Excerpts From “The Heart of Vashon”
Literary, October 2023

Excerpts From “The Heart of Vashon”

“The Heart of Vashon: Sharing Our Stories” is a lovingly written tribute to the Island. The stories were originally solicited for a community-building literary project of the same name spearheaded by Mary G. L. Shackelford and Shirley Ferris in 2015. The book may be purchased at the Vashon Heritage Museum, Vashon Bookshop, and Vashon Pharmacy. All proceeds benefit the Vashon Heritage Museum.

Benign Neglect Farm

By Tamara Kittredge

“A place belongs forever to whomever claims it the hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he makes it in his own image.” -Joan Didion

I moved to my 4-acre “farm” in the 80s and began making it my own with the energy and passion of a 27-year-old. Over the years, I’ve created a place called home, “rendering it, shaping and loving it so radically” to call it my own: Benign Neglect Farm.

Calling it a farm is a stretch – the only animals that I have been unwittingly raising are deer, raccoons, rats, and an occasional squirrel. My garden produces lots of vegetables, fruit, and flowers, and frankly is more than enough for me to steward and share with the 4-leggeds. 

However, I can state that the name Benign Neglect is apropos. Teaching elementary school on the mainland for the past 30 years has forced me to make peace with dandelions, blackberries, and ivy. 

This daily exile to the mainland has also given me a very deep appreciation of the safe and peaceful nature of the Island. I come home to the sanctuary of Vashon, and see natural beauty around me which causes me to smile, inside and out.

Upper Shinglemill Creek Trail

By Brian Brenno

I took a walk today in one of my favorite places on Vashon – Upper Shinglemill Creek Trail. Once you enter the ravine, you are taken back in time. As usual, I was reminded of the following passage from my grandfather’s journal:

“I can remember going to Sunday School. Believe it or not, I did. I don’t know if it did me any good or not. Mel, Flo, and I would go through Cedarhurst and walk the beach to Colvos, hoping the tide wasn’t in. The Colvos Church and home again, that was a day’s work, no road at the time.”

When I walk the Shinglemill trail, I imagine my grandpa heading west from the family house on the north side of Lande’s corner, following Needle Creek down to where it meets Shinglemill Creek, and then following it to the beach, most likely nearly the same route as the current Shinglemill Creek Trail.

I think Native Peoples had a cool way of naming places that reflected what went on there, old-time lore and personal experiences. That’s how I feel about many places on Vashon. Shinglemill Creek Trail would be: Place My Grandpa Walked That Takes Me Back in Time.

October 11, 2023

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