Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Seattle and Walla Walla: Vancouver 1965

When I was a little kid and we lived in Vancouver, Washington, my father worked for the VA and sometimes he had business trips. Conferences or whatever. Often he'd take all of us--our whole family: Mother and Oldest Brother and Second Oldest Brother and me and Sister and Younger Brother--along with him. These trips were usually either in Seattle or Walla Walla. We may have gone to Camas once, that smelly paper mill town along the Columbia River, but I'm not sure. But it didn't really matter where to us kids, it just meant we got to stay in a motel.
We were not hotel people--we'd stayed in few by then, in Chicago maybe (and later in Atlanta)--and we weren't even motel people all that much, though we had stayed in quite a few by then and in some cabins back in South Dakota (where all of us kids had been born, where my mother was from, my father being from Red Oak, Iowa [though he had been born in Nebraska]), but we had become mainly campers after moving out to Washington. So, a motel stay in a city was a treat. And my father would go off to his meetings and my mother would get us all together and take us out around the town.
In Seattle, going out around the town was fun. We had a place close to the Seattle Center and the Seattle Center (home to a World's Fair at some time, when the Space Needle was built and where the Space Needle was) had amusement rides and park-like settings and monuments and the monorail. Ah, the monorail! Here was a futuristic ride that you did not find just anywhere. So, we rode that. We went on a few rides, got some cotton candy, walked and looked and stuff like that. We went back to the hotel--all of us crammed into a single room (I have no idea how my parents did this, seven in one motel room)--and discovered Seattle cartoon shows like Patches the Clown and other things that were different than home. Seattle was the big city. We liked it.
But we also went to Walla Walla . . . Hmmm. I think Walla Walla--the town with the funny name--was smaller than Vancouver. Vancouver was really a bedroom community for Portland, Oregon (though we never felt this, that I recall) so it had a larger city attached to it. But, in our kid eyes, Walla Walla was just fine. Sure, there was no Space Needle or monorail, no Patches the Clown, but there was a toy store and other stores and all we needed was new coloring books and crayons and a TV in the motel and that kept us busy enough. That's what I recall of Walla Walla (which, like the name, we went to twice; Seattle twice, too, I think), that we got some new monster-themed coloring books (it must have been close to Halloween--a big holiday for kids) and worked on those the whole while.
So, these were little adventures. I came back to Seattle in the eighties, lived there for a bit just a few blocks from the Seattle Center, then visited often with Fru when we were in Montana, but by then I required more than just a motel room and coloring books to make me happy.

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