Friday, July 11, 2014

Powell’s City of Books Experience

I want to thank everyone who came for helping to make last night wonderful thing (to paraphrase a Steely Dan lyric). I would say that it was "awesome," but I am no longer a teenager.

From the young man who helped us park to the young woman in charge of the events space the employees were friendly and helpful. The tech person helped work out a difficult problem in getting my presentation onto the large screen, much to my relief. I felt as though I was among friends.

Having a great audience made me more animated than usual and I enjoyed rattling off the top of my head for about 40 minutes while showing pictures, maps, and diagrams pertaining to my book, The Oregon Shanghaiers. Following my talk I answered some very good questions and then signed a pile of books. It was, for me, a flawless, wonderful experience.

Barney Blalock at Powell's City of Books

Warning: Complete Subject Change

Someone who works in local TV just told me, with the voice of authority, that when the "shanghai tunnels" were underwater the crimps used wheelbarrows to take their victims to the ships. Everyone is an expert on this subject, but me.

I have read that for many years Front Street was deep mud in rainy weather. From Turk’s boardinghouse to Mersey Dock was about an even mile. Now I can’t get this image out of my mind: Charles Turk pushing a wheelbarrow with a landlubber-soon-to-be-sailor draped over it in a stupor.

I can also imagine Harry White pushing a wheelbarrow up and over the old Steel Bridge to Montgomery Dock in lower Albina. Hard work, that shanghaiing lark! I hope that all y'all know that I am kidding and still hold fast to my research that shows no one ever shanghaied anyone through a tunnel in Portland. Wheelbarrows? Maybe for someone too cheap to pay for a wagon. But Bunko Kelley was too scrawny to push a grown man in a wheelbarrow.