(Wallyhood welcomes our newest contributing writer, Patrick Shaw)
My wife and I moved to Wallingford in August. As we were moving in, I had a flashback to hearing Linda Waterfall in concert at Seattle University. Her guitar player made a joke about moving to Wallingford and having to join the Keep Wallingford Dull Society, and as my wife and I were unpacking, I had a bad moment: It couldn’t be true, could it? Could Wallingford really be dull?
(Turns out – if you consider kind neighbors, a terrific local coffee shop (Irwin’s), a local market (Durn Good), and the many festivities at Gas Works and elsewhere dull –well – sign me up for the Society!)
I caught up with Linda by phone recently – in addition to wondering if she was still making music and teaching lessons, I wanted to ask HER about the KWD Society.
When we chatted, I mentioned that comment from all of those years ago, and she laughed:
“Wallingford was a friendly middle class neighborhood back then. I’ve lived on Meridian, Burke and Sunnyside, and while a lot has changed in , there is something special about Wallingford (and the Northwest) that has endured. People are at their best when things are small enough that we all can be cared for and can watch out for one another.”
Linda has been a part of that friendly neighborhood since 1983. She’s just released her 12th album (Welcome to the Dark), was recently interviewed by Dave Beck on KUOW, and continues to write, perform, and teach lessons right here in Wallingford.
As a matter of fact, I had a lesson or two with Linda, and while I thought I was getting a guitar lesson, it was a lot more than that! She’d asked me to learn a piece, and there was a passage that was difficult, so I made up something I thought of as, well, better. When I played it for her, she spotted it instantly and simply asked, “Did you make up a new part because you CAN’T play it the way it was written or because you didn’t want to spend the time to master it?”
She was right – I’d taken the easy way out, and I remember that question anytime I find myself sliding, opting for an easy effort when a harder one is warranted!
It was great to catch up with Linda and to ask her about what has changed and what has stayed the same:
- Food Giant => QFC
- Shiga’s 5 and Dime => Rusty Pelican
- Coffee shops, coffee shops, and more coffee shops!
And some things that haven’t changed so much:
- Dick’s Drive-In
- Good Shepherd Center
- Tilth Harvest Festival
In addition to being a long time Wallingford resident, Linda performed at Murphy’s Irish Pub (in the old location) as part of Sandy Bradley’s Potluck. And while Linda stayed busy playing in the northwest – Wallingford Venues were few and far between.
That didn’t keep Linda from incorporating a bit of Wallingford in her music, though. She tells a terrific story about living in house on Meridian, back in the days before fireworks came to Gas Works Park:
“It was 4th of July, about 7.30 PM. I was working on something when I heard quite a racket out on the street. I didn’t even stop to put on my shoes. The pavement was still warm, and there were several families creating their own 4th of July celebration. It was enchanting”.
So enchanting that Linda wrote a song about it: It’s called Fourth of July and you can listen to it here!