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Updated Thursday, March 26, 2015
Lynnwood: Back to the Sixties
Everett: Spring Fling Night in Vienna
Bellevue: Seattle's Easter Swing
Renton: The British Invasion
Moonlight Dance Cruises & Camps

Dance Shoes for Sale
Dance Calendar through April 2, 2015

A Virtual Paradise, Part 1

Dear Dancin' Friends,

If I could turn back time, I'd go BACK TO THE SIXTIES! Turn back the clock with me this Saturday, March 28, at the Hayloft in Lynnwood. The sixties started with sock hops and doo wop and ended with flower power and classic rock. Motown flourished, plus standards artists put out some of their biggest hits. I'll play it all! Feel free to dress sixties style, but don't feel obligated. Also mark the following Saturday, April 4, on your calendars as I continue my sixties flashback with BRITISH INVASION night at the Rockin' Horse in Renton. Full details on these and other dances are below.

So where was I in the sixties? Read another of my "Wonder Years" episodes A Virtual Paradise, Part 1 below.

Ron's Song of the Week

Do the 45
by Ryan Shaw from the 2007 album This is Ryan Shaw:

It's a fun throwback in the classic sixties' R&B style. Definitely a movin' and groovin' song!

See you Saturday at the Hayloft! --- Ron Bolin

SATURDAY, MARCH 28. Join me, RON BOLIN, THE DANCIN' DJ, for a special evening of dancing to classic hits from the 1960's! There will be a wide variety of styles of dancing including all types of Swing, Freestyle, Ballroom, Latin and Country.

7 - 8 PM: Beginner and Beyond Swing lesson, no partner or experience needed
8 - 11 PM: Dance to popular music from the years 1960 to 1969

Lesson and dance is $15. Dance with no lesson is $12. Fun for singles and couples, all ages are welcome. I'll do mixers and give out door prizes. Soft drinks and water will be available for sale. LOCATION: The Hayloft Dance Hall, 15320 - 35th Ave West, Lynnwood, WA 98037. DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From I-5, take Exit 183, go west on 164th St SW, right on 36th Ave SW (becomes 35th Ave SW). The hall is on the left in a half mile. For more info visit, email or call 425-743-6180.

SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 5:30 - 9:30 PM. Bring a hearty appetite, your dancing shoes, and a taste for the glamourous music of Vienna! Lisa Bergman, from KING-FM will emcee. Begin with a champagne reception and no host bar, accompanied by the sweet sounds of THE CURATORS. There will be a silent auction for exciting trips, restaurant gift certificates, and surprise items! An EVERETT PHILHARMONIC mini concert follows featuring the music of Johann Strauss II, including favorites such as Emperor Waltzes, Radetzky March and On the Beautiful Blue Danube Waltzes! This will definitely entice everyone to the dance floor as THE CURATORS reconvene for you to dance the night away!

Gourmet dinner choices include:
• Traditional Pork Wiener Schnitzel
• Chicken Rouladen-stuffed with spinach, smoked Gouda & sun-dried tomato
• Roasted Garlic Scented Quinoa & Butternut Squash Timbale
All dinners include salad, artisan bread, dessert, wine and coffee. Yummm!

Where: (Xfinity) Everett Events Center Ballroom, 2000 Hewitt Ave, Everett.
Tickets: Concert, dinner and dancing for $90 ($100 after March 23). Bring your friends … a table for ten is $850. This event often SELLS OUT, so get your tickets now at or call 206-270-9729 or email

APRIL 2 - 5. The SEATTLE SWING DANCE CLUB is the proud sponsor of Seattle's Easter Swing. For many people Easter Swing is the favorite dance event of the year. Come and see what all the fuss is about. Each year on Easter weekend, hundreds of West Coast Swing dancers gather from around the world to enjoy workshops, dancing, and competitions. It is a great weekend with huge ballrooms, performances, private lessons with top pros, competitions with thousands of dollars in prizes, late night dancing and much more!
Where: Bellevue Hyatt Hotel
Cost: $110 including most of the 3 day weekend events Friday-Sunday
Master of Ceremonies: Robert Royston

Friday, April 3. 3-Hour intensive with Robert & Nicola Royston, $85 if you have a 3-day pass or $100 without
1pm Essential Dance Drills
2pm Clearing up connection confusion
3 pm Musicality Game Plan

Saturday April 4. FREE 4-hour boot camp, great for absolute beginners

3 - 5 PM: 1st class
5 - 6 PM: Dinner break
6 - 8 PM: 2nd class
8 PM: Start of practice dance.

