March 6, 2014: The conversation around Gumbo’s table took a turn today as we discussed the sensibilities of men and women and how it might apply to content on the site. The only woman at the moment among the regular bloggers (as far as I know), I haven’t tried to differentiate what I’ve posted but, for a variety of reasons, have endeavored to maintain a neutral tone. Today I decided to abandon my efforts at neutrality and write from a more personal perspective. It may be that it makes little difference, possibly none whatever, but maybe it will. Either way, I like the feeling of more freedom, even if it’s an illusory one.
These pictures have been languishing with no text in my drafts closet on the Gumbo site and I decided today would be a symbolic moment to pull them out. Think home and hearth.
(Hold your cursor over the photos for titles.)
There’s nothing I love more than visiting houses and gardens. It’s been particularly true during my stays in England because of the vast numbers of homes, estates, palaces and castles that have been preserved and are open to the public. There are also residences, though mostly not on the same scale in terms of size, nor of sheer numbers, in North America. I’ve visited several in the eastern states and a few more in the west. The Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff, Arizona and the Robinson House & Gardens in Beverly Hills come to mind. And the startling Lotusland garden in Montecito, California. North America was, and is, a place for dreamers, of grand means and also modest ones, to live out fantasies of what they wanted their lives to be and the houses I’ve seen reflect that fact.
Henry and Georgina Pittock epitomized the idea of the American dream. He came from England, she from Missouri, and during a life of hard work they succeeded in building, not only a fortune and a house, but a life devoted to family and community. He was 80 when the family moved into the house in 1914. Eventually, circumstances brought the unique house to the verge of demolition. But the City of Portland had the foresight to save it from developers and bought house and land in 1964. It’s a great story that you can read more fully on the Pittock Mansion website.
On a recent trip to Portland, my first, I visited the Pittock Mansion. Though not long ago, this past September, it was pre-Gumbo so I took pictures of only what interested me in particular, mostly the garden. And because I confess to being a bit of a hardware queen, the evidence is here, pictures of plumbing. And WHAT plumbing! I’d seen similar showers elsewhere, like those of the wrap-around variety in one of the Pittock bathrooms. I was fascinated then and was again here. I sincerely believe they should be revived, maybe in one of the new 6 star hotels in the Middle East. Or at my house.
The best thing about the house, besides the bathrooms, is the view. Even if I’d taken pictures of it, it could not possibly have conveyed the grandeur so I urge you to get on up to Portland and have a look for yourselves. You won’t be sorry.
And don’t forget to visit the other best thing in Portland, Powell’s City of Books. It’s even better than you’ve heard.
Links for other things in Portland I liked a lot:
at the top of the tallest building in Portland.
To read more of PortMoresby’s contributions, click here.