Julie McDonald Commentary: On Habits, Periods, a Former Commissioner and the Toledo Library


My education at the University of Washington proved as much of a learning experience outside the classroom as inside.

During my first year, a conservative Catholic from Vancouver, I met my zany roommate from Virginia, Laurie Ayers, who taught me crazy mantras, goofy games and the need to knock on glass whenever we saw padiddles.

What’s a padiddle? Imagine my surprise to find the word in the urban dictionary. A padiddle refers to a vehicle with one burnt-out headlight, and in the world of young college students, the race to knock first on glass meant the person who won would be kissed. (Some versions call for people who fail to sight padiddles first to remove articles of clothing, so ours was fairly benign.)

Old habits die hard.

Fast forward a decade or two, and I caught myself unthinkingly knocking on the car window whenever I saw a padiddle — even though I was married with kids. Duh!

Rather than break the habit, though, I converted it into a new one. Nowadays, whenever I see a padiddle, I knock on the glass and pray. The Bible tells us to pray unceasingly. Look around next time you drive at night, and you’ll see how often I tell Jesus I love Him.

Now, if I could only convince myself that carrot sticks taste as scrumptious as chocolate.


Passive Aggressive Texting

We’ve enjoyed our adult children home for the holidays, but I learned a lesson when they both told me — a writer and editor — that using a period is passive aggressive.

Say what? So I looked it up.

Sure enough. Apparently, when you put periods at the end of a casual comment before sending a text, the younger generation considers you’re egging for a fight or offering a snarky response.

That poor little period carries so much weight and responsibility in the digital age. For me, it’s proper punctuation. But in the era of online communication, where casual reigns, the period is apparently formal, uptight, unnecessary and rude. In a June New York Times article, the author likened it to a mother using a child’s full name in admonishment.

That’s because pushing “send” indicates the end of the text or message without using a period. At least, that’s how it was explained in the article on the punctuation perils of communicating with Generations X, Y and Z, who use periods at the end of sentences only in messages to bosses and oldsters.

Ah, that gives me an out — especially since I just can’t see myself leaving off periods at the end of sentences or replacing them with two or three exclamation points. Okay, maybe for my kids, I’ll try … the ellipsis.


Dennis Hadaller

When I heard the news of former Lewis County Commissioner Dennis Hadaller’s death, I thanked God that he lived long enough to see justice prevail in the 1985 murders of his mother and stepfather. At their funeral, Hadaller placed a hand on their caskets and swore to find out who killed them.

Over several decades, Hadaller hired private detectives and relentlessly pursued leads to learn who kidnapped and killed his 83-year-old mother, Minnie, and her husband, Ed, 81. The Maurins were forced at gunpoint from their Ethel home in December 1985, ordered to withdraw $8,500 from the bank, and shot. The killers dumped their bodies in woods near Adna.

Twenty-eight years later, in 2013, 55-year-old Rick Riffe was sentenced to 103 years in prison for the murders. His brother, John, who was also accused in the crime, escaped justice when he died in Alaska in 2012.

At the time of Riffe’s sentencing, Hadaller asked, “How could anyone be so cruel and act with such malice to shoot two elderly and trusting people in the back and dump them in the forest?”

Hadaller, of Mossyrock, was 94 when he died Dec. 28. May he rest in peace.


Toledo Library

At a meeting last month, the Toledo City Council voted to consider acquiring and maintaining the former pharmacy building downtown if the Timberland Regional Library staff conducts a feasibility study on providing a full-service library in town.

Earlier in the month, TRL Executive Director Cheryl Heywood said the city would need to own and maintain the building before Timberland would consider a library in Toledo, but owners Bill and Pat Caldwell wanted assurance that the $72,200 building — if donated — would be maintained as a library.

They received that assurance from the council last month.

For more than five years, the building has housed the volunteer-run Toledo Community Library and a Timberland kiosk. In November, Brian Zylstra, a Lewis County representative on the TRL Board, asked library staff to conduct a feasibility study about establishing a full-service library in Toledo rather than just a kiosk.

Let’s hope a study is conducted.

If feasible, the city would maintain the 1,890-square-foot building while Timberland ran the library. If it’s not feasible, at least we’d know.


Julie McDonald, a personal historian from Toledo, may be reached at memoirs@chaptersoflife.com.