A Book From Times Past

Phillip and I were clearing out some storage boxes today, when we found a thin book tucked away behind some unrelated things. The book is named Clamshell Boy. It took a while for either of us to realize where this book had come from.

We used to vacation in Ocean Shores, Washington every October. We haven’t been back there in years. One route we followed on our drive out to Long Beach Peninsula took us through the town of Montesano, where we’d always stop into a particular convenience store. We’d stop there on the way to the ocean for fun, but stopped on the way home only if we needed a bathroom.

This little store sold an amazing variety of things. It sold gasoline and food. It sold souvenirs with a wide range of quality and prices. It sold hunting, fishing, geocaching, and camping supplies. It sold maps. It sold clothes. And it sold books. It was there, we agreed, that we bought the book we found today.

Why we bought this book, and why neither one of us got around to reading it until now, remains unknown. My theory is that one of us bought it on impulse and, in the excitement of our vacation, it had been forgotten in the car trunk until we got home and unpacked, where it was put aside, swept up in a cleaning day, and forgotten again.

I was not expecting to complete a Reading Challenge category today.

Clamshell Boy: A Makah Legend, written and adapted by Terri Cohlene, and illustrated by Charles Reasoner, was published in 1990.

Clamshell Boy

Long ago, a young Makah girl named Salmonberry was playing with her friends on the beach. The sun started going down. They had to rush home before Basket Woman caught them.

Basket Woman was a giant who captured children after dark, and cooked them.

Salmonberry didn’t believe this silly legend. Then Basket Woman appeared, and explained that the legend about her was cruel and wrong. To prove that she was a good giant, she offered the children a ride home in her basket. Salmonberry and her friends accepted Basket Woman’s offer.

The legend of Basket Woman turned out to be true.

None of the Makah people knew where Basket Woman lived. No one had ever returned from a capture by Basket Woman. Salmonberry’s mother cried, and her tears landed in a clamshell. Clamshell Boy appeared from the spirit of the clamshell, and swore to the people that he would save Salmonberry and her friends from Basket Woman.

Clamshell Boy set off on a quest to find and kill Basket Woman.

I read Clamshell Boy in one afternoon. It is nicely illustrated in a style reminiscent of the people of the Pacific Northwest. The back of the book contains historic and cultural information about the Makah. I enjoyed it.

  • A book you bought on a trip

Change And Destruction

The southernmost district of Poplar Point, where Samson Valley’s cruise ship harbor is located, expanded northward. I built a shiny new football stadium on the district’s northern border.


The ferry line which served the cruise ship harbor continued to have low ridership, with tourists preferring the overcrowded blimps to the typically empty ferry boats. Still, I kept the ferry line, and added a stop near the stadium. The harbor ferry terminal continued to have daily usage numbers in the single digits, even though it was next door to the cruise ship harbor. Within days of its completion, the new stadium terminal saw ridership between 150-160 passengers per day, even when there wasn’t a game scheduled.

I saw that it was time to restructure the ferry line. I ended the line at the stadium terminal and removed the harbor terminal.

With the ferry line shortened, there was no longer a need for the channel that had been draining Samson Valley’s lakes. I closed off the channel with terraforming. (A hydroelectric dam could have worked there, but would have produced too little electricity for too great a cost.)

closed channel

The water level of the southeast lake rose, but not enough to cause significant flooding. The meteor-created atoll has nearly disappeared beneath the water.

sinking atoll

The Poplar Point district expanded across what was once the channel leading out to sea. The new district of Woodland Plain formed on the opposite shore. I created a new ferry line between Poplar Point and Woodland Plain. The Woodland Plain ferry terminal is currently serving around 100 passengers per day. The blimp line to the cruise ship harbor continues to prosper beyond its capacity.

expanding district

As Woodland Plain filled with citizens and businesses, a level 3 earthquake struck Samson Point’s oldest shopping district in the middle of the night.

old town quake 1

old town quake 2

Earthquake sensors detected the quake early, and citizens were evacuated. Destruction was massive, but casualties were low. Disaster response teams responded quickly. In a couple of days, the roads and infrastructure were repaired, transit lines were restored, and the area began rebuilding.

old town rebuilding

Then, a few days later, a 6.5 earthquake hit the low-density residential district of Churchtown. Many homes were lost, the intercity train line was severed, but the cathedral survived. Already, repairs are underway.

churchtown quake