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Dorsey shares plan for twelve book “I Remember” series

Jason Dorsey’s new children’s picture book, I Remember Running Through The Woods, is coming out in January. At Sunnyshore Studio’s “Christmas in Miniature Show” a poster displayed Jason’s projected books in this 12 book series.

We caught up to Jason this week. Here is our interview with the author/illustrator of the ambitious I Remember children’s book series.

Sunnyshore Studio: When did you first dream of the I Remember children’s picture book series?

Jason:  Our family moved to Indianapolis, IN in 2002. In 2003, I must have been missing my dad and the fishing waters of the Puget Sound, so I began to sketch a draft of what became I Remember Fishing with Dad. Being who I am, it was not long after those early sketches that I conceived of a twelve book series with each book starting with I Remember.

Sunnyshore Studio: I Remember Fishing with Dad wasn’t published until October of 2015. Why did it take so long from conception to publication?

Jason: Mainly because I had no idea what I was doing. I had never written a children’s picture book before so I had a lot to learn about storytelling and illustration. I went to children’s book conferences, hired children’s book coaches, and submitted the manuscript again and again. In fact, by around 2013 I had given up. I still view it as a minor miracle that an old friend named Shelley Huston, who ran a small publishing company, reconnected with me and published the book. I tell this story in my post “A Tale of Many Rejections.” 

IRFD Cover

Sunnyshore Studio: What is your vision for this series? 

Jason: I want to tell stories that both delight and instruct. I want children and adults to enjoy the stories and the artwork that goes with each story. But they are more than just a collection of stories about a boy growing up on an island. Each story explores a universal theme, and, I hope, provides some insight to it. I Remember Fishing with Dad explores the significance of the father-son relationship. I Remember Running through the Woods, uses the ever-changing woods to talk about how to deal with change.

Sunnyshore Studio: Why do you start each book with “I Remember”?

Jason: Because I want to emphasize how very important the memories of childhood are and because I want to encourage the making of “sacred memories.” In our childhood time moves slow and the memories we make go deep into who we are, shaping us, and even, as the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky puts it in The Brothers Karamazov, the “instrument of our salvation one day.”

 “Let us never forget how happy we were here, when we were all together, united by such a good and kind feeling…My dear children, perhaps you will not understand what I’m going to say to you now, for I often speak very incomprehensibly, but, I’m sure, you will remember that there’s nothing higher, stronger, more wholesome and more useful in life than some good memory, especially when it goes back to the days of your childhood, to the days of your life at home. You are told a lot about your education, but some beautiful, sacred memory, preserved since, is perhaps the best education of all. If a man carries many such memories into life with him, he is saved for the rest of his days. And even if only one good memory is left in our hearts, it may be the instrument of our salvation one day.”

These lines have been an inspiration for this series from the beginning.

Sacred Memories

Sunnyshore Studio: These stories are about a boy growing up on an island. Camano Islanders will recognize the island as there own. Why did you choose to base the stories on Camano?

Road to the State Park

Jason: I believe place matters. Since most of my “sacred memories” took place on Camano, I’m basing the stories in my place (though I never mention the name of Camano). The story lines are built on memories that other northwesterners share: like salmon fishing, playing in the woods, bringing in the hay, picking wild blackberries. In fact, a few weeks ago at the “Christmas in Miniature” show, I had a long conversation with a couple who grew up blackberry picking like I did. It is amazing at how similar our experiences were. The same can be said of fishing, and so on. Yet, even though the story is based in the northwest, the themes are universal and, I hope, accessible to everyone.

Plus I like maps in stories. So this gives me a chance to put maps in each of my stories.

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I hope by celebrating a specific place, I can encourage people to value the places in their lives too!

Sunnyshore Studio: One of the special aspects of this series is that your dad partnered with you to illustrate the first two books. Why did you choose to do this?

Jason: For the first book, I Remember Fishing with Dad, I thought it would be cool to have my dad illustrate the book with me since it is about the father-son relationship and since he lived the story with me. Plus, I really wanted, and needed his help to make great illustrations. In 2006 we spent a week painting what would be the first round of illustrations for the book. We had to redo many of these in 2015. So it was quite a process.

