Talking Crows on the Washington Coast? Who said that!

Over the summer, I was chatting with Boaz Backus, the chainsaw carver guy who built Ocean City Marketplace in 1995, and son of woodcarving pioneer (and my friend) Judy McVay. Boaz doesn’t live along the Washington Coast anymore but his legacy lives on in stories; about saving Dorothy Anderson’s cabin, drunk adventures, travel, carving, and his Dr. Doolittle relationship with animals. Which is where this story really begins. First, let me say that hanging out with Boaz is a hoot. He’s a master storyteller, but you have to be weary ‘cuz everything he says must be taken with a grain of salt. And if you’re thinking “naw, I’ve got a fantastic BS barometer,” he almost always wears sunglasses which doesn’t…

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Signs are Art: The Silent Impact of Judy McVay

My dad, Jim Mason (1943 – 2014)  was a self-taught cartoonist who practiced drawing Mickey Mouse and other characters in the margins of his homework starting in Kindergarten. Later, he put himself through graduate school as a sign painter and eventually he became one of only a handful of Art Therapists in the State of Montana. At age five, Dad started taking me on sign painting jobs. Often he was on a ladder and I was tasked with handing up brushes, rags, and tubes of colors, or helping clean up. It was fun and from my child-eyes, what my dad did was art. The silent impact of Judy McVay I was first introduced to Judy McVay’s work in 2018 when…

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Clam Digging on the Hidden Coast in the 1930’s; an Oral History

Clam Digging on the Hidden Coast Scenic Byway in the 1930’s; a Personal Story In April 1990, Harriet Baller, a 48-year resident of Moclips wrote about the trials and tribulations of clamming digging on the coast. Upon her death at the age of 90, her stories were donated to the Museum of the North Beach where they “live to tell” along with other local oral and written histories. Harriet Baller (1915 – 2006) Born on February 1, 1915 in Glendive, Montana, by age 13 Harriet and her family moved to Western Washington where her father worked as a carpenter in Queets and then Hoquiam. After graduating from Hoquiam High School in 1933, Harriet worked at the local Kress department store…

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