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The No-Longer-Longed-For Second Home: Memories of Oregon.

For most of my childhood, each summer, my family would travel to the Oregon Coast for summer vacations -- specifically, to the coastal area of Lincoln City, a touristy town with BIG ocean views.


It was, and is, a beautiful place. And coming from the dry, desert environment of Eastern Washington, Lincoln City was nothing less than a dream, as I remember.


We would make the trek down the coastline eager to meet up with carloads of our cousins, in a planned convergence at a little inn on a cliffside. Because for years and years, our trip to the coast also meant summer days spent with family. It was an annual reunion of sorts for my father's side; a planned trip around my grandparents' late summer birthdays along with a revolving number of my father's seven siblings and their families.



We would count the minutes of our drive from the hot, suffocating heat of the summer months at home, to the moment of our first glimpse of the ocean waves as we turned the corner of the winding highway leading the way to Oregon's spectacular coastline. We would open the windows and take that lonnng, first, deep breath of salty air.


As a child, I could think of no better life than that which would grow from living in Lincoln City.


"When I grow up," I promised myself, "I will live here."


I wanted that beach town to be my real home; not just a summertime reprieve from the heat.


 

Some 20 years later, after my grandparents were both gone, and those big family trips had all but ended, my parents purchased their own home in Lincoln City. It, too, is a beautiful home, on a quaint, dead-end, beach town street, just a few blocks from a public access point to the sand.


I still longed to move my home to Lincoln City for years after I was grown. I loved visiting my parents during holidays away from university and on vacations with my husband when I married.


"Some day," I told myself, "I would buy a home in Lincoln City."


And then, I had kids.


 

Becoming a parent has a way of forcing you to look a little harder at... well, everything. It causes you to take a deeper, more critical look at your own goals. It elicits different types of questions in your mind that simply must be contemplated with respect to any plan or "dream" you held prior to assuming the responsibility for the health and wellbeing of someone beside yourself.


Simply, kids make dreams "real."


And not in the "real" way of bringing those dreams to fruition.

No. Rather, knowing that your dreams will necessarily involve the presence of your children brings those lofty goals plummeting straight back down to reality -- that kind of "real."


Instead of thinking: "Oh, how nice it would be to live in such a beautiful place!"

You ponder: "Hmmm... I wonder what the walkability rating is for the middle-class, family-oriented neighborhoods."




With kids in the picture, you begin to question the rose-colored glasses that, in large part, colored your vision and memories of a place.


Because Lincoln City is a wonderful place. The Oregon Coast offers many wonderful vacation stops.


I cannot deny the allure of the beautiful scenery, the captivating quality of the smell of saltwater in the air, or the fresh feeling of the cold Pacific Northwest mist always on your skin.


However, I also cannot help but see...


The lack of pediatric healthcare options;

The risk of the deadly highway that cuts through the downtown;

The speeding vehicles and limited traffic control infrastructure;

The absence of sidewalks in neighborhoods;

And what would surely prove a frustrating lack of accessibility in public spaces and at beach access points.


The good memories flood with present reality. An honest perspective is important.

The rose-colored glasses have been removed to make space for a more critical understanding of what it would mean to build a life in a place I remember only for childhood vacations.


And those memories are good. They are happy memories.

But they are just that -- memories.


And while memories are fun to visit from time to time,

It is not a place one should typically set up house.

5 comments

5 Comments


.......and the way in which you, Whitney Stohr, reinvent yourself and your dreams, is not missed on any of us, your followers.

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❤️ What is like but a series of (sometimes forced) opportunities for reinvention :)

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Our dreams must be the soil upon which we plant our next dreams....and our next....

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❤️ There is beauty and power in centering ourselves in our own realities. My wife and I have made so many choices that would have seemed improbable to our earlier selves. And our earlier selves were not wrong to want what we wanted then. And our present selves are making choices that may seem improbable or even ill wrought to our later selves.


We celebrate that we do the best we know how each day.

You are so well on your way, my friends!

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I love that :) "Centering ourselves in our own reality" and celebrating it. Sounds like a really great topic for a sermon someday

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