Free spectator pass to main ballroom also included ($15 value) after the class. Watch the people having fun and top world pros dance!

For more information visit

SATURDAY, APRIL 4. Arrive at 7 PM for a Jitterbug lesson, no partner or experience needed. Then dance from 8 to 11 PM to British Invasion music played by yours truly, RON BOLIN, THE DANCIN' DJ. The movement started with the Beatles having nineteen Top 40 hits on the US charts in 1964. On May 8, 1965, nine of the top ten US singles were by artists from the UK. Have fun dancing on the big 4,000 square foot hardwood floor. Be sure to fill in a yellow door prize slip as you enter to be eligible for the hourly prize drawings. You're sure to meet lots of new people in the hourly mixers. Snacks and beverages are available in vending machines. It's a great place for alcohol-free fun for all ages 18 and over. Admission is $15 for the lesson and dance, or $12 dance only. Rockin' Horse Dance Barn, 11820 150th Ave SE, Renton. DIRECTIONS: From I-405, take Exit #5. Go east up Sunset about 3 miles. Turn right on 148th, left on 117th, and right on 150th. There's a large free parking lot. For more info call Dave at 425-255-9211, email or visit

Fun for all levels of dancers. Approximately 20 hours of group instruction & private dances. Couples or singles unless specified. True gentlemen experienced dance hosts provided for ladies w/o partners.

1. July 1 - 9, 2015. WHIDBEY ISLAND DANCE CAMP. Oak Harbor, WA.

2. July 16 - 23, 2015. WHIDBEY ISLAND DANCE CAMP. Oak Harbor, WA.

3. Aug 22 - 29, 2015. ALASKAN GRANDEUR. To/From Seattle on Holland, Westerdam.

Go to for full details. Contact DAN BRANSCUM at or 360-720-2727 with questions or to sign up. Tell him Ron sent you!

DANCE 2 CONNECT has the largest inventory and widest variety of styles of dance shoes to choose from in the south end -- also the best prices!

To view the selection visit The website has an inventory of styles at 50% off. Custom fitting by appointment only. Contact APRIL MORROW at or 253-350-7553 for your personal fitting.

Also be sure to check the calendar at for April's dance lesson ($8) followed with a fun social dance ($2) at the Auburn Eagles at 6:30 PM every Tuesday.

Through April 2, 2015

Friday dances held only on the first week are listed first, followed by Friday dances held on both weeks, ending with Friday dances held only on the second week ... and so on for each day. Changes and errors can occur, so please check with the contacts listed before attending.

It's less than $2 per week to list a weekly dance here. Contact Ron Bolin at or 425-917-1188 to have your dance included.


Friday, March 20 and Friday, March 27
Arrive at 7 PM for a lesson (Hustle on March 20 and Cha Cha del Rio on March 27). DJ DAVE SERFLING plays a variety of music from 8 to 11 PM, including Country Two-Step, West and East Coast Swing, Line Dances, Ballroom, and more. Admission is $12 for the lesson and dance for free, or $10 for the dance. Ages 18 and over. Alcohol-free atmosphere. The Rockin' Horse Dance Barn, 11820 150th Ave SE, Renton. For more info call Dave at 425-255-9211, email or visit

Friday, March 20 and Friday, March 27
Start the evening with an "Introduction to Social Ballroom Dancing" workshop at 8 PM. Different dances are taught each time, so visit their website or "like" them on facebook for up-to-date information. DJ TERRY WEST will play music for Ballroom, Latin & Swing dancing from 9 to 11 PM. Dance on two nice sized dance floors. Admission of $12 has you covered for everything for the evening (no credit cards please). Just blocks from I-5, with free parking right in front. Verve Ballroom 19820 40th Ave West, Suite 102, Lynnwood. For more information visit, email, or call 425-640-3070.

