Category Archives: Paul’s Musings


The most spirited of this blog’s users known that it has at last found a stable home that promises to deliver a service that will rarely be interrupted by ghosts in their or our machines. Last weekend, we fled Lunarpages for with ‘Roosevelt Way, 1946′ being the first feature carried by our new server.

Now, unexpectedly, and yet not so surprisingly, other ghosts have taken hold on one of the blog’s three soft machines that embrace like boxcars in the blog name DorpatSherrardLomont – the founders.

Paul Dorpat, at 75 easily the oldest among us, fell to the floor of his and Genevieve McCoy’s Wallingford kitchen after announcing, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”  His more than thirty years of hygienic luck stumbled with him.  First pounding his chest, McCoy then called 911, which soon arrived and sped the crumpled codger to the UW hospital’s ER, and the basement drive-in we, its neighbors, may hope to never visit.  With sirens wailing, (Paul notes that from the inside of a 911 ambulance these ear-splitting heralds are effectively muted–he’d often wondered about that) Paul arrived mid-afternoon last Thursday, February 6th, in what we might imagine as the crypt at the east end of the U.W. Hospital.  As of Tuesday the 11th, he was still there.

Paul’s diagnosis was wrong.  While an arrhythmic flutter in his heart contributed to the winter collapse, it was the milky way of blood clots in his lungs that gave the most to dropping him.  Together, his heart and his lungs were not delivering the oxygen needed to ascend even a single flight of stairs.  Now after a few days of beta-blockers, anti-coagulants, and procedures like the placing – directly thru his heart – of a filter shaped like the Eiffel tower to catch more of his left leg’s contribution of clots before they reach the heart-lungs-head (you might look it up), Paul is feeling not so bad for now, considering the alternative.  (We will make updates on the we hope progress of this soft machine later on.)

Jean counting Paul’s beats per minute, which at that moment on Sunday evening, Feb 9th, were 84 with an oxygen rating of 95 percent

Paul was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday evening and is now home again. The overall news is very good, as his heart, while overclocking a bit to keep oxygen flowing, is doing well; the hope is that the embolisms will dissipate over time.  Currently, Paul is hard at work on his next Now & Then.

Dorpat 75th + MOFA inauguration

Paul, I’m going to post a few photos from last night – all in thumbnails. Perhaps you’d like to say a few words about this combined anniversary and our now-flourishing Museum of Forsaken Art…. (Formerly known as the Museum of Forlorn and Forsaken Art.)

Jean may I stay with MOFA?  MOFA is a museum flourishing in its hopes and expectations.  The donations made to MOFA this Monday last (Oct. 28th) will increase the size of our collection to what we known not what.   About 30 contributions were made, a generous addition to the hundreds got already from many years of collecting, most of it from north end sales set up on lawns, in garages, basements, and sometimes throughout structures.  These last, you know, are often given special status as “estate sales” and to enter these buyers may sometimes stand in lines holding numbers.   We have.  As pleasing as is MOFA’s new collected art, about 80 new members for the MOFA Board of Directors were also sponsored and admitted on this evening, all of them signing the MOFA Board certificate, which they kept then for themselves.   (We will print an example at the bottom – one left accidentally, we are confident, at the event by FMOFA (Friend of MOFA) Clinton resident Paula Kerby.  It will be seen that her signing was sponsored by her husband, Bill Kerby.  Although it is not necessary for a sponsor to be either related or a member of the board, it is satisfying when they are. Soon after, Paula sponsored Billy.  (At this rate the MOFA BOARD may need to rent one of Seattle’s larger venues for its tenth anniversary to arrange seats for its thousands. I expect that the show will be exciting.)  The confidence of our charter members is a testimonial to our preparedness.  We will be ready.  Here are a few of Jean’s portraits of the newest charter members.  Certainly, without exception they appear proud.  Soon MOFA will have its own page linked to this one.  There we may all watch the collection grown in both size and interpretation.  Board members are encouraged to criticize the works of the collection.  As the Board Certificate puts it, so long such criticism is given “in the spirit of our better mothers.”  Members will share the compassionate good sense of one who agrees that  “If you cannot say something nice then do not say anything at all.”  One who will take care to “Do unto their collage as you would have them do unto your own.”  We will be identifying these Board Members, as recorded by Jean late during the tail of the evening event at Ivar’s Salmon House on, again, Oct. 28, 2013.  (Of the many who were not able to be there, we certainly missed MOFA’s First Curator, Berangere Lomont, who we show at the bottom – next to the BOARD CERTIFICATE – standing a the front door of the Forsaken Art House in 2010, and the future site – still – for MOFA.)

