Memory is amazing
Isn’t it strange how places, people, activities, accomplishments from far back in our past can jump out at us in odd moments? All those details just residing in brain cells until something clicks and there’s a story to be told …
That happened to me as I drove through an area I hadn’t thought of in ages and voila! two unusual names — Journal Juniors, Red Men Hall — and my personal history with both came flooding upon me …
You see, the Oregon Journal was then Portland’s evening newspaper, while the Oregonian was the older, more prestigious morning paper. And while the Oregonian boasted talented troops of Young Oregonians, the Journal, not to be outdone, formed the Journal Juniors – of which I was one.
At first a 12-year-old budding baton twirler taking lessons every Saturday in a large room in a place called Red Men Hall on SE 9th & Hawthorne. To get there meant a Greyhound bus from home in West Slope plus a city bus.
I loved it and soon advanced to teaching, with a bit of pay involved. And in summer I performed at fairs around the state with a Journal Juniors entertainment troop and also had a blast at Oaks Park talent competitions – sometimes winning cash money!
And about Red Men Hall … Oregon Historical Society explains that this 1922 building was originally a social gathering place for Willamette Tribe No. 6 of the Improved Order of Red Men, the oldest homegrown fraternal society in the country, incorporated in 1835!