62 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
Alice Stuart (Crossover W/ Low Profile)
Markly Morrison of the podcast, Low Profile asked me to fill in for an episode while he took a little time off with his newborn. Low profile is a long form music interview podcast and radio show based here in Olympia, WA. Markly is also the guy behind Skrill Meadow, the band that provides the ending theme music for Welcome To Olympia On this episode I had the honor of interviewing the fantastic folk rock artist, Alice Stuart who happens to live here in Olympia. Alice was born in Chelan, WA. She’s had a long career which started in the folk scene of early 60’s Seattle. She’s been all over the world with her music, playing with countless artists including Mississippi John Hurt, Van Morrison, Judy Collins, John Prine and Frank Zappa to name just a few. She’s full of stories. Illustration by Taylor W. Rushinghttp://www.taylorwrushing.com@taylorwrushing in Instagram Alice Stuart's official facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/AliceStuartOfficial/Low Profile With Markly Morrisonhttps://www.lowprofilepodcast.comSkrill Meadow: http://www.skrilmeadow.com
39 minutes | Oct 31, 2020
12 minutes | Aug 20, 2020
To hear Joyce’s full story or to learn about commissioning your own, go to https://www.keepsakeaudio.com Senior Services For South Sound is offering vital help free of charge but they know they’re not reaching everyone who needs it. If you know of a senior in need or you’d like to volunteer or donate, go to https://southsoundseniors.org
22 minutes | May 17, 2020
From A Distance
How 3 arts related businesses are trying to survive the shutdown. It’s not all depressing. String and Shadow Puppet Theater: https://www.stringandshadow.com Danger Room: http://dangerroomoly.com/ Octapas Cafe: https://octapascafe.com Olympia Pop Rocks’ long form interview with Emily McHugh of String and shadow: http://www.olympiapoprocks.com/podcasts/opr89 Ending theme music by Skrill Meadow: https://skrillmeadow.bandcamp.com
4 minutes | Mar 21, 2020
Where Are You?
30 minutes | Mar 5, 2020
A Righteous Decision
Charles Mitchell was the only know Black slave to live in Washington Territory.
31 minutes | Jan 14, 2020
How The West Was Once
A history of a history of west OlympiaMusic in this episode:Frog In The Well by Lucas Gonze used with Creative Commons licensePaper Crowns by Ditrani Brothers used with permission.Sleep by Ronny Tana courtesy of 2060 recordsSwing Gitan by Ditrani Brothers used with permission.Feathersoft by Blue Dot sessions The following is a full transcript of this episode:Rob Smith: One thing I know about the last name Smith, is that it makes you hard to find. I've always seen this as a benefit, but now I'm trying to find a random Smith. Larry Smith. I've been thinking about this guy for several months now. Ever since I learned he helped write a book that's long been out of print. I found a copy of this book on eBay, bought it for $25. It's called How the West Was once a history of West Olympia.On phone: Hey, my name is Rob Smith, and I'm calling for a Larry Smith who used to be a English teacher in Olympia at Jefferson junior high school. And I have no idea if this is the right Larry Smith, but he wrote a book called With some students and I wanted to talk to him about that book that he wrote. So, if that's you, Larry, if you're the Larry Smith..Rob: Here's what I know. Larry Smith was an English teacher at Jefferson Middle School in West Olympia. In 1974, his last year teaching at that school, he assigned his eighth graders a collective writing project. How the West Was Once is the product of that assignment. On the phone: Hey, my name is Rob Smith. I'm calling for a Larry..Rob: The book is small. I'm holding it here it's about eight by five, and just under 100 pages, black and white. My copy has this blue binding material holding it together. The cover's yellowing and only slightly thicker than the books pages. It's clear it was made on a budget. And yet it's well done. Those hundred pages are full of accounts of life on Olympia's West Side, from the mid 19th to mid 20th century. It's not definitive by any means. Some of the stories read a little like legends, and there's a few cringy passages. But the book adds real personal color to the history of West Olympia, a place I learned, once known as Marshville. Ever since I got my hands on this book, I've been thinking about the people who wrote it. I wanted to talk to them. What sort of teacher takes on a project like this? A lot of what I like to do with my audio work is record stories of older people. I see it kind of like time traveling, or preservation at least, it struck me that that's exactly what this project was doing. 45 years ago, in book form.I pay for this service that I use to look people up. It's kind of amazing. You can get phone numbers, addresses, email addresses. The problem is there's a lot of false positives, old numbers, dormant email addresses. Most of the time, you're just reaching out to the wrong person all together. So I went to Jefferson Middle School, the place where this book was written over 45 years. ago, I talked to the principal. He'd never heard of the book. The one who worked there the longest, a woman at the front desk, said she must have just missed Larry Smith. She started in the late 70s. I was told to go see the librarian. She knew the book, had a personal copy herself, but didn't know what had happened to the teacher who orchestrated it. I called the district offices, talk to someone in archives. They had nothing. So I decided to go back to the book, knowing i'd have better luck finding one of the couple dozen students listed in the credits. The first page is a list of names. And at the top of the alphabetized list is Rick Aarts. AARTS. I looked him up, called him, left a message. He called me right back! Rick was great. We talked a while about the book. and what he remembered about his teacher. He said Smith left an impression Only had good things to say about him. I asked him if he knew what had happened to Mr. Smith. Rick remembered something about California. Maybe he moved there for health reasons. He couldn't remember. Rick didn't want to talk on tape, said he'd be a lousy interview. I disagreed. But he gave me another name. So I stopped bugging him.Ray Houser just turned 60 he was one of the eighth graders that put together How the West Was Once