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Paula Kerby's neglected membership card
Paula Kerby’s membership card – lost or neglected?
Charter Curator  Berangere Lomont at the front door of the Forsaken Art House, ca. 2010, and future home of the Forsaken Art Museum ca. 2014
Charter Curator Berangere Lomont at the front door of the Forsaken Art House, ca. 2006, and future home of the Forsaken Art Museum ca. 2014



A Puzzling Stereo


This artfully arranged group is drinking something to violin music.  All the posing is wonderfully worked out varied.  The subjects circle three in masks, and behind them  near the back is another masked character, at the table.   A few of them are holding or smoking something.  Some are pensive – those in the foreground – others seem to raise their glasses in unison and in a toast to something.  What are the couple on the left up to – I wonder.   Again – or typically – I know nothing about this odd stereo.  Perhaps it is not so rare – a kind of oft printed oddity.   Don’t know.  Hope you do.  Mummers comes to mind but that be only because the big cheeks of the masked trio are mumps-like.

Oak Harbor – Working 7 Days A Week & Having A Wonderful Time

(Click to Enlarge the Photos)

I have recently taken a liking to reading the messages on the flip sides of postcards.  Here’s a revealing example.

OAK HARBOR on Whidbey Island was named, of course, for trees like the one above, which the settlers discovered surrounding the town site.  The trading center was known for its Dutch influences and at least when the W.P.A. Guide to Washington State was first published in 1941, the Dutch language was still commonly heard on Barrington Avenue.   The message written on the back of the Ellis real photo card #3454 trumpets that Ralph, the card sender, is “having a wonderful time, working seven days a week.”   Not certainly, but most likely, Ralph is helping build the naval air bases – both on water and on land – that were first picked for Oak Harbor in January 1941.  Construction work began on the land-based Ault Field, about three miles north of the town, in March 1942.   Ralph’s postcard to his sister and Homer is postmarked from Oak Harbor on April 29, 1942.    He does not describe his work, and it may have been hush hush.  Below the flip side message are three military records copied at the National Archives branch here in Seattle when Greg Lange and I were scrounging for illustrations for the book Building Washington (It is included on this blog as a pdf file.).  The first one shows a rudimentary map of the seaplane base in relationship to the town, as proposed most likely in 1941.   It is followed by two aerials, both from Nov. 15, 1944 and so during the war.

Reflecting on the size of both the Seaplane Base, above, and the land-based Ault Field, below, there was plenty of work for Ralph to keep busy seven days a week.  Still we hope that he managed to get away to visit his sis and her Homer in Puyallup.

The depression-time WPA writer's guide to Washington State a shipyard was the harbor's first industry.  "The schooner Growler, named for its complaining builders, was launched here in 1859  and became one of the best-known boats on Puget Sound in pioneer days.

The 1941 W.P.A. Writer’s Guild to the Evergreen State notes that Oak Harbor got a shipyard in 1854, its first industry.  “The schooner Growler, named for its complaining builders, was launched here in 1859 and became one of the best-known boats on Puget Sound in pioneer days.”  The guide continues, “Hollanders began to arrive towards the close of the century, and the extremely fertile countryside was developed with characteristic thoroughness by the Dutch farmers who were attracted here.  Today [in 1941] the outstanding annual event is the Holland Days Festival; Dutch costumes are worn, old-country games are played; there are prize contests and a livestock show.”

Barrington Avenue is Oak Harbor’s “Main Street.”  Follows three looks into Barrington including the “now” that Jean recorded for our book, Washington Then and Now.

We conclude this visit to Whidbey Island with another real photo postcard from Ellis, the Arlington photographer who drove the state for four decades supplying its gift shops and drug stores with real photographs of state landmarks.   Judging from the numbers Ellis used, this card was photograph on the same visit to Oak Harbor as the one at the top.  Both Ellis cards are used courtesy of John Cooper.



Jean-&-Paul's Independence Day Album

Independent of our wives, Jean and I were busy Americans yesterday – Independence Day – between Noon and 6pm.  First we visited the “This Place Matter’s” demonstration in front of Alki’s closed and ribboned Homestead Restaurant.  (Ribbons and not bunting.  They were yellow and not red-white-&-blue.) The sun came out for the moment of Jean’s recording and then retreated as we scampered off to Gasworks Park and the Celebrity Chef Fourth of July Salvation there.  We arrived in the rain.

