It’s always a season of love

‘Up the Beach’

By Gene Woodwick

Valentine’s day may have come and gone, but it’s always the season of love. This time of the year brings to mind the once upon era of the Native American’s path that, according to James Swan, was “beaten like concrete.” It ran the length of the coast from the Straits of Juan de Fuca to the Columbia River. It was a transportation route that was frequently used by Native runners as a communication line.


It was on this path that Bill Penn’s story of love was proven. Penn’s wife became seriously ill. Nothing the Quileutes knew could make her better. She needed help and the nearest doctor was in Grays Harbor. Bill carefully wrapped her in the warmest blankets he could obtain. He picked her up and wrapped her in his arms and began to run — all the way to Grays Harbor. Although runners accompanied him, Bill never let loose of her. He ran all the way and saved her life.


The first wedding in Grays Harbor was in the Grass Creek area at the home of Samuel James. It overlooked the Lone Rock, now called James Island and/or Ned’s Rock. Mary Ann James’ wedding occurred in the parlor with a handful of guests.

Suddenly another guest arrived – little Indian boy who was stark naked. He was an orphan that had been dropped off on the beach. He solemnly stood there clutching Mary Ann’s dress while the wedding vows were read. Mary Ann included him into her new family, naming him Sampson. She was grief stricken when he died at the tender age of 14.


For the beach folks, Tom and Laurie Brooks of Copalis Crossing were the most amazing, deeply in love people folks knew. Lauri, always hard working and with a great personality and Tom with his steadfastness and kindness, just warmed their hearts. Tom is gone now but is not out of Lauri’s heart. Yes indeed. They shared a love that is now eternal.


Meggie Valentine at Ocean City lived up to her married name. She was a sweetheart. The mom of 13 kids never turned down anyone who came to the door. As if 13 weren’t enough, Meg always had an extra plate or two on the table and a soft pillow on a bed for anyone’s head. Heaven only knows how many kids, relatives or not, came to stay with Meg.


Doc Curtright and Arlene De La Cruz shared an easygoing love with a deep appreciation of each other’s skills. Arlene, a fabulous cook, made especially unforgettable potato salad. Doc was known for his kind heart and work ethic. They just warmed your heart to see them together.


When love is talked about, it generally refers to young people. Elone and Walter Weed in Ocean Shores have shared a lot of love in their 70-plus years of marriage.

Once the revolving door for the kids no longer swings, when all those years of jobs and community commitment are done, for an old couple, it is like dating again. Conversations are not filled with what to do about the kids — the children are now in control of their own choices in life.

While grandchildren are precious, they too, have children. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s lives are in their parents’ hands. As old folks, you just sit around, no loud music, the TV off and you don’t even need to talk sometimes — just enjoy each other, or laugh over life’s absurdities, and just be good friends. Such a deal.

Personally, the two old folks in this house fell in love 62 years ago. This year we will celebrate 60 years of marriage. He is an honorable man who has sacrificed for his family and has always allowed me to be myself.

And so I end this column with a reminder. We are in the season of love. Go practice it.

Gene Woodwick can be reached at or by telephone at (360) 289-2805.