Friday, June 24, 2011

Things sure do change...

Ahhhhh Portland, how do I miss you?  Let me count the ways...or just recollect about them, if nothing else.  

I miss the grungy areas of Portland, that have since been pushed out to the farm areas (and built up, ganged up, screwed up).  The first time I went back to you, in 1999, after 5 years away I hardly recognized you, what with a Mexican fast food chain restaurant on practically every corner...with my old ghetto-ized neighborhood all cleaned up and sparkling new with micro-breweries and cute little markets.  What happened to your character?  What's that you say?  You were whitewashed?  Ya, that doesn't surprise me...not at all.

So, thinking about My Portland, when living in {insert Elvis singing} The Ghetto, I did some pretty amusing things.  In a previous entry, you already know that I used to frequent the little dive store around the corner...I also went to this corner to a little music shop that was there for a brief amount of time (now it appears a Nails store is there - how exciting) Music Store Spot - the first time I went in I asked if they had "the new MC Pooh" (aka Pooh-Man) - after a couple of quizzical looks from the guys in the store they said, "ya, we gots that, you wants it?"  Of course I wanted that damn tape, otherwise WTF would I be doing in that dinky little African American owned and operated music store in North Portland?  Happily on my way with my new tape, I then went to the little liquor store across the street.  More odd stares, but no one bothered me (though I did get a couple of nods) and off I went home with my cheap vodka (I'm sure) and music.  Oh hell ya!  Only thing that might have made it better was a stop at the Discount Hostess store...maybe I went there too?

My neighborhood was cool, for me at least.  Here's a pic of the house one street burnt down, obviously:

I know I have pictures somewhere of my old place, but I'll have to find them...they're probably lost in a box.  The house above, the story is that the guy who lived there fell asleep while smoking a cigarette (on his couch) - oops.

Now, this neighborhood was amusing for several reasons - aside from the fact we were in an odd pocketed corner, we really did have the makings of a good movie of the times.  My landlord (okay, it was Mississippi, then Michigan, then Missouri, where I lived) was a gay man with gay man tastes and a penchant for NOT fixing anything he rented out.  He owned at least 6 other properties aside from his own, including 4 on my street, and his and another on Michigan (where the burnt down house was - it was a couple doors down from him).  Having a gay man living in the neighborhood meant he'd rent to whomever was colorful and would put up with his bullshit.  This included, but was of course not limited to:

1) Nan - old roommate - a story of how I ended up there in her house that she rented from my landlord will come in the future.

2) The house 2 doors down that I eventually moved to (and Nan eventually dated Jill, who lived in that house at the time with Maria who was a member of the band The Cunts).

3) The house next door to that, of which an older lady lived in and Echo, who was Ms. Leather - Portland (or something close to this title) in the early '90's.

4) The house across the street from that, where a "woman in her '80's" lived - Mark said he bought her a bottle of bourbon each week and took it to her - she never got out of the house and had someone else bring in her groceries. addition to this assortment was Lizzy Black, the lead singer of The Cunts and also a leather dildo maker who owned two large Dobermans.  I'm pretty sure she owned this house (she lived on the corner of Michigan).

As you are surely gathering, the neighborhood was interesting.  Between the first house I lived in and the next house I lived in (and last, but I started in the basement and moved up to the main part over time) there was a family who rented and almost set their house on fire by leaving the stove on one to the first house on the other side was a family who had a crack-head son in his 30's.  He was told he couldn't do any drugs by mom/dad if we was going to live there (and was on parole, etc., etc. - he was always high), he'd hide his drugs in a plumbing pipe that wasn't in use outside...I'd see him get them when he though no one was looking.  He also constantly had used stereo equipment he was trying to sell me cheap - I had to keep telling him I didn't have a stereo so why would I need speakers?  Oh, of course then he'd say he could find me some stereo equipment for the speakers if I'd just buy them.  Ya, no thanks.  

I loved living was cheap and interesting and full of character.  I'd walk to the bus stop a few blocks away and take the bus into my downtown Portland job.  I lived very close to The White Eagle, which was a biker bar, primarily that was thought to be haunted (and now I think the hotel is much trendier that's on top of it), and near the Widmer

I was also close to the grain silo's where they'd bring in vessels of grain, and railroad tracks - two of my other loves.  I was smitten with my little pocket of ghetto-fantasticalness, and I miss it deeply.

Not that you can see it, but the house I lived in secondly is here and the first one a couple down is here - mind you, that one looks completely appears some major work has been done on it (including an added basement ::scratches head::).  Here's a recent picture of The White Eagle that I stood kitty corner from talking on a payphone.  This whole area is nice now...most of the beautiful desolation is gone.

I miss those times - they were quieter in my head.  Things were simpler in some ways and much, much more dramatic in others, but maybe that's what made it so damn sweet.


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