Below are an unattributed mix of snapshots (without fireworks) we took when we were not eating from the potluck at the Alki Lob Cabin Museum or the buffet table in the sponsors and noble seniors gated corral, which was fenced at the extreme most pointed and southern part of the Walllingford Peninsula, the best place to sit in the rain for five hours waiting for the show.    We didn’t so sit, but the trio in the top-most photograph did – or told us they would.  We left much too early to catch the show but none too early to get dry.  (I, at least, am getting old and easily dampened in my enthusiasm.)

Seeing Seattle at about 4:45 pm Independence Day from Gas Works Park. And seeing the war-sized barge from which the evening's pyrotechnics would be ignited and launched.
Gene conferring with Clay Eals about what to do with the video shot of the "This Place Matters" demo. They decided that Jean should edit it for youtube consumption. And he is at it even now.
Geese Shall Safely Graze . . .
. . . While celebrity chefs prepare the food line for the guests with red wrist bands. The time is 4:50 here. The line will open in ten minutes.
Meanwhile outside there is brave Good Humor in the rain
A child grasps her dolls and stays dry and under cover in a produce box.
Hotter foods including Frankfurter and Nood' are consumed.
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door. And build strong fences along our southern borders, and get payment in advance from undocumented boarders.
Brave Exposures with Heavy Industry
Subscribing to the Wallingford Senior Center's raffle while a young and ambitious Michael Mansfield reflects on independence.
Rain Gear
Still early that evening
Around noon at Alki. Potluck in the West Seattle Log Cabin Museum courtyard and spirited preps for the "This Place Matters" demonstration
Either getting ready to demonstrate or lingering after it.


If you do not care for demure introductions to sensational stories then just jump past what follows to the sanguine meat of the feature itself.  It begins directly below the photograph of the Moclips Weather Service ca. 1909

Today – and in the interests of posterity we will make a recorded note of it – this day, Saturday June 25, 2010, this Blog’s own Jean Sherrard heads out to the Pacific Coast to meet, dine and share more Moclips stories with members of the Museum of the North Beach and their heritage leader Kelly Calhoun.  Jean is also making this visit to describe the joys and trials of making our book “Washington Now and Then.”  And he is driving that scenic highway to thank Kelly and the citizens of and near Moclips for the records they set in distributing the book.  Moclips, of course, was one the subjects that we featured in our book.

The primary Moclips image used in our book "Washington Then and Now." It shows the damage to the north end of the Moclips Beach Hotel following the storm of 1911. (Click to Enlarge)

We add what follows as evidence of our continued fascination with Moclips history.  Recent and disturbing news from Kelly had Jean and I putting our heads together – feeling concerned.  His letter about ghost busters visiting the museum and their, it seems, success in finding a few spirits to bust, helped us to recall some Moclips news reports, oddly out of an old London newspaper, that surfaced while we were – now long ago – assembling our book. While there was no place to make note of them in “Washington Then and Now” we do now.  Although we could not recover the clips themselves, we remembered, between us, their particulars and, with the support of Grays Harbor historian Gene Woodwick, have confidently assembled the story below, which is actually three short stories concerning Moclips fated nights, first that  of its biggest storm – its “One Hundred Year Storm” of Feb. 12 1911.

The message attached to this pre-storm promotional postcard is unclear and so, given the events that followed, troubling.

How soon we have forgotten.  Even long ago, in the respected depression-time 1941 publication “Washington, A Guide to Washington State,” no mention was made either of the 1911 storm or the weird events we will soon reconstruct below.  Instead, Moclips is described briefly as “a busy little settlement, supported largely by its shingle mill.  The Moclips High School serves the oceanside region north of Grays Harbor, and its gymnasium is used for community gatherings.  On the northern outskirts is the Moclips Fire Observatory (open), atop a 175-foot fir tree.”  We think it unlikely that such an observatory would have survived the events of 1911.

The Moclips weather service, circa 1909.


In Moclips, and now nearly a century ago, between the great Pacific Coast poundings of 1911 and 1913, storms whose damage is recorded in spectacular photos at the time, “Moclips Mysteries” occurred which remain uncanny to this day.

