Bill Moeller Commentary: ‘How Long Has This Been Going On?’


Great old lyrics as inspiration or celebration? Can I brag a little bit today? Or, I should have asked, “MAY I brag a little today?” 

No, I really should have asked if I could jump into the air and run around in circles once I come back down to earth — assuming I did come back to earth. 

You see, last Friday, I looked over my shoulder at the large calendar on the wall behind me and realized that I had made a notation for March 18. That date reminder happens to note the day my first column appeared in the pages of this newspaper — in the year 2008! 

Now, with 52 columns per year submitted for 14 years and only subtracting the four columns omitted last year to give me a little breathing space, it comes to a total of 724 columns submitted and printed, each consisting of 600 or more words.

I’ll let you fiddle around with a calculator to figure how many newly-authored books I might have signed had I gone in that direction instead. Although, I acknowledge that a person has to produce a book people want to read before the money starts rolling in.

Actually, I did start a couple of them over the years.

There’s an old rule that you should write about what you know, so I started more than one book about a mayor of a small town called “Centerville,” perhaps reminding local citizens that I’m the last person still living who was elected to that position by the votes of Centralia citizens rather than being appointed by the city council and selected from one of its own seven members.

The plot of the most recent version centered around a nefarious business that dumped truckloads of contaminated matter in the wooded areas close to the town and how they were brought to justice. 

A sub-plot centered around the unmarried mayor showing a fatherless young boy how to go about building a boat in the backyard. Whether or not a romance might develop with the mother was being considered as well.

Hey, I’ll bet I can still find the first 15 or 16 chapters somewhere in my file cabinet.

Changing the subject, I think I’ve just thought up a new way to engage you, the reader, with these columns. 

As you know by now that as “Crochetyman” I’ve never been afraid to gripe about things that I find impractical, impossible or unAmerican. I can complain — for instance — about the driver who doesn’t turn on his or her turn signal until he (or she) has already started to make the turn.  How is it that they can’t understand that the purpose of those things is to alert other drivers what they’re going to do, not what they’re already doing?

Well, why don’t we make a little game of this by taking a positive attitude and asking you to send me some of your favorite memories of things you miss because they just don’t exist anymore?

I thought of one as I drove into Centralia along Kresky Avenue recently and mourned the loss of “Skipper’s” where one could eat a wonderful seafood dinner for a reasonable price. 

And, of course, many of us would also like to spend some time walking along the aisles of the old Yard Birds store in the days when it was younger and not in a dispute with Chehalis over building code considerations?


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at