Ray Houser: I lived on Decatur Street, which was probably a block and a half from the elementary school, and maybe 8-10 blocks to the junior high. Walked to school pretty much my whole life - typically with my buddy Bruce and Rick and, you know, we built these and developed these relationships and it was back in an era where you could ride your bike anywhere you wanted and you coiuld stay out late at night and we'd go to the park and... It was a little Mayberry.Rob: Bella biagio was also a student of Larry Smith.Bella Biagio: I was considered basically, maybe the class clown. Just because I am who I am and I continued. (laughing) I just you know, I'm, you know constantly.. things make me laugh and everything's comedic to me. So sometimes that got me in trouble.Rob: Ray and Bella both remember Larry Smith as an exceptional teacher. Bella, who as an adult would be diagnosed with ADD found relief in his class.Bella: He was one of the people... if anybody, you know, you didn't think you were done. He... you know what I mean? I f you had that in your mind, that was completely eliminated when you were in his class.Ray: What was unique about Larry was, he was a younger teacher back then, and I was a younger student back then - and he really took a genuine interest in his students and knew something about his students and And genuinely cared about his his kids. Rob: I interviewed Ray and Bella separately on separate days,Bella: Even though I am who I am, and I have this personality and everything. I also am very insular and somewhat shy,Rob: But they both landed on the same word to sum up their eighth grade English teacher 45 years later.Bella: But he just, you know, he was able to like, just take you and just make you feel really safe. I think that's a very good word for him.Ray: It was safe, it was safe physically, it was safe intellectually, and it was safe emotionally.Rob: Obviously, many of their memories have faded. But this feeling of safety has stuck with them all these years. Other memories have stuck around as well.Bella: He had a very distinct smile, a very distinct nose. It's it's weird that I remember this. Like I remember some of the clothing he wore. Like he would wear shirts with the little tie maybe, sports jacket maybe, a sweater or something but he was just always so like... Look he's so cool! And just just like little, the twinkle in the eye and the smile and lanky, sort of tall guy and his wife was beautiful.Rob: Larry's beautiful wife was another clue I had. I knew her name was Nikki. I'd left about a dozen messages for people I thought might be Larry, but none of the contacts had a Nicki associated with them. Then finally, one night as I was making dinner, the phone rang. The caller ID said Smith, Larry. I answered. An old voice told me that he was indeed Larry Smith. And he really wished he was the Larry Smith I was looking for.That night in kind of a fit of desperation. I just googled something like Larry Smith, English professor, California. And as you'd expect, I got a lot of hits. But I found this one in LA, a teacher, an English professor at LA City College. I clicked on his rate my professor page - years and years of glowing reviews. I knew it was a long shot - I mean, Larry must be retired by now. But I emailed this professor and went to bed. The next morning I had a new email. I hit record on my cell phone just before opening it.Rob reading email: ...and just based on the subject line, I think I might have found him… Ha. Cool. "Rob, haha, you hit the jackpot since I’ve never had been on Facebook or MySpace. I'd assume I'd be hard to trace. After Olympia. My wife and I moved to San Jose for four years. On to Coos Bay, Oregon for 16 at a high school, with two in the middle to work in Papua New Guinea to give our three kids a true cultural experience. Paso Robles, California for six, California Youth authority prison, then down to LA area in 2000. Where I continued with high school and adjuncted at several colleges. Now I'm in my fiftieth year with no plan on retiring…. Phone message:Thank you for calling the Whittier Union High School District. Please listen closely to the following options as our menu has changed. Para Espanol oprima a nemero 8. If you are calling from a touch tone telephone and... # Wait while I transfer your call…Larry Smith:Hey, morning, Rob.Rob on phone: Hey, Larry. How you doing?Larry: Good. Great. Hey, let me go grab Patty. She had a she had an event and so she's around here somewhere. She's the one with a phone.Rob I got ahold of Larry Smith in his classroom. He recorded his end on a colleague's cell phone. Larry: Okay, we're on.Rob on phone: Okay, well, um, can you just start, Larry, by introducing yourself, and maybe where you are right now?Larry:Yeah, my name is Larry Smith. I'm a teacher. This is my 50th year. So I've been teaching starting in Olympia, Washington and now I am in Whittier, California teaching at an alternative high school, and Los Angeles City College and living in Pasadena.Rob: Larry grew up near Seattle. It's where he expected to start his teaching career after graduating from Seattle Pacific University. But he finished school during a big recession.Larry: Nobody was hiring. And so I just started going further and further south until I finally found a district that did have an opening and I found the first one in Olympia. And so I had literally never stopped in Olympia. I'd never been on the Capitol grounds. West Olympia, I had no idea what that was. So the first time I really saw where I was going to be living was for my job interview and ended up really enjoying the area, rented a house. It was on Plymouth Street, a two story house in West Olympia for $65 a month! That's how bad the house was and how the economy was in those days.Rob: Jefferson junior high, it was a junior high then not a middle school, wasn't in great shape either. Larry says./Rob: It was pretty rundown, actually, you know, there was like three t
16 minutes | Nov 23, 2019
Marlo Winter will not be shamed. Music by Blue Dot Sessions. Marlo’s website for her professional aerial work: http://www.marlowinter.com/ StoryOly is every 3rd Tuesday from 7- 9 at Rhythm and Rye http://storyoly.com/ My interview with Olympia Pop Rocks: http://www.olympiapoprocks.com/podcasts/opr96
17 minutes | Oct 3, 2019
The Greta Effect
Teenage climate strikers impatient with the pace of change take matters into their own hands.
