While going through a stack of old magazines, which I have kept over the years for one reason or another, I found a nearly 30-year-old copy of Pacific Northwest Magazine (Oct. 1988) which contained a lengthy article titled "When Kennedy Came to Coos Bay" in 1959. The author, Jacques Lowe, writes: "In Oregon in 1959, few people cared about the earnest young senator from Massachusetts."
The photographs that accompanied the article pretty much tell how well he was NOT received in the working-class enclave. One picture is captioned: "In a union hall in Coos Bay, Jackie joins the longshoreman audience as the candidate addresses a glum, sparsely attended, nearly hostile union meeting."
Another shows the Kennedys, with long-time longshoreman and SWOCC founder Henry Hansen, seated on folding chairs in the high school gym. A photo taken at the waterfront is captioned: "Even on a barge in the middle of Coos Bay's industrial harbor, it was tough for Jack to get anyone to listen to his views on the region's economics."
"Jack explained that these were tough and perhaps chilling moments for a candidate to endure. Few people in Coos Bay were interested in the most dashing couple ever to stroll down Central Street. Jackie was virtually ignored at a society ladies' tea. Jack had trouble finding anyone to listen to his stand on the issues. And neither was asked to sign a single autograph."
There is a great photo of a group of matronly looking women seated next to Jackie, captioned: "While the candidate speaks, the mostly Republican society women scrutinize Jackie and exchange forced smiles."
Another shows Kennedy arriving at the airport. "The year is 1959 and Jack is met by three supporters. In time, this lonely scene became the President's favorite photograph."
That was the same year that I began working at Western World as a reporter, but sadly I wasn't assigned to cover their visit, but it is interesting to see how the author recalls what happened during their visit.
The second photo, taken in 1970, shows Shindler's Rexall Drug Store, owned by John and Eileen Fetterman, who continued to use the Shindler name, which had been synonymous with the drug store business since before the Fire of 1936. Druggist O.C. Shindler was a community leader and a member of the City Council at the time of the Fire. After the Fire he rebuilt in downtown Bandon where Winter River Books is now. After the Fettermans bought the business, they built a new store at this location, adjacent to McKay's Market. The last owner, Steve Wilson, closed the store several years ago and went to work for Rite Aid, leaving the town with only one pharmacy. The building is now empty and apparently available for lease or sale.
I love this third picture taken in March of 1965 of Cindy Goodbrod (now Schafler), left, and Jerene Fraser (now Shaffar) as they perform at a local talent show. Cindy and her husband recently sold their home in Bend and have moved to Mesquite, Nev. Sunday morning, Cindy participated in her first competitive 5K race where she finished first in her age group and seventh overall. Cindy is the daughter of Pete and Joan Goodbrod, who make their home at Pacific View. Jerene and her husband, Bob Shaffar, live in Bandon. She is the daughter of the late Trudy and Gerry Fraser, who owned Fraser's Restaurant for many years.
* * *
Wow, what a difference a year makes. Unless you spent the winter basking in the sun as a snowbird, you probably remember what last winter was like. It pretty much rained non-stop, and most rain gauges recorded at least 100 inches of rain, while at least one other recorded closer to 150. But that's all a memory now.
Someone mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that February was our rainiest month last year, so I was prepared for it to start raining ... any day now.
Gerry Terp, who lives close to town, recorded 21 inches of rain last year in February alone en route to a total of 102.04 inches for the rain year. As of Saturday, he'd recorded 0.02 inches. Okay, you might say, but that was only the third of February. True, but the weather man last night said there is hardly any rain forecast for the next two weeks, so we may go from the wettest February in many years to the driest.
Actually, Gerry recorded 45.55 inches of rain for February, March and April, so it may well be that we see a lot of rain this spring, but I doubt it.
I decided to look at the month of December for the last couple of years: Gerry recorded 21.40 inches of rain in December of 2015, 8.95 inches in December 2016 and 4.62 inches for December 2017. Last month (January 2018) saw us get 13.49 inches of rain, compared to 9.19 the previous year and 13.39 the year before that.
Gerry has been keeping track of the rainfall since January of 2005, and over those 12 years, the average rainfall has been 65.33 inches ... so you can see that if you complained that last year was wetter than usual... you were absolutely right.
As I write my column and prepare to watch the Super Bowl, the sun is shining brightly and the camellias and daffodils (okay just one daffodil) are blooming.
Last winter is only a bleak memory ...
* * *
I was shocked earlier this week to learn that long-time Chamber executive director Julie Miller has resigned and will be stepping down at the end of the month. She sent a message to all the Chamber volunteers "before they heard rumors," (which they had heard nothing) and were as shocked as I am to hear the news.
Julie and I have always worked well together, and I hope that continues with whomever her replacement may be.
In some cases, I wish we could go back to the "old days" when there were nine membership dinners a year, a big Christmas party and lots of opportunities for members to get to know each other, but that, of course, is up to the board of directors.
I was Chamber president in the mid-80s and I remember a sit-down dinner for 220 people at Harbor Hall (where Second Street Gallery and Coastal Mist are now).
Those were the days ....
I haven't heard what Julie intends to do, but I certainly wish her well in her new venture.
* * *
I knew it would happen sooner or later. I saw a sign on a building just outside the south city limits, on the east side of the highway that says Herbal Choices Cannabis is coming to town.
Someone asked me about it, and I assured her that the building is outside the city limits ... just as is the toilet (that sometimes spews yellow-green water for more effect, if that's possible).
I understand the company owns several marijuana businesses in other parts of the county.
Might not be how I would envision welcoming visitors to Bandon, but it's outside the city limits and out of our jurisdiction.
* * *
One of my classmates made the news this week ... but not in a good way. This is not the first time that Betty Huff Harris has been beaten up by her son. He beat and tied her up at her Myrtle Point area home, but she was able to escape and run to a neighbor, who took her to the emergency room in Coquille.
Her son, Ronald E. Schuler, later turned himself in and is now being held in the Coos County Jail under $312,500 bail.
Apparently he had become suicidal in the night and tied up Betty because she would not provide him a firearm so he could take his own life.
I remember several years go, when I was editor of The Herald, a similar thing happened to her.
She's 79 years old and suffering from what she told me at our reunion this summer is the beginning of dementia. I pray that he gets the mental health and drug-addiction treatment he needs so that Betty will be safe.
* * *
I've learned that Janice Cline Lathen of Grants Pass, who attended school in Bandon until moving to Gold Beach her senior year, died recently at the age of 72. Janice taught elementary students in Grants Pass for many years. She has a brother, Jesse, and a sister, Judi, and her husband had four children and nine grandchildren.
Services were held at the Mormon Church, and among those attending were sisters Sally Baird Johnston and Suzie Baird Webber, who live at Elk River. Sally estimated that 300 people attended Janice's celebration.
I remember when she was a cheerleader at Bandon High, and also a Job's Daughters queen.