the Astoria Bridge didn't exist and Mary had to take a ferry to cross the Columbia River. The bridge opened in 1966 and is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. It is a little over 4 miles long. It was also the final segment of U.S. Highway 101 between Olympia and Los Angeles. She writes about it being windy on the Columbia River and it does get very windy daily. Three boats capsized one day because of the wind. My family lost my oldest brother due to his boat capsizing. The story about the big ship running aground was interesting. The Columbia River is not that deep. Not like Hood Canal. Thus, the Port of Portland makes it possible for cargo ships to come upriver today by dredging.

Friday, Aug. 27, 1948

Last night it simply poured down rain and so Sam stayed in camp. Gene and Kreider went out and got nothing but a good soaking. After breakfast about 11 men went out, but came in finally the second time at 7 on account of the terrible wind. Took the fish to the cannery but had to return with them as tomorrow is the time they start to can. Packed them in ice again. Then up to Seaview and called on Bette and Manny LaMier. We had a very pleasant afternoon. The baby is very cute, and folks gave her so many things. Can't see when he can ever wear them all. Home and put the things on the table. Mrs. Kreider went down to watch the men come in (seconde time.) Sam and Gene came in first, so we went to camp. Kreider's came in later with a lovely salmon so now she is content to stay longer. Also, it has turned warm. To bed late.

Saturday, Aug. 28, 1948

There was so much noise around here last night with cars getting stuck in the mud and folks talking, we did not sleep much. Sam and Gene went out fishing at 7 and it is now 10:45 and they are still out. Kreidlers are out too. It is a warm sunny day and not a cloud in the sky. The wind is just coming up. Arose late. Ate my breakfast and cleaned up camp. Sam lost his purse in the woods where he went to toilet and got it again. He was just lucky. After 12:30 the men came in and I made breakfast for them. They had one big 30-pound one and two small 5-pound ones, so they took all to the cannery. The little Kreidler boy and I held our boat till they came back. We went out until it got too rough, then came in. They came in with no fish at 6:30 so we ate. Kreidler's got two big ones and oh were they happy. Charlie Ryan, Frank DeMiero and little Charlie came just as we finished eating. The sun was bright all day and oh so lovely. The stars are out tonight.

Sunday, Aug. 29, 1948

Lots of noise last night also and by 3:30 a.m. many were getting up so I slept in. Got up about 10. Little Brad Kreidler was over to see the barometer and Manny LeMier came. Said he was checking fish and boats up at next camp. So, I got up. Too many visitors. The sun was out but now at 12:15 the wind has come up, but the sky is clearing. Charlie Ryan and Kreidler came in. Neither had any fish. Ate blackberries and cream for breakfast. The lady from Hawaii gave them to me. They were delicious! Sam and Gene came in with a nice salmon that Gene caught, about 30 pounds. They lost a big one. We ate dinner about 3:30 and the men wanted to go out but a big wind came up, so Sam lay down and slept. Later Gene and Kreidler went out but no strikes, so they put Kreidler's boat on the trailer and parked it over by the office. Mrs. Kreidler, Brad and I went out for blackberries and had some with toast and tea when we returned. Very good! The folks left about 7 and it was starting to rain good! I did not envy them the trip home over those slippery roads. We lit the two lamps and read awhile. Went to sleep early. Everyone is quiet tonight. Rain just poured down!

Monday, Aug. 30, 1948

We slept until late and ate French toast and blackberries for breakfast. The sun is now trying to come out at 11:45 a.m. Very windy out. A big cruiser ran aground here. They say the crew got drunk. It will take a very high tide to move it. Cleaned camp up good so I can find things again. Looks good. Most of the weekenders left so the camp is pretty scattered today. Hansen, who makes the Hansen plugs, was in to say "Hello." We drove up to eat at the Chicken Shack but they do not open until 4 so we ate at Ilwaco. Then we went out fishing for a while. It was lovely out and not too windy. Came in about 8. Not one strike. Ate berries, toast and tea later, very good too. The barometer shows good weather tomorrow. Very dark out but lots of stars showing. We hauled a lot of wood so tonight we have a good fire. A quiet camp tonight. The man from Hawaii was over and told us about the islands. Emmett and Bill came in at 11.30. To sleep late.

Tuesday, Aug. 31, 1948

Today we all got up early and ate. The men left with a lunch about 7:30. So, I cleaned up camp and put green beans on to cook. Visited with the neighbors. To Seaview and called on Bette LeMier and had a nice time. Her house gets no sun until the late afternoon so it was no fun sitting there in the dark. To Ilwaco and got some corn and home. I started the fire and then called on a lady from California who left me some cookies. We decided to go after berries so went as far as a little past the terminal. Saw the men on their way in so we did not stay long. Home and got dinner of lamb chops, corn on the cob, green beans, gravy, potatoes, coffee, peaches and cookies. How they ate! The sun has been out all day so it has been very pleasant. Very warm too. Bill Cady caught two big salmon and Emmett one. They were proud! To bed fairly early as all were tired.

Wednesday, Sept. 1, 1948

The men arose at 7 and cooked their own breakfast, made sandwiches and went out. I stayed in late, then ate sitting in the sun. It was lovely. Cleaned camp and got ready to go to Seaside to see Shirley Tyree. Starting to blow hard. I wonder how long the men will stay out. Caught the 11 a.m. ferry to Astoria and found Shirley Tyree's place easily. The road was full of curves, and I met seven logging trucks. All kinds of flower gardens along the way selling flowers for 25 cents a bunch. Shirley was about to eat lunch, so I ate with her. Then we walked downtown and saw the antique and gift shops. Back home on the 4:15 ferry and found that the men had eaten and even done the dishes. So, I passed around the doughnuts anyway. Bill caught one salmon, so did Emmett. The folks left about 6 and then I ate dinner. Sam and I gathered some wood for the fire. There is so much down here on the beach.

Thursday, Sept. 2, 1948

This morning we got up late as it was cold and windy out. Ate a good breakfast and about 10:30 a stiff wind came up and they said most of the boats were coming ashore. Later we heard three boats capsized so we were glad we did not go out. At noon I started for Belfair and stopped at Aberdeen on my way. Got some lovely cards and a beautiful cup and saucer. The rain came down all the way to Belfair, so driving was very unpleasant. Arrived home at 4:30. Got the mail and went to Seattle. Saw Duffield's. They can't come down this weekend so I guess will fish alone. To Seattle and called on my mother and John. They had given me up and were about ready to go to bed. Took them some of my dahlias and they thought they were lovely. To bed early after a good warm bath. Raining out still. Saw Roy Russel in Shelton where a car was being towed out of a ditch.

Clydene Hostetler is a longtime Belfair resident, local historian, media archivist and documentary filmmaker of "Hidden in Plain Sight." She has been researching Mary Theler's life for the past 14 years. She can be emailed at [email protected]

 

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