This is actually from a visit to St. John's from last weekend, this weekend happily turned out to be quite a lazy one. St. John's is where I grew up and we go way, way back as evidenced by this photo. It's a district/neighborhood in Portland, but until 1915, was its own city. It still feels like its own city which is what I love so much about it. There is a lot of history here and a lot of my history here. It was the place you didn't want to say you were from, but that you loved anyway in a sort of Bruce Springsteen My Hometown sort of way; right down to the buick, the high school fights and vacant signs in shop windows for years. It's a place where if you weren't born there, locals will always consider you an outsider (sorry new folks of st. johns, but this is a fact). Much of my family was from this area but the roots of that family have all passed away or moved away, and I find it a place that makes me equally really happy and really sad to visit. And even though it's only a 20 minute drive from me it feels like I am time traveling when I go back there. It can feel a little exhausting.
When I was a kid I wished it was a cooler place because it was just so beautiful to me. And it is. Those top photos are of the "bluff" where you have a gorgeous view of downtown portland and the hills, which I might add are lovely this time of year. It's right on the river and in my opinion has one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. I used to look at photos of the Golden Gate bridge and think what's the big deal? Why don't people hang pictures of the St. Johns bridge in their offices? Now all the dreams I had for it being "cool" have started to happen (or have been happening for awhile), which leaves me both excited and resentful (i always temper that resentment with the fact i could move back to that area, which is always met with a nah.). But underneath all the mixed feelings one can have about hometowns, I love this place and I miss it, and I don't miss it, and then I miss it again.
So last weekend we walked around and checked out all the new hot spots, which I have been avoiding for the last, oh, 15 years. But in my quest for a credenza I caved in to discover the new (and old) haunts. There has been a lot of updating going on around there and there are a few really great vintage shops like St. Johns Vintage and Hound and Hare Vintage (both pictured). And despite the whiny child inside me that wants to sulk in the corner like I was picked last for the team and so now I just don't want to play anymore, it's exactly as I had always hoped it would be. It still has that old vintage charm about it. In fact I can see that people who have moved in and opened shop, have done so with the intention of keeping and augmenting exactly that charm that is so innate to it, and that fact just makes me so happy. How about do you live in your hometown or visit it?