The Holden Village Podcast

Lola Deane

May 10, 2023 Dev Bach
The Holden Village Podcast
Lola Deane
Show Notes Transcript

For this episode we have the amazing Lola Deane, who helped pioneer the Holden well as Island Books on Mercer Island.

Past - Farm girl, UW Graduate as Family Nurse Practitioner, Wife, Mother, Mercer Island resident 1957-1985 and founder of Island Books, Shaw Island resident 1985-2019. Community Volunteer/Activist.

Present - Mercer Island resident again, still a Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, resident of Covenant Shores, Volunteer at MIYS Thrift Shop in books, and still a Community/Activist with even more issues on my plate.

Future -  "Who Knows what the Future Holds?"

To learn more about Holden Village, visit: or to listen to more audio recordings visit: The Holden Village Podcast is accessible through Apple iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeart Radio, and most podcast apps. For questions and inquiries, contact

Background music created by: RomanSenykMusic.

Lola Deane

[00:00:00] Intro: Welcome to the Holden Village Podcast. Holden is a community of education, programming, and worship located in the remote wilderness of the Cascade Mountains. These snapshots provide a glimpse into the learnings taking place in our community. Let's tune in to this week's highlight. 

[00:00:23] Dev: Welcome to another episode of the Holden Podcast. My name is Dev, (he/him pronouns) and I am with the wonderful Lola Deane. How would you like to introduce yourself Lola?

[00:00:35] Lola: A mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, community activist, and lover of Holden. 

[00:00:42] Dev: How long have you been coming to Holden? 

[00:00:44] Lola: Since 1965, four years after it started. 

[00:00:48] Dev: How would you describe this place? What is it about this place that brings you joy? Keeps you coming back? 

[00:00:55] Lola: Well, Holden is hard to describe as everyone has found...and everyone who comes here probably has just a little different description of it. It remains a faith-based community, but it started with an openness that was unusual for the church at the time in 1961. And so keeping that and the faith base...I think have been the two things that have made Holden continue. 

I think that's the thing that has been important to me. The fact that Holden is a place where you can come with lots of questions and talk with people from all over the country and the world and not be afraid to ask the question remains hopefully and always will remain one of the best gifts Holden has to give everybody.

[00:01:45] Dev: I agree. Genuine curiosity sparks a lot of wonderful dialogue and just interactions around here in general. So, you started the Holden Bookstore? 

[00:01:54] Lola: The idea for my bookstore in Mercer Island started here in 1973.

[00:01:59] Dev: Okay. 

[00:02:00] Lola: And it was a particularly vibrant summer. In the early years we had theologians you wouldn't believe, but they would talk about books and at that point, I think there maybe five books that were somewhere near the coffee pot down in the store, which was mostly t-shirts and sweatshirts at that point.

We were here with friends and we said "oh gosh, why don't they have books here when we need them?" Because we needed them right then. And so that got us to thinking that wouldn't it be fun to do something like a bookstore.

And so on the way home we talked about it, my husband and I talked about it, and we had another week of vacation. And so I went to the library on Mercer Island...and there was a book called "How to Open and Run an Independent Bookstore," put out by the American Book Sellers Association. 

[00:02:45] Dev: How fortuitous?

[00:02:46] Lola: So I took the book on the second week of our vacation and Phil and I talked about it a lot...and I read the whole book and thought "oh, this would be fun." I'd had some retail experience as a teenager running a general store and I really was up for a new challenge. And so we got home after the week was over, drove around Mercer Island...there was the space just waiting for us. So that was at the end of August and we opened on November 3rd with a full-fledged bookstore. 

[00:03:15] Dev: Wow.

[00:03:16] Lola: But we had just a little bit of money that we were able to free up. And in those days, you could start a bookstore in the northwest with very little money and a very skimpy inventory because The Ingram, which is the National Book seller that most people use, had a warehouse in Bellevue. So we could go over to Bellevue every time we needed as many as 10 books and pick up 10 more books to fill in the holes of the ones we've just sold. 

But we also knew that if a bookstore could happen anywhere, it would be on Mercer Island, which had a well-educated--not affluent at that point--but they would afford books because they wanted books. And also they were loyal to local endeavors. So the day that we opened the store, we had a line of customers down the street waiting for us to open their store. And that store is celebrating its 50th anniversary this November 3rd.

[00:04:08] Dev: Congratulations.

[00:04:09] Lola: But at that time, the idea of Holden having one was still very much in our minds. So two years later we came up to Holden in I think probably February in the middle of the snow, bringing the lumber for the shelves, which we knew we would need. Phil brought (he's a pediatrician) but he loved to build things. So he brought his tools and so up we came to build the bookstore. 

Mary Hinderlie was a reader. And she just loved the idea of doing the bookstore and Lifestyle also, which some people will remember was in full blast at that point. So we built the bookstore in seven days...despite multiple power outages...and we unloaded the books. We'd brought about 10 cartons of books up, especially for Lifestyle. And so we had a grand opening; at the end of the night the shelves were bare. 

