Updates: Buchanan Cemetery found; Dorothy Regal published; Berthusen book available

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 5, 2012 

  • DOROTHY'S POEM: "LITTLE MOTHERS"

    Our daughters become our mothers

    as we shrink into old age.

    They hover over us,

    take our gnarled hands in theirs

    as we step off the curb

    into the menacing street,

    match their long strides

    to fit our short, tentative ones,

    walk us slowly to stores to buy

    something they decide we need.

    They ask what we did yesterday

    when they make their daily calls,

    give us all the time it takes

    to remember the answer.

    We let them play their parts,

    knowing their need and ours,

    try for patience, for gratitude,

    I cannot believe how powerful

    and kind they have become.

    - Dorothy Regal

Every now and then I update stories I've written about. Here are three updates that recently came to my attention.

BUCHANAN CEMETERY FOUND

On July 23 I wrote about history buff Phil Dyer's search for Buchanan Cemetery, a small burial plot for a homesteading family and neighbors in the hills above Lake Whatcom's Agate Bay. Dyer thought his research and grave dowsing had lead him to the correct location, but the absence of burial markers or other artifacts left him in limbo.

Four days after my story appeared, Dyer returned to the wooded property accompanied by several people, including local historian Tim Wahl, retired surveyor George Raper and retired area resident Chuck Zeiger, who led the way to where two broken stone grave markers were visible among the ferns.

Dyer, a real estate agent who represents the owners of the large undeveloped property, said the markers were perhaps 200 yards northeast of where he had thought the cemetery was located. He hopes to have the burial site given protection as a recognized cemetery.

DOROTHY REGAL PUBLISHED

More than two years ago the Herald's Prime Time publication profiled Dorothy Regal because her poetry, which she started writing late in life, was winning attention and honors.

A 90-year-old resident of Willows Retirement Apartments, Regal began writing poetry in 1986, the year she and her husband settled in Seattle from afar. When her husband died in 1999, she moved to Bellingham.

I became aware of Regal in 2009 when her wonderful poem "Little Mothers" was one of the top winners in that year's Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest, which is open to county residents.

Other people took notice, too, including Luther Allen, a poet I wrote about after he published "The View from Lummi Island," his collection of poems based on six years of close observation of Lummi Island, where Allen lived before he moved to the foothills.

Allen was so taken by Regal's poems that his publishing imprint, Other Mind Press, has just released "A Measure of Strength," a collection of poems from her first two self-published books, plus some new poems.

"He thought my poetry would have a big audience in the middle age and old age group of people," Regal said. "I was thrilled about it."

Regal backed into writing poetry. While in Seattle she took a course is memoir writing, but her thoughts and recollections about her life, she discovered, came out better as poems than prose.

"Poetry for me is just something that was in there," she said. "My life story came out in poetry."

BERTHUSEN BARN BOOK FOR SALE

Four years ago I wrote about the public-minded effort to repair the majestic barn at Berthusen Park, west of Lynden. An engineer's report had said the massive, century-old barn was unsafe and that it would cost several hundred thousand dollars to fix it.

In response, members of the Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Association led the effort to repair the barn at a fraction of the cost, thanks to volunteer help and community donations.

The barn sits on 236 acres bequeathed to Lynden for a park in 1944 by Hans and Lida Berthusen, early settlers who transformed their wooded acreage on Bertrand Creek into a showcase farm and de facto community center. The restored barn was officially unveiled in July 2011.

A collection of articles, documents and then-and-now photographs put together for Lynden's Berthusen Park Advisory Board proved so appealing that someone suggested turning the material into a book. Committee member Michael Lewis, publisher of the Lynden Tribune, agreed to produce the 72-page, full-color compilation.

"They did a nice job," said Larry McPhail, a board member who is also active in the tractor club. "We backed into it; it was a very strange way to write a book."

Proceeds from sale of the $25 book will support the club's effort to erect a community building at the park.


BOOKS AVAILABLE

• "Hans Berthusen's Barn" costs $25 and is available at Lynden Pioneer Museum, 217 Front St.; at the Lynden Tribune, 113 Sixth St.; and from Larry McPhail. To order a copy from McPhail, call 360-366-5548, or mail $28 (book plus $3 handling) to 2855 H Street Road, Blaine, WA 98230.

• "A Measure of Strength; Poems of Aging," by Dorothy Regal, costs $12 and is available at Village Books, in Fairhaven. Regal will read from her book at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at Village Books. To read Regal's poem "Little Mothers," see this story online at BellinghamHerald.com.

Reach DEAN KAHN at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2291.

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