More Sad Good-Byes

Dear Liza,

The Covid pandemic is shuttering more small local businesses, I am sorry to say. Between fear of infection discouraging folks from going inside to shop or eat, vaccination requirements making staffing difficult, the owners themselves getting sick, and the general economic downturn, we have lost two favorite places as of this past Saturday.

The first is our dear Hob Nob, where Jason and his crew were some of the first folks to welcome us to the neighborhood. The Wonderful David, Cane, Morgan, and Kate have had to find other places to be, and we will miss them.

Good pulled pork sandwiches, inexpensive wine and super-goofy-friendly wait staff made the Nob a fun place to go hang out, people-watch, and then walk the block home.

While out on our walk today, we stopped by the Flower Bomb, which is closing its doors, too. Solara had the bad luck of opening in her new digs in February 2020, just a month and a half before the shut down.

We will miss her and her delightful shop. I wish her well.

We have also said goodbye, since the pandemic, to Noun, a cool antique shop; The Nerd Out, a comic themed restaurant and bar; and Bistro Agnes, a lovely french restaurant downtown.

We are learning important lessons. If you like a place, support it to help it stick around.

Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can eat out today.

Appreciate where you live!


Grandma Judy

Shopping Locally

Dear Liza,

Even though I made some gifts, there is still a lot of shopping to be done for Christmas! Faraway friends and family receive, and we received from them, edible goodies from companies like Harry and David, The Fruit Company, and Nut Cravings.

But for those closer to home, we have wonderful local shops to enjoy. Mix Tape is a vintage shop that has been on SE Belmont for years, and has just moved into a bigger place!

We were sad to see Noun, at the corner of SE 33rd and Belmont, close last year as its owners moved on to other things, but Mix Tape has moved in and made the most of all the new square footage.

Mix Tape has a more 80s vibe, which isn’t my favorite era (I missed a lot of it, being inside cuddling babies) but has real good vintage boots, clothing, jewelry and even VHS movies!

And just a block down Belmont, the space that Mix Tape left is being filled as Belmont books, run by Joe Witt, expands. He’s not quite all set up yet, but there’s a lot to see!

Further south, Hawthorne Street has a lot of shops, too. Tender Loving Empire, Presents of Mind and Asylum are full of goodies, and books, many by local authors. Sadly, there were so many shoppers that the small shops just didn’t feel Covid-safe, so we headed out into the fresh air and home.

With Omicron making even small gatherings feel scary (again), it is looking to be a quiet, home-bound holiday. Stay safe, and we will get together when we can.


Grandma Judy

Hazel Hall, Poet

Dear Liza,

One of the shops I love most in our little Sunnyside neighborhood is called Noun, “a person’s place for things”. It has a delightful collection of curated second hand things and newer artwork, and is temporarily closed, of course. But it has a wonderful new window display that has taught me new things.

NOUN…A person’s place for things

In the window is this hand lettered and sewn paper creation that looks like a quilt with writing on it, and I got to stop and read it the other day. It is called Nobody Passes and it goes like this:

The day is set, like a stage for feet

With a ridge of white clouds painted high

Across the canvas of the sky,

With pavement gleaming and too clean,

A shimmer of grass that seems too green,

And houses alert in every side,

Showing a stiff and conscious pride.

The day is a stage and life is a play,

But nobody passes down this way.

I was intrigued, and looked up Helen Hall online. She was born in 1886 and lived in northwest Portland. When she was about twelve, either because of a fall or scarlet fever (history is slippery) she became paralyzed and could only get around by wheelchair.

Since her house was a typical Victorian with steep, narrow stairs, Helen spend most of the rest of her life in her upstairs bedroom. When she got older, she started taking in sewing work that she could do from home. Her sewing machine was set up by the window so she could look out.

She started writing poetry, mostly about her work and what she saw happening on the street outside her window. Her poems became well known, and were published in The Nation and Sunset, among many others. Her poems were praised and “true” and “poignant”.

Hazel died in 1924 at the age of 38. Her home, at 106 NW 22nd in Portland, still stands and is on the National Register of Public Places. There is a small park next door, and seems like a good place for us to visit,once we can go out and visit.

I love learning new things about my wonderful city. I hope you get to come see me real soon.


Grandma Judy