Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time does change a few things

You know it's been a long time since coming back to your roots when people you run into ask how long you've been away and you can't honestly remember the last time you were in town.  Without having Lisa with me on this trip I didn't have my trusted calendar partner to try and figure out when and where we last made it up to the Northwest.  If I remember correctly the last time was two years ago when we spent a few days in Portland and then headed over to Bend to enjoy Eagle Crest with the Petersen's.

This time back I was all by myself and in town for my 20th high school reunion.  To be honest, as much as I was looking forward to seeing old friends, I probably was just as excited to have a full day of hanging out with my sister on Friday.  I think it's probably been fifteen years since either of us had the opportunity to do this.  As the day transpired it was great to catch up on a more personal level than just over the phone and email.

Our Friday was pretty unscripted.  The week leading up to the trip I had this overwhelming sense that there was a lot that I wanted to do, but I couldn't really pinpoint specifically what I wanted to do.  It wasn't until Friday morning after I woke up that I figured out my plans for the day.  It had been way too long since I had driven out to Boring and visited the old house where I grew up; so that was at least a start to the day.  Once my writers-esque block on itinerary planning was broken by this decision, the rest of the day fell into place.

When you've been gone for a long time sometimes things don't change, yet other things just seem to be juiced up and out of proportion like Barry Bond's steroidal growth'd head.  On the drive out to Boring things didn't really seem that different until I turned down Bartell Road.  Most alarming was the last half mile of the road before my old house.  Trees that were tall had grown another fifty feet and cast all sorts of different shadows upon the surroundings.  As we progressed closer and closer to the house my memories from fifteen years plus of living on the road were slowly be re-written.  Upon coming around a few corners in the road the sights were different and made me pause; it really had been a long time and things were definitely different.  I stopped the car to soak it in and to take a few pictures.  I'm still feel like these changes haven't settled in my brain and I feel some sense of internal struggle in my head between my old memories which were so engrained and what is not the reality of change.  Strange indeed...

I know I was more overwhelmed than my sister as she's been in the area ever since coming back from college in California.  We continued our journey over to the old Hoodview grade school and then out towards Estacada to try and find one of the homes of a boyhood friend (John Neufeld).  I always loved his house for several reasons.  First, back in the late 70's/early 80's the architecture of the home to me just seemed "cool".  The floorplan was long with several floors and lofts, with a ton of wood and very angular architecture.  I'm sure there's some style that sums it up, but I wouldn't know what term to apply.  Second, I spent a ton of time over at his house because of the number of sleepovers.  Which leads to the last point, a deeply ingrained affection for eating nachos while watching Dr. Who.  I'm not so much eating Nachos anymore while watching Dr. Who, but I'm still a super-freak fan of the current Dr. Who series; so glad the BBC decided to bring it back!

From here we meandered through the outskirts of town, did a quick stop at River City Cycles and found our way through downtown to Northwest 23rd.  The yellow VW convertible we were driving brought us good luck and we were able to quickly find a prime 2-hour parking spot.  That gave us enough time to hit up the street and take in the sights before nabbing sushi for lunch.  With the day half shot I needed a good sugar hit; on the way back to the car with swung into Papa Hyden to indulge.  I remember as a kid going there with the Neufeld's after going to symphony events as a kid (yes, I somehow didn't get too annoyed at going to the symphony as a kid knowing that we'd hit up places like this afterwards).

Fully jacked up on espresso and carrot cake and our day over halfway gone, we headed down to the Pearl District.  Again, luck struck with parking and we made our way into Powell's.  Now there's a place that hasn't changed!  It still has the largest selection of books I've ever seen.  OK, maybe not as much as the Green Library at Stanford, but by far the most of any store out there.  While in the area we came across a piano store and dropped in to see how much these actually cost.  Yeah, I have our family's Yamaha baby grand piano at my house, but I have no idea what it's worth.  Well now I know, and they aren't cheap!  I definitely feel some self-induced guilt knowing that the piano is in need of a good tuning and some TLC.  I sat down and played a bit of Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C#minor on a concert Steinway.  The price tag on that piano made my Yamaha seem like chump change.  Thinking back to the lessons I took from the teacher who had one of these in his living room makes me have a greater appreciation for something I've previously discounted.  In retrospect, very cool to have learned how to play on such a beautiful sounding piece of art.

We wrapped up our day by getting lost in the west hills of Portland while trying to find some vista points.  We did manage to find a few but too quickly the day was drawing to a close and I had my first reunion event coming up quickly.  Thinking back it was nice to just hang out and spend some quality family with my sis.

No comments: