QUILCENE — “Long live the Queen.”
“We love you.”
“Hope it’s all you wanted.”
Friends and three generations of family gathered at the Quilcene Community Center on Saturday to celebrate the 90th birthday of Dodee Brown, a local institution.
In addition to bringing her cards and gifts, guests were invited to take a crayon and write messages to Brown on the paper tablecloths.
But it was the greeting from Clint Eastwood that made her day.
Eastwood, via former Hollywood producer Bob Rosen, signed a 90th birthday card and sent gifts — an autographed photo and an exclusive Directors Guild of America cap.
Rosen, the community center’s director, explained the baseball cap with the DGA initials was in recognition of Brown’s status in the community.
“When I came here 3½ years ago, the first person I met was Dodee Brown,” Rosen said. “I realized that there was only one director in Quilcene.”
Brown said her family, the Cooks, moved to Quilcene from Aberdeen in 1924, when she was 3 years old.
At Saturday’s party, Lura Mae Schafer, 91, a life-long resident of Quilcene, recalled knowing Dodee and her brother, Red Cook, with whom she went through grade school and high school.
Dodee moved away after she married and lived in Shelton, where she raised six children.
According to her daughter, Judy Shields, Dodee and Kenneth Brown returned to Quilcene in the 1970s.
At Saturday’s party, Louie and Gerri Neill said they had known Brown for 30 years, when she was “up on the mountain.
“She ran the antique store, which was owned by her brother, Red,” Louie Neill said, referring to the Mount Walker Trading Post.
Brown has been a regular in local dramas, Shields said, and plays the piano.
One year, Brown volunteered to model a vintage swimsuit in the Port Townsend Victorian Festival fashion show. She also orchestrates events at the community center.
“I am a great director, by the way,” Brown said.
For Saturday’s party, Brown asked Rita and Sid Hubbard, Chuck Grall and other members of the Washington Old Time Fiddlers to provide music.
“We’re going to play for Dodie’s 100th birthday and her 110th,” Grall said before launching into another song.
It was Brown’s granddaughter, Tammy Kelley of Olympia, who suggested the party and offered to cater it, saying she was tired of her grandmother having store-bought cakes on her birthdays.
Kelley not only baked the cake, flanked with two tiers of cupcakes, but organized the buffet.
Among the family who attended were Brown’s son, Buddy, who lives in Quilcene, daughter Judy Shields and her daughters, Judi Trautman of Sequim and Linda Lindquist of Anchorage.
Brown’s niece, Susie Cook of Sequim, came with her son, Michael Lyckman.
Brown’s son, Paul, came from Olympia, as did great-granddaughter Jessica Kelley, who wrote “We love you, Grandma” on the paper tablecloth.
Local friends attending the party included Peggy Ann Bierbaum, Melody Bacchus, Josh Capps and Laurie Mattson.
“This is worth living 90 years for,” Brown said, thanking everyone, especially her grandchildren who provided the food.
Brown’s actual birthday is Oct. 17, but she said she wanted to celebrate early.
“I’ve got other things to do,” she said.
Before everyone sang “Happy Birthday,” Rosen presented Brown with the card and gifts from Eastwood, saying that Eastwood was mad that Brown had never received the recognition she deserved.
The message in the card over his signature read: “I understand you are the true director of Quilcene, and with that in mind, I am sending an official, members-only DG of A award.
“Wear in good health.”
Brown said she has been in a movie, “Ring of Fire,” a 1961 crime drama that was filmed in Shelton and starred David Janssen and Frank Gorshin.
And while Eastwood may be one of her favorite actors, Brown had to think a moment when asked who her favorite movie star of all time is.
Then she answered.
“John Barrymore, of course,” she said.
Reporter/columnist Jennifer Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.