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Huckleberries: 1971 Wallace High grad startles brother with free copy of Branstetter’s ‘sex book’

The cover of Heather Branstetter’s “Selling Sex in the Silver Valley: A History Doing Pleasure” startled one of Sheila Barnes’ brothers. (Book cover photo from The History Press)
The cover of Heather Branstetter’s “Selling Sex in the Silver Valley: A History Doing Pleasure” startled one of Sheila Barnes’ brothers. (Book cover photo from The History Press)

Sheila Barnes of Ponderay, Idaho, refers to Heather Branstetter’s book as “that sex book,” rather than “the Wallace book.”

In a recent Huckleberries column, I told of some skittish customers of The Well-Read Moose in Coeur d’Alene using the term, “the Wallace book,” to ask for Branstetter’s popular history, “Selling Sex in the Silver Valley: A Business Doing Pleasure.”

Sheila tells Huckleberries that her shorthand title gets to the essence of the book quicker. And her friends know what she means. In an email, the 1971 Wallace High grad tells of following her older brothers out of the Silver Valley and of being bothered by the tolerant attitude for the town’s sex trade. But she was curious about Branstetter’s book. So she ordered copies for herself and her brothers.

One brother told her that he was glad he was sitting down when “that sex book” arrived. Seems he was going through a third reading of the Bible at the time. Looking at the title and the cover of Branstetter’s book, which features a scantily clad woman with a come-hither look, the brother told Sheila, “I wondered if I should be reading this at the same time.”

Sheila said her brother isn’t “ultra-religious.” She concludes: He was “no doubt thinking our mother looking down from heaven might not approve.”

Uber to the rescue

A local Uber driver, whom we’ll call “U.B. Erlyft: The Uber Phantom,” has a front seat on the raw side of the Lake City. Recently, he was called to pick up someone between the Moose and Beacon bars in downtown Coeur d’Alene. As he pulled up, a drunken, middle-aged guy hopped into the front seat and gasped: “Just get me out of here, man.” The destination app showed that the man wanted a 5-mile ride. As they drove off, the drunk told U.B. that he had already been in two fights – and it wasn’t 10 p.m. yet. In one of the fights, he said, he punched a guy in the face who’d yelled out, “White Power!” The Uber ride was abbreviated when the boozer demanded out about a half mile out of town. He was leaning against a fence when U.B. Erlyft last saw him, either puking or about to pass out. Aren’t drunks fun?


Poet’s Corner: Donate now for a plate/with a knife and a fork,/and when we’re elected/we will serve up the pork – “The Bard of Sherman Avenue: Poems by Tom Wobker” (“Campaign Dinner”) … David Townsend, communication coordinator at the Coeur d’Alene Library, experienced a first last week. He had to ask a patron not to leave his 4-foot sword unattended in front of the building … On his 700 ESPN show with Rick Lukens last week, Dennis Patchin said that it isn’t right to complain about Winter 2016-17 AND the recent high-90s temperatures. Pick one or the other, he said. But don’t we have some sort of constitutional right to never be satisfied with the weather? … Shout Out (from Jason Lowe, an associate pastor at Hayden Bible Church and self-proclaimed nerd): “‘Spiderman’ absolutely rocked!! Good job Marvel!! This loooooong time fan is way pleased. FINALLY!!” (No exclamation points were harmed in the writing of this Huckleberries item.) …

Parting shot

Cis Gors of Kootenai wonders which is worse: A cat who brings its prize mouse kill into the house. Or a husband who calls and asks that you check the coat closet to see if the mouse trap he’d set in the morning worked. (It had.) Rather than say which was worse on her Facebook page, Cis was thankful that she had 3-foot “old lady grab sticks” to handle both stomach-turning problems.

You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at 509-319-0354 or

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