Friday, March 20 and Friday, March 27
Arrive at 8 PM for a dance lesson in (Tango on March 20 and Cha Cha on March 27), then dance to a variety of Ballroom music from 8:30 to 11 PM. Admission is $10 or just $5 for first-timers. There is street parking and a lot across the street. Normanna Lodge (Sons of Norway), 2725 Oakes Ave, Everett. For more info contact Noreen at or visit

Friday, March 20 and Friday, March 27
All ages are welcome to dance to live music every Friday from 1 to 3 PM. The ASTORIA COMBO plays on the 2nd, 4th, (and 5th if there is one) Fridays of the month. NICE 'N EASY plays on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month. Donation is $4. Refreshments are provided. Edmonds Senior Center, 220 Railroad Avenue, Edmonds, just west of the Ferry Terminal. The ballroom is upstairs and has a large dance floor, a view of Puget Sound, and mirrored ball. For more info call 425-774-5555, or go to

Friday, March 20 and Friday, March 27
Start with a 30-minute complimentary lesson at 8 PM then dance from 8:30 to 11 PM to a variety of popular Ballroom, Latin, and Swing music. Admission is $10. Water and snacks are provided plus a door prize drawing for free passes to future Friday dances. We offer complimentary parking passes on Friday night dances especially on game days. Just go upstairs and ask for it: we have a very large parking lot behind the building. All ages are welcome to this dance, held every Friday. The ballroom is upstairs: a 3,000 square foot hardwood dance floor. Located at Chong-Wa Benevolent Assoc, 522 7th Ave S, Seattle. For more info contact Jeanne at 425-644-3030 (or 206-725-4331 for Chinese) or email

Friday, March 20 and Friday, March 27
DANCEWORKS STUDIO'S FRIDAY BALLROOM DANCE PARTY. Join us for dancing every Friday night in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Most weeks we have mixed ballroom dancing with a variety of traditional and current dance music often with DJs. Lesson dance style changes weekly. See calendar at for details. Lesson starts at 8:30 PM with party from 9:15 to 11:30 PM; $10/person for dance only, $12 for lesson and dance. Bring a friend who is new to DanceWorks and you both get in free. DanceWorks Studio, 16641 Redmond Way, Redmond. For more info call 425-869-7595, email or visit

Friday, March 27
BRIORA BALLROOM FRIDAY PARTIES. Arrive at 6:30 PM for your choice of either a Newcomer lesson (schedule at or an Intermediate/Advanced Ballroom Technique class. Then dance to Ballroom, Latin and Swing music from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. Briora Ballroom is the Seattle area’s most elegant dance venue - a stunning 6500+ square foot facility, featuring two dance floors, a comfortable lounge area, and a retail shop. Admission is $13 or free if you attend a pre-dance lesson or are a Briora member. Special offer: 5 dance punch card for $50. Briora Ballroom Dance Studio, 2260 152nd Ave NE, Suite 100, Redmond. For more info contact Jessica McMorrow at, call 425-641-5123, or visit

Friday, March 27
HAYLOFT COUNTRY DANCE. Finally a Country dance in the north end, held on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. Music and instruction is by DJ ROBB BRYAN. At 7:30 PM he'll teach beginning/intermediate Country Two-Step and then more intermediate moves or another dance style from 8:15 to 9 PM. Dance from 9 to 11:30 PM to music played on an awesome sound system. The lesson is $10 and includes free dance admission. If coming for just the dance, admission is the same, $10. Singles, couples and all ages welcome. Soft drinks & water available for purchase. The Hayloft Dance Hall, 15320 - 35th Ave W, Lynnwood. For more info visit, email or call 425-743-6180.

Friday, March 27
Plus Late Night Blues, Fusion, & WCS at Om Culture. Join us every 2nd & 4th Friday with ARI LEVITT teaching & DJ-ing, and introducing lots of new songs from his recent travels. 7:10 PM: Doors Open. 7:30 - 8:30 PM: Dance Lesson (schedule at 8:30 - 10:30 PM: "Fantastic Friday Variety Dance" (Waltz, Swing, Blues, Ballroom, Latin, WCS, NC-2Step and more.) 10:30 PM - 12:30 AM (or later): "Late Night Blues" (mainly Blues, with a bit of Fusion & WCS thrown in.) Cost: Pre-dance lesson and both dances $15; Variety Dance only (before 10:30) $10; Late Night Blues & Fusion only (after 10:30) $5. Om Culture, 2210 N Pacific St, Seattle (Wallingford). CLICK HERE for parking map.