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I tried to illustrate I Remember Running Through the Woods by myself. But I was running out of time, and I asked Dad to help again. He graciously agreed, and really helped to bring the book to life artistically. Here are a few examples of his great work.

Sunnyshore Studio:  These aren’t your normal children’s book illustrations that are more, how should I say it, child level art. These are more serious watercolors.

Jason: Part of my vision was to use high quality, serious watercolors for the illustrations. I hope to inspire a few youngsters to perhaps take up the paintbrush themselves.

Cover - I RTW

Sunnyshore Studio: I Remember Fishing with Dad was published by Just Dust Publishers. Why did you choose to have Sunnyshore Studio by the publisher for I Remember Running Through The Woods?

Jason: A couple of reasons. First, Just Dust Publishers closed there doors. Second, by publishing through Sunnyshore Studio we cut out the middle man and keep our costs down. Sunnyshore Studio has published a number of books over the past three years, and has “cracked the code” so to speak of the editing, graphic design and layout of publishing. So we decided to keep it in house.

Sunnyshore Studio: Since your first sketches (2003) to today (2018), you’ve only published two books. What makes you think you can publish 10 more? And which book is next?

Jason: Well, like I said, we’ve “cracked the code” by publishing the books in-house. This allows us a little more freedom and flexibility. Hopefully we can get on a roll and publish a book a year. That’s the dream at least. And I like “big dreams”, they inspire me. I’m not afraid to fail.

I’m not sure what book will be next. I’m currently writing I Remember Haying at the Farm. This book will explore the importance of hard work, of family members/families working together as a team, and or working on their relationships with each other. The work of keeping up a farm, specifically of the annual summer bringing in the hay ritual, is the context to explore this theme. I have great memories of haying with my cousins.

Sunnyshore Studio: When is I Remember Running Through the Woods going to be released?

Jason: You should know that, since you’re the publisher of the book! The printer tells me that it will be ready to be picked up by mid/late January. If people are interested they can pre-order their copy here:

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24 Days Late the 2nd book in “I Remember” series sent to printer

Sunnyshore Studio’s Artistic Director, Jason Dorsey, and his dad, prominent Northwest watercolor artist, Jack Dorsey, have once again teamed up to tell a story of the adventures of a boy growing up on an Island. It is titled I Remember Running Through the Woods. 

“I hoped to send it to our printer in Salem, OR by October 1st. That would have allowed us to have the books in hand for the opening of our ‘Christmas in Miniature’ show on December 1st at the Studio,” Jason says.  “We’ll still showcase the illustrations at the Christmas in Miniature show and our guest will be able to check out a rough copy and purchase the book advance.  We worked hard, but just couldn’t make our deadline.

“In I Remember Running Through the Woods  I wanted to explore change through the lens of the woods that surrounded me, the ever changing woods of my childhood,” Jason says.

The story begins with a nod to the logging days on Camano Island.

“An old logging path led from my parents home to my uncle’s farm,” Jason remembers. There were old growth stumps along this path. During the daytime, it was an enchanting woodland but when my sister, brother, and I came home after dark it was terrifying.”

In preparation for the book, Jason spent time in the woods of his childhood. “The stumps are still there,” he says. “I took lots of pictures.”

“One stump in particular became the ‘model’ for the ‘scary stump’ in the story,” Jason pointed out. It is a stump across from his parents house, on the road that leads down to Sunnyshore Acres Beach.

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“The huckleberry tree on top of the stump reminds me of scary arms reaching out”, Jason says.

His dad, noted Northwest watercolor artist, partnered in the illustrations.

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“Dad worked his wonders again, just like he did with the illustrations of our first book I Remember Running Through the Woods. I had the ideas, and would begin the paintings. But he brought many, most of them to completion, Jason notes.

Jack even pulled out his old bayonet and sheet for one illustration.

bayonet vignette

While all ages will find the story enchanting, Jason thinks that boys especially will like it. “With the military gear, face-painting, and adventures in the woods, this book is tailor made for boys,” Jason says.

While Jason is expected to be positive about his new book, others agree about the value of the story.  Three recommendations grace the back cover of the book.

