Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Neskowin Continued

The above picture is a wooden totem sign that marks the entrance to Neskowin Park which is also a parking lot for day beachgoers. This huge fish is a recent addition to the town as it wasn't there when we were children. It is a great symbol for the town's name as Neskowin is a Native American word meaning "plenty fish." The tribe that lived in this area had plenty of fish to eat. They say at the beginning of the 20th century, Slab Creek was so full of fish the water looked black. I don't know if this is true or local folklore. I do know my father caught quite a few trout in Slab Creek many summers ago. We ate them fried for breakfast. Yum.

When we started going to Neskowin as children, there was still the old Neskowin Hotel built in 1895 that towered above the campground where we stayed. I wish I had a picture. When I was really little my Mom said we stayed at my great-grandmother's house on South Beach.

The house, no longer in the family, still stands today.
It was a lovely old beach house with a veranda that looked out to the ocean. The old campsite - trailer park, where we stayed is also gone, replaced with a generic looking motel. Progress, is often needed and it is hard to stop, but there are places in our memories that are so wonderful that the new will never quite match up or be as loved. Thankfully, we have memories that give continuity to our lives.

My sisters, brother and friends spent many summers at Neskowin Beach. It was never crowded and the beach had sand running uninterrupted from the bottom of Cascade Head through Winema Beach, to the edge of Nestucca Bay. The sand was thick and rich with dark grains. Dunes, like small mountains, lay between the campground and the sea. Wild sea grass grew thick in the dunes and made an excellent place to play hide and seek or to sunbath on a windy day. In August the sand was so hot it burnt the soles of our feet. We didn't care - we were children and we were free with miles of beach to play on. Myself, my sister Shirley and Julia and my best friend Colleen. We might look cold, but not tired, not ready to leave the beach. Happy, carefree days.

On rainy days, we hung around the big camp lodge and painted tiny beach rocks with faces or made collages with driftwood and sea shells. We always did art projects on those rainy days at the beach. Then we'd haul all those treasures home and Mom would display them in the house or out on the patio.

(Still making art projects from sea shells, sea glass and sea rocks, after all these years.)

Early on, we learned from our parents that art was important and an area we could purse to express our talents. And I believe that those rainy beach days influenced my sister and I. Later in college, Shirley majored in Art and jewelry design. I majored in Theater Arts, (not quite jewelry, unless you include costume design and set design.). And now these many years later, at the beach in Mazatlan, Shirley and I found that special connection again as we walked the beach and carried home pockets filled with sea glass. Here are just two of the gorgeous sea glass, beach glass, pendants Shirley has made this year. Sea glass and freshwater pearls. (Pendants and earrings available at

This weekend, we are taking our sea jewels on the road - to Solvang. Our sister, Julia, is hosting a jewelry open house to show off our work. Everyone is invited to come - 491 Meadow View Drive, Buellton, California - 1-4, July 11, 2009.

Coming next - The Solvang Sisters Jewelry Design Show

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