The most alarming of these took place on a small dairy farm.  The family name is barely remembered for they changed it and moved away soon after the events described below.  But in 1911 they were known as the Van Hooverens.  (This is confirmed by Grays Harbor historian Gene Woodwick who rarely makes things up. Readers who have combed her most recent book Ocean Shores will, we wager, not have found a single mistake in it.  We have attached her addendum, near the bottom.)

The Van Hooverens brief stay near Moclips may have as much to do with their eldest daughter Arabella’s best chances as with milk and cheese. She was an enthused student of the Moclips Finishing School that rented several rooms on the top or third floor of the north wing of the Moclips Beach Hotel.  After only six weeks of study she gave her first “Famous Adagios” recital, which was appreciated for its steadfast sincerity and the length of the program. The destructive storm put an end to the school, and immediate hopes for the Van Hooveran’s daughter of moving on to the Portland Music Conservatory.  We know, of course, that it also put an end to much else in Moclips.

Apparently Arabella taking a break from her studies.

The Van Hooverens were a first generation Dutch family.  They are also believed to have produced the first Edam cheeses in the Pacific Northwest, although aside from one small fragment of ephemera this evidence is anecdotal, which is to say that it is a story also told by the admired historian Woodwick.  No actual cheese or cheeses survive, just part of a cheese wrapper that reads in fragment “Eat’em Eda,” which surely would be completed as “Eat’em Edam Cheeses.”   Their mysterious story follows.

Before the storms, Moclips was a busy destination for the new motoring classes.

On the fateful Sunday of Moclips’ biggest storm day, February 12, 1911, two of their finest milk cows disappeared from their stalls.  The next morning, Jan (probably for Jandon or Jandor) Van Hooveren, finding the barn door open and the cows, Marjolin and Mijn, missing, raised a cry.  Jan, his wife (Annika or Anneke), two daughters, and three sons scoured the farm and surrounding fields for these valuable animals.  The melk boer (milk farmer) began to lose hope that neither hide nor hair would be found of either, but then before sundown on Monday the 13th the cows were stumbled upon by a young couple who had hurried to the coast from Wenatchee.  Having heard of the storm’s fury, particularly visited upon Moclips, they rushed to the site aboard the Great Northern Railroad and were already exploring wreckage and the brusied landscape when along the beachfront they came upon the two cows, side by side, and partially buried in the sand. Further examination determined that both animals had died, not from any visible trauma, but most unusually from loss of blood.  While neither showed obvious injuries, each carried two small wounds on the neck, located proximate to major arteries. It was surmised that the complete exsanguinations of the cows was accomplished through these wounds alone.

A Dead Cows Simulation Only

Jean and I both remembered that the clipping on this extraordinary event was headlined either “Two Cows Give Blood Up” or “Two Cows Give Up Blood.”  Jean came upon it first while researching for the book “Washington Then and Now” but that is long ago and our memories of all this may be twisted in some points.  At that time we, again, made note of it to Northwest historian Gene Woodwick who had also heard of the “exsanguinations sensations”, as she put it and expressed it with an ease that was way beyond either of us.  But then the regional historian still knew little more about what was done with the cows or why the Van Hooverens were also swept so thoroughly from the community. (Persons doubting the above or wanting more information may contact Gene – if they can find her.)  We remember that the story was not clipped from any regional paper but rather appeared in a London daily.  Most likely that first story went over the wire and got little more than that one London chance for being published.  That was but the first mysterious event.

Moclip's Main Street with apparently some early damage. Note the Moclips Hotel is still intact at the rear, and to this side of it a local stands with her cow, perhaps a Van Hooveren. (Please Click to Enlarge)

A second and uncannily related event also involves a death by loss of blood – this time human blood, and again nearby Moclips.  After Bjorn Sandberg was violently struck on his skull and knocked from his wagon by a tree limb during the 1913 storm, his son ran home to alert his mother Inge. When they returned less than an hour later they were startled to find the father-husband bleached as white as the foam pushed ashore by the storm. The discovery sent mother and child into shock.  They clutched each other throughout the night and into the following day and could not be pried apart even by other loving hands.  Without the ability to express their wishes or give instructions, the body was left lying in the road where the father had first been knocked from his wagon.  As with the bovines Marjolin and Mijn, Van Hooverens’ drained livestock, Bjorn was also left bloodless.

The 1913 storm that finished the destruction of this secular temple of both ocean shore excitement and reflection.

