The Indian Shirt Story
Musa Publishing, 2013
Northwest readers, you will not want to miss this book. You like Sherman Alexie? You like Maria Semple? You like Jonathan Evison? You will love Heather Lockman.
—Lauren Danner, Northwest Historian
Charming, lovely, funny and sad.
—Portland Book Review
[S]tarts out blithely, with a dash of snarky charm…delivers plenty of entertainment value with thoughtful social commentary.
—Barbara Lloyd McMichael, The Bookmonger
A brew pub, a historic house, trouble with the local American Indian community, and unexpected attention from the biggest country music star ever to come out of Nashville. It’s going to be a tough summer for Bess in the free-thinking, left-leaning, soy-eating, fish-loving town of Port Heron.
American mythologies collide in a novel from the Pacific Northwest that’s part love story, part modern politics, and part historical saga. Sharply observed but big-hearted, it’s also a whole lot of fun.
A 2014 Bestseller at Orca Books in Olympia, Washington (a very cool indie bookstore in a town very much like Port Heron).
The Indian Shirt Story
It wasn’t hard for a good-looking man to turn heads in the Nashville Airport, especially one in western boots and a pair of well-tailored jeans. Passengers heading toward baggage claim swiveled around for a closer look at every handsome face that passed by, in case it was somebody famous. Most of the time they were wrong.
But sometimes, if they got lucky, they caught a glimpse of Somebody Big, someone as big as the stars who smiled on the Welcome to Music City sign at the end of the concourse. Even flight attendants, who thought of themselves as unflappable, felt an unprofessional thrill when the name on a passenger’s boarding pass was a name that sold millions of albums. The man in seat 3-A, for example, traveling through to Seattle this morning. Somebody Really Big.
They’d boarded him at the last minute, after the cargo doors were closed and all the other passengers were already strapped in their seat belts. He gave the impression of taking his time—sliding in next to the window, removing his dark glasses, pulling things from his carry-on bag—although, in fact, he was settled in before the plane backed from the ramp. He stowed the leather bag at his feet and left his denim jacket in a heap on the seat beside him. It should have gone in the bin overhead, but the cabin crew let it go.
Within the first twenty minutes, as the plane cruised high over Tennessee, every flight attendant in coach found an excuse to come forward into the first class cabin. They peeked at the man surreptitiously, then glanced at each other with wide-eyed looks that said what they all were thinking—God, he’s gorgeous. Never mind that he sings.
He was hooked up to headphones for most of the trip, a clear request for privacy the flight attendants respected. They sneaked as many looks as they dared, but interrupted only to ask if they could bring him anything. He drank two fizzy Mexican beers. He ordered the beef, not the pasta, and left his carrots untouched.
Not until the plane began its slow descent toward Seattle did one of the star-struck flight attendants, seeing he’d taken off his headphones, seize her chance to say something.
She held a plastic garbage bag open, inviting him to dispose of any unwanted odds and ends.
“Thank you, sweetheart.”
The man dropped an empty long-neck bottle into the bag and gave her a big, warm, easy smile—a smile that, had she not been trained to stay on her feet during turbulence, would have knocked her to her knees.
“Coming out here to do a show?”
“No, darlin’. It’s mostly vacation.”
The passenger one row back, in 4-B, crumpled a soda can noisily, urging her to come get his rubbish so he could get ready for landing. The flight attendant ignored him.
“It’s a long way to go to catch a fish.”
“Well, I’ll be staying awhile.”
She paused for a second, weighing the risks of asking a personal question. “Alone?”
“Lord, I hope not.” He winked when he said it. “I hope there’s a million fat salmon.” His hazel eyes flicked over the nametag pinned to the vest of her uniform. “You ever go fishing, Vanessa?”
Vanessa had spent her life in high heels. Never, until this moment, had she thought even once about fishing. “No, but I’d sure like to try it.”
“You should. It’s a whole lot of fun.”
For a moment, Vanessa imagined he was actually going to ask her. He would ask if she wanted to come along, wherever it was he were going—maybe a private island somewhere—and she would say yes in an instant. For a chance like that, she was pretty sure she could make herself bait a hook.
The passenger in 4-B cleared his throat, attempting to hurry the trash bag along.
“Looks like you got a customer, darlin’.”
Vanessa reluctantly took the hint.
“Yeah. It looks like I do.” She shook the plastic bag a few times, shifting the napkins and empty cups and beer bottles down to the bottom. “Have a good trip, Mr. Hasker.” Her cute shoes were killing her. “Catch yourself a real big one.”
Then, to herself, Lucky fish.
Text by Heather Lockman,
coordination of vintage photos by Carla Wulfsberg
Arcadia Publishing (Images of America), 2010
Let’s face it—some local histories are dreadful. This photo history of the oldest American settlement on Puget Sound is actually pretty good.
Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and independent booksellers
Building a Capital City:
Olympia’s Past Revealed
Through its Historic Architecture
Text by Heather Lockman, research by Shanna Stevenson
City of Olympia, 2000
From early plank cabins to streamlined Art Moderne storefronts, the historic buildings of Olympia, Washington, reflect the history of their town.
Limited edition, out of print; copies occasionally available through secondhand bookstores and search services.