Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
We left Port Orford the morning of July 20th with uncertain plans. In two days, we needed to be in Seattle to hang out with more family, but before that, what? We drove up to Bandon for a bakery breakfast. Always a good way to start, and discussed options. I did have a friend near Eugene who had called a couple of months ago and I had threatened him that we might visit, but there had been no contact since. Should I just call and say we were at his doorstep?
The no-notice call didn't seem all that polite, but we decided to give it a try. I called. Joe answered with a friendliness that took away my doubts (mostly). We arranged to meet him and Carol at their home in Junction City, just north of Eugene.
We drove up the coast to Florence and turned east on a series of small roads, bridges, and highways. This was the path Carla's GPS gave us, and we appreciated the scenery. This part of Oregon is divided by a number of hills-to-ocean streams and rivers, adding to the green mystery of heavy forests. It's a worthwhile drive. You should do it sometime.
Carla successfully guided us to Joe and Carol's house and we went off to lunch in Junction City. The food was good and, more important, the conversation was as if we'd visited regularly over the last half-century. Carol caught Marianne up with their family history while Joe did the same with me. Nice.
After lunch, Joe took Marianne and me on a tour of the various fields that make up the Cersovski family holdings. (It was the middle of harvest but, fortunately for us, Joe's combine had broken down the day before, so he had time for tourists.) He and his two brothers work over 1,000 acres of wheat and various types of grasses for yards, golf courses, and even for seed-oil for cosmetics.
After the field tour, we stopped by the original home farm for the Cersovski holdings. Joe's grandparents' original 110-year-old home is still there. He took me on a quick tour and I was reminded of our own "farm house" in Bavaria, older, but with similarly good bones. The family is going to restore the place as the farm office, and we wish them success.
So, we said good bye to the Cersovskis and had to decide which direction to turn. We chose north, a short distance, and settled into a Best Western in Corvallis. We expected a two day stay, with nothing more than washing clothes and generally chilling. And that's what happened. These sort of days are needed on long trips.
On Saturday morning, we repacked and headed north. The drive was expected to be long enough to require two drivers and it was that and more. Getting through Portland was slow, with twisty freeways, bridges, and general congestion. At least we had Mount Hood off to the east to keep us company.
In Washington, things got worse. Traffic ground to a stop in Chahalis and Carla's GPS sent us off on a side road. Pleasant enough road, but not much quicker than the clogged Interstate. By the time we reached the Fort Lewis area, things were much worse. We were sent off the freeway again, but the side road, old Highway 99, was even worse. (Later we found out the problem: three major Seattle events, including Taylor Swift concerts.)
Hours after we left Corvallis, we finally reached Cousin Maryetta's Ballard home.
For the next 24 hours, we were too busy eating, chatting, and laughing to take any pictures for this story. It was great! Dinner was at Ristorante Picolinos, a neighborhood spot that offers good food and a comfortable environment, greatly expanded due to Covid expansion into a series of patio and garden venues. After dinner, we talked about more family history than I recall hearing for decades. It was fun!
On Sunday, we started with more food, whether we needed it or not, and then headed downtown as tourists. We started at an art show by the "XO" organization being held in the old Coliseum Theater. The art was a mix, from canoe carvers to more-traditional paintings.
It was a fun opportunity for pictures, including one of the exit door that Maryetta and her friends had used to sneak into the movie theater, decades ago.
I explored the basement "installation", one of my least favorite art styles.
Spooky, and dangerously dark stairs.
That art was so much fun, we headed to the Frye Art Museum, a wonderful private collection that has been around since I was a kid visiting the Campbell cousins' apartment nearby. But, before more art, we took a detour to St. James Cathedral, a nice reminder of our old church connections, even if we all have stopped regular church visits other than as picture-taking tourists.
After church, we stayed at the Frye until closing. The displayed pieces really were special, and we could have spent even more time there.
On the way home, we stopped in front of Maryetta's childhood home on Capital Hill. Seventy years later, I can still remember visiting the Healy home and my dad's favorite sister and my favorite cousins.
Dinner at home was accompanied by even more laughter and family stories. We need to do this more often!
John and Marianne