The third and again resonant event involved Martha Connelly, a young Sunday school teacher visiting from Aberdeen two years later in 1915. While visiting her married sister Dorothy (whose last name may have been Perkins) in Moclips, Miss Connelly agreed to mount a Christmas pageant with the primary school children. Late one evening, after a long and exhausting rehearsal, Martha was alone at the schoolhouse, putting up streamers and “festoons for the faithful” of all sorts. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of a figure passing by the window and assumed it was her brother-in-law Vernon, come to escort her home. In an account written up in a family “vanity history” (i.e. genealogy), Martha described putting out the lamps and stepping outside onto the schoolhouse porch.  As she fumbled for her keys, footsteps approached.  She glanced about, expecting to see Vernon, but in an instant, a dark figure (“all claws and teeth,” she claimed) leapt atop her forcing her to the ground.  Powerful fingers held down one of her arms.  Expecting the worst, the devout Martha closed her eyes and prayed while making the sign of the cross with her free hand. To her surprise, after feeling a sudden piercing but not unpleasant pain in her neck, as if two sharp knitting needles had been skillfully slipped into the side of her neck, the “thing” fled.

Vernon Perkins had indeed been sent by Martha’s sister to bring her home for a late supper. Save for her saving from prayer and cross-marking, Martha, too, may have ended her life sucked dry of blood. Vernon saw the thing but barely, for it was already in flight when he arrived and disappeared quickly from his lantern light.  It was “rat like” in appearance, though it would have been the largest rat ever seen in the northwest coast being, Vern guessed, some six feet long.  It was dressed elegantly too – “dressed to kill.” Martha bore those two little scars for the rest of her life.  She felt most fortunate at having survived the attack and proud as well.  Following the attack she did not continue with the Christmas pageant, but later learned to enjoy telling the story of her night with what she insisted was a vampire.

Martha Connelly by coincidence with a cow.

Although, it seems, long forgotten – or perhaps repressed – by the community there survives another belief, which may be related.  During the great storm of Feb 12, 1911 that destroyed most of his great Moclips Beach Hotel, Dr. Edward Lycan fell into a panic, or rather a trance and through the duration of the storm he seemed to be without pain or anguish. Those who cared for him those few hours when he was incongruously serene but witless were puzzled then by his repeated and kind advice: “They want our blood, you know.  It’s the blood they want.”  When told of this later the Aberdeen doctor had neither memory of his temporary madness nor any explanation for the message he insisted on repeating. Several Moclips citizens, however, put their own interpretation on the doctor’s brief lapse. They had heard – and independently – the gale-force winds of that winter storm howling “cud, cud, chew on cud!” or alternatively, “stud, put them out to stud!” One of them, a bartender heard a different refrain.  He insisted that it was “We want blood sausage?” that was being shouted and the bartender felt pretty certain it was a group of Spanish sailors, stranded by the gale and pining for their native chorizo.   Yet another heard the storm cry aloud “blood blood, we want blood” so plaintively and with such compassion that she only wished that she might that night have given to the winds some of her own blood.

Although Jean and I agreed to put our “heads together” to recreate the above – and without the original sources – we are still confident of the Connelly, Sandberg and Dr. Lycan stories, however, we cannot speak with such certainty for the grotesquely-sized exsanguinations of the Hooverens’ poor Marjolin and Mijn.   For those milk cows historian Woodwick’s addendum, which now follows is most helpful.

"The life of farm animals along the Grays Harbor Coast." Gene Woodwick

Van Hooveren’s Cow (from Gene Woodwick)

As you know I am adequately equipped to relate this historical information regarding the Van Hooveren’s cow shown in the attached image. You can see by the photo the farm was located on a meander channel near the Moclips River. The family was famed – although briefly – for its dairy cattle and their products which they supplied to the Moclips Hotel.

As is well known, farmers of that era fertilized their fields with the abundance of spawning salmon from the rivers.  Van Hooveran’s were no exception. The purity of the Quinault blueback salmon oil not only produced a rich milk from which the family made excellent cheese, but it also produced pigs with a moist fat content that made the hams and pork sought after. The Hotel featured the Van Houvern’s bacon on the dining room breakfast menu.

The Moclips Madness cheese was easily broken down into salmon balls that accompanied the fine bakery products from the Moclips Bakery.  Although some thought the pure milk a little too fishy for their taste, others touted the health benefit of the milk so rich in vitamin D.  Further south of Moclips where Dr. Chase operated the Iron Springs Health Spa, his clientele was enamored by the Van Houvern’s milk products and would have no other.  After all, old iron bed springs, well hidden upstream from the health facility, provided a wealth of minerals enabling guests to go home full of vim and vigor.

