This week's Weekly Geeks topic is to take a literary tour of your hometown, which is a great reminder to me that I need to call for submissions to the Bookworms Carnival I'm hosting this summer. This collection of posts will have the theme of Local Authors. Got a post featuring an author who's local to you? I'd love to include submissions from authors writing about their hometowns, as well. Submit a link to your post (or email your article to me if you don't have a blog), to Worducopia@gmail.com. The deadline is June 26, 2009.
And now, allow me to show you around my adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon, from the perspective of author Beverly Cleary. I grew up in Wisconsin, reading Cleary's books about Ramona the Pest and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. It wasn't until I moved to Portland as an adult that I realized that Klickitat street, where the fictional pesty Ramona lived, was a real street.
Not only that, but the characters in many of Cleary's books were inspired by the people she remembered from her childhood in Portland or from her grown-up days as a librarian here.
At Beverly Cleary's website there's a clickable version of this map that links to information about the featured places and how they relate to real Portland:Gotta mention here that we have very few cowboys hanging around and our police officers only rarely wander through the city brandishing their batons.
So, hop on your virtual bike--we're big on biking here in Portland--and come along with my boys and me for a Beverly Cleary bike ride. We're not going to Powell's City of Books, that's all the way across downtown from here, 7 miles away. You want to go on a fourteen mile bike ride? You'll have to wait for my husband to take you, I stick to this side of town. I'll take you on a Powell's tour another time. By car. Or maybe bus.
Here we are at Grant Park, which looks nothing like the cute picture on the map--it's huge and contains an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a track, and a high school as well as the playground and popular soccer/kickball field. In summertime the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden is a fountain for kids to splash around in, but the water's off now, which makes it easier to take pictures. Here's Evan checking out Henry Huggins:
And me palling around with Ramona. This is what my hair looks like when I've been wearing a bike helmet. The helmet-head look is all the rage in Portland, I promise you.
I have pictures of Evan and Ben riding Ribsy from when they were tiny tots, but here's today's version. They're not as unhappy as they look, I think the sun was in their eyes.:
My favorite picture of the day, I think it's kinda artsy. I call it Whose Shoes?:
OK, now we'll leave the park, and head over to the--
Evan: I just need to ride on the tire swing.
OK, first we'll ride on the tire swing, and monkey around on the bars, and swing a little, and take pictures of a dog, and then we'll head over to the library, where there's a display dedicated to Beverly Cleary's books and neighborhood. This building was built in 2002, and even the library before it wasn't the one Beverly wrote about. The map on the wall shows Cleary-related spots. (That whitish box in the foreground is our fancy-pants self-checkout machine. Bet Ramona would have thought that was out of this world!).
Now, it's time to head home--no you can't have a popsicle from the cafe first, you could have a hundred popsicles now and still want one once we get to the top of the hill we have to climb in order to get home. But would you like a souvenir? You can buy this t-shirt at the library, or at the Friends of the Library bookstore downtown (not far from Powell's). There, now you can say you've been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.
Thanks for joining us on our bike ride! Want to see it again in person, or is Portland your stomping grounds? Do you know about the Book Blogger Retreat being planned here for this summer?