Los Cangrejos de la Isla Whidbey

Ava & Gia in Grandma's studio

Gia in the "shower".

Gia in the kitchen. No remodeling here.

MUSEUM, LIBRARY, or ASYLUM? This weekend the Powell family went to Whidbey Island to take advantage of the wonderful yet odd house of my parents. Grandparents’ house is on the north side of Penn Cove and faces the small town of Coupeville. Grandma’s studio, above, and the whole house for that matter, is probably the cleanest and most presentable in years, yet remains a clutterfunk of random bugigangas (a Portuguese word meaning ‘junk’). However, hidden within is an impressive collection of books and art . The “shower” on the left comes from the fact that, sometime around 1979, my parents decided to hook up plumbing. Nothing has been done since, and the shower is now a repository for stuff, including my mother’s ubiquitous artwork.The kitchen, built in 1953, is unchanged, with the exception of a countertop and perhaps a new faucet. Visiting grandparents’ house is somewhat like camping.

Lots of books...good! Lots of romances...hmmmm?

Aaaaah...my old bedroom.

BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS EVERYWHERE! Though we have many books, finding a good one within is not as easy as in the past. I would fathom there are over 10,000 in the house, a conservative estimate. My father is a voracious reader of romance novels, however, and my mother has given up the intellectual ghost and now is consumed by tabloid trash. However, growing up with Encylopedias, a National Geographic collection that dates to the 1920’s, and as eclectic a library as can be imagined did have advantages. I am grateful for my parents raising me in such a milieu.

Wife & baby.

Dad with mussels, beer & daughter. Life ain't bad.

CRABBY NEIGHBORS: My parents are fortunate to have kind and welcoming neighbors, and on the weekend I got my crab license the neighbors happened to have been out on Penn Cove hunting the eight-legged monster. The harvest quite good, with plenty of crab to feed their large family (they have twenty-eight children, and a hundred-and-three grandchildren…slight hyperbole). 


San-J in 'take a dump' mode...Aunt Tracy behind.

The shame of no crabs...

THE BROTHERS -IN-LAW ‘J’: That week my wife’s family joined us, including Aunt Tracy and her future man Sanjay, which will give me two brothers-and-law whose name ends with ‘J’. My sister’s husband, Somjait Pongklub (beg as I did, they did not name any of their three children ‘Ping’), will arrive in August w/family. Anyway, San-J and I were good to go! Pops (stepfather-in-law) brought the crab pot, and off we went on the high seas.We let the crabs sit overnight.

My wife & Kaya. In the background are pictures of my mother and one of my father, pre-children & recent.

Unfortunately, dorks that we are, we forgot to release the doors. And thus had to resort to picking up a token crab. To keep a crab, the shell must have a diameter of at least six and quarter inches. Our crab (in the picture you can’t really see it, but it’s there) is shy about six inches…we had to throw it back.

PHOTO of the MONTH: Grandy! My mother-in-law at the Powell House.

Mother-in-law and art, on the left is a picture of my two sisters & I back in the day when I had hair.


Filed under Caleb Powell, Tracy

8 responses to “Los Cangrejos de la Isla Whidbey

  1. Caleb –
    The image of your father reading trashy romance novels and YOUR MOM READING TABLOIDS gave me the best belly laugh in days.
    Ah…that’s a good one!
    Parent’s…it’s just really hard to describe them, in alll their glory, to others, isn’t it?

  2. Dawn Hansen

    Wow, its great to see your folks’ house! Looks like nothing has changed much since I was there last, over 25 years I would guess. Looks like you guys had a great time!

  3. Georgie – Yeah, it’s amazing. My dad’s addicted. And my mom can’t get enough ‘Royal Family’ and ‘Tiger Woods’…go figure.

    Dawn – Thanks for the comment. And thanks for posting that picture of us from the 70’s on Facebook.

  4. Natalia

    Hi Caleb!!
    I was already starting to miss your notes…hehehe
    You should write more often!!

  5. Natalia,

    Thanks for stopping by. I’d like to post more often, it’s turning into a family album of sorts. Hope all’s well and thanks for stopping by.

    Otro beijo

  6. Brad Trumbull

    I was just curious, on your crabbing expedition, did you run across any of those notorious man killing sea barchers??? Look me up the next time you’re on the Island… by the way I’ve been spending time following my sons Little League All-Star team and their winning streak…we’re going to California for regionals. When’s the last time Coupeville went? (rhetorical question)

  7. You bet, should be there for the Coupeville Festival. Congrats on the All-Stars. Cool & good luck in California.

    And yes, the days of the “sea barchers” were quite funny.

  8. Bugigangas has become my new favorite word, taking the place of Kerfuffle.

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