Jennifer Kelly

Jennifer Kelly, Jason’s high school English teacher, and for 10 years a columnist for the Stanwood-Camano news wrote this:

Jason Dorsey’s second story in the series about his childhood, I Remember Running through the Woods, is a literary and visionary charm of a book.  Parents and children alike will take delight in the monsters that moo and stumps with eyes, and think about life through the quiet, calm words and enchanting illustrations of a man who revels in the youthful adventures that made him the father he is today.  Let’s all go running through the woods again and again and again!

Steven Garber

Steven Garber, author of Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good, and professor of marketplace theology at Regent College, Vancouver, B.C., said this:

I love the world that is beyond our doors, the meadows and forests, the fields and pastures—in Wendell Berry’s poetic metaphor, “timbered choirs” each one. Through our senses we come to know in ways that deepen us. In Jason Dorsey’s artful remembering of his boyhood on Camano Island, we too are alive amidst the trees and the seasons, the fires at night and the noises in the tent, our own hopes and fears still near. I Remember Running Through the Woods is a window into a long love, of a boy who once was and is now the man he must be, giving us the grace of looking over his shoulder and through his heart into the wonders of his world. 

Mary Nease

Mary Nease, a homeschooling mother of five she has spent the last 15 years reading thousands of books to her children, who spends much of her time combing libraries and bookstores for good children’s books, had this to say:

Through his delightful watercolor illustrations and accompanying descriptive prose, author and illustrator Jason Dorsey invites the reader into his precious childhood memories. Although Running Through the Woods takes place on Camano Island in the lush Pacific Northwest, the reader is quickly transported in his own mind to the sacred places of his own life’s story. Jason has crafted an endearing and humorous, as well as poignant and exquisite, piece of art, able to captivate and delight the youngest reader while striking a deep chord in the souls of all ages.

Cover - I Remember Running Through the Woods

The cover and contents have been sent into Your Town Press in Salem, OR. “We anticipate having the books a few days before Christmas, Jason says.

You will be able to order your copy of the book December 1st. 

Home: Places of the Heart

What places have been home to you? Why do our hearts get attached to a place? How can art capture the essence of “being home?” 

 

These and other important questions will be explored in Jed Dorsey’s upcoming art show Home: Places of the Heart at Sunnyshore Studio on Saturday, October 20th and 27th. Jed’s painting touch hearts because they evoke that longing for “home” that Jed says was all have. Sunnyshore Studio sat down with Jed to explore the connection of home and his artwork.

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Sunnyshore Studio: What places have been home to you? Tell us about them your homes?

Jed Dorsey: When I think of home, there are several places that come to mind. They are Camano Island, Vancouver, BC, Indianapolis, and Edmonton.

Within each of those places, there are more specific locations that stand out. My parents’ house, for instance, is where I grew up, and it has always been our home away from home wherever I have lived with Renae through the years. But Camano Island has other places that I regard as home. The beach across from Mom and Dad’s house is one of them. I spent so many summers there. The flatlands as you cross onto Camano Island is another. There’s no place like it for me. When I get there and see that, I feel like I am finally home.

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Soft Day, Camano Crossing - 36x24

Gateway

And the other cities have similar special places, whether it is a house or a neighborhood or a park. Significant places where I have spent time with people I love – that’s the common theme.

Rainy Night

Why do you think “home” evokes such powerful emotions in our hearts?

I believe we all long for a home. Whether that is a real home of our past where we remember good times or people we’ve loved, or whether it’s something we’ve never really had, I think we all have a deep longing for a place of belonging and safety and love.

And places matter to us because we have memories connected to places. We grow fond of a place often not just because of what it actually looks like but because of the memory connected to it. And most of our memories involve other people. There’s an old poem that says, “,,,it takes a heap o’living in a house to make it home.” That’s because it’s not the exact physical place that makes the home, it is something more than that: the relationships and memories of life together with people we love and who have loved us. And no matter whether we’ve had a lot of that in the past or not that much, we all long for it.

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How can a painting capture the essence of home in a way that maybe a photograph or memory can’t?

Perhaps because a painting can bring our imaginations to life more than a photograph. If I took a photo of a particular house, you would know it wasn’t the house of your childhood because of the exactness of a photo. But if I painted the same house, you might see something that makes you think of the house of your childhood and because it is more suggestive in its nature, your heart might override your mind into believing it is your childhood home even if it knows I didn’t paint your exact house.