I do hope this historical information is of great value to you and Jean.  Especially the fine photograph that illustrates so well the life of farm animals along the Grays Harbor coast.

Happy for Moclips,


Gene Woodwick, upper-right, recently with friends at Ivar's Salmon House on Seattle's Lake Union.
Another colored postcard of the ideal Moclips - the Moclips before the storms and other sensational events.

"Walking Around and Feeling Fine" Blogaddendum

Nathaniel takes an order
Nathaniel takes an order

We have learned that our friend Nathaniel, the steadfast host of the by now nearly ancient Allegro Coffee Bar in the University District (see our blog post from last Wednesday and only four posts down), has “pulled” through his operation and is now “up and walking around and feeling fine.”   That would be still in the hospital, but we are confident that he will soon move from those halls to home and then back again to the Allegro when his family permits it.

(The Allegro is either the oldest or the “next to” oldest espresso bar in Seattle, but the coffee is fresh and the pastries too.  Yes we at dorpatsherrardlomont can highly recommend the Allegro, a harbor of repast for both town and gown literati for decades.  You will easily find it’s now cozy and very European entrance in the alley 2nd door north of 42nd Street between University Way and 15th Avenue n.e., at the western border of the U.W. Campus. Test their teas and study their bulletin and notices board.)


And this afternoon, a short e-missive arrived from the man himself:

Well, the deed is done.  I’m home now licking my wounds, as it were.  It has been quite a ride and I am so impressed with the folks in attendance.  Now, onward and upward!

We also recommend, for greater acquaintance with Nathaniel and the Allegro, this video portrait.

Pan Africa to Paris

On Monday, Feb. 8th (Boy Scout’s Day) Jean and I visited Steve Sampson in Belltown as he fidgeted with his office-studio.  I took the first view below of the two of them.   The place is a-funk because Steve was at the time closing it down before returning this coming Sunday to his new home in Paris with Cynthia Rose, another good friend.

Next we came upon the stables or livery door in the alley that Jean put up on this blog a ways below this contribution.  We were on the way to the Pike Market where we shared lunch at the Pan Africa.  Jean used his “Ethiopian utensils” for the Ethiopian dish prepared.  I have often enjoyed Jean’s many good stories of his trips to Ethiopia and he will include below some highlights and illustrate a few of them too.

This evening we met with Steve again – for the last time during this visit to Seattle – in Fremont at Brad’s Swingside Cafe.  Next time Jean will see him in Paris this summer. There we found Brad revived from a long and risky stay in hospital (last fall) but now back again behind the stove where he is famous for his delicious concoctions.  The carved angel on the front porch of the Swingside was placed there in a vigil for Brad’s recovery.  The gracious guardian did well, enjoyed the stay and has decided to abide a while longer.

Jean Sherrard and Steve Sampson pose on moving day in Steve's Belltown studio.
Jean Sherrard and Steve Sampson pose on moving day in Steve's Belltown studio.
Jean to the sides handling the Ethiopian repast served to him by the hands, which have just closed the "take home" portion of Pan Africa's generous serving.
Jean to the sides handling the Ethiopian repast served to him by the hands, which have just closed the "take home" portion of Pan Africa's generous serving.
Except for what remains of the wine the Swingside table has been cleared.  Jean and Steve pose below the kitchen window where Swingside owner-shef Brad appears half-bent over his "stove."
Except for what remains of the wine the Swingside table has been cleared. Jean and Steve pose below the kitchen window where Swingside owner-chef Brad appears half-bent over his "stove."
Brad's Guardian Angel at  Brad's Swingside Cafe on Fremont Avenue.
Brad's Guardian Angel at Brad's Swingside Cafe on Fremont Avenue.

Jean writes:

As Paul suggested above, I’ll revisit a few highlights of my last trip to Ethiopia, which was, Paul neglects to mention, a number of years ago. The photos I took are pre-digital – a compact Canon point-and-shoot – scanned much later.

I last went to Ethiopia in Nov 1999, missing the Battle in Seattle, the progress of which I watched on a flickering hotel TV in Lalibela, (arguably an eighth wonder of the world – which begs the question, is there a single eighth wonder or is that a category?).