Saturday, March 28
BACK TO THE SIXTIES. Join me, RON BOLIN, THE DANCIN' DJ, for a special evening of dancing to classic hits from the 1960's! There will be a wide variety of styles of dancing including all types of Swing, Freestyle, Ballroom, Latin and Country. 7 - 8 PM: Beginner and Beyond Swing lesson, no partner or experience needed. 8 - 11 PM: Dance to popular music from the years 1960 to 1969. Lesson and dance is $15. Dance with no lesson is $12. Fun for singles and couples, all ages are welcome. I'll do mixers and give out door prizes. Soft drinks and water will be available for sale. LOCATION: The Hayloft Dance Hall, 15320 - 35th Ave West, Lynnwood, WA 98037. DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From I-5, take Exit 183, go west on 164th St SW, right on 36th Ave SW (becomes 35th Ave SW). The hall is on the left in a half mile. For more info visit, email or call 425-743-6180.

Saturday, March 28
SONG SCOUT SATURDAYS. Choice of either a Basics or Intermediate West Coast Swing lesson at 8 PM. Dance 9 PM to Midnight+. Dance every Saturday to West Coast Swing and Nightclub Two-Step music played by DJs PAUL & MELINDA BOOTH. Music is an awesome blend of newest WCS/NC2 hits & classics. Neon lighting, free water & snickers too! Arrive at 8 PM for: Basics Class w/Dance for $10 Or an Intermediate WCS lesson for $5; drop-ins are welcome. Admission for the dance is $10. Kirkland Dance Center, 835 7th Ave, Kirkland. For more info contact Paul at or Melinda at or 206-953-1065 or visit

Saturday, March 28
ARIA BALLROOM’S SATURDAY BALLROOM DANCE PARTY. Join us on our beautiful dance floor on Seattle’s eastside for our most popular weekly dance party. Introductory class begins at 7:15 PM followed by a balanced mix of traditional and popular ballroom music from 8 to 11 PM every Saturday. Party admission is $10 or $5 for those who take the pre-party class, (drop-in cost $12). We’ve heard we have the best music of any ballroom around. Songs for the next several dances are projected overhead so dancers can plan for upcoming dances. From waltz to cha-cha and foxtrot to West Coast Swing, there is something for every taste. Aria Ballroom, 15300 NE 95th St, Redmond. For more info, visit or contact Aria at, or 425-867-0777.

Saturday, March 28
DANCE FOR JOY! AT THE RUSSIAN CENTER. Arrive at 7:30 PM for a pre-dance lesson. Dance from 8:30 to 11 PM to glorious music for Waltz, Swing (East and West Coast), Blues, Foxtrot, Nightclub Two-Step, Polka, Tango, and Latin too. No partner needed, a welcoming crowd. Email Lilli Ann at to get on her email distribution list to find out what the pre-dance lesson will be - it changes every month. Admission is $15 for the workshop and dance or $10 for the dance only. Held on the fourth Saturday of each month. Russian Center, 704 19th Ave East, Seattle. Easy street parking on NE Capitol Hill. For more info visit or phone 206-264-5646. For venue info visit

Saturday, March 28
USA DANCE TACOMA -- TULIP FEST. Wear dressy casual attire tonight. Come out for this friendly dance and lesson; all dancer levels welcome. USA Dance Tacoma has dances on the fourth Saturday of each month. Arrive at 7 PM for a lesson in Argentine Tango taught by LUIS PEREZ. Dance from 8 to 10:30 PM to music by DJ TERRY WEST. Enjoy fun dance mixers! Bring your friends for a wonderful evening of dance. Admission is $12 for the lesson and dance; $8 for members. Lakewood Elks, 6313 75th St W, Lakewood (west of 75th and Bridgeport). For more info call 253-307-1499 or email or visit


