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Run Away From Home, Family, Life. But To Where?

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If you were lucky growing up you couldn’t run away. Well you could, but would you end up someplace better?


My hometown is North Bend, Oregon. I attended the same grade school, junior high, and high school all in the same school district. So did most of my graduating class.


We didn’t hear much about the run away idea.


We were in junior high in the late sixties and it seemed like running away to be a hippie was already over. San Francisco wasn’t the haven it had been in the Summer of Love. Besides, we already lived on a bay, Coos Bay.


If we were going to run away the town of Coos Bay was the closest destination. How close? You could spit from North Bend and hit Coos Bay. That close. One started where the other ended.


Did Coos Bay hold more promise than North Bend? Or was it the same place, only worse. That was the feeling.


Another nearby town to seek sanctuary for the run away in the group was Empire. The legend was Empire had the most ex-cons per capita than any place in Oregon, that you got out of prison with the clothes you stored when you came in, along with a bus ticket to Empire.


If you ran off and kept running, you’d end up in Charleston, Oregon. Do that and you might get shanghaied to a fishing boat and cut up for crab bait. That was the story to keep kids home.


Later in life I asked my dad why he chose North Bend, and if it was a tougher town than he grew up in. He could have moved us to Reedsport, Bandon, Coquille, or Myrtle Point instead of North Bend. He said he liked the town when he first saw it.


I think it was something different.


My dad and his brother were both Marines, my dad for five years during the Korean War, my uncle a career man through Korea and Vietnam.


The Marine Corps mascot is a bulldog. The North Bend mascot is a bulldog. I think he wanted his boys to be North Bend Bulldogs and nothing else.


What have I got to say about that? Thanks, Dad.


If you want to keep your kids safe at home, choose the right town to raise them in. Tigard, Oregon worked for me after my wife and I had kids. If they ran away from here they’d end up in Tualatin, Sherwood, or Lake Oswego. Coos Bay makes them all look like resorts.


Besides, Tigard is the real base-town outside Portland. Beaverton is just off Hwy26 with the elevated 217 carved through the center. Gresham is closer to the real Oregon, but still too close to Portland.


If kids have a real desire to run away, they’d make it to Portland instead of a suburb. Who would run from one suburb to another and feel good about it? Portland or bust.


At least in the city they’d meet enough whack jobs to make home look pretty good. In theory.


Coos Bay makes Portland look better than it deserves to look. With that in mind, just stay home and find a way to get along. Is that asking too much of yourself?


In the end you can never run away far enough, because once you stop running you’ve still got yourself.
About David Gillaspie
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