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Which of your paintings best evoke that sense of home? Describe why they do this for you.

That really just depends on who is looking at the painting. For me, they all evoke a sense of home for different reasons. Some of the paintings will speak to different people more strongly than others. But that is for the viewers to decide for themselves.

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What are the hopes you have for your “home” art show coming up in October at Sunnyshore Studio?

I am looking forward to sharing good times with people I love in a place I love.

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Home: Places of the Heart

  • Saturdays, October 20th and 27th
  • 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sunnsyhore Studio
  • 2803 SE Camano Drive, Camano Island, WA

Viewing and Purchase Options

  • If you can’t make these two Saturdays we are “open by appointment.” Call Jason Dorsey, 317.209.6768.
  • Jed’s “Home: Places of the Heart” art show will go live on Saturday, October 20th at 12:00 (Noon). Jed’s friends, fans and collectors can purchase his artwork through Sunnyshore Studio’s web site: www.sunnyshorestudio.com.

Show Sponsor

Sunnyshore Studio thanks Russ Bumgarner and his company Rubumco for sponsoring the show.  If you are in need of getting your home or business painted, Russ’s premier painting company that’s been operating since 1999 in the Stanwood-Camano region is the place to go!

Russel Baumgarner

Rubumco logo

Meet the Project Coordinator for Discover Beautiful Camano: Jacqueline Dorsey

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to announce that Jacqueline Dorsey will be serving as the Coordinator of the Discover Beautiful Camano Project.  Jacqueline is highly organized and she is going to do an amazing job!

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Sunnyshore Studio:  What’s it been like to grow up in a family of artists?

Jacqueline: I’ve been submerged in the world of art since I can remember. And it’s been eye-opening seeing how much time, technique and networking goes into art and art shows. It’s been really fun to help at art shows hosting people, during the register, and other meeting people from all walks of life.

And I’ve been fortunate to paint and sell, and be commissioned to paint, art of my own.

Sunnyshore Studio: What kind of art do you do?

Jacqueline: Watercolor landscapes for the most part. I like to draw and dabble in different art forms. I’ll be taking Watercolor 101 at Bellevue Community College this fall as part of the Running Start program.

Sunnyshore Studio: You’re helping your Dad as the Coordinator of the Discover Beautiful Camano Project. Tell us more about that project and what makes you good as a Coordinator?

Discover Beautiful Camano 2018

Jacqueline:

It is all about discovering the beauty of Camano Island through art and telling people’s stories and histories. The culmination of this two-year project will be in July 2020 showcasing the art of Camano artists in an art show at Sunnyshore Studio. The stories of people and their places will be told in the Discover Beautiful Camano coffee table book as well as a documentary video.

I’m a detail-oriented person and an avid organizer and planner. I wanted to challenge myself by taking on an ambitious, two-year project.

Sunnyshore Studio: What are you most excited about in coordinating the Discover Beautiful Camano Project?

Jacqueline: I really enjoy getting the little details of a list checked off that move us forward in the project. Seeing everything slowly come together, piece by piece, and how every little thing that we do makes the project better. I’m looking forward to learning more about my family’s roots on Camano and the history of the people there.

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Home: Exploring the places of the heart, new artwork by Jed Dorsey

Sunnyshore Studio is thrilled to announce the date is set for Jed Dorsey’s October show. Home: Exploring the places of the heart will open on Saturday, October 20th.

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The show will feature new artworks by Jed. In his paintings Jed will explore how places become symbolic of home and how the sense of “being home” is deeply rooted in place.

For Islanders, Jed’s painting of the “gateway” to Camano, used for the promotion for the show, evokes that sense of home. How many of us felt that we had “come home” as we drive on 522 over the Stillaguamish River and look north across the marshy waters lit by the sunset to the Skagit Bay and blue and purple hills beyond.

When The Sun Paints The Sky

Partly because Jed’s painting’s wonderfully evoke this sense of home, they are purchased by collectors all over the United States. His last show at Sunnyshore Studio all but sold out. To meet the growing nationwide demand for his art, Sunnyshore Studio will make Jed’s Home: Exploring the places of the heart show available online. So if you are not able to attend the show at our Gallery on Camano you will be able to purchase your Jed Dorsey original through Sunnyshore Studio’s web site.

