Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Children Of Bayocean

One of Bayocean's alumni, Sue Bagley Barr, has written a wonderful story about her early years growing up on Bayocean. Originally just intended for family, she made The Bagleys of Bayocean available online  at my request. Most of what's written about Bayocean focuses on the drama and tragedy of Bayocean being destroyed by the sea. So it was refreshing to see how good life was for the families there during and just after World War II. The views of houses, streets, sidewalks, stores, etc. are different than I've seen elsewhere: they depict people living normal lives in an extraordinary place. And Sue and Sally are such little cuties. 

Perry Reeder loves to talk of the sugar sands of Tillamook Bay and snorkeling for hours along the shallow bay waters that were protected from sea winds by a high ridge of sand during languid summer days. 

Mike Watkins and his dog Sally 
Mike Watkins was one of the younger boys. He lived in the Oceanview subdivision, just south of Bayocean Park in the community of Cape Meares, but often ventured out onto the spit in order to slide down the long, steep, pure sand slopes on cardboard. He also collected wooden water pipe couplers. 

Vance Mason and his little sister Phyllis Locke
near their home on Bayocean about 1950.
Vance's stories were fun to hear. I was sad
to hear of his death at age 83 on 8/27/2017. 
The oldest boy was Vance Mason. His step-father Walter (Shorty) Locke managed the rental cabins and they lived just across the streetVance often led the younger boys in explorations of hotel ruins and into the wilder parts of Bayocean. When he saw blimps coming Vance would run to the highest ridge and yell up at the pilots asking them to drop candy bars (the military wasn't rationed like civilians), which they often did, along with notes asking older girls to meet them at a dance on the weekend.  When a blimp once crashed into Tillamook Bay, Vance took advantage of Mrs. Mitchell (not Ida) letting them out of school early to scavenge chunks of rubber, maps, a radio, and some flares. Unfortunately, he had to give it all back to FBI agents when they came calling. Vance's step-sister, Phyllis (Locke) Anderson, loved the bay so much that her mother had to tie her down when Vance wasn't around in order to keep her from scampering off to it every time she looked away. Phyllis and other girls recall the Bennett and Reeder boys finding some sort of odd satisfaction from tossing frogs at them. I can't imagine. 

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