Sunday, March 22 and Sunday, March 29
ARIA BALLROOM SUNDAY NIGHT DANCE PARTY. By popular demand, Aria Ballroom is now hosting weekly Sunday night ballroom dance parties from 7 to 9:30 PM. Music includes a variety of mixed Ballroom, including such favorites as Cha Cha, Waltz, West Coast Swing, and Salsa, among many others. What a perfect way to end the weekend. The dance party cover is the usual $10. Aria Ballroom, 15300 NE 95th St, Redmond, WA. Learn more about Aria Ballroom and the other parties and classes we offer at, or give us a call at 425-867-0777, or email


Monday, March 23 and Monday, March 30
NEW LISTING! STAR CENTER BALLROOM DANCE. Come out to Tacoma's beautiful new Star Center for dancing to the music of RANDY LITCH. Dance every Monday from 1 to 3 PM to live Swing, Latin, Waltz, Country and Soft Rock music. Admission is $5. Star Center, 3873 S 66th St, Tacoma. For more information email, call 253-404-3939 or visit For a listing of all of Randy's dances visit

Monday, March 23 and Monday, March 30
WALTZ ETCETERA. A friendly, low-key dance with a big following, going strong since 1999. EVERY MONDAY INCLUDING HOLIDAYS at the Lake City Community Center, 12531 28th Ave NE, Seattle. We play about half Waltzes of all speeds and styles, half other dances: Swing, WCS, Blues, Foxtrot, Nightclub 2-step, Latin, etc. Beginning & intermediate drop-in classes at 6:30 PM, dance 7:30 until about 10:30. $6 for the dance, $15 for the class, $20 for class + dance. We also teach musicality workshops on 1st & 3rd Sunday afternoons in Ballard. For more info, go to, or email

Monday, March 23 and Monday, March 30
Lessons with PATRICIO and EVA. Arrive at 8 PM for a tango lesson. See to register (drop-ins are allowed on a space available/class balance basis). Dance from 9 PM to 12:30 AM every Monday to great Argentine Tango music. March 23 features DJ DEBORAH ALEXANDER and March 30 features DJ ANTON SUKHANOV. Plenty of space with candlelight ambiance and a view of Lake Union. Admission is $8 for the Milonga or free if taking the 8 PM lesson. Ages 21 and over. China Harbor Restaurant, 2040 Westlake Ave North, Seattle. For more info call 206-323-7957, email Arturo at, Patricia at or visit


Tuesday, March 24 and Tuesday, March 31
Practice all your favorite dances at Salsa N' Seattle. Start with a free introductory Salsa lesson from 8 to 8:30 PM. Then DJ VICTOR spins a variety of Salsa and Bachata from 8:30 to 11:30 PM. $5 for the evening, or $3 for Salsa N' Seattle students. Salsa N' Seattle is located at 1200 Stewart St, Seattle; 2 blocks west of the downtown REI store. For more information visit, email, or call 206-910-6318.

Tuesday, March 24 and Tuesday, March 31
KENT BALLROOM DANCE. Dance to live music every Tuesday evening in downtown Kent. RANDY LITCH (vocals & guitar) plays a variety of music for dancing including Ballroom, Swing, and Latin from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. Kent Senior Activity Center, 600 East Smith St, Kent. There's ample free parking and the cover charge is only $4 (with donations accepted for snacks during a brief break at 8:30 PM). All ages are welcome, not just 50+. For more info visit or call Helena at 253-856-5164.


Wednesday, March 25 and Wednesday, April 1
Come out for a fun night of West Coast Swing dancing. Your DJ and instructor is SCOT McKAY. Scot will teach a drop-in beginning West Coast Swing lesson from 7:30 to 8:30 PM. Dance from 8:30 to 11 PM to a mix of Blues and Contemporary music. You'll learn something new each week in a free mini move lesson at 9:30 PM. The pre-dance lesson is $8, dance admission is also $8, or $13 for both. Held at the wonderful Harmony Ballroom, 1407 132nd Ave NE #7, Bellevue; For more info - or to make advance song requests which Scot always likes to receive - contact Scot at or 206-227-4277.

