Opinion

With each flyover, memories roar back | Publisher's Column

My grandparents had a home for many years on Goldie Road. They moved there from a large home in downtown Oak Harbor that subsequently became a doctor’s office.

On many occasions, as an adult, I would sit in the waiting room of that doctor’s office with my son trying to remember where things used to be located — trying to square in my mind the old family photos with the current layout of the building. Of one thing I am certain, my grandparents’ house didn’t have any examining rooms or a front counter.

As I sit in my own living room on a Monday watching the Navy jets practicing over Saratoga Passage, my mind travels back to those visits to my grandparents’ house on Goldie Road.

My parents would drive us from Anacortes, and we would always turn right at the big sign that said, “Please pardon our noise, it is a sound of freedom.”

Oak Harbor seemed a world away from Anacortes. But I always looked forward to going to Grandpa and Grandma Lane’s house. I always looked forward to seeing the sign.

My grandmother, Beverly, was a kind-hearted woman who was very generous. She was always willing to help others in need. She was also very generous to her grandchildren. One of my favorite Christmas presents was a pull-up bar that hung in my bedroom doorway.

Grandma was very talented and once owned a ceramics shop in downtown Oak Harbor. Among my prized possessions are a large ceramic pumpkin made by my Grandma, inscribed with her name on the bottom. I also have a small green ceramic Christmas tree that she made. I’m sure there are pieces of hers in homes throughout the island.

My grandpa, Glenn Lane, was an avid “collector.” I watched over time as their property filled with the latest acquisitions. It could be a camper, a car, school bus, piles of wood, metal lockers or even a quonset hut. A product of the Depression, Grandpa Lane believed everything had value.

My son, Liam, was a military history buff from a very early age. When Liam was about 12 years old, he interviewed Grandpa Lane about his war experiences, specifically his memories of Pearl Harbor and surviving the Japanese attack on the USS Arizona.

Grandpa was extremely patient as he answered my son’s many questions one evening. Grandpa’s dramatic story was documented over the years, but we learned details that haven’t — and may never — appear in the official history of Pearl Harbor.

Grandma and Grandpa Lane are no longer with us, but with each jet that passes over the house, some very fond memories come roaring back.

 

 

Keven R. Graves is executive editor and publisher of the Whidbey News-Times. He can be reached via email at kgraves@whidbeynewsgroup.com

 

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