30 minutes | Jul 1, 2019
The Sherwood Press
Thirty years ago Jami Heinricher stepped into a smoky cottage in the woods. Her life would never be the same. Music by Olympia’s Masterworks Choral Ensemble: https://mce.org/ and Blue Dot Sessions. Ending theme music by Skrill Meadow https://skrillmeadow.bandcamp.com/ Check out more photos and history at https://thesherwoodpress.wordpress.com/ Jocelyn Dohm in front of her Sorority at the University of Washington. 1936
19 minutes | May 18, 2019
Pamela teaches fiddle. A measles outbreak may force her to ask some prying questions. Music By Poddington Bear: https://www.podingtonbear.com/ Ending theme music by Skrill Meadow https://skrillmeadow.bandcamp.com/ Department of Health information resources: https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Immunization/children Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/faqs.html https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/fatal-measles-case-linked-to-exposure-at-tribal-clinic-records-show/ Additional reading: Two books I found really useful while researching this topic were: On Immunity by Eula Biss https://www.graywolfpress.org/books/immunity The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Panic-Virus/Seth-Mnookin/9781439158654
27 minutes | Apr 11, 2019
Oly Via Sherkole
Thomas’ childhood was upended by war. This is the story of how he found his way to Olympia and became a ping pong champion.
18 minutes | Mar 13, 2019
End Of The Line
It’s the 60th Anniversary of Olympia’s run-away train.
22 minutes | Feb 12, 2019
Bonus Snow Episode
This is kind of an experimental episode. I wanted to see if I could capture the mood of the city during this insane snow. It was recorded over a 3 hour period midday on Sunday February 10th 2019. Let me know what you think. Go to Welcometoolympia.com and hit the contact button. Music by Lost Integrity courtesy of Olympia’s own 2060 Records - https://2060.bandcamp.com/ Additional music by Mt. mmm - https://mtmmm.bandcamp.com/
17 minutes | Feb 8, 2019
More than you’ll ever need to know about Olympia’s favorite daily ritual. Music by Olympia’s own Skrill Meadow from the album Lost On Vacation. https://skrillmeadow.bandcamp.com/album/lost-on-vacation Thanks to the Olympia Tumwater Foundation. Learn more at https://olytumfoundation.org/ Here’s their Youtube channel, It’s great: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQXROlOSss9BZdI3Ccyc16g A video from the roof of Fish Brewing as the 5 O’clock whistle goes off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2PnQSgE0Hg Drone footage of the older brew house by Mike McKinnon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRQqqGIpq_I If you can’t get enough OLY beer history you should check out Megan Ockerman’s research and writing on The Olympia Brewing Company http://www.dissertations.wsu.edu/Thesis/Spring2017/m_ockerman_051717.pdf Megan says the story about Schmidt’s pivotal visit to the barbershop may be apocryphal. She has a book on the Olympia Brewing Company coming out soon. For the audio nerds: I had a second mic set up 100 feet away using a limiter and a low input to catch the whistle blast at the golf course. I wish I had set the input even lower. *Note that everything below here is referencing pictures that can only be seen on the show’s webpage. https://www.welcometoolympia.com/podcast/2019/2/6/5-oclock The old Olympia Brewing Company steam plant viewed from Capitol Boulevard’s Carlyon bridge. This is where the old whistle blew for decades. Tumwater Valley Municipal Golf Course, where the whistle lives today, is in the distance. The old brick brewhouse built in 1905. The city of Tumwater now owns it. They’ve taken steps to preserve the building until further plans are made. The “new” Olympia brewery is in disrepair. Plans to restore and lease out parts of the facility continue to go nowhere. The damage you see here is from a recent fire in the building that once held the company’s main offices. The whistle that blows daily from Fish Brewing Company in downtown Olympia. The handles you see are obsolete. The whistle is operated by a handle way below in the steam room.
20 minutes | Jan 19, 2019
Lost In Tent City
Music in order: ESPRIT https://esprit.bandcamp.com/releases courtesy of 2060 records https://2060.bandcamp.com Blue Dot Sessions https://bluedotsessions.bandcamp.com Skrill Meadow https://skrillmeadow.bandcamp.com
3 minutes | Jan 4, 2019