Gateway: Living

Slater: Vaughn Elementary students delight in taking a trip back in time

Vaughn Elementary fourth-graders wash clothes under the supervision of Christine Anderson as part of the Key Peninsula Historical Society’s annual Living History on the Key Peninsula program.
Vaughn Elementary fourth-graders wash clothes under the supervision of Christine Anderson as part of the Key Peninsula Historical Society’s annual Living History on the Key Peninsula program. Courtesy

We’re celebrating the birth of another great-grandchild. Girl number three of four little ones. It’s interesting to us that the new generation definitely has its own names. The little boy, born last December, is Pippin. This little girl, his cousin, is Isla, but pronounced Ila. Beautiful and healthy babies, we won’t fuss at their names, just remember them!

In these open days without rain, we’re busy gardening, and being able to give away some of our extra flowering plants. A friend gave us cabbage starts, and we’ll likely have many cabbages to give away later. Our season is shorter this year, but we have some favorites in the ground.

Our KP museum recently sponsored Living History on the Key Peninsula for fourth grade classes of Vaughn Elementary. We were grateful for good weather, as we had outside stations and the children and adults walked from and back to school.

I donned a sunbonnet made by my mom-in-law and helped with the games of long ago. Some, like checkers and bowling, are still known today. My station included ring toss, pick-up-sticks, pin-the-tail-on-the-cow and wooden ones named buzz-saw and Jacob’s ladder. I had as much fun as the kids checking out the games.

The students made butter in small jars, and of course tasted it. I wangled a taste, too, and found it delicious. Next door was Britta Brones demonstrating handling wool, and Mavis Brown teaching the kids about writing with a quill pen.

Outside, students learned how to wash clothes, use a washboard, old-fashioned clothespins to hang items, and a sadiron to press them.

The men supervised log rolling, drilling, nailing and one day, how to start a fire with a drill.

The students wrote thank-you notes, and it’s fun to read their comments. They learned something about everyday life over 100 years ago by actually trying it out, and in some cases, expressed an appreciation for the hard work it took to survive.

Each elementary school has a traveling tote of history on loan from the museum, but nothing teaches as well as actually doing something new and different.

We hear stories about whales cavorting in Case Inlet, and look forward to a friend’s video of them. At least one sea lion is still in the Vaughn Bay area, and Dall’s porpoises have been sighted a few times. Must still be fish in the area.

Ham radio operators will be on duty at Camp Seymour from 11 a.m. this Saturday (June 24) to 11 a.m. Sunday (June 25). Visitors are invited to learn about amateur radio operations at this Field Day sponsored by the RF Wireless Amateur Radio Club of Burley.

Some of these operators are emergency certified, and this will be a training exercise for them to set up and work from a station other than their own home.

Looking ahead, the Longbranch Community Church is already preparing for its annual Bluegrass BBQ Festival on July 29 at the Longbranch Improvement Club. Our local Bluegrass Minstrels, the Day Brothers, and the Coyote Hill Bluegrass Band from Oklahoma will share lots of foot-stomping, hand-clapping music.

This year, about 20 vendor booths are new, with a varied collection of items signed up already: jewelry, yard art, moss garden, skin care, candles and wildlife art.

I’ll have a table of books: my own, some from the museum, and some from my sons.

A day of fun with free admission. Come and enjoy this special music and Oliver’s BBQ sandwiches.

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