Our Moving-to-Oregon Story
Fifteen years ago, my husband Fred and I moved to Oregon.
It was late July, the temperature over 100 degrees. Our clothes stuck to us and sweat ran down our faces as we loaded boxes and furniture into a big yellow truck, vacuumed the empty rooms of the house on Safari Drive, told our dog Sadie were “going for a ride” and literally drove into the sunset. Fred drove the truck, and I followed in our white Honda Accord.
Our trip was fraught with trouble. On I-5 in Sacramento, the big truck blew a tire with such force that it not only sent rubber all over the road but shattered the right front headlight and bumper to which it was attached. We pulled off to the side of the road, cars flying past at 70 mph. It was so loud we couldn’t hear each other talk. The panic-stricken dog jumped out the open car window into Fred’s arms. There we stood, feeling so vulnerable, everything we owned in that broken truck.
A highway patrolman stopped to tell us we couldn’t stay there. He ordered us to drive our broken truck into town. We parked in front of the Holiday Inn on a street where most of the windows were barred and drunks asked us for money.
We called the rental company and were assured someone would come to help. We waited. And waited. A guy finally arrived, took one look and said he couldn’t help us. He called a tow company. We waited.
Around midnight, a surly tobacco-chewing tow-truck driver hooked up the truck and hauled it to the rental company facility down the road apiece. Hot and hungry, we retired to a Best Western, sneaking the dog up the stairs. She slept on the comforter at the foot of our bed. We had eaten nothing but stale donuts all day, and now everything was closed and we couldn’t leave Sadie.
In the morning we hung out beside the Sacramento River in Discovery Park until the truck was ready. We thought we were finally on our way. Not exactly . . .
Our moving-to-Oregon story continues in my book Shoes Full of Sand, which is now out in paperback and as an ebook for virtually every kind of electronic reading device, even your phone. To find out more or to order copies, click here. I’m excited to finally have this book in print.
Your Moving to _____ stories
We dumb California yuppies had no idea what we were getting into. Does anybody really know what lies ahead when they leave everything they know for a new home? Whether they’re pioneers crossing the country on foot along the Oregon Trail or Silicon Valley retirees driving their U-Hauls up I-5 seeking a better life at the beach, we never know what lies ahead. We know what we hope will be there, but there are bound to be some surprises.
People seem to identify with the stories in Shoes Full of Sand. After all, most of us are immigrants from somewhere else. When I was teaching at the local community colleges, I’d ask where students were from. Maybe one would be from Oregon. The rest came from other states, the majority from California. Back when I lived in San Jose, I was one of the few natives. We’re a nation of people who move around a lot.
In addition to the web page with all the info on the book, I have started a Shoes Full of Sand Facebook page, which I hope you will visit for the latest on book-related activities. We can talk about the various topics in the book, including relocating, the Oregon Coast, dogs, and Graves’ Disease. Also, I would love to hear some of your stories of moving to a new home. I’m considering a contest for these stories. “Like” the Facebook page to keep up with the latest.
To promote the new book, I’m doing a book-signing at Sea Towne Books in Newport on Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Maybe I’ll see you there.
I also found a whole box of my other book, Freelancing for Newspapers, which I would love to get rid of. So I will sell copies for a bargain price of $10, including shipping, to anyone who contacts me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enough advertising. What else is new?
Sue Fagalde Lick Blue Hydrangea Productions
I have taken the 2003-2006 newsletters offline, but if you see something interesting in the list, I will provide free PDF copies on request.
In the Blogs
The Road Not Taken
Regrets or No Regrets?
Childless Women in Pain
Are You a Savvy Auntie?
Tell Us a Story--Even in Nonfiction
Internet Stealing Your Writing Time?
Book Sales Slow at Frog Jump
Self-publishing Can Be a Challenge
Formatting Your Book Manuscript
Seeking the End of the Road
Frogs in the Rain
Dog Agility: Weave? Why?
