Feeling Very Urbanized

Dear Liza,

The first big thing that happened yesterday was that Grandpa Nelson bought me my birthday present. Yes, my birthday isn’t until next March. He went on-line for more than an hour and with lots of clicking and frustration and patience, he got two tickets to the musical HAMILTON when it comes to Portland next spring! He tried for four tickets, but there were only two available, so Auntie Katie (who loves Hamilton even more than I do) and I will be going to see the best musical in the last 30 years during spring break, 2018!

I smiled all day and well into the night. This sort of theater just doesn’t exist in Salinas… there just aren’t enough people to support it. I am feeling very blessed to be in this huge city where thousands of people love music and theater, and to have Grandpa Nelson, who will spend the time and money to make sure I can see it!

As if that wasn’t enough for one day, at 5:00 we took the #20 downtown. It was cold but dry and clear, and the lights reflecting off the river were beautiful. We walked from the bus stop up to Cheryl’s on 12th for dinner. We had tried to eat there for brunch, but it had been full. Dinner was pleasant, but nothing fabulous. The best thing was Christina, our server, who was conversational and helpful, and the curry pea salad.

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Cheryl’s on 12th                                Photo Credit: Cheryl’s
 

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          The Living Room Theater                                       Photo credit: Living Room

We walked to the Living Room Theater, just a few blocks away. Grandpa Nelson had gotten us tickets to see “The Battle of the Sexes”, a movie set in 1971, when he and I were dating in high school. The movie is about Billie Jean King, a professional tennis player, and her work to get equal pay for women athletes. One of the ways she did this was to play a male tennis player named Bobbie Riggs. I remember when it was all really happening and enjoyed seeing the clothes and hearing the music of my high school days up on the screen.

The movie was so good, we talked about it as we walked toward the bus stop….but didn’t stop! We went into Powell’s City of Books, because Grandpa Nelson wanted to do some early Christmas shopping. He shopped, I people-watched, Auntie Bridgett looked at graphic novels…until 10 P.M., our bed time.

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Powell’s City of Books Photo credit: Powell’s

We caught the bus and enjoyed the dark quiet ride home.

Love, Grandma Judy

 

 

 

Oregon Historical Society

Dear Liza,

Our weather keeps getting hotter! So Grandpa Nelson, The Idea Guy, made plans.  Just after lunch, we walked out into the already horrible heat to catch the #15 bus. On the air conditioned bus, we rode in happy relief towards downtown. We noticed that the bus goes directly past the Post Office on 7th Street…which will be good to know when Auntie Bridgett needs to mail her zines or I want to send you something.

We got off at the Oregon Historical Society, which is just across the Park Blocks from the Portland Art Museum. Grandpa Nelson was very interested in the “High Hopes” exhibit about President John Kennedy. There were many fun artifacts to see, like John’s report card from The Choate School, where he got a C- in public speaking, and a letter from young John to his father, asking for a raise in his allowance and giving reasons why it was needed.

But what I loved most were the speeches he gave, proving that his weakness in public speaking class was overcome with help and practice. His Inauguration speech, made on the first day he became President, still gives me goosebumps. He was so optimistic about what our country could do for ourselves and for the world. So many of his ideas were proven right, but only after he had died. We needed to sit down for a while, to think about President Kennedy, our country, and what we believe in.

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President John Kennedy

On the second floor we found an exhibit of Oregon history from the time of the Native Americans to now. A Native American story was written down by Ella Clark: “The Earth was once a human being, made by the creator to be a mother to her people. Her soil is flesh, the rocks are her bones, the wind is her breath, the trees and grass are her hair.” Sometimes when I walk in the park here, or by the ocean, I feel that loving mother-ness from the earth. That connection to the earth helps us feel whole, I think.

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State seal of Oregon. The motto is in Latin

We learned about all the things that Oregon has chosen as its symbols. These are to recognize what is special about the state. Oregon’s state motto is “She flies on her own wings”. I like this so much! The female image for the state, the freedom of wings and personal ownership, all tell of strength, independence, and freedom. As if Oregon were a strong, lovely fairy.

There are lots of other symbols, so I will make a small list here:

State bird: Western Meadowlark

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Western Meadowlark               Photo credit:enwikipedia.org

State flower: Oregon Grape (I know it sounds like a fruit, but it is also a flower)

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State fruit: Pears

State drink: Milk

State butterfly: Oregon Swallowtail

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Oregon Swallowtail                                     Photo credit :Fred Bentler

State animal: Beaver

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            Beaver                                                    Photo credit: globe-views.com

 

State tree: Douglas fir

When we had looked, talked, read and thought all we could about history, we had a snack and caught the streetcar up to Powell’s Bookstore, on SW 10th and Couch, to browse. There are so many wonderful books. I always learn something new or remember something I had forgotten.

For our last fun activity downtown, we walked to the (Air Conditioned) Living Room Theater at SW 10th and Stark. At this movie theater, you can order sandwiches or pizza, as well as beer, wine or soda, and they bring you the food at your seat before the movie starts. Each theater only holds about 30 people, but the chairs are comfortable.

We watched a funny French movie called “Lost in Paris”. It had subtitles but I enjoyed understanding some of the French, as well. It is not a kid’s movie, but we three adults enjoyed it very much.

We took the #20 back home and got Grandpa Nelson a milk shake at Fifty Licks, a very popular ice cream parlor right at the bus stop on Burnside, and just a few blocks from our house.

We rested and wrote in the cool basement until we got sleepy enough to go to bed. It was still hotter than most days in Salinas at 11:30 at night. And tomorrow is predicted to be even warmer! Oy and vey.

Love, Grandma Judy