Carved out of solid rock in the 12 C. - effectively, this church stands in a pit, its roofline at ground level. Note the cut ground at bottom right and left corners.
Carved out of solid rock in the 12 C. - the Church of St. George stands in a pit, its roofline at ground level. Note the precipitous cliff edge at bottom right and left corners.

It was a little shocking after a month of travel to see images of Seattle on CNN Asia, which was the only channel available. Of course, it being CNN, the images were stock – a ferry approaching the docks with the space needle in the background.  But I’d gone to Ethiopia on a bit of a lark, hardly imagining the serendipities that would grace my trip.

Addis tannery
Addis tannery

On the plane from Rome, I sat in front of, and carried on a long sore-necked conversation with, Hussein Feyissa, who’d studied engineering in the midwest and ran his family’s burgeoning tannery in Addis.  Amazing man of industry who sent me to friends and associates all over the country.

Within my first couple of days, I booked an in-country series of flights on Ethiopian airlines, and standing at the counter, met Firew Bulbula who, it turned out, was returning to Ethiopia for the first time since 1974 when Mengistu overthrew Haile Selassie and became an Ethiopian Stalin.  We were flying the same routes and became traveling companions.  Amazingly, in 1974, Firew was a freshman at the University of Washington, ended up studying economics and teaching it at Seattle Community College by the early 80s.  We actually had friends in common, in particular, Gassim, an Oromo prince and PhD, with whom I’d spent long hours chewing the fat at the Last Exit.

Another tej bar. Firew drinks at right.
Yet another tej bar. Firew drinks at right. Tej comes either sweet or dry, but is always drunk out of flasks that look like laboratory beakers.

Firew and I toured the north together, visiting Bahir Dar and Lake Tana,

On Lake Tana
On Lake Tana

Gondar, and Lalibela. Each one deserves a short novella.  In Bahir Dar, accompanying Firew to a tej bar, where country men came of an evening to drink honey beer and sing improvised poems to the lyre.  The old man who sang of his fallen friends on the battlefield (translated in whispers by Firew) and overcome with emotion had to step outside to recover.

Gondar vista
Gondar vista

In Gondar, meeting a Japanese woman traveling alone across Ethiopia by bus, staying in roadside hotel/brothels to save money, her arms and neck covered with bites from bed bugs. Brave beyond measure, but she was the nail who refused to be pounded down.

Gondar's earliest castles date from the 15th C., and were designed and built by Portuguese architects for the emperors of Gondar (see one of them mummified below)
Gondar's earliest castles date from the 17th C., and were designed and built by Portuguese architects for the emperors of Gondar (see one of them mummified below)

The hyena man of Harar, who made a show each evening of feeding a pack of hyenas outside the walls of this medieval town (once host to the greatest of Victorian travelers and linguist/translators Richard Burton,

Rambo's house
Rambo's house

as well as Arthur Rimbaud, whose putative house is labeled ‘Rambo’s house’ and was built long decades after his death).

Harar hyenas

Heart pounding after feeding the hyenas and being plunged into unexpected darkness, I tipped him a month’s rather than a day’s wages and an Ethiopian friend told me that the hyena man said he would pray for me and my family as long as he had the good fortune of surviving the hyenas.


Near the stone meeting bell of an island monastery,


I stumbled over an unusually heavy and seemingly once-molten stone, unlike any other in the area.  After returning to the states, I sent a picture and a description of it to a geologist at Harvard, who also thought it likely to be a meteorite.

Mummy king

Or the 4 hour trip crossing Lake Tana to reach another island monastery where the mummified remains of Ethiopian emperors are enshrined, and where the monks, pissed off at my belligerent young guide, threatened to beat us up.  One of the monks had an infected ulcer on his shin and I gave him a tube of antibiotic cream as a gift, which mollified him and the others.

King's sword
King's sword

The night before I flew home, Hussein Feyissa brought me a bucket filled with fresh honeycombs as a parting gift.  I was sure that raw honey would certainly be impounded by customs and insisted that he take the bulk of it home to his wife, who loved honey, he said.  But the two of us slurped through several handful of golden brown comb before Hussein took it away.  In the middle of the night, I felt my stomach begin to roil in protest.  By the time I boarded the plane the next morning, I was munching on fistfuls of anti-diarrheal pills, just to allow me to stay seated through take off.  A month wandering Ethiopia, eating virtually everything that came my way, and it was honeycomb that leveled me.

An Ethiopian fern on the shores of Lake Tana
An Ethiopian fern looms