Well, La De Da
Nye Beach Writers: Things went a little nuts while Fred was sick. But now I’m back on the board of Writers on the Edge, which produces the Nye Beach Writers Series, among other things. This month we have the fabulous Brian Doyle, author of Mink River, reading and answering questions Aug. 20 at the Visual Arts Center in Newport, Oregon, 7 p.m., admission $6. An open mic takes place after Doyle’s presentation. The first ten people to sign up can present five minutes of original work. They are also welcome to sell their books, if they have them. Willamette Writers Coast Branch, which I helped found, is still going strong, meeting on the third Tuesday of each month. Their next meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Newport library. Steve Jones will offer a prose poem workshop. Admission is free, no reservations needed. I’ll be selling books at the Northwest Authors Fair in Lincoln City on Aug. 27 from noon to 3 p.m. outside Bob’s Beach Books. That fair attracts dozens of high-level authors and is definitely worth a stop.
Is It Just Me? Or is It Nuts Out There? By Whoopi Goldberg, Hyperion, 2010. The comedian takes on her pet peeves about how people behave. It’s basically a 200-page rant, amusing but not laugh-out-loud funny. The reader does a lot of head-nodding as Goldberg writes about texting, bullying, unwanted touch, gossip, annoying airplane behavior and other situations that drive her nuts. Well done.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, Washington Square Press, 2008. Peter Houghton has been picked on and bullied all his life. One day he takes a backpack full of guns to school and starts shooting. He kills 10 people and injures many more. This book, which goes back and forth in time, tells the story of what led up to the shooting spree and what happens afterward. The narrators change, but we spend much of our time in the head of (Ms.) Alex Cormier, a judge who is scheduled to judge Peter’s case. Her daughter was at the school the day of the shooting and her boyfriend was killed, so how can the judge be objective? We also meet Alex’s daughter Josie, the parents of the shooter, the detective on the case, and the attorneys. It’s a gripping 480-page drama that forced me to recharge my Kindle twice and made me miss a lot of work and sleep time. Like the other Picoult books I have read, The Pact and House Rules, this one ends up in the courtroom with a teenage defendant and a surprise ending. I would like to see Picoult take her skills out of the criminal justice system, but I haven’t read all her books yet. Schedule some time to be MIA while reading this one. The Oregon Experiment by Keith Scribner, Keith, Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Scanlon and Naomi have just arrived in Oregon from the East Coast. He’s a professor specializing in mass movements and domestic radicalism while Naomi, who is pregnant with their first child, is a “nose.” She has left a career in the perfume business after her hypersensitive nose failed her. With the birth of her baby, her sense of smell returns, but it gets her into trouble. Meanwhile, Scanlon is finding trouble of his own as he researches local anarchists and falls for a beautiful rebel. Confusing? Yes. This book is like that, with multiple points of view, missing information and a need to share odd bits of research. Scribner sets his story in familiar places here in Western Oregon, but sometimes he gives them new names and sometimes he doesn’t. Thus the town of Douglas is near Burnt Woods and Yaquina seems to be a fishing town on the coast. Why doesn’t he just call them Corvallis and Newport? Still, it’s an engaging story that I stayed up late to finish. Don Colburn: As If Gravity were a Theory, Cider Press, 2006, and Because You Might Not Remember, Finishing Line Press, 2010. I admire Don because he’s a newspaper guy who also writes poetry. Not only was he a Pulitzer Prize nominee while writing for The Oregonian, but his poems speak to me. Mostly free verse, they pick up on the concrete details of daily life, infused with heart and humor. He often mentions familiar locations on the Oregon Coast. I particularly love one called “Indulgence.” He portrays the everyday act of ordering coffee from a barista who gets his name wrong, but responds to his requests with “cool!” “right on!” “excellent,” etc, fueling his trip back out into the rainy world with a hot drink and a positive attitude. Worth a read, even if you think you don’t like poetry.
The weather here on the Oregon Coast has been glorious lately. As I look out my office window, a dragonfly floats by, the spruce and alders wave in a gentle breeze, and the sky is deep blue, not a cloud in sight. It’s warm but not hot. Just right. These are the days that remind us of why we live here. To everyone sweltering in outrageous heat, I’m sorry. I have a spare bedroom just waiting for you.
It’s August. I don’t know how it happened so soon, but here it is. Flip the calendar to a new month. Mine has a cockapoo staring at me. This is a big month for birthdays, so happy birthday to Mike, Stephanie, William, Pat, Georgia, Marie, Ann (turning 90!), and everyone else celebrating another year of life this month. Fred would have been 74 on the 17th. Sip some red wine in his memory.
All contents copyright Sue Fagalde Lick 2011
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