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saying “buh-bye” to North Portland, PPS Equity and Urban geedee Chickens and Their Mamas

March 28th, 2010

Steve and I are shutting down PPS Equity. You like apples? How d’ya like them apples? It has to be done, we’re moving the kids out of the district. And the Grant parents are kind of harshing what was left of my mellow, no offense to S, Carrie, Dave or Neisha.

Gotta blame it on something.

The rest of ’em are all wah, wah, don’t shut down our school! Don’t make us go to Jefferson, it is a bad school, and only bad parents send their kids to bad schools! Etc. All over the blog. You start talking about school lunches, taxes, whatever, they’re gonna bring it back to Grant somehow.

“And if they close Grant? Where will the kids have their school lunch, huh? Huh??? And why am I paying these high taxes, anyway, if I can’t send my kid to Grant?”

They need their own blog. Maybe one of the real estate agencies would host it for ’em. And no one on our blogs, that I can recall, has said that about bad parents/bad schools, but I’ve sure as hell heard it a bunch in private conversations. Also (my personal favorites), “You have to send them to Alameda! You can’t send them to (Beach/Vernon/Ockley/Rosa Parks/King)…” or “I don’t want them to be the only white faces in the room!” Blech. Christ. People, just don’t talk that way, you make yourselves look stupid. And country. You just sound like some assbackward country idiot when you talk that way.

When you gush on and on about how you “love the diversity!” of North and Northeast Portland, yet you don’t have any friends who don’t look eggsactly like you, white, “bright” and uptight… what’s diversity mean to you, anyhow? Just sayin’.

Also, the chatter-chatter about “paying a premium price for our house to get into a good school” reminds me of the parents who have for years been saying messed-up things like, “We can’t go to a game at Jeff, we’d get shot,” or “They should burn Jefferson down.” (My beloved Jefferson High School.) (And hello, have you heard of the KKK? Why don’t you go join up, I think you’d fit right in. Oh, great, already with Godwin’s Law? This post has hardly begun… Well, I’ll slow it down a bit.)

Here, I’ll do a question and answer with my own self, and wrap things up, how’s that? Comments will not be open, this is a one-woman show. Go get your own damn blog if you have something to say.

I love a good Wacky Mommy Q&A, don’t you? Especially when it’s about dirty sluts. Steve wrote his own post — this is just me talking here.

Q: Why can’t you just send the kids to Grant or Lincoln?
A: Cuz I’m a Senator, Madison alum. Break out the red and the blue. Shoulda Been a Demo. Break out the blue and the gold, state basketball champions, ladies and men, take that, baby. (Sorry, Dad.) (He was a Grant General, my mom, my sister and I were Senators, my dad’s bro was a Demo.) (Goddamn, people are loyal to their high schools in this town. I get that. We have lots of alums around here, going back decades. I remember my mom at one point innocently asking, Why can’t the kids go to Grant? Daddy went to Grant, and I was all, oh my GOD they can’t go to GRANT, woman!)

Q: So why can’t the kids just go to Jeff?
A: Because the out-of-control open transfer policy in this district has sent a bunch of the schools (including my own dear Madison, Jeff, Marshall and Roosevelt) into a slow and agonizing death spiral, and that is not going to turn around in time to do my own kids any good.

Q: But at least they’re doing something, right? Isn’t that what you guys wanted?
A: Too little, too late, although I do appreciate the district’s efforts. Also, I miss Terry. It is hard to fight this fight without him. And I work for the district, as you may or may not know. That makes it a tiny bit awkward, at times. Steve Buel has been asking us for years when we’re going to figure out something for the kids, for middle and high school. So we did.

Q: Where are you moving?
A: West side suburbs (not Portland), for the next 10 years, ’til the kids are out of school. Then Santa Cruz, Calif., or L.A. Or perhaps B.C., depending on who gets their way, Steve or me. (Guess who’s pushing for Hockey Land, Canada?) For your amusement, here’s this beauty, from Oct. 2007, when Steve and I first talked about moving to away from PDX and almost had to invoke Godwin’s Law when things blew up.

Q: Why the suburbs?
A: Too many white people moving in over here. And chickens. And self-proclaimed “urban pioneers.” They’re all gonna, you know, save the crackheads from themselves. Right after they evict them from their houses and “clean up the street.” They’re all gonna, you know, save the neighborhoods! Save the children! Etc. I’m always being misconstrued. People think I’m one of them. But I’m not. I’m my own girl.

Q: Aren’t the suburbs whiter than Portland?
A: Nope.