We are very thankful that Jed’s good friend and teammate from his Stanwood High School Days, Russell Bumgarner, and his company, Rubumco Painting Inc. is sponsoring the show.  Rubumco does great work built on years of experience, and based on character and integrity all over the Stanwood-Camano area. Check them out here: http://rubumco.com

Russel Baumgarner

Russell has been a great friend and support to Jed, and to the entire Dorsey family. His friendship, patronage and sponsorship will help us with the promotion of the show and in hosting a big party worthy of the occasion.

 

 

 

Explore the beautiful places and special people of Camano with Jason Dorsey (1)

On my summer break and in between many projects – working at my parent’s home on Camano, painting for my second children’s book, and working on my daughter’s tiny house (to name a few) – I’ve found time to explore some of the beautiful places and special people of Camano. Come with me and #Discoverbeautifulcamano.

Mabana Beach

For me, summer vacation begins with taking a dip in the sparkling waters of Mabana Beach. It was not so sunny and sparkly but my son Jacob and I jumped in nonetheless.

Dotti Burton’s Garden

A fellow artist of the Camano Arts Association, Dotti Burton, had invited me to tour her garden. One morning Jacob and I did, and it was truly amazing. It inspired me to add a new category to the Discover Beautiful Camano book and documentary project: the gardens of Camano. Dotti was gracious enough to be interviewed on the spot.

Touring the Island with Scott and Ashley Miller

A few days after our time with Dotti, my best friend from college, Scott Miller and his daughter Ashley came to Camano to spend time with us. One day I spontaneously decided to take them on a tour of “my island” and this is a record of that tour.

Our first stop was at my parent’s home. Where Dad’s studio, the original “Sunnyshore Studio” was. Ashley was a good sport to be in the video.

From Dad and Mom’s we headed south. Our next stop was at Tyee Corner Grocery where we enjoyed delicious hamburgers. Scott ate his without the bun because he was in a weight loss contest with his mom. I interviewed the store’s owner.

We continued south. Our plan was to stop at artists John and Vicki Ringen’s home, but they were driving out as we pulled in, so we pressed on to the south end of the Island. Looking over the high cliffs of Camano to the waters below is one of my favorite vistas of Camano.

After racing back from the south end to show some visitors who had come all the way from Illinois to see Sunnyshore Studio, we continued around the Island, now heading our north.

We stopped at the fabulous Matzke Gallery and Sculpture Park. A Raku firing event was taking place, but Karla was gracious enough to share a little bit about her Gallery and Park. She is one of the driving forces behind our “colony of artists” on Camano.

Our next stop was at Bill and Marilyn Christenson Wayland’s home. Bill was my pastor during my growing up years. He pastored Camano Chapel for 28 years, and he and his family are a landmark on Camano.

We continued our drive north along the west side of the Island. Our next stop was Huntington Grocery Store, which carries a remarkable amount of fishing and recreational gear as well as food and candy for its size.

After Huntington’s we stopped at Madrona Beach. A youngster who must have been bored came out of his modern style beach home and we had competitions of rock throwing accuracy. We took this video at the place where Dad used to launch his boat if we didn’t use the State Park’s ramp.

I had a birthday party to attend at my sister, April’s, farm on the north side of the Island, so Scott, Ashley, Jacob and I took a break from our tour. After the party I stopped at Scott’s aunt Linda and uncle Mike’s beautiful home overlooking the Camano Country Club. This is the view we saw. The video really doesn’t do it justice.

Scott and I are both pastors and on vacation, so we decided to have our own worship service on the lower deck at his aunt and uncle’s home the next morning. We had a sweet time of reading Scripture, singing, praying and sharing encouragement.

On Sunday afternoon Scott, who is a good golfer and I, who am a rather poor golfer, challenged my dad, who is a terrific golfer for his age, and Mike who is a solid golfer to a little competition at Camaloch Golf Course. It was a beautiful evening. Scott and I ended up… (I’ll leave you in suspense).

