Sunday, June 14, 2009

We are rolling into Lincoln City in our spacious, luxury bus, where we will spend a few days. This is the number one visited town on the coast. We stop at a statue of a young Abraham Lincoln on a horse. The first thing you will notice is that his head and hands are HUGE. I’m not taking about big, farmer hands I’m talking huge, elephantiasis hands, his elongated, pumpkin-head seems to teeter on his small body. You may also notice that the artist signed the work by etching her name on the horse’s penis. I don’t know if this is a standard place to sign a statue but it seems to suggest some deep-seated issues. I’m not judging, I’m just saying. For long time readers of this blog, you may remember my moment of too much information when I discussed the boyhood crush I had on Lincoln’s mother. -so I have my own crap to deal with

While ruminating on the psychology of all of this, a larger question might present itself. Why did they name this place Lincoln City? Sure emotions were probably high after he was assassinated but Lincoln City didn’t get its name until 1965. You can certainly understand the overuse of Lincoln’s name in Illinois; you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting something named for him, but why in Oregon? Especially, when you consider the fact that in 1849 President Zachary Taylor tried to appoint Abraham Lincoln as the Secretary of the Oregon Territory with the possibility of becoming governor and Abe turned him down. I believe his exact words were. “I don’t think that’s gonna happen Zack, baby”. Maybe I live on a deeper level of resentment but I sure as hell wouldn’t name the city after him unless it was to name it Lincolnsucks City or Boothtown. I admire the higher road they’ve taken- for me that’s a road less traveled.

The name came about in 1965 when, the 5 towns that make up the city, incorporated. Instead of fighting over whose name would be the new name they held a contest among school children and, inexplicably, the name Lincoln City won. As for the statue, the sculptress, Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1965, donated it. She actually had some trouble giving the statue away because of the $25,000 shipping costs (keep in mind that back in 1965, $25,000 would have bought New Zealand and a pack of smokes). The State of Oregon turned down the offer because of the shipping costs, as did the City of Eugene. Lincoln City, with its new name, jumped at the offer and paid the $25,000. Mrs. Huntington donated it to them with 4 conditions.

1. The statue must face west. (it faces east)
2. The statue must be accessible to children. (it sits in a small lot surrounded by busy traffic)
3. The statue must not be used as a tourist destination (it was our first stop)
4. Lincoln City must never change its name.

Like the man said, “3 out of 4 aint bad.”

So what have we also learned here today?
1. Never let school children or a resentful blogger choose the name of your city.
2. If you give something to Lincoln City, get the terms in writing.
3. Don’t fall in love with a dead president’s mother- it will only lead to heartache.


BJ Lantz said...

It truly is a small world....

Perhaps Suzy K. has already informed you of this small-world fact over the weekend? Might even be candidates for six-degrees of separation and all that....

So here I was Saturday night, in Florida, at a get-together as Suzy described this Oregon trip she & hubby Jim had just gotten back from. I asked her if she'd seen a mutual friend of ours in Portland and she replied that she hadn't had time because it was actually a fam tour she'd been on. I said, "A blogger I follow is writing about a fam tour in Oregon right now." I'll leave out all the OMGAWD's that went back & forth upon discovering that you had been on her fam tour.

I told her I'd been reading your blog for about a year or so, through your time in Paris (which was how I found it to begin with), and was glad to see you'd started writing again, because even though you're no longer in Paris, I had found your writing witty & fun no matter what the subject. Anyway, Suzy had lots of nice things to say about you & said I should check you out on Facebook. I have a strong desire to NOT join Facebook (or Twitter), so I'll just comment here saying what a darned small world it is :-))

Anonymous said...

OK Matt, I had NO idea that you were obsessed with Lincoln (ok...his mother!)....I feel compelled to tell you that I am a great-great-great-great-niece of Mary Todd Lincoln....who woulda thunk?!?! LOL...Love the blog, keep it coming! I can promise, no law suits from "you-know-who"! I love your style and have to tell you that I love bloggers! You ARE a "real" writer and it is SO refreshing to see you write just as you speak! Can't wait for the next post! Woo HOO! Lucy ~_~

Anonymous said...

She wanted children to check out a horse shlong. wow. How...??? :)

will said...

I linked to your blog from mine back when you were still in Paris, and clicked the link a few minutes ago on the off chance that you'd started writing again. Welcome back, apparently I'm not the only one that enjoys your writing.

Anonymous said...

so when does the blog project "misplaced in heterosexuality" come out?

Misplaced said...

can't help but think the last comment was made by a 30 something guy living in his mom's basement. Stay golden pony boy.

Anonymous said...

OK, where are you? It was a nice surprise when you dropped back in after Paris. Serendipity that you were in Oregon (I'm there now). But it's been a year, dude. Your writing is fun and I miss the updates. Hope you're sober.
Sincerely, Brenda (remember my last comment on your beard?). My word verificatin is... fornice

paula said...

okay its been over a year...are you ALIVE OR WHAT