BELLINGHAM - Visitors to the Sheehan-Dingée compound here reached near record numbers during the summer of 1997.
Former co-workers of both Kathy Sheehan and Chuck Dingée traveled to this scenic coastal city for getaway vacations, and a formerly unknown pair named Buck and Bucky also showed up one day unannounced.
Buck and Bucky, reincarnated spirits of the late Buckminster Fuller, spent an entire day lounging in the Sheehan-Dingée yard and the yards of several neighbors one bright afternoon, munching on pear tree leaves, comfrey plants and assorted other greens that haven't been mowed since the former Philadelphians moved to Bellingham.
Following Buck and Bucky to the beautiful surroundings was former Atlantic City Press features editor Carol Servino, now living in Astoria, Ore.
Servino traveled to Bellingham in July with Marilyn Isaacson, a friend from the Olympic Peninsula. Servino, an attache for Astoria Police Chief Robert E. Deu Pree, shared old memories of former co-workers and Miss America Pageant contestants with Sheehan all weekend.
Sheehan and Dingée provided Servino and Isaacson with a short tour of several points of interest during their overnight stay, including Whatcom Falls Park and Larrabee State Park.
In August, Ann "Timmy" Tinkham and Steve Homeshur of Boulder, Colo., both formerly of Philadelphia, made a pilgrimage to Bellingham, Orcas Island and Vancouver, B.C. Tinkham, another Bucky follower and former World Game Institute employee, was a bit discouraged by the rental-car-from-hell and the crowds at Doe Bay and the ferry docks, but otherwise enjoyed her stay. (The key to the late-model, white Geo broke in the ignition on Chuckanut Drive, stranding Tinkham and Homeshur for hours after they had spent a day at the beach. The auto also did not have a working horn.)
The pair kept their cool throughout the car ordeal, however, and enjoyed the use of Sheehan's Honda Civic while the rental car was being repaired. The Honda took them to the top of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island, where Homeshur showed off his Colorado physique by executing a handstand on a ledge. ("Hot Dog Homeshur" also took a dive off the rope swing on Mountain Lake!!)
During that same week, Marilyn Thompson, once a lowly c-c-c-c-c-correspondent for The Philadelphia Daily News, and now editor of the investigative team at The Washington Post, brought her two sons, Andrew and Cory, to the Northwest for a week-long vacation.
The Thompson Trio ate junk food when they weren't staying at a 5-star hotel or on a quaint houseboat in Seattle and cooled off at Cascade Lake on Orcas island during one of the hottest days of the year.
Thompson, who insisted she was not doing an expose on the personages in the clothing-optional hot tub at Doe Bay resort, allegedly "forgot" her bathing suit at the Overlook Inn in EastSound and spent the afternoon at the lake fully clothed.
Visitors in past years have joined Sheehan and Dingée at Doe Bay, Mount Baker and ToJo's sushi bar in Vancouver, B.C, and on a whale-watching cruise from Semiahmoo.