Wednesday, March 25 and Wednesday, April 1
Salsa, Bachata, and mixed Latin music every Wednesday night, featuring favorite DJ YAMBU on the last Wednesday of the month. Socialize and explore Salsa in a fun, friendly, and all ages venue from 9 to 11:30 PM. Free punch, pretzels and parking. Admission is $7. DanceWorks Studio, 16641 Redmond Way, Redmond. For more info call 425-869-7595, email or visit

Wednesday, April 1
MANHATTAN DANCE CLUB. Arrive at 6: 30 PM for a pre-dance Nightclub Two-Step lesson. Dance from 7:30 to 10 PM to music by singer LOIS ANN MARLER with DJ DAVE GREEN playing between her sets. The cover charge is $10 for the public and $6 for members. The membership fee is $20. DANCERS PLEASE NOTE! Until at least April 15 the dances will be at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (Formerly the South Park Community Center) located at 4851 South Tacoma Way in Tacoma. This change of venue will last until the AmVets complete their remodel. For more information visit our website at or email


Thursday, March 26 and Thursday, April 2
Always preceded by intermediate/advanced level technique classes (Latin at 7:15 PM, Standard at 8 PM, $12 each) Aria’s Thursday night party runs from 8:45 to 10:30 PM and is the perfect opportunity to practice your steps in a relaxed environment. Dances include Waltz, Cha-Cha, Salsa, Swing, Tango, Rumba and more. Admission is $10 or $5 for students who take one class or free for students who take both classes at the ballroom the same night. Students may also sign up to dance with Aria’s dance instructors during this dance party. Aria Ballroom, 15300 NE 95th St, Redmond. For more info, visit or contact Aria at, or 425-867-0777.

Thursday, April 2
SALSA LaVIDA DANCE PARTY. Join us for the monthly Salsa LaVida Dance Party held on the first Thursday of every month. Enjoy performances and dancing to tons of great Salsa and Bachata music played by DJ YAMBU! 7:00 - 8 PM Salsa class Level 1. 8 - 9 PM Salsa class Level 2. 8 - 11 PM Dance Social Party. Entrance: $7 party or $15 class and party. LaVida Dance & Yoga Studio, 13620 NE 20th St (across from BMW), Bellevue. For more info call 425-643-LIFE(5433), email or visit


I grew up in a virtual paradise on Bainbridge Island.
Sometime in the late 1940's, my dad, Bjorn Viking Bolin, paid $750 for waterfront property on Sunrise Drive. He purchased the land from an aging pastor who had originally wanted to make it into a camp for boys. Well, it sort of became that anyway. There my dad would build a home and raise his family.

In the winter if it snowed (and it seems it usually did back then) we could sled, sometimes three brothers high, from the cedar tree at the highest corner of our property, across the side yard (which would later become a small orchard), past the wooden teeter-totter my dad had made for us, past another much larger cedar tree surrounded by my mother's rock garden (the top half of that tree broke off during the 1962 Columbus Day Storm and was blown north about fifty feet nearly hitting the light blue VW bug that belonged to our neighbor, Mr. Lehne ... good thing it missed ... he was a lawyer), under a large maple tree with a curvy trunk, under the red metal swing set (the swings hung over the horizontal bars of the A's that held it up), past my mom's main garden where she grew roses, rhododendrons, a grape vine, a few vegetables, and various flowers that only women know the names of, then diagonally across the long back yard, under a clothes line that went from a pulley on the dining room porch to another pulley on a fir tree near the bank, past the septic tank (buried, but as the snow melted you could see a round area of green grass above it because of the warmth), then under a second set of three stationary clothes lines set up between posts telephone-line-style, and finally come to rest at the ivy-laden far southeast corner ...

... where grew the wishing bush. That's what I remember it as anyway. It was a spindly, evergreen about three feet high with two main stems, small shiny leaves, and hard, red berries. I don't know how I knew it was a wishing bush, but I remember standing in front of it when I was about four years old and making a wish for a toy. The next day when I went to the bush, a toy was there on the grass at the edge of the ivy. I think it was a small metal firetruck. I did this two or three times ... but mostly I remember the magic, not the toys.

So there you have it, a quick tour of our property ... well, the top level of it anyway. The land was terraced on several levels with our house on the top tier about two hundred feet above Puget Sound. The levels below us were wooded and accounted for most of the land area ... not to mention a few adventures. Our property extended into the tidal flats ... as our house almost did one time too. Sometime before I was born, there was a major landslide that left the dining room porch hanging over a cliff. The entire house had to be moved closer to the street.

