Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


December 21, 2023

A snow-covered Covered Bridge. Christmas Day, 2008. Photo by Karen Bertroch

Last evening many of us were on the roadside in Naselle watching the Christmas Light Parade. Disneyland could hardly provide more entertainment! We had horses, the high school band on a float playing Christmas music, fire trucks, tractors, 4x4's and a float with a Hawaiian theme. The parade lasted forty minutes; it was indeed a gift to us all.

Christmas Letters

Many may remember when Carlton Appelo sent out his annual Christmas letters. Here are samples from some of the Christmas letters he sent out all over the world each year. He always spoke of himself in the third person.

1956: "One of the real joys of the Yuletide Season is visiting with friends both far and near through the notes and letters on Christmas cards - from the Iranis in India, Marian in Japan, Lawsons in Manila, släktningar från Finland, Högskolan kamrater från Sverige and way points, Manuel in Mexico, from all the friends in California, school friends and Army friends across the United States, and those here in the Northwest. It is a joy to share in the warm glow of friendship of all you in the family of friends. Perhaps it is unfortunate that these visits come at the busiest time of the year when there are so many demands on our time, but the Spirit of Christmas moves all of us to do something special for others. Carlton is Master of Grays River Grange and Commander of the American Legion Post at Deep River (125 members). Both duties involve a lot of local community service work. In addition, he manages the local independent Telephone Company, which now has over 250 phones in the dial system at Naselle and 170 magneto phones in the Grays River area. He is engaged in the preliminary steps of converting the Grays River area to dial. And there are plenty of duties in Appelo's Shopping Centers. The big job is enlarging our Naselle store into a modern large-scale supermarket. The building is virtually completed and measures 50 x 120 feet. It will contain stock comparable to a department store plus the regular grocery line. Located in a rural area, the inventory problem is quite complex. It is a constant struggle to keep from being out of needed items." –21 Dec. 1956

1970: "Carlton continues his research in local history. He published a forty-page supplement on Pillar Rock in the Telephone Directory this year. He helped organize a Pioneer Loggers' Picnic this summer commemorating a Century of Logging on the Deep River. It was a great success. There is much anticipation for a second picnic July 31, 1971. He is researching a book on Altoona and seining. Berenice is trying to hold the house on schedule and keep up with her regular business and community responsibilities. It was rather difficult the past three weeks when unseasonable snow fell followed by a rain deluge. The hillside washed down on the road at the old slide area 1500 feet south of the Retreat and covered the road 15 feet deep. It took the road crew more than a week to clear the mud and debris. We drove out via some old logging roads and moved temporarily to our old apartment at the Deep River Store so the children could go to school. It was a 22 mile circuitous trip daily to feed the pets, check the house, etc. Fortunately, our telephone system, which we put underground in 1967, continued to function without trouble. The electric power was restored the second day after the trees were removed. It snowed again yesterday, but otherwise things were normal. We are looking forward to the Scandinavian tradition of Christmas Eve Lutefisk (boiled cod) with family and friends. Then at 11:00 p.m. we go to the Candlelight Service at Church to greet the dawn of the day honoring the birthday of the Prince of Peace." –Deep River, 22 Dec 1970

1980: "Our area gained national news coverage with the violent behavior of our beautiful Mount St. Helens. Our home is located 90 miles southwest of the mountain. Fortunately, prevailing winds drove the ash eastward away from us. We did suffer some light dusting with the next eruption on May 25, about 5 tons to the acre, but it was only slight damage compared with the 35 tons per acre which fell eastward at Yakima. Located just 50 miles away, Longview is still in danger from flood damage due to the sediment in the Cowlitz River. Dredging is still being done night and day to clear the river before the anticipated heavy winter rainfall. The best volcano report we have read appeared in the January 1981 issue of the National Geographic magazine." –18 Dec. 1980

1982: "Carlton continues as Port Commissioner for Wahkiakum County. Their $900,000 Skamokawa Vista Park (25 acre marine park on the Columbia River) is going full blast. It was dedicated on August 29, 1981 with the Naselle Community Choir giving an outdoor concert. Berenice continues to sing in the Community Choir and was busy last week in rehearsals for the Christmas Concert on December 18. They sang a short concert on Saturday in Astoria. During our trip east, we were fortunate to spend a weekend visit with our retired Pastor, John and Lyyli Haverinen in South Paris, Maine. We shared Sunday service in their church. Carlton stayed for the Finnish service that John conducts while Berenice and Lyyli went home to prepare dinner." From the Retreat on Upper Salmon Creek, 12 Dec 1982. 1983: "The largest employer of the region, Weyerhaeuser Company, announced in February complete closure of their Grays River, Deep River & Naselle logging operations with a loss of 194 jobs. Carlton organized an "Operation Bootstrap," holding community meetings at the Grange with representation from appropriate state agencies. It evolved into a formal Lower Columbia Economic Development Corp. with an active nine-person board of directors and an enthusiastic agenda for community self-help. We all count the many blessings of God this Christmas season." –Deep River 20 Dec. 1983

Calendar of Events:

Mondays/Wednesdays: Balance Class Naselle Community Center 2-3 p.m.

Second Monday: American Legion at Rosburg Hall, meal at 6 p.m. Meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesdays: Naselle Lutheran Church: quilters in morning/ knitters in afternoons.

Third Tuesday: Naselle/GRV School Board 6:30. p.m. Next on Jan. 16 in School Library.

Wednesdays: AA meeting Grays River Grange at noon.

Second Wednesday of the month: Grays River Flood Control District at Fire Hall 5:30 p.m.

First and third Wednesdays each month: Rosburg Senior Club Lunch at Rosburg Hall.

Thursdays every week: CAP senior lunches at noon at Rosburg Hall. Joel Fitts recommends it.

Second Thursday: Johnson Park Board meeting at 10 a.m.

Dec 25: Christmas

December 27: Alumni Basketball Game at high school gym. Contact Marie Green at School.

January 14: Greg Parke and Gene Quilhaugh, folk singers and guitarists. 3 p.m. at the Naselle Community Center.

January 17: County conservation meeting. Dan Cothren, chair. 2 p.m., courthouse, 3rd floor.

February 24: Memorial Reception for Dale Dutcher at Rosburg Hall from 1-4 p.m.

Word for the week: Babies


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