As I found summer slipping away from me in 2004, I recalled a quiet place I wanted to get to know on the Oregon coast. And as with many before me, my first impression of Oceanside on a first drive of the Three Capes Scenic Loop had left an indelible impression of a special place that called for a return to understand its charm.
In the on-line archives of the Oregonian newspaper I found an article written by Foster Church entitled “Something about Fair Oceanside Inspires Cartwheels in the Street”.
Foster’s article described many of the features of Oceanside which have become most familiar to me; the tunnel connecting our beaches, the sandy walk to Netarts, local espresso shop, cafe and the historic Anchor Tavern. It also included interviews with two women who, for me personally, have come to embody the Oceanside I chose to make my home shortly thereafter. Pat Gray and her husband Stan are now my neighbors of three years. A few years later I was very fortunate to spend a little time with Mary Evelyn Metcalf, who had long preceded me in writing the Fencepost column and spoke with great respect and loving insight about Oceanside. I’d read her book twice by the time we met.
Back then, the Anchor Tavern had just closed for the winter before I ever had a chance to step foot inside and experience it as the local gathering place, now legend. Mary Evelyn Metcalf, who eventually settled in, then returned to Oceanside annually for some time, would be absent for a few years. Pat Gray was a most welcoming neighbor, and got in a few more cartwheels before her doctor told her she had to swear them off.
Mary Evlyn Metcalf is a thoughtful woman who, during our recent conversation, shared her great admiration for a number of people who have so much for the Oceanside community, and counted Pat Gray in that company.
Both women live in a culture of possibilities, embracing what can be done, and giving no service to the idea of what should not be, could not be.
Re-reading Foster’s article today reminds me that while it is easy to be drawn into the drama and conflicting views that surround our once-historic Anchor Tavern, we should remember that in the same way a house is not a home without the touch of humanity, a community in truth is made of people, and not buildings.
Be kind to each other, and I’ll hope to see you on the beach.
The April 2004 Oregonian article is available by following this link.