TALES FROM THE WILLAPA
by Arthur Ruger as told to him by Jake Turnrose,
copyright (c) 2000
I N T R O D U C T I O N
Hello folks! Arthur Ruger here.
We've been living in Pacific County now 7 years since moving here from King
County. About 3 1/2 years ago we bought a delightful old house in Bay Center and moved right smack dab to the center of Willapa
(pronounce WILLapa) Bay.
I managed a job transfer specifically to South Bend for the purpose of moving
to a smaller community, buying a home and setting up for retirement (which is getting closer but still a bit of a ways
Back in 1998 we drove through Raymond and South Bend on our way to a family
camp-out on the Oregon Coast and were caught up by the beauty and tranquillity of the area. We talked about about how neat
it would be to live here.
Four months later, the opportunity presented itself and on March 1, 1999 we became
residents. So I drive to work every day at that government building
on Robert Bush Drive (Hwy 101) on your left after you've passed through downtown South Bend just past the H&H.
moving here we've met some real characters and heard some really interesting stories about this area.
particular character is kind of mysterious to me. I don't know his real name but he seemed to take to me and I suppose you
could call what's between us is a real friendship. He's loaded with thoughts, memories and opinions to share with me.
He started comin around our cool old house in Bay Center shortly after we
moved there. For some reason he's wanted to remain anonymous but when told him I didn't have a name to put to his face whenever
I thought about him, he just replied, "Aw, Arthur, why the devil do ya gotta put a handle on me? I ain't a fittin
nobody's label. But if ya insist, know this: Some folks know me as "Turnerose" but must just call me Jake.
So I call him Jake Turnrose and he is about the strangest fellow I've
I don't know if he lives in one of the towns, up in the hills, somewhere
along one of the rivers or what. I just know that he shows up at the house usually later in the day and when we're working
It doesn't take mucht o get him started with what seems a never-ending
string of stories about himself or Willapa Bay.
Now I've always been a believer that when the oldest folks want to reminisce, us younger people should write
it all down while we can still get it. Otherwise, we'll miss out on the real good stuff that might never make the history
books or newpapers.
So this writing will record what comes out of the memory storehouse
of Jake Turnrose - ghost-written by me but with an effort to
retain the flavor and style of his words.
Now there's folks that have told me that these houses our here that are
more than 100 years old are most likely haunted. Maybe so and maybe not. I mention it because there's something very
unusual about Jake.
He once dropped by my house around dusk while I was cutting back blackberry
bushes. We visited for a while until we heard what sounded like a wolf or coyote cry -- or maybe it was a hawk or an
eagle. Anyway, at that moment Jake up and said he had to move on and just walked off.
He moved off kind of funny-like
for maybe 25 yards and then just vanished. I followed after him to see if he'd fallen down but found nothing. In the
dirt on the road that runs by my house, I couldn't find any tracks of his boots. There was no human footprint to be found
at all .
... but I did see what looked like the tracks of an elk that had to
have been made within the last hour... maybe the whole town is ....
Jake can take it from here.