Saturday, November 15, 2014

Off the Shelf: Lighthouses

When I was in 7th and 8th grade, we lived in Edmonds, Washington.  Edmonds is situated up on the Puget Sound, and out house was up the hill about a mile and 7/8 from the water.  You could see it from our deck and the first floor windows (we had a daylight basement).  In fact, the background photo of this blog was taken from our deck - you can see the Edmonds-Kingston car ferry at dock and the Olympic Mountains on the Olympic Peninsula across the Sound.

There was one beach we particularly enjoyed visiting, called Brackett's Landing (north).  You could walk along the sand toward the jetty, getting squirted by geoducks (a type of clam, pronounced 'gooey ducks') as they dug deeper to escape your footfalls.  If you walked north of the jetty during low tide, you could go quite far between the water and the rocks.  Once when we were exploring, we found these huge snail shells in the rocks, and I mean huge.  They were bigger than my fist.  We found a couple of whole ones and took them home.

It rains a fair amount on the Puget Sound (although we had nice summers), and my brothers and I were fairly sedentary at this point in our lives.  Steven had two big white boards in the basement where he did math in his spare time,* Ben was always practicing his clarinet, and I would read by the hour.  Now, Steven was always a skinny kid, but Ben and I weren't.  So, to promote a little more exercise and fresh air, Mom would send the two of us down to Brackett's Landing, weather permitting.  We walked, and when we'd played on the beach for a while, we used the pay phone** to call for newly-licensed Steven to come pick us up in the van.

At first we complained about being shooed outside.  It wasn't a short walk, after all.  Mom started giving us a couple dollars each for ice cream at Baskin Robins on the way to get us to go without a fuss.  After a while, Ben and I started exploring down town on our walks.  Edmonds had a very quaint, cozy, small-town America feel to it.  Downtown was small and vibrant, with picturesque old buildings, street lamps and hanging baskets of flowers.

On one of our walks, we discovered this little lighthouse shop run by a couple of older women.  The place was full of lighthouse figurines and related paraphernalia.  Ben and I went in to look around and fell in love with it.  We started going there every day on our way down the hill.  Soon we knew their entire inventory, and we were probably the first in town to know when they got something new in.  So enamored were we with these lighthouses, that we decided they were better than ice cream!  We started saving our two dollars so we could buy some.

I have very fond memories of that place.  I remember at the time, I had wanted to be a 'regular' somewhere.  Moving around as much as we did, that wasn't something I had ever experience, but it sounded lovely and old-fashioned in all the right ways.  I had always pictured it in terms of a restaurant, but Ben and I soon became regulars at the lighthouse shop.  The ladies who owned the place always loved seeing us, and us them.  We became friends, a little.  We were probably their best customers, lol.  Near Christmas, they gave us a pair of small lighthouse ornaments that had a small mistake on them, and then they gave us another little ornament just because.  For our part, Ben and I purchased several lighthouses each.

I still have three of mine:

L-R: Cape Neddick, ME; Jupiter Inlet, FL; Unknown (the sticker fell off).

If you recognize the lighthouse on the far right, let me know!

Anyway!  I love these little lighthouses.  I don't have a beach theme in my home decor (I don't really have any themes, actually...), but I'll always keep these three.  They represent the two and a half years I lived in Edmonds, which was a very pleasant time.


**Ah, the days before cell phones.  There was one pay phone at Brackett's Landing, and when we first started walking down there, it cost a quarter.  I remember feeling extremely indignant when the price went up to 35 cents because now we had to carry two coins with us.  Such a hassle.  :)

The lighthouses, close up:

Not Portland Head Light, ME.

Not Heceta Head, OR.

Not Tillamook Rock Light, OR.

Good times.


  1. It was a lovely time, and place. Good memories!

  2. I remember visiting you in that house and watching Mary Poppins! I love your blogs, always make me laugh!

    1. I remember you guys visiting, too! Maddi almost fell down the stairs squeezing between the railings, but I rescued her! I seem to remember you guys not being very impressed with Mary Poppins... ;)

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