I said goodbye to Scott and Ashley the next morning. It was a sweet time of friendship. Scott brings out the fun, playful side of me like few people can.

Camano Commons and Naked City Brewery

The next couple of days Jacob and I worked hard at my parent’s home: cleaning off the old shake roof that Dad installed well over 30 years ago. We also dug out a drainage ditch on east foundation of their house. After working hard I was famished. I decided to treat Jacob to dinner at the Naked City Brewery, a gourmet hamburger restaurant, at the Camano Commons.

My old friend and classmate at Stanwood High School, Randi Robinson Armstrong, works there and it was fun to see her. She is one of the many special people that make Camano such a great place.

 Work Party and Iverson Beach

Jacob and I were working hard to prepare for a work party at Mom and Dad’s home that happened July 21st. One highlight of that work party was that an old friend of mine, John Kandel, was visiting with his wife April and four strapping sons. They joyfully joined in the work party with us, and afterwards we went to Iverson beach where they kids built a raft out of huge logs. It took some serious engineering to get the three logs into the water.

A number of us poled and pushed the raft to my sister April’s farm. Well, in reality, we ran aground over 100 yards from the beach and had to wade through thigh high mud and clay. I laughed and laughed at the site. Then we had to walk barefoot through the fields to the farmhouse. The trek was worth it. We enjoyed a delicious dinner.

In the midst of all that work and fun, I’ve found time to paint. I’m really excited about how my watercolor paintings for my second children’s book are coming together. I feel like I’m coming back to the freshness, looseness and spontaneity that I love most about watercolor.

One evening I painted Plein Air at Utsalady Beach. What a beautiful place that is.

This is the end of this exploration of the beautiful places and special people of Camano. I’m hoping to do at least one more video tour before my vacation is up. But even then I’ll only be scratching the surface of this place!

 

Work has begun on Jackie’s Tiny House

A couple of years ago Jackie Dorsey shared her dream to build a tiny house at Sunnyshore Studio where she could retreat, do creative work and get away from technology. (I’m going to hold her to that “no technology” phrase :).

We promised Jackie that we would build a tiny house for her. But that was a big commitment and I’m not that good at construction work. So it was all a bit overwhelming.

Until Jenny stumbled across a do-it-yourself shed at Costco that she thought would be a perfect tiny house for Jackie. Jackie agreed.

Two weeks ago it was delivered to Sunnyshore Studio. Today we started work on Jackie’s tiny house.

Jackie and Jacob did some excavation work.

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We laid the “cornerstone”. Not so much a stone, but the corner from which everything else is measured.

Cornerstone

Dad “just happened” the foundation blocks at his house and donated them to the cause. He came through for us again, and even lent a hand.

We have lots of work ahead of us. But we have a good start and it will be fun to see the tiny house take shape!

You’ll have to come visit Jackie’s tiny house someday. She wants it to be a place of rest and creativity.

Discover Beautiful Mabana Beach

By Jason Dorsey

I officially started my vacation with a dip at Mabana Beach.  My son Jacob and I had spent the morning and early afternoon working on some landscaping projects at the Studio, including putting in another bulkhead and planting hydrangea bushes Mom had given me.

We were hot and tired and decided to go for a swim.

Mabana is the closest public beach to Sunnyshore Studio and it’s the beach my mom had played at since 1947 when she was growing up on her family’s farm half-a-mile north of Mabana.

I have lots of memories of swimming at Mabana when I was a kid too.

Jacob and I parked Dad’s old Ford truck at the top of the hill because I wasn’t confident in its brakes working on the steep and narrow drive down to Mabana. Earlier in the day it had been sunny and warm. But by the time Jacob and I got there it was overcast and windy. No one else was there.

That didn’t dampen our spirits. We waded into the white-top waves. Jacob dove in first. I have to give him credit for that. The water wasn’t bad, in fact it was warm because the tide was high and the water had come up over the sand heated by the sun.

As we sat drying off, I told Jacob a little of the story of how my Uncle Robert and Aunt Sandy had fought to keep Mabana accessible to the public. I tell that story, and more of the history of Mabana here:

The Beaches of Camano: The Battle for Mabana

You can learn more about Mabana Beach here: Beaches of Camano: Mabana Beach

 

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