Walking to Pip’s

Dear Liza,

Dry, grey skies

The New Year is upon us, and all the good intentions that come with new beginnings. We have had some unseasonably dry weather of late, so Grandpa Nelson and I took one of our long walks.

Beautiful old Franklin High School

We walked north through the lovely, historic Laurelhurst neighborhood, with its Craftsman style homes, century old maple trees, and complicated Christmas decorations. For a while, the bright overcast made everything look like it was being filmed in black and white.

We crossed the noisy Banfield Freeway and stopped for a snack and Cold Buster juice at Whole Foods, then continued north to one of my favorite streets in Portland: Kilckitat Street! Yes, this is the same street that Romona Quimby, the young heroine of Beverly Cleary’s stories, lived on. It still has the working class, family friendly feel it had back in the 1950s when the stories were written.

When we got to Pip’s Doughnuts and House made Chai, the first thing we noticed was that the bus stop in front of the shop had been destroyed. The metal bench and sign posts were literally laying in a heap on the curb. That looked like bad news.

Uh Oh….

Looking past that, we saw that the wall of the doughnut shop had been boarded up. More bad news.

More uh oh…

But looking just to the left, we saw the good news. A line of people out the door, happily waiting for fresh cooked Pip’s Doughnuts. All was well, after all.

All is well! Doughnuts!

It seems that during the night, a drunk driver had veered off the street and into the shop, breaking a window but missing the door, the supporting pillar, the equipment, and even the guitar hung on the wall. It could have been a disaster, but it was mostly an inconvenience to the owners.

More good news! People love Pip’s, and hundreds came by to make sure the business continued. They are the sort of ecologically- conscious, community- centeric business that help make Portland what it is.

We enjoyed way too many doughnuts, then headed back towards home.

Not so bad inside!
We love their ecological and social consciousness…
And their doughnuts!

Our short winter day made for a pretty sunset sky at not quite 4:00, and we got home in time for leftover chili and some British Baking Show before falling into an exhausted, happy sleep.

Good bye, Sun!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Klickitat Street

Dear Liza,

The other day I told you about our busy day at Pip’s Doughnuts, IKEA and Costco. There was another exciting part of that day. We drove down Klickitat Street!

I know you haven’t read them yet, but there is a wonderful series of books by Beverly Cleary that all happen on Klickitat Street. Henry Huggins, his dog Ribsy and neighbors Beezus and Ramona Quimby have lots of adventures. For many years I didn’t know that it was a real street in a real place, but it sure is!

Beverly Cleary herself grew up in this northeast section of Portland, on 37th Street just down a bit. She was labeled a low reader in first grade, and as she said, “To be in the Blackbird group was to be disgraced.” Her own school librarian encouraged her and she had caught up by third grade, and was told by her sixth grade teacher that she should be an author. Mrs. Cleary grew up to be a children’s librarian who was frustrated because there weren’t enough books that really interested children. She began writing and published her first book, “Henry Huggins”, in 1950. That is six years before I was even born!

Beverly Cleary used her own childhood as a model for her stories, which deal with the everyday joys and dilemmas of childhood. They are funny for children and adults and feel very real in their approach to family life. She liked the name Klickitat because it reminded her of the sound of knitting needles.

Today, Klickitat Street is still in the middle of a pretty part of the city, a neighborhood called Roseway, far enough out from Downtown to be quiet but still very busy. The street is one of the most heavily used of the “Bicycle Throughways” in Portland, roads that are signed for bikes and where car traffic is discouraged. These throughways make biking much safer and more fun.

Today I have been writing letters to friends, reading one of my favorite books, Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”, and listening to the crows. This afternoon Grandpa Nelson and I will ride our bikes to see cousins Jasper and Kestrel be in a circus from their summer camp. I am sure enjoying life up here in Portland!

Love,

Grandma Judy