(Continued from last week)
So, third-generation Oregonian, comfortable working class/lower middle class, white cisgender male in the middle of the 20th century. What’s not to like?
I left Oregon because I knew, even at the age of 12, when I had never been more than 200 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, that Oregon was too parochial for me.
In my teens, as I began to meet adult professionals, I quickly found they could be sorted into two groups.
The parochial: born and raised, second- or third-generation Oregonian, went to the U, proud to say, “I’ve never been to New York. Why would I want to go?”
The cosmopolitan: Went to Stanford (that was as far away as I ever met; no East Coasters in Northeast Portland at the time), or served overseas in World War II, or even just traveled to the East Coast now and then.
It was a member of the second group, Joseph Olsen, CPA, who memorably told me when I was in eighth grade, “Pauli, you talk too fast, walk too fast, and think too fast for this one-horse town. You gotta get out of here.”
I decided then and there: cosmopolitan, not parochial. Anywhere but Portland State or the U.
My close-up examples were similar but not identical. Except for attending my graduation in Cambridge, Mass., my dad had only ever been in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California (two weeks) and British Columbia (one week). Mom dreamed of going to Europe regularly, but only went once. She encouraged me to get out.