[00:05:02] Dev: Wow.

[00:05:03] Lola: Just for winter community. So we knew something was going to go well.

[00:05:07] Dev: You did something right. 

[00:05:08] Lola: We did something right. So for the rest of that year, Carol or somebody from here would send down a list of books that they needed. And that summer was the first summer in 1973, the first summer of the bookstore being open. And it had a mission, and has a mission to provide books that are pertinent to the speakers that we have here and their subjects. To be on top of any current kind of crises throughout the world and address those social issues, especially. And also to provide books that people might not find anyplace else that might have something in them that was important for people's lives at some point or another.

And so that was the mission that we had, and it's had its ups and downs over the years, but hopefully we're gonna be able to renew it again because one of the directors is very interested in having that happen. 

[00:06:00] Dev: Absolutely. You mentioned social issues. Is there a particular social issue that you resonate with the most? 

[00:06:10] Lola: I'm a nurse, a retired nurse practitioner, so anything that has to do with health and social services is very important. But I was also raised on a farm in the northwest and so the environment is just critical. And right now, I think probably the environment is very critical.

I've just gone through all of the teaching staff for this summer to see what's happening and what books we need to make sure we have to support their programs. And there's a lot of environment coming up this summer, but I think we still have the overriding problem of people getting along with people; diversity is part of that. And then the economic challenges are so much different than they were in 73, and the wide gap between those who have and have-not is just getting larger and larger. So all of those issues continually have to be talked about and challenged. So that takes speakers and it takes reading and it takes thought. 

[00:07:06] Dev: Wonderful. And this is a good place to plug in that our summer program is going to be coming up very soon. And as you mentioned, there's going to be some wonderful speakers...speaking about these issues that we hold very dear here. So we hope that you can come up and join us. What else would you like to say? 

[00:07:26] Lola: I'm really looking forward to the opening of the museum, which I've worked on since that idea kind of came about. And that I think is going to be one of the cornerstones for people to remember what happened before at Holden...when it was a mining town, when it began, who has been here, what have they left? And what are the gifts we have to give back? 

[00:07:47] Dev: Excellent. There's a concept in Holden called Holden Hilarity. 

 [00:07:50] Lola: Oh yes.

[00:07:57] Dev:This is something that I like to bring up with everyone. How do you feel Holden brings out this wonderful sense of levity? 

[00:08:03] Lola: Well, I think you have to have a few key people around (uncontrollable laughter). 

[00:08:05] Dev: Yes. 

[00:08:05] Lola: And I think somebody asked me to describe a Holden discussion one time and I said, well, I remember a really hot issue during the Vietnam War when we had people on one side of the Koinonia just shouting at people at the other side. But we got through it and everybody then went and had a cup of coffee and they kept talking about it. But I can remember one issue one time...there was just no answer to the issue and Dan Urlander was the moderator. And so it came time for coffee, the bell rang and so Dan says, well, on another Holden similarity, we end on a comma. And I think that that's it. The job is not done. But we need to keep in mind that, you know, we are all one. 

[00:08:52] Dev: Yes.

[00:08:53] Lola: And we do all have a lot to share. And fun is a good part of it. And I've been glad to see this work there's been a determined thing to make sure people get rest and people do the things they need to do, and plenty of time to talk. 

[00:09:07] Dev: What would you say to someone that was interested in coming to the village? 

[00:09:11] Lola: Well, I live at a community now, which is a Swedish covenant community. And the chaplain really wants to come to Holden and I said "well, you know, Greg, I'd love to take you to Holden, but you have to know this is the way it is. Everybody is welcome." And so I think that is probably the thing I would say is most important. But then I say there is a wonder of Holden that I can't tell you about because you have to find it for yourself.

[00:09:37] Dev: Wonderfully articulated. 

[00:09:38] Lola: One of the things that I did when I was on the board was during our 50th year. I thought, how can I contribute to this 50th year? So I edited this book, which is the writings of all of the directors that have been directors of Holden Village 

[00:09:52] Dev: Oh wow.

[00:09:55] Lola: In the first 50 years there were two early directors, of course, who were not with us anymore, but their families wrote their parts. Food comes out very big, especially from Paul Hinderlie. He writes a piece in here called the The Care and Feeding by Food. Mine was the Care and Feeding of the Mind. The Care and Feeding of the Soul Through Music that I think was Tom Whit. And those were all terribly important. That was an interesting experience for me because I have known all of the directors except one. And so that was a lot of fun to be able to do and it does give people the sense of what different eras have been through. 

[00:10:26] Dev: Thank you so much Lola for being here and sharing all of your insights and wisdom with us.

[00:10:30] Lola: You're welcome Dev.

[00:10:33] Outro: Thanks for joining us. Be sure to view the links in the description for more information or visit our website to find out more about the village. We hope you will make a pilgrimage to Holden. Blessings and peace to you.