only on vashon – the weekly rundown 11/26/21

The holiday season is upon us, which means we dread going to the grocery store, where we will be confronted with, well, us. 

It’s been crowded, and they’ve run out of our most necessary staples, like pumpkin pie. We are encouraging our families to ration heavy whipping cream, so we have enough to splash in our coffees the morning after Thanksgiving. 

And the holidays means it’s time to crowd into Granny’s and get priceless antiques for 4 bucks. We share our best finds from Granny’s, including this Erzebirge Pyramid from East Germany worth between $500 and $5000,  bought at Granny’s for $12. 


We’ve gotten jackets and brand name shoes, as well as a glass ashtray from the US Senate. This must be an antique because the senate banned smoking in its chambers in 1914, 86 years before the senate passed a law to ban smoking on airplanes. 

One isalnder got a pair of vintage mother of pearl sunglasses, the kind worn by Cindy Crawford and worth $900, for just 75 cents.  We recommend sending Cindy her glasses back. Either that or sending her 75 cents. 

I’m a simple soul, so my best finds have been pairs of boots. But one thing I’ve missed this past year is Make-an-Offer-Day. You go to Granny’s with a couple trash bags, fill them up, and then make an offer, usually around a dollar. And then you just walk out with a bunch of stuff that nobody was even willing to pay fifty cents for. This is how I got a good portion of my wardrobe. So if you were ever wondering why my jeans always  look like I just got back from skidding down a mountain on my knees, it’s because my clothes have climbed mountains, just on other people’s bodies. 

Also, there’a a whole facebook group just for sharing Granny’s finds, which of course I joined, because my life is not complete until I have joined more Vashon groups than there are residents of Vashon. 

It has such gems as a Santa suit for a cat and this dish towel, which expresses how a cat would feel when put in a Santa suit. 

How do you get a historical marker put up on public property? An isalnder would like a placard honoring his grandfather, who was the original Caretaker of the Pembroke Mine. You can always talk to the county, which sounds about as effective as shouting a request into a well. You could maybe commission a sign and just put it there? 

We then do that Vashon thing where we talk about how many generations of our families lived here, and get excited to see that we went to high school with the descendents of other islanders’ ancestors. 

I’d love to see more historical placards around, especially ones indicating where indigenous villages were. With the Beall greenhouses falling to ruin and everything getting swallowed by mud and rain, it feels like a lot of Vashon history is washed away. 

And since I live in Harlan’s old house, I could put up a sign on the divets in my backyard that say, “This is where Harlan parked his bus.” 

Though I fear that one day there will be a sign next to my property that reads, “This is where Anna raised way too many chickens and now there’s and old tarp disintegrating in the backyard and a rainbow slinky from Granny’s stuck up in a tree.”

Maybe I should do something worthwhile with my life so that my placard isn’t so depressing. Anyone got a mine they could sell me? I have yet to find the deed to one at Granny’s but you never know.

Harlan’s bus

Finally, we end on a sad note. 

An islander asks, “If the ferry line was longer than one boat’s wait, and someone whose dog was having a life threatening emergency went to the front of the line asking to have priority to get on the boat, should they be allowed to get on the boat?”

We all said yes, absolutely, you should be able to cut the line in those circumstances. 

 Unfortunately, this family was not allowed priority boarding. The dog died for lack of immediate treatment. 

They’ve created a petition to allow people and animals with medical emergencies to have priority boarding without needing authorization from a doctor or veterinarian. 

We share horror stories of being denied priority boarding in emergencies. It comes down to WSF not wanting to be held liable if something happens on board, so they are reluctant to allow anyone on in a medical emergency unless they are in an ambulance. 

One big problem with the current policy is that an ambulance ride can cost over $1000, which is more than most people have available. And in an emergency, you often don’t have the time to contact a doctor and get them to contact the ferry. 

If you’re interested in signing the petition, here it is:

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

1 thought on “only on vashon – the weekly rundown 11/26/21”

  1. If your plastic tarp is old and dilapitated, rather then sending it to the dump, take it to styrorecycling, first Sunday of the month, to be recycled in to biofueld…

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