Saturday, January 24, 2009


A Song from
A Ferry Tale: Wilsonville; Oregon’s Transportation Town
A Play for the 150th Anniversary of Oregon Statehood by June Reynolds
with Original Music by Clyde List
Hear Clyde Sing the Song!


Lilly Morgen said...

Well, I'm glad we've got that historical quagmire settled. But what does Wilsonville and Sherwood have in common, other then the fact that the towns are just over the hill from each other? Well, first of all, they share Charles Wilson, Wilsonville's namesake and a Sherwood neighbor. Charles got out of the role of shopkeeper after a while and became a hop farmer. When he retired, he came to Sherwood.

Clyde List said...

My song talks about the Wilsonville Ferry "uniting East and West." Of course, it's the two halves of the nation we're talking about. Like me writing the song, you can learn a great deal about the United States of America in Wilsonville. Wilsonville was a spot where two kinds of American-- the river people and the town people-- crossed paths. One type was tied to the wilderness. The other rather enjoyed the comforts of city life. It didn't seem like much of a difference. Rather like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Except that in real life, the boatman would generally be of the South and the townsman of the North. There was a civil war brewing. We know from the local John Brown Diary that you could lose a tooth real easy during a discussion about the national agenda. The State of Oregon was born February 14, 1859 a mere matter of days before the hell fire of civil war broke out.

The peculiarity about Wilsonville is that you had Jesse Boone as the boatman. The Boones were blood relatives of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was from Kentucky too, but-- like Daniel Boone-- he was no southerner. It is fun to imagine Jesse Boone calming arguments down rather than starting them.

North, south, East and West: Wilsonville was a place where things went in separate directions, that is the most important thing I know about Wilsonville. Like when I was a kid and I and my family and their 1938 Pontiac routinely crossed the Willamette River. We were usually returning from the hills above Canby, where our relatives lived. More than once I and my family would have all sunk into the river and drowned if the Wilsonville Ferry had not hesitated long enough to make certain that our clunky old '38 Pontiac was making its way up the embankment alright.

I kind of feel about Wilsonville the way I feel about Ralph Nader. I don't know him that well (at all, actually), but I know he's probably saved my life more than once!

Lilly Morgen said...

Unless you have a map it is difficult to figure: There is a bend in the Willamette River starting at Newberg. The river has to go around the Chehalem Mountains and Parrett Mt. in order to straighten out it's path of south to north. This bend, which is quite lengthy does not straighten out until West Linn and the confluence of the Clackamas. This bend is called "The Willamette Pool." The bend takes in Wilsonville shores.

JayCee said...

Oh yes, Lilly. You are like my mother. We would travel only a few miles and she would say "I'm all turned around." I did not understand what she was complaining about until I read a book about the American astronauts on Skylab. The space colony was a collection of old rocket ship parts and when an astronaut went through a doorway from one part to another he experienced the same discombobulation. "Lord! Where is up? Where is down? Where is left and where is right?" And as soon as he thought it. The solution came. Bam! He knew the answer. But only for as long as he remained in the cabin. The next time he entered the space, he'd have to go through that "Bam!" moment all over again.

It was the same for the first people at Wilsonville. The Willamette is the only river besides the Nile that runs North all year around. That in itself was spooky enough. Never mind the part where it runs East (with the Pacific Ocean waiting over there in the West) at Wilsonville.

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