Monday, February 18, 2008

In Search of Golden Man, Or: So Is This What Roots Feels Like?

My Dad graduated from a high school in Portland, grew up all over the Willamette Valley and went to the University of Oregon.

But my Gram lived down on High Street for EVER.

I took Nora out for a spin in her new bad-but-I-mean-GOOD jogger stroller that Judy gave me for Christmas (THANK YOU JUDY!!)

We went in Search of The Golden Man -- The gold-laminated pioneer dude at the top of the Oregon State Capitol building.

We walked down to Chemeketa street (I still hear my Grandmother's pronunciation which isn't quite how I hear it out of other people who probably know better).

We walked towards the capitol building, and walked and walked for what felt like FOREVER and a day through historic Salem.

We finally did see Golden Man, and I flashed back to being a little kid in the back seat of Grandma's big ol' Pontiac with no seatbelts required, trying to catch a glimpse of Golden Man, and thinking how INCREDIBLY RICH we must be to be able to afford a golden man of such size on top of a building!

Truly, civic pride at its finest in a 6-year-old's heart.

We saw many old houses including one built in 1872 -- on the National Register of Historic Places (complete with external plumbing), and then it hit me.

"Is this what having roots feels like?"

My life has been this side of nomadic, as I was born in Brazil, grew up in three different schools, went to Brazil as an exchange student, and lived in Seattle, Central Washington, Denver and now back to Oregon as an adult.

It's weird to drive around town and realize that that was where Meier & Frank used to be, and that if I just drive down High Street far enough, I'll run into Gram's old house, and it's just not that far from where I live now.

I happened upon her old church the other day as well, and am tempted to go there except that some of her quirky younger friends live on, and I'm not sure I really want to "go there".

But it is amazing to land in this town, and aside from the rain which I can't seem to adjust to -- I feel oddly at home here -- and I'm not quite sure how to feel about that.

I've never really been home before.

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