Fortunately it was smaller then. The house was an ongoing project with the living room, upstairs, garage, and deck all added on later, I think in that order. My dad did a lot of the work himself. I don't remember the upstairs ever not being there, but it was unfinished when I was very young. I do remember when my dad added the garage. He originally was going to have the garage door on the west side facing the street. I'm not sure why, but after the concrete foundation was done, my dad changed his mind and decided to make a driveway and have the garage door on the north side. When you change your mind, you do what's needed to reach your new goal. That was the first time I'd ever seen a jack hammer.

When the two-car garage was finished, you could climb out the upstairs bathroom window onto the flat garage roof, walk over to the north edge and climb the steep roof to the top of the dormer that contained what we called "the big room". My brothers and I had no problem running up and down that roof. It was just another play area. Once I even went all the way around the dormer on the steep, narrow ledge.

My dad had built a trail down to the beach. A simple wooden plank got you across a wide ditch on one of the upper levels. He built substantial sets of wooden stairs in some of the steepest places. Near the bottom of the trail, you had to either crouch way down low or slide on your butt down a steep slope through a dense tunnel of overarching bushes. The trail ended on a large driftwood log protruding from the bank. Climb down from the log and you were on the beach ... or at really high tide, in Puget Sound.

Through four large plate-glass windows we could see the Cascades from Mount Rainier to Mount Baker. We saw all kinds of boats on Puget Sound: freighters, sail boats, cabin cruisers, ferries, tug boats pulling barges of sawdust or huge log booms, speed boats with water skiers, gill netters laying out loops of nets, and all types of naval vessels. We always got out the binoculars if an air craft carrier went by ... and we even spotted the conning towers of occasional submarines. It wasn't just a sight to take in ... there were also sounds. I always assumed the deeper the fog horn, the larger the ship. On misty mornings the ships played a slow, sad symphony ... one that beautifully haunts my memory.

We could see Elliott Bay and downtown Seattle. The Smith Tower stood proudly as the tallest building west of the Mississippi ... it's hard to even find it amongst the skyscrapers now. And
as the 1962 World's Fair approached, we watched what from our vantage point looked like a dandelion sprouting on Magnolia Bluff ... the Space Needle.

Maintaining the view meant cutting down some trees, so my brothers and I learned to use axes and chain saws. One huge Douglas fir had a six-foot perimeter of ivy surrounding its four-foot trunk. My dad decided that tree should go. He knew how to make the cuts to make the tree fall to the north ... but something went wrong. The tree started leaning to the west ... towards our house! He stopped cutting immediately, ran up to the house, then hurried off to Winslow where he got some metal wedges. When he got home, the tree was still leaning towards the house. He hurried down the bank and pounded the wedges into the cut on the side it was leaning toward. Then we got a rope and threw it over as high a branch as we could, and cinched the knot tight. This gave us the ability to pull the tree to the north as my dad finished the cut with a chain saw. When the tree finally fell to the north, you never saw a man more relieved than my dad.

But we didn't want to cut down all the trees. The trees helped prevent landslides, and my dad had already had to move the house once. Besides, a totally unobstructed view doesn't make for an attractive post card. You need something in the foreground. Therefore on some trees we would just strip the lower branches high enough so we could see the Seattle shore and the Cascades. My dad had a long wooden extension ladder that he put up against the trunks of some of the large fir trees so he could reach the branches to saw them off. But on some trees on lower levels, that wasn't enough. Fortunately my dad was fearless. He would extend the ladder as high as it would go, then climb up to the very top rung ... you know, the one that would now say "this is not a step" ... while holding onto the trunk with his left arm. Then, sometimes standing on his toes, he used his right arm to operate a pole saw, also extended to the max, to saw off branches far above him ... in some cases large branches that might hit him as they fell. It scared my mom so much that she couldn't watch. I hated seeing my mom so scared. It scared me too.

Continued next week.


If you know someone who might like to receive this email, please forward it to them. If you received this as a forward, or are reading it online, just email me at and I'd be happy to add you to the dance email list. I take guardianship of your email addresses seriously. I don't give or sell them to anyone. If at any time you'd like to be removed from the list, just ask.


Ron Bolin