The best town in Oregon
During my many years on earth, I've been fortunate enough to be married 62 years to my dear wife, Maxine, who after a long battle, passed in 2015 at age 87; and to have met another beautiful woman, Rosemarie Acker, whom I love very much; and also to have lived now five years in the best city in Oregon — Wilsonville.
Wilsonville, already recognized as Oregon's most liveable city, is No. 1 for me (and later Rosemarie's) because it has so many kind and considerate people. I want you to know some of them but first here's how it all began.
On the north and south banks of the dark and silent Willamette River, the grandson of Daniel Boone, Alphonso Boone and his sons started a primitive ferry in 1847 rowed by Twality Indians. Alphonso and his sons left in 1848 to find gold in California, The father died two years later but his sons returned to Oregon with Jesse operating the ferry until 1872.
So the Boone brothers became the first entrepreneurs to welcome people, especially settlers and gold miners. They started then a tradition of warmly greeting newcomers, even a lone rider, charging him only 50 cents to cross the river.
I believe that people in Wilsonville today are carrying on that pioneer tradition and here are some men and women I and later, Rosemarie, have met since January 2014, when Maxine and I moved here. First there was Erin, who with her husband Jim (I'm using only first names in this story) owned the Beer Station (now closed) on Main Street.
Erin voluntarily pushed Maxine in her wheelchair from her nursing facility all the way down to Memorial Park, about a half-mile away. My wife wanted to see the birds and the flowers, then in full bloom, in the gardens of homes on the way. Quite unexpectedly on the way back, we met a gentleman— and in the middle of the road—with a little, very hyperactive dog. Maxine was totally enchanted and immediately began petting and hugging the animal, who was now in heaven on earth. For about 10 minutes the two loved each other like they had known each other forever. Erin and I watched with warm hearts.
Then one evening as I was crossing Main Street soon after the sun had dipped down below the hills, an electrical contractor named Ron stopped his pick-up, got out and took off his reflective orange vest and handed it to me, saying,"Here, I want you to wear this when it gets dark so people can see you." Not one to argue with a guy 6-feet-2 and weighing over 200 pounds, I accepted the vest gratefully and still wear it often.
One sunny day I walked quite close to a car dealer's showroom and noticed a salesperson who reminded me of my grandmother when I was a boy in Huntington Beach, Calif. The lady caught my eye and abruptly left her two customers to come outside and she said, "Thank you for your service," noting my cap saying I was WWll veteran, That's how I met Gaylen and three years later we remain good friends.
I had seen Ron a few times since he had given me his safety vest, but just recently Rosemarie and I wound up with Ron at the same birthday party at a bar and grill in town for our mutual friend, Pete. I wanted to dance with Rosemarie, except for two problems: the rock band had to be tamed down to play slow music — maybe even a waltz — and then how could Rosemarie and I hold each other while holding onto our walkers? Well, the band cooperated, we left our walkers behind and Ron held Rosemarie up while a (very) strong woman grabbed me from behind
and propped me up. So out on the floor, Rosemarie and I danced for
the first time and the crowd cheer-
Just recently on the way home from shopping and dinner out, Rosemarie's six gallons of water slid off my walker and I was unable to lift the water up from the sidewalk. Almost immediately two women left their vehicles and came to our rescue. The younger woman picked up the water easily, explaining that her little one weighed about the same as the water (around 50 pounds). The women gathered up all our things and took us home. The older woman was named Dorothy while the other one was a nurse but we can't remember her name.
And that's how it goes. There have been many more considerate people such as generous customers and even the waitress at a popular restaurant paying for our dinner because of my military service; there's Gary who takes Rosemarie to church every Sunday and yet refuses any compensation.
There's Clackamas Deputy Sheriff Dan stopping his powerful BMW motorcycle on the trail from the playground in Memorial Park to talk to me about motorcycles. I told him I had a BMW with a gigantic engine as wide as a horse in Germany but wrecked my precious bike on a forest trail near Munich. The monster went up a tree and fell back on me but at 21, I had strong bones and easily crawled out from under my smashed bike without a scratch.
And of course, there's my mystery lady, who knew me but I didn't recognize her, who offered me a ride home. I politely declined. I have often wondered whether she knew that I was only 50 feet or so away from my building and had already walked a mile from—you guessed it—Rosemarie's.
So Wilsonville, Rosemarie and I know what makes you great. It's your wonderful people.
Wilsonville resident Frank Walsh is a retired teacher and WWll veteran and today, Feb. 13, Frank is celebrating his 95th birthday.