Mark Scherer Letter to Class, June 2 2011

Hi,
 
I wonít be at our 50th reunion this weekend, so I'll miss the chance to reconnect with all of you in person.
Itís my loss and a big one because I havenít seen most of you since graduation night in 1961.

If I was at the reunion Iíd be at least a little shy since Iím such a stranger now. The best part of the reunion has got to be telling the old stories and hearing everybodyís new ones. Iíll see if I can be less of a stranger now by telling you the story Iím in. It probably hasn't changed since the last reunion 5 years ago but here goes.
 
My home for almost 20 years is a valley called Stehekin in Washington state. Itís not a town - maybe "village" or "community" describes it. 95 people live here spaced out over 9 miles of a narrow valley. The part I like most is the isolation. Itís 50 miles from anywhere and the best part is you canít get in a car and drive to Stehekin because no roads come here. We have cars and trucks and 13 miles of road but they donít connect to the outside. Itís not an island in the usual sense (land surrounded by water) but the usual way to get here is by boat on a 50 mile long lake. At the other end sits a town of 5,000, the "anywhere" I mentioned above. It is an island if being surrounded by mountains and a lot of trees counts as an island.
 
What am I doing in this podunk backwater? Iím an artist and not rich and famous yet. Most of what I do uses wood and some of the time, paint. Iíll try to attach a few pictures of things Iíve made recently. The other thing I do is work for the National Park Service every summer. North Cascades National Park and some wilderness areas surround Stehekin. Iím called an "Interpreter". The language I talk isnít something exotic like Japanese or Swahili but the language of the flora and fauna and the history of Stehekin.
 
Iím still not married, still no children. Big events for me this year were learning how to knit(!) and having hernia surgery. (I guess Iím easily entertained.) In spite of the surgery I'd say I'm in good health.
 
Another pleasure of Stehekin-living is there is no community phone system and no cell phone service. We do have satellite internet and regular U.S. mail and I would enjoy hearing from any of you inclined to write. Iím not a great correspondent (itís taken me months to sit down and write this) but if you write, you might just hear back from me.
Share this with anybody you think would be interested.
 
All my best, Mark Scherer
 
P.S. I lost my '61 yearbook in a flood 35 years ago when I lived in Vermont. If anybody knows of one that could use a good home let me know. I'd beg, borrow or even buy it. M