Summer at Wollochet- 1963

The summer of 1963 was a special summer for us. We took our children and spent the summer at a little cabin belonging to Dick’s folks, located on Wollochet Bay. It was the same place Dick had spent summers when he was a child. Our children were ages: Becky 8, Cindy 6, Jane 4, Bart 2, and I was expecting a baby in November.

It was the first summer of many but took a little courage to do it the first time. We took them away from their nice house in University Place, their friends, and to a little place, with no TV, no telephone, and they were not involved in any summer sports activities. It was a very small cabin with one little bedroom that Dick and I used. The girls slept up in the attic and Bart in a little closet. It had a window and a sliding door but it was the size of a closet and just fit the crib.

It took two weeks for the children to settle into the relaxed easy life style that we wanted, and before they stopped saying, “What is there to do?” I felt sorry for people who only had two week vacation and then had to get back “into the pace”. We really had a wonderful time and below is a memory I wrote during that summer…..

September 7, 1963- It’s hard to believe it is moving day already and we have stayed a week longer than that. We have been so glad we stayed this extra week as the weather has been the nicest we’ve had all summer. It is just gorgeous today and it will be hard to leave later on in such nice weather. We have been packing and hauling all morning. Now the little ones are sleeping and Becky and Dick are walking on the breach. I thought this would be a good quiet time to do this writing and start scrubbing the cabin out when I am through. I am sitting on the cabin porch writing, look down Hales passage and it’s beautiful. Blue skies, sunshine, little breeze up here, seagulls calling, small waves lapping the beach and the sound of a motor boat once in a while.

It’s hard to find the right words to describe what the summer has meant to all of us. I know it has been the most wonderful summer I have had in my whole life. Even though the weather wasn’t too good we had such a wonderful, relaxed, restful and fun summer. Each day seemed like a precious experience that you just wanted to grasp and not let go. I had felt so close to God, to Dick, and to the children. I think we all sensed this closeness and enjoyment together of simple pleasures.

Becky’s swimming really improved this summer. She can swim about 10 strokes to the raft and swim on her back awhile. What fun they had playing in that cold water. Then when the tide came high in front of George’s house, they had so much fun playing in the sand. Digging swimming pools and letting the tide fill them up. It was so cute to see all those little bottoms sticking up in the air while they were digging so industriously. What a change in Cindy over the summer as well. At the beginning of the summer she was thin and sick from getting her tonsils removed, but now she is has gained some weight, has color on her skin, and is looking healthy. Jane had such fun too, still trying to keep up with the others but thinking of plenty of things to do on her own too.

Little Barty was such a joy to us all this summer. Running around much of the time in his short ragged jeans and now he is as brown as a berry. He has kept us amused with his singing, which he picked up from listening to us. His favorites are, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, The Bible, He lives, and Now I Belong to Jesus. We’ll always remember the fun we had on the hayride and the fun working on and presenting the Indian Pageant.

I think one of the happiest memories for all of us will be the wonderful times we had together in the evening for our family devotions. We either had these by the bulkhead fire or fireplace in the living room. Before we started devotionas I would read a chapter from the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. We are now on the 4th book. Dick and I enjoyed theses stories as much as the children. Then Dick would read a chapter from the devotional book, “Happy Acres”. We finished it this summer too. Then we would ask questions and each person would offer a prayer. It was so sweet to hear the dear prayers of these little children. Then often we would sing together all the songs the children knew, especially when we were on the bulkhead. Many times Dick sang, “The Stranger of Galilee”, for us from the Haven us Rest songbook. It was so beautiful to hear him singing in the dark, by firelight with the waves lapping on the beach. 

The kids really enjoyed the rope swing Dick made for them up in back. Not only our kids but all the neighborhood kids as well. Walking together on the beach, hiking on the country roads, swinging in the hammock, sitting on the porch just looking, going to Gig Harbor to do our shopping, are all things we have enjoyed. The kids have enjoyed riding bikes or walking to Ed’s for a little candy, playing in the attic on rainy days, playing with the Dahl girls and just goofing around in general. 

We hope we have impressed on the children too, the face that we have been so terribly happy here in this little cabin, and that if we should sometime not have our pretty house in town, we could be just as happy together in a little house…. that a home isn’t a big house, but all of us together with Christ in the center, doing His will. 

I think we all feel an overflowing of thankfulness to God for allowing us to be out here this summer and keeping the children safe from harm. It is all our prayers that we will be able to spend many more summers out here- just as wonderful as this one has been. 

  • Jane

    Mali, I read this to grandma right before she went to sleep tonight. What fun memories for her, she loved it! Thanks for bringing this all to life

  • Jane

    Grandma just woke up again and said , “read”. She wanted to hear it again