Olympic Peninsula Memoirs

Bob Dick and Darrell WhiteWhile researching material for a book he’s writing about the history of CFR/SEFS, Professor Emeritus Bob Edmonds came across a book that one of our alumni, Bob Dick (’74), recently coauthored with his childhood and long-time friend Darrel White, a high school biology and science teacher. Edmonds just finished reading the book, Skunk Cabbage and Chittum Bark: Sons of the Wynooche, and he was kind enough to offer a brief review!

Here’s what he had to say:

Skunk Cabbage and Chittum Bark is an interesting history on the background of many of our undergraduate students in the 1960s and early 1970s who came from rural backgrounds, and it illustrates how things have changed. The two authors grew up in Montesano and the Wynooche Valley (also spelled Wynoochee), which is between Olympia and Aberdeen/Hoquiam, and the book title refers to plant species the authors describe as “among the quintessential inhabitants of the Wynooche Valley.” Skunk cabbage is common in swampy areas, and chittum bark is Native American for cascara bark, which has medicinal properties. Peeling cascara bark was an income source for Bob and Darrell as young boys.

The book is divided into six parts: Wynooche Genesis, Kid Stuff, Family, Work, Reminiscence and The Valley, as well as an Epilogue. In each section Bob and Darrell document their separate and collective life stories, mostly from the 1950s to 1970s. In all there are nearly 60 short stories or vignettes, such as “Coming to the Valley,” “School Years,” “Fun with Amphibs,” “Timber!,” “Summer Camps,” “Mom and Dad,” “The Birth of a Career,” “The Logger,” “Hikes,” “The Lake,” “The Columbus Day Storm,” “Geology with Calvin and Hobbes,” “Eco-adolescents” and “The River.”

No doubt, Bob’s decision to enter a career in forestry was influenced by his father’s profession as a forester for Weyerhaeuser Company, and the hours he spent in the woods exploring, fishing and hunting. Bob served in the U.S. Coast Guard in Washington and Alaska, then graduated with a BS in Forest Management from CFR and became a professional forester, including stints as Alaska’s state forester and the Washington Forest Protection Association. He is a fellow of the Society of American Foresters, and he retired in 2010 after a 36-year career.”

If you’d like to read more about Bob Dick’s story, his book is available in paperback on Amazon for $18, and also in a Kindle Edition for $9.99 (Skunk Cabbage and Chittum Bark: Sons of the Wynooche, by Bob Dick and Darrel A. White, 2012. Bookstand Publishing, Morgan Hill, CA 95037. 248 pp.). You can also reach Dick via email at mrdickjr@gmail.com if you wish to request a copy.