Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Children Of Bayocean

In 2015, Sue Bagley Barr wrote a wonderful story about her early years growing up on Bayocean for her family titled The Bagleys of Bayocean and allowed me to post it here for others to enjoy. She has just updated it with new information discovered over the last four years about her grandfather Judge George Bagley, who owned and lost one of the few homes built north of the Bayocean Hotel on High Street. 

Most of what's been written about Bayocean focuses on the tragedy of a resort town and the homes of its residents being destroyed by the sea. So it is refreshing to see how good life was for the families who lived 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 little Sue and Sally are such 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. He is featured in many of my posts and has obliged my questions on many occasions, as did Barbara Bennett before her death.

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 Bungalow City and they lived just across the street in a house they built. Vance 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 their teacher Mrs. Mitchell (not Ida) having let 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. 

Other posts that include Baycoean alumni can be found at the Index page.