I thank my friend Sally for alerting me to a story I was surprised to have missed when it was released a month prior. Perhaps it’s time to update my google news feed search from Brazilian Blowout (as, no doubt, any news today on that depresses me these 10 years after we issued formaldehyde warnings) to … Continue reading J.K. Gill’s returns
Five of the six Gill Brothers: J.K., Benjamin, James, John, and Samuel. I’m never going to get rich on book sales: that was never a dream or expectation. What I also didn’t expect or imagine, was the number of connections arising because of me publishing my books. And yet, they keep coming. I didn't think … Continue reading They keep coming
Canby Ferry, October 27, 2019. Our dad loved ferries. We grew up ferrying across the Willamette River on the Canby Ferry, and back when I was little, we crossed the mouth of the Columbia by ferry between Astoria, Oregon, and Megler, Washington enroute to the Long Beach Peninsula. Rivers fill me, through and through. The … Continue reading About those ferries
Only recently did I recognize the significance of participating in Oregon City’s 175th celebration on August 24, 2019. I’m excited to join others at the End of the Oregon Trail Museum, with music, food, and history talks, as Oregon City plans to “party like it’s 1844” in celebrating 175 years of pioneers. Look for me … Continue reading What about 1844?
After delivering my Ignite West Linn: History on Fire talk yesterday, I surveyed the crowd as to who had ever set foot in a J.K. Gill store. More hands were up than down, leading me to imagine many more than just those in the Willamette Ale & Cider House on a June Sunday afternoon might … Continue reading J.K. Gill: In 5 minutes or less
Yes, perhaps you plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with someone special. Newcomers to Oregon - and those who haven't paid much attention to history - may need to be reminded that it is also Oregon's birthday. Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. And while we can all agree that our history is … Continue reading What’s happening on February 14?
In between edits of my novel, I've crammed reading time into the spare moments of my life. Books by Lisa See and Brian Doyle and Jessica Mehta and Lidia Yuknavitch and Ellen Urbani. It’s quite fitting as we kick off Women’s History Month, that I finished a fictionalized book about Harriet Beecher Stowe. And while … Continue reading Women of the past: Clark and Beecher
As you can tell, I'm often consumed with Oregon history. But I haven't stopped being surprised when I read discussions about the J.K. Gill Bookstore in Facebook groups like Dead Memories Portland or Forgotten Oregon. With the downtown store closing in 1991, you'd have to be 25 now to be alive when Gill's still had … Continue reading On the eve of Wordstock….still talking about J.K. Gill
A few weeks ago I phoned Salem resident Sybil Westenhouse to learn more about our family history. Although we had never met or talked before, Sybil was friendly, and pleased to talk about old Oregon and Salem. Sybil Westenhouse comes from an old Oregon farming family, but grew up in Salem. On the phone, I … Continue reading Ode to Sybil