A friend from California sent me pages from the NY Times about this 'new writer' who lived in Port Angeles. This was a year or two after we moved there in 1983. It was exciting news. He was compared with great giants in literature. I thought, how smart he was, to see the benefits of living in this area of the world. As I was driving around town I wondered occasionally what part of town he had chosen to live in.
An old lumber train that ran between Port Angeles and Port Townsend came through our area about once a day. When we heard it coming around the bend, with wheels complaining that the curve was hard on it's aged under structure, we would gather up any grandchild visiting, making sure some one had a penny in a pocket. We would run up the hill and wait for the train. One child could put a penny on the rails. And then we waited. There were a couple of curves before the train arrived and the noise made the waiting into high drama. The locomotive looked old fashioned but the engineer leaning out his window was as welcome as Santa Claus at Christmas. His friendly smile as he waved to us, made us feel happy for the rest of the day. And then the lucky child whose penny had been squashed had a concrete memory of how much fun it was to visit Grandpa and Grandma.
Why should this little tid-bit of history come at this time. One time when we were waiting, a neighbor whose property edged the railroad property was waiting with his pre-school-aged son and we introduced ourselves and as we returned to our houses he informed us that in this house lived a famous writer. He was away teaching on the east coast at the moment, he said. I could see the house from our kitchen window and I would often look up to see if there were signs of life yet. And so began our friend ship with Ray Carver. More about this as I get into Carol Sklenicka's book.