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Brown Bag: Meyer to present Hells Canyon book

The seventh week of the Bicentennial Historical Museum’s annual Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series takes place next week. Bring a lunch and join in to hear some local history.

For the next two weeks, local history enthusiasts will discuss Idaho County people, places and things.

The sessions are free and open to the public, set for noon to 1 p.m., each Wednesday, in the basement of the museum, 305 North College Street, Grangeville.

The sixth presentation is set for today, Wednesday, Sept. 6, when Roger and Janice Inghram of Grangeville (Mount Idaho) will offer the presentation “Nature’s Highlights.”

Next week, Sept. 20, Virginia Woods Meyer will present her book, “Tough Enough: 25 Years in Hells Canyon.”

“When I first read Doris Wilson’s memoir, I was intrigued by the picture she portrayed of a time and location, which had been a part of both her life and mine,” said Meyer. “She and I lived in the same community; our sons were school classmates and friends. In writing her life story, Doris skimmed lightly over the surface of a fascinating series of events and anecdotes. “

Woods said those tales stirred her imagination.

“As a writer, could I take this background material, embellish her stories and turn them into a book that would inform, entertain and encourage readers to carefully contemplate the changes that swept through the West in the past 65 years?”

Eventually, Meyer did get to the idea and from it was borne the creative non-fiction book “Tough Enough: Twenty-five years in Hells Canyon,” the recently released book.

Although Doris and her husband, Lem, are no longer living, through her own son Meyer followed the whereabouts of Mickey, the Wilson’s youngest son.

“I decided to contact Mick and his older brother, Ray, to explore their feelings about having such a story written. Mick especially embraced the idea,” she said. “Both offered to help supply data and information to round out their mother’s memoir.”

The novel is one family’s story of living and working during the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s in the region known today as the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

For Virginia Woods Meyer, a former Grangeville-area resident, new life began at the age of 60. Retirement afforded her the time to explore new activities and interests. Retiring from her role as a County Agent for Washington State University’s, Cooperative Extension Service, in 1993 she enrolled in a Spokane Community College Senior Writers Workshop. In the years that followed she experimented with memoir, fiction, prose and even a bit of poetry. Twenty-five years later she is the author of five published books.

The 222-page book is available by paperback and e-books at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Cost is $15.95. Books are also available from Meyer by e-mailing

The final program will be Sept. 27 when Erin Duden presents the program “Kirkwood.”


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