When it comes to Seattle, it seems like an increasing number of my sketches and posts are about things that are going away…or already gone. I already can’t keep up with my “wishlist” of sketch destinations—but in the fastest-growing city in the country, my race to draw disappearing things is a constant losing battle. By the time I got around to Linc’s Tackle, I knew it was on its way out. Sure enough, if you drive by there now you’ll find an empty storefront. In a year, you might find a shiny nondescript condo building.
Linc’s was far more than something that made me smile whenever I passed it (“Let’s get ready for squid fishing!”). It was an institution: a multi-generation, family-owned business begun by immigrants—that classic American-dream story. Originally called Togo’s Tackle, its owner, Linc Beppu, was imprisoned with his family at the Camp Minidoka internment camp during World War II. The Beppus were among the few Japanese-American families to return to xenophobic Seattle after the war. They reopened their tackle shop with a new name: Linc’s. Jerry Beppu, Linc’s son, has run the shop since his dad’s retirement—he himself retired at the end of last year and sold the building.
I’ll never fault anyone for retiring after a lifetime of hard work. Yet the city I love seems to be retiring, as well. Linc’s was one of the countless tiny touchstones that make Seattle…Seattle. Those little cultural clues, the last remnants of Old Seattle, are disappearing one-by-one.
This, perhaps more than anything else, is why I keep sketching—why I keep telling these stories. And maybe on some subconscious level, this is why I make all my drawings in ink and watercolor. After all, pen and paint aren’t so easy to erase.