Sunday, January 22, 2012

Portland Wedding - Kennedy School, All Saints Parish, Two Brothers, and Pearson Air Museum

We're in Portland for a wedding.  Wednesday I got a call asking if I would serve as the best man.  I've known M for over 30 years and we're the kind of friends who may not talk often, but when we're together it's like we haven't been apart.  We went to his first wedding in Anchorage many years ago.  When I had sabbatical in Portland for 6 months in 2003-2004, we spent time with M and his wife who was seriously ill with cancer and needed dialysis. 

We've had several other trips to the Portland area in the last five years and stayed at M's place.  One time he banged on our door about 10am and said, Hey, Alaskans, get up and see what's on TV.  It was McCain announcing Palin as his VP choice. 

Jordan Room at the Kennedy School
So, when his original best man was unable to come at the last minute, I said yes.  M said that the other guy had even written a speech.  So I said to be sure to send it to me.  (It served me well.  Thanks Reb.)  And M told us we should be at the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner Friday.  Unfortunately, we weren't due in until 4:40 and the rehearsal was scheduled at 4 with the dinner at 6 at the Kennedy School.  I just assumed the Kennedy School was a Catholic School that was big enough to have rooms where for events like this dinner.

Kennedy School Hallway
We got to Portland half-hour late.  We checked in bags - something we almost never do, but we got so much mileage last year that we qualify for free bags and we'll be in LA a while and we had gifts to pack.  Fortunately as I headed for the rental car J said, don't we have luggage to pick up?  Well, the Kennedy School isn't far from the airport and we arrived at this jammed parking lot about 6:20pm.  There was a parking attendant who said we could park in one section if we were staying at the hotel.  Hotel?  At a high school?  We found a parking place and walked in.  There was a bar near the entrance.  What kind of school is this?  We wandered the halls til we found the front desk and where we were supposed to be.  The Jordan room.  We passed some restaurants and other parties.  We got to the Jordan room.  There were only a few people there.  The rehearsal had run late. 

It turns out the Kennedy School is an old Portland Elementary School that had closed down and was bought and converted into an entertainment place, but as you can see, the blackboards are still up in the rooms.  With chalk. 

From the Kennedy school website:

Since its 1915 opening, this historic elementary school has been a beloved fixture of its Northeast Portland neighborhood. McMenamins renovated the once-abandoned scholastic gem and turned it into Portland's most unique hotel. Here you'll find 35 comfy guestrooms fashioned from former classrooms (complete with original chalkboards and cloakrooms, private baths and telephones), a restaurant, multiple small bars, a movie theater, soaking pool, gift shop and a brewery (just wait until the principal hears about this!). Extensive original artwork and historical photographs cover the walls, ceilings, doorways and hallways.

Fascinating example of recycling.  I enjoyed having my brain teased like that.

Today we went to All Saints Parish for the wedding mass at 1:30.   I wasn't the only one whose flights didn't get them to the rehearsal dinner and I'd had detailed instructions on what was going to happen and what I was supposed to do and it went off well.  If I messed up, no one said anything to me about it.  I didn't lose the rings.  (The seven year old had one tied onto a pillow, but the priest said that children were less predictable than adults.)

And after the wedding was over, the sun even came out and brightened the stained glass windows. 

The wedding had been at 1:30 and we hadn't had lunch so on the way home as we passed Two Brothers Grill - a Croatian restaurant - we decided this looked like a good place to eat.  It was.  And this being Portland, they even had a vegetarian section on the menu.  J ordered some Turkish coffee along with her meal.  

I had the vegetarian stuffed cabbage with corn meal. 

And we had time to stop at the hotel and get ready for the party at the Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver, Washington, just across the Columbia River.  About ten minutes from our hotel in NW Portland. 

The museum is in what we were told is the oldest still standing hangars in the US.  I couldn't find that on the Fort Vancouver website, but there was this (and more):
"Vancouver's Pearson Field is one of the nation's oldest operating airfields. Aviation first came to Vancouver in 1905, when Lincoln Beachey flew from Portland in a lighter than air craft and landed on the polo field at the Vancouver Army Barracks. Continuous fixed wing aviation made its debut in 1911, and the facility, dedicated as Pearson Field in 1925, played host to a number of aviation milestones over the years. It remains to this day a busy general aviation airport. The Pearson Air Museum and its Murdock Aviation Center are part of Fort Vancouver National Site."

The reception was a lot of fun and the kids had plenty of space to run around and to make and fly paper airplanes.  I met a lot of interesting people including a former Peace Corps volunteer (one of only a few groups in Yemen), a former special ed teacher, a former Attorney General of Oregon, and a Chinese calligrapher to name just a few.

And while I thought the cake looked like it was cardboard, it was a delicious combo of white and chocolate.  

A long and eventful 24 hours.  And the start of what I expect will be an interesting and happy marriage.

1 comment:

  1. I had dinner at the Kennedy School when I was in Portland on my way back from buying my van in Eugene.

    McMenamin Bros brewpubs have become a Portland institution. The first non-pub pubs were the movie theatres where they took out half the seats, replaced them with tables, and added pizza & a brewpub. Then they turned the old County Poor Farm into a winery/restaurant/wedding parlor. The Kennedy School is only the latest adaptation, but it really is fun.


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