Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Nancy Pew, Children’s Librarian at the Lake City branch. Nancy shared some of the highlights of her career, her thoughts on the importance of connection and community, and the joys of working out of the box.
ELC: You seem to absolutely love your job. What made you decide to become a children’s librarian?
I’ve always liked libraries. When I was in 7th or 8th grade, my mother went back to school to get credentials to be a school librarian. I was in the library guild in high school and I got a varsity letter in library. I still have it!
In college, I thought about library school but it’s hard to do the same thing your mother does, so I got a history major in three years. After graduating, I decided to go to library school after all. After school, I applied to Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I’d never been west of Kansas and I wanted to see other parts of the country. We were very much into social justice and community service and I got a placement at St. Therese Parish here in Seattle, working with African American children in the Central District in 1978.
ELC: You and your husband Pat do a lot of community work together at events in Lake City. How did you meet him?
Pat and I both worked at the same school, and we often worked on projects together. I was a volunteer and he was a teacher. When I first met him, we were doing introductions around the room and he said to me, “Hello I’m Pat Pew, I’m single.” which he’d never said to anyone else before or since. He told me later, “I don’t know why I blurted that out!” He was just mortified.
Do you love to write and have an affinity for our wonderful Lake City neighborhood? Enjoylakecity.org is seeking individuals to contribute content in order to better inform and serve out Lake City community. If you are interested please email Chris.Leverson@CHS-WA.org. We have lots of topics to suit your interests and contributions can be made at your own pace.
Restaurant Promotion/Arts & Culture/Neighbor Profiles/New Development/Crime and Safety and more.
Individuals able to write in languages other than English are strongly encouraged to contact us.
Armed with this information, ELC did more research and discovered that the weirdest phenomenon in Lake City is … there IS no unusual phenomena here!
According to Liminal, Lake City is the only neighborhood in Seattle without even one report of the unexplained. Liminal should know. They host a map of the strange, wonderful, unusual and unexpected. The map includes sightings of ghosts, fairies, bigfoot, time travelers and even broccoli wizards. People send their stories to Liminal and Liminal posts the most maybe-plausible stories along with the neighborhood where the phenomena occurred.
One look at the Lake City section of Liminal’s map and you can see it is a Bermuda Triangle of non-existent spooky stuff. Here’s what the Liminal map looks like today:
That map’s pretty bare in Lake City folks! Every other northend neighborhood is admitting to odd goings on, but not Lake City! We are literally surrounded by odd stuff in other neighborhoods:
UFOs have been reported from over in Wedgewood, up on Phinney Ridge and down in Eastlake.
Ghosts have been spotted in Northgate, Wallingford, Ravenna and Crown Hill (that one was a ghost clad in t-shirt and jeans who showed up with “an eerie non-expression”, yikes!)
Over in the U District, a basement bar has a resident ghost fisherman who lives at the College Inn Pub. The Inn’s website says that Howard, (the ghost fisherman), was on his way to Alaska for gold in the 1900’s, but never made it because he was murdered in one of the rooms at the Inn, where his spirit remains today. He’s been heard to laugh a lot, drinks beer and plays the old piano in the back room around closing time.
And also in the U District, the Kraken Bar and lounge is said to be haunted by one or more spirits. People there have seen objects move inexplicably on their own and spotted shadowy figures lurking nearby.
Wedgewood has the Wedgewood Rock, said to be the source of mystical energy and power. It’s the 19 foot tall rock deposited by a glacier back in the Ice Age onto what is now the parking strip at the corner of 28th
NE and NE 72nd Street. A good place to renew your mystical energy when needed.
And for some really creepy stuff, Channel 13 reported a few years ago that up in Bothell, a man said his home was haunted by poltergeists who turned over his furniture, burned his Bibles and threw objects. A team from — I kid you not — the Scientific Establishment of Parapsychology studied the home and released a report that says the disturbances and noises in the home may be from the spirits of Irish settlers. The home apparently was built on settlements of people who had passed away.
But back to Lake City!
The most promising lead ELC had for spookiness in our neighborhood is a story from Imogene Inglet’s book, “Lil’ Ol’ Lake City”. It seems that back in the day during Prohibition, a couple named Abe and May ran a honky tonk on Lake City Way at 123rd Street. But their speakeasy days came to a quick end when May caught Abe “philandering with a lady from an establishment of ill repute down the street and let him have it with a .44 in true Frankie and Johnny fashion.”
Wouldn’t you think at least Abe’s ghost would have been spotted by now hanging out at Dick’s Drive In or something?
Nope. Nothing spooky here folks! (At least, that’s what Lake Citizens would have you believe…)
They’re easy to miss if you don’t already know they’re there, embedded in the sidewalk next to the Seattle Mennonite Church. Thirty-two bronze leaves which, depending on the season and the time of day, can fade barely noticed into the background of the sidewalk, or shine as brightly as stars.
This is The Backstory on:
The Leaves of Remembrance
Thirty-two Leaves of Remembrance are located in Lake City in front of the Seattle Mennonite Church, each one engraved with a name and year of birth and death, commemorating a life once lived in our community.
These Leaves are part of the Tree of Life project developed by WHEEL, a homeless women’s organizing effort. The Tree of Life sculpture in Victor Steinbrueck Park is the only permanent homeless memorial in the world.
The tree has two large branches with leaf-shaped holes stamped out of the iron. The fallen bronze Leaves of Remembrance symbolized by these holes are scattered throughout the City near places that people have felt connected to, including the Seattle Mennonite Church in Lake City.
The Mennonite Church became one of the first installation sites in 2012 when Sally Kinney, a member of WHEEL and founding member of the Lake City Taskforce on Homelessness, approached pastors Melanie and Jonathan Neufeld to ask for support for the project. Sally recently explained why she took her request to the Neufelds. “I have great admiration for Melanie and Jonathan and their work in Lake City”, she said.
“Over more than a decade, they have gathered the un-housed people in our area together, given them a home in God’s Little Acre, the Mennonites’ drop-in center, started first a night shelter in the church which graduated to a roving shelter in many different area churches, and perhaps most importantly, given them a voice in our community.”
“When I mentioned the Leaves project to them, it was with the intention of them adding another symbol of love they show to our outside neighbors: a place to permanently honor the fallen with these Leaves.”
All in a Day’s Work – Change, Challenges and Giant Bunnies
Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Marie Spencer at Pony Express, a Lake City Shipping and Packaging store. Marie and her husband Rod have owned the store for over 22 years. Marie shared her thoughts on the changes, challenges and surprises that come with owning a business.
ELC: How did Pony Express get started?
It was 12 guys who got together one night in 1982 and thought it would be really cool if Grandma could send a gift to a grandson through UPS to make sure that it got there. But UPS wouldn’t work with anybody but businesses at that time, so these guys said, let’s open a business that ships for grandmas. So they all opened up around the Seattle, Everett, Lynnwood area just doing UPS and Fed Ex shipping. At that time, we co-opted together – the bookkeeper divvied out the bills so that each location paid their own bills. As we grew, we grew into our own entities and got our own account numbers, so now we’re an independent mail and parcel center.