It took more than 40 years, and trips around the world, for Penny Hutchison Buse, 63, to document the history of Warm Beach.
She first interviewed folks about her neighborhood, south of Stanwood, when she was in her 20s. She lives there with her husband, Mike, and they met when they were chil
dren at Warm Beach.
“My grandparents had a summer home at Warm Beach which they built in 1925,” Buse said. “My mother went to Warm Beach School during the Depression and met my dad, who was from Mount Vernon, at a Grange hall dance there.”
Her grandparents, Margaret and Fred Woodland, liked to talk about local history, she said, and that helped kindle her interest in the area.
Topics in the 366-page book include information about ancient settlers, exploration, logging and shipping.
Her collection of 402 illustrations, many in color, scattered on page after page, are something to treasure. To think Captain Vancouver’s H.M.S. Chatham ran aground south of Stanwood, as did other ships that misread charts, thinking Port Susan was Saratoga Passage.
The book, “Stuck in the Mud,” the History of Warm Beach,” will be celebrated from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center, 27130 102nd Ave. NW in Stanwood. Members of the Stanwood Area Historical Society plan to serve chocolate desserts. Buse will talk about her book at 7 p.m. and copies sold will benefit the society.
Buse chose the book title because of several instances of things getting stuck in the mud, including ships, trains and automobiles, as well as people and projects.
“It’s a really good book,” said Dave Eldridge, who taught with Buse and is a member of the historical society. “Her stories are just excellent. It’s fascinating, the whole thing.”
He said it’s typical of the generosity of Mike and Penny Buse to donate sales proceeds to the society.
Buse said research for the book took her around the world.
“I have had the opportunity to research history in a number of libraries and museums, including the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “And the National Archives, The British Museum, the Bancroft Library at the University of California, and the Royal Victoria Museum in Melbourne, Australia.”
She spent many hours, she said, researching at the wonderful University of Washington Special Collections Department and the Everett Public Library’s Northwest Room.
Chapter Four, about chasing a portrait of Susanna Gardner, namesake of Port Susan, around the world, is funny and sweet.
Buse began teaching seventh grade at Stanwood’s Lincoln Junior High School in the fall of 1970 following graduation from the University of Washington with a degree in English.
“I’ve taught English and social studies over the last four decades in Stanwood Camano School District’s four secondary schools — Stanwood High School, Port Susan and Stanwood Middle Schools and most recently Lincoln Hill High School,” Buse said. “I retired from Lincoln Hill in June.”
I’ve written about Buse before. In 2002, we strolled through a Stanwood cemetery together. Her students at Lincoln Hill High School wrote a book about the people buried there.
They gave guided Memorial Day tours of the grounds.
In 2005, her students created a book called “Vanishing Voices: Stanwood Camano Remembers World War Two After Sixty Years,” about the memories folks had of wartime.
She certainly left her mark on Stanwood education and history, but her work isn’t done.
Buse said she plans to volunteer every week at Lincoln Hill High.
Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
A book by author Penny Hutchison Buse, “Stuck in the Mud, the History of Warm Beach,” will be celebrated from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center, 27130 102nd Ave. NW in Stanwood. Members of the Stanwood Area Historical Society plan to serve chocolate desserts. Buse will talk about her book at 7 p.m. Copies sold will benefit the society.