When I moved here in 2012, I told my friends in Colorado that the ocean was calling and I must go.
And now, I’m leaving again.
My last day here at the Pilot will be Friday, at which point, I’ll head north, to Port Townsend, Washington. Last September, two blocks off the ferry, I fell in love with that town. It reminded me of my hometown, only on the water. I remember saying, “Oh my god; I am so moving here.”
And the pieces began to fall into place.
But whoo-wee! Brookings: It’s been a whirlwind!
I came here with a job in hand, two snarling cats in the cab of a U-Haul (2,400 miles) and nary a place to stay. I spotted a house with a rental sign outside, called and told them I needed to get my U-Haul back that day and that I’d be dropping off all my furniture in the driveway before coming over to sign a lease.
Little did I know how tight the market is. But sometimes the universe watches out for you; I got the place.
Seven years. Wow. There are so many things I’ve come to love about this town.
The beauty; need I say more?
The community, and how it pulls together during catastrophes: Chetco Bar and Klondike fires, the flood of 2012, the Cal-Ore plane crash, the infamous Harbor Sinkhole, the Hoosk slide, the plane crash a few weeks ago.
(And to think that my former editor, Scott Graves, preemptively apologized that a small town might not be so exciting compared to what I was used to, coming from a ski town… ).
I’ve seen people here fight the good fight for the underprivileged, the hungry, the cold, the homeless.
The restaurants are outstanding for such a small burg and I don’t dare list my favorites, lest I miss one. I love my neighbors: Tim and Kate, Joan, Chris and Nikki, Cheri. I love that the Good Samaritan folks adopted my cat Fiona over the years.
I love my Pilot family. A real team effort goes into cranking out two papers a week, and we’re underappreciated. Keep up the good fight, you guys.
Most of all, I have to thank the friends in the fellowship who have kept me sane since I arrived here! There have been times — you know them well! — you guys saved my ass. I’ll never forget your good thoughts, deeds and actions. You people walk the walk.
I love the beaches here; no two are the same. The osprey nest on “my beach” — it’s MINE, Randy, got it? — the bonfires at Sporthaven, the rocks at McVay, the driftwood at Pistol River, the long stretch of sand at Crissy Field, the powerful, rumbling waves crashing on the cliffs at Chetco Point.
I’ve had so much fun at Sunday concerts in the park, at the Grange and Pistol River Friendship Hall. I’ve marveled at the local talent on stage — thanks, Brookings-Harbor Theater for letting me “perform” — or on display at various art shows.
But I feel I’ve done whatever I’m supposed to do here, and it’s time for another chapter. Life is short, and I have much to do.
Back when I was writing a column, many of you followed my travails — blood, tears, sweat, laughter — when I bought the perfect Craftsman mill house on Hillside Avenue.
The universe was watching out for me that year.
I sanded floors, painted, re-roofed (we won’t talk about the fall, OK? Good.), replaced the French doors with vintage windows, replaced the entire west wall of the house. Installed a woodstove. Replaced the bathroom floor and put in a clawfoot tub! Replaced the windows and back door.
I bought the 1914 house behind me and tore it down by hand, up-cycling most of the materials. I will be eternally grateful for Logan Biddy, Mike Berns and Tim Hartzell for helping me with that mess!
I hauled soil, gravel and flagstones. Railroad ties. Built a fence. Went through three iterations of a chicken coop — thanks for all the pointers in that realm, Lynette! Planted lilac and Japanese maple. Made a raised veggie bed — thanks again, Lynette! And called it home. The Serendipity House.
But comes a time … and it’s time.
I’ll be close to family in Washington, I have a few friends there, and I won’t have to travel 2.5 hours to get to the biggest city — of 35,000. No more fretting about a lack of healthcare as I age. And I’ve yet to see a Trump bumper sticker in Port Townsend.
They don’t have redwoods up there, but they have cypress forests. They don’t have the Chetco River, but they have the Sound. I might even find a lighthouse or two.
Here’s to hoping the universe keeps watching my six.
A new chapter is calling, and I must go.