Q: Does anyone give a shit that you’re moving?
A: No, I don’t think so. That’s alright. Some reporters have wanted to interview us: Wacky Family Flees Urban Living! After Years of Accusing Others of White Flight, They Succumb! Or something, I don’t know. I’m not giving interviews — I’m referring those calls to my publicist and celebrity spokesmodel, over on the CASE website. (Communities for Alternatives to Starbase Education.) (Yes, I do have a publicist and celebrity spokesmodel. About damn time ;) Naw, they won’t want to talk about why we’re moving, but they’d love to talk with you about some more pressing issues.

Q: You want to talk about racism?
A: Sure. How about this post? I would refer you to a whole bunch of other posts, but I had to mark them private. Steve and I have put ourselves and our family out there a little too damn much over the years, and I’m tired of it. So if you’re looking for something you remember reading here and can’t find it, that’s probably why.

Q: You closing down shop here, too?
A: No. And I’m keeping my library blog up and running, too. But for this one, I want to focus on domestic issues, and book reviews. The library blog is for my students and for book lovers who may or may not be my students.

Q: Are you going to miss North Portland?
A: No, and you’ll see why here, here and here. And yes. No and yes. We’ve been here ten years, and I grew up in Northeast Portland for 18 years. And lived there for another 5 years or something, as an adult. I’m looking right now at pictures of my late, great, twin aunties, Tiny and Dell. In one, they have on freshly-pressed white pinafores, with white bows in their hair. The picture is circa 1912 or so? They’re standing on a wooden bench, looking so sweet for the camera. In the other pic, they’re wearing matching black coats with ruffled black hats, black stockings and little black boots. There is a clown doll on a chair in front of them, and Tiny is pointing to him like, What the heck?

They lived across from Peninsula Park, in those little brick apartments on the west side of the park, for years. We used to have our family picnics over there, Kentucky Fried Chicken and rolls, coleslaw and mashed potatoes. We’d admire the sunken rose gardens and play by the fountain. I have good memories of my Dad being there, being so happy hanging out with us. He worked over on Columbia Boulevard for awhile, at a place called Voit. It was a factory job, he wasn’t too happy with it, but he went, anyway. I remember cruising around the neighborhood, taking him to work or dropping him off. He and I loved the Paul Bunyan statue.

My dad’s first house, when they moved out here during World War II, was over on Stanton Street (where Emanuel Hospital is now). They tore it down, one of the times when they were tearing the neighborhood apart (to put in the freeway, the hospital, to put up the Memorial Coliseum, Lloyd Center… on and on, the tearing apart and rebuilding of North/Northeast). I remember him being bummed out that it was gone.

Both of my grandfathers worked over here — one installed draperies, the other sold paint. Before Paramount Draperies moved (it’s now a Lucky Lab brewpub), I stopped by with my kids and they gave us remnants galore. They remembered my grandpa, how professional and kind he was. When I was a kid, my dad and I went to basketball games at the University of Portland (where I also danced in many ballet recitals), and much later, when I was in high school, I used to go to dances at Jeff sometimes. We partied all over the city, Mt. Scott, North Portland, up and down 82nd, all around Lloyd Center, we were teenagers. You know. No going to the west side, though, uh-uh. We would go downtown, but that was it. Why would we go to the west side? It was all hills, and the streets didn’t make any damn sense. The streets over here? Killingsworth, Failing, Going, Haight. And numbers, that went in order — 12th, 13th, 14th… Over there? Fancy names. Lobelia, Alice, Marigold. One of my roommates said, You never see the names of any of those streets in the newspaper, associated with any crimes or anything.

I knew a bunch of kids from this neighborhood cuz in the ’70s they tried to force integration with Portland Public Schools and they bussed a lot of African-American kids from the neighborhood over to my neighborhood. I’ve written about it a lot, you can go dig through my archives if you’re interested.

As for the last ten years? My daughter was 10 months old when we moved here. This house is the only house she’s ever remembered. We brought my son home from the hospital 8 years ago next month. We have a lot of happy memories here. So yeah, I’ll miss it.

I’ll miss it a lot.

But for now? Gotta go, Spocky. I’ll catch you later. Go do some good work in the world, why don’t you? Just remember — there’s enough beans and rice to go around if you skip the cake and goodie bags. I don’t quite get the whole stripedy thing, the whole trip of hauling the entire family around on one bike, but whatever. To each his (or her) own is where I’m at right now.

Peace, love, and Bobby Sherman,

— Wacky Mommy

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