An Elegant Flat:

2353 NW Kearney ST, #2

In 2006, I sold my Portland Home, and moved into a rental flat next door.  A place that has a long history for me.

The photo, right, is of the flight of steps from the sidewalk to the front porch.  My flat is behind the bay window.

In the 1970s, I began a year of house-sitting for my friend Susan, who lived in an upstairs flat in this same building.  I got to know a woman of my Mother's age (born in 1918) who lived in the original main floor of the Victorian home.  Her name was Virginia Zann Hall, but everyone called her Ginny.  She was very glamorous, a "kept woman," whose lover escorted her to his Mercedes every Saturday evening for a night on the town.  With her silver hair piled stylishly on top of her head, and her slim but curvaceous body clad in a rhinestone or sequin bedecked gown, she was the essence of all I hoped to be when I reