Category Archives: business

Mirror Me

A few months shy of the first anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, an event that affected the central Washington town where I lived, I persuaded a friend to accompany me on a road trip to northern Idaho, where I’d been invited for a job interview.

It was the spring of 1981, and news of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan filled the interior of my small car as we pulled up in front of the Sandpoint Bee’s office. Inside, reporters scrambled for a local angle on the news.

At that point, my only experience in journalism was an internship on a paper in Moses Lake, Washington. I was a late bloomer—thirty-eight, and the mother of three teenaged kids. After two hours with editor Bruce Botka, he offered me the job, but added, “By the way, would you mind driving another twenty miles northeast to visit the Priest River Times’ office?” Continue reading

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Art Calls

As soon as we saw the huge, multi-level warehouse in downtown Boise, we loved it. Built in 1961, it had a long history. Our discussions with the owners of the building were professional, the city was easy to work with, and we leased the building. We brought it up to code, and turned it into a twelve- thousand-square-foot studio.

Why did we need so much space? It all started with art. At an early age, I showed promise as a creative type. Drawing came naturally to me. My brothers and I are all artistic, and our mother encouraged us in this, as in all our endeavors. She let us paint on our walls in our rooms as children—she wanted to see color! In junior high and high school, I took piano lessons and every art class available. I learned painting, sculpture, studio art, and advanced drawing. Nampa High School has an amazing art program and a lot of talented students. But even though my future in art seemed promising, certain people repeatedly told me there is no money in art. They said going into the industry was a bad idea, and artists were outdated. I took this to heart, went to North Idaho College, and studied finance. It was quite a leap, but I followed the money.

In college, as I looked at my future syllabus one day, I realized I had made a mistake. I had no interest in finance. I kept at it anyway, but even after I started working in the industry, my interests were elsewhere. I knew that the career I had chosen was not a good fit for me. I wasn’t aggressive enough, and I was forever doodling on the sides of my reports, drawing portraits of clients and fellow workers. I created comic books, and drew temporary tattoos on myself under the sleeves of my sleek business suit. Always daydreaming, I couldn’t wait to get home and finish whatever painting I was working on. My wife Jamie and I both paint, and I think her work is amazing, surreal, beautiful. When we bought our home in 2002, we were both twenty-two. It was a delight to create our own space, in which we could live and paint and raise a family. Art filled our walls, including the art of our sons. Every day when I went to work, I wanted to be home. The art was calling me.
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Keeper of the Eternal Bookstore

By Harald Wyndham

Photos by John Lowry

On a Thursday afternoon in mid-winter, a snowstorm drives flakes horizontally past the windows of Walrus & Carpenter Books in Pocatello.

I sit snug by a small gas stove, my feet stretched toward the heat, having a cup of coffee and a conversation with the owner, Will Peterson, a casually dressed, lanky bohemian with a shock of unmanageable black hair and a grin that puts one at ease and in the mood to talk. And talking about ideas, life, philosophy, writers famous, infamous, and unknown, small-town intrigue, the future of mankind, and the contents of the volumes that crowd the shelves of his Dickensian bookstore is precisely what Will enjoys more than anything, except perhaps writing a novel about it. Continue reading

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Married to a Legacy

I married into a five-generation logging family. I’ve always thought this to be impressive, and it makes me proud, even though I’m sometimes bewildered at how the family has stayed so close-knit throughout the generations.

Jake and I married in 2007, after dating for nearly two years. During that time, I learned only a fraction of what it takes to keep a logging business going steady, even while trying to balance the constantly shifting demands of family time and work. I’m still learning, although at a much more relaxed pace than in the early days. I have come to appreciate what has been passed down in the family business: hard work, long hours in the woods, a few more hours at the shop on Saturdays, and the razzing from a brother-in-law who has, well, no filter.

As we head into February, I become anxious about the layoff season for the guys, who include my father-in-law, Tim, his brother John, and Tim’s sons, Matt, Luke, and Jake. I’m getting extremely anxious to spend more time with my husband, Jake, and I know our two boys, Wyatt, three, and Blake, two, feel the same way. The busyness of those little boys is one of the reasons I look forward to Jake being closer to home during winter and spring. They are busy like their father, their uncles, their great-uncle, and grandfather. This busy life of the men, away from home nine months of the year, stretches back decades, to a time when logging was quite a bit different than it is today.

In 1901, Peter and Mary Brown settled in Prairie for roughly eleven years. They had fourteen children, an amazing challenge to take on while trying to make a living in those days. For Peter, making a living consisted of waking early to go with his horses to the timber, where he felled with crosscut saws. He then pulled logs down the mountain and hauled them to the mill, with only his team of horses to help. Continue reading

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