Not everyone was as fortunate as I. Some people had to grow up Other Places and as such, a good lot of them missed out on some truly awesome things about Portland which are no longer extant. If you were a child in Portland you will certainly remember:

Ramblin’ Rod:

This was the quintessential local children’s show. Ramblin’ Rod Anders would come on KPTV-12 every weekday morning and introduce Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, and Tom & Jerry cartoons. He rode out from backstage in a tiny little boat and wore a sweater FESTOONED with buttons given to him by audience members. Said audience members were children who ranged in age from Still-Drooling And Apt To Cry If Addressed Directly to I Am Almost A Teenager And Must Affect Chagrin But I Have Waited My Whole Life To Sit On These Bleachers.

Once during the show, the camera would pan the audience looking for the winner of the coveted “Smile Award” and only the truly hammy could hope to achieve this pinnacle of childhood recognition. It was also classic Portland tradition for children to celebrate their birthdays in Rod’s audience and recieve CITY-WIDE attention for the pleasure. I alas, missed this opportunity.

The Meier And Frank Monorail:

My primary cohort in lifelong Portland residency and I were talking about this today and it turns out, we had the same sense of the monorail being something we had hallucinated as small children. It wasn’t in fact until I had a hodie of my own, that I was looking for likely Santa interaction events that I realized this had been a real thing. More, it was about to happen to my kid. The old anchor Meier and Frank on 5th and Morrison has been co-opted by Macy’s and The Nines. On the whole, I approve of the changes they’ve made as imporovements for the downtown district in general. However, I will always feel nostalgia for what used to be one of the most bizarre Christmas traditions imaginable. The top floor used to be transformed into the domain of The Cinnamon Bear, and children could come frolic and delight at the Christmas trees and general festivity. But even more than that, they could survey the tableau from a monorail in the ceiling. Why this had anything whatsoever to do with Christmas is utterly beyond my capacity to imagine. But it was a good way to terrify the kiddies into behaving themselves:

“Smile for the camera Sally or we’ll put you back on the monorail!!”

It was at a dizzying height for anyone small enough to fit into the damn thing. Really.

Expose Yourself To Bud:

Yes, yes, yes. I know the poster was from the 70’s thanks very much. But the subject of the poster didn’t become mayor of our fair city until the 80’s. Bud, not the statue. I have no idea what her political ambitions might have been…

He was a character, in the truest sense of the word. A tavern owner who stepped forward to run when no one stood to oppose the terrible encumbent. No political experience left him refreshingly candid and open to ideas that other people would have rejected out of hand. He created and administered The Mayor’s Ball for his entire term in office as a fundraiser that became one of the hottest tickets in town. He ushered in the Convention Center and lobbied hard for MAX. He also had some of the most awesome facial hair in the history of politics. For reals.

Also In The 80’s:

Farrell’s! Ice cream shop that, apart from Ramblin’ Rod was THE place to be on your birthday. Had a dish served in a pig trough, that if you managed to finish it, they would strap a pig snout upon your person with much fanfare.

Senn’s Dairy!  The last dairy in town that still sold milk in glass bottles closed during the 80’s. If only they’d been able to hold on, they’d be sitting pretty right about now…

Lloyd Center Was Still Open Air! This was mostly cool because the skating rink was open to the sky, and it felt more adventurous to be skating outside, somehow.

My Mom Worked At The Zoo! Okay, this wasn’t something everyone could enjoy, but for me, it kicked ASS! We got to go in through the kitchen, even after the gates were closed, and have as many corndogs as we wanted. Apart from all the other awesome things about growing up in this town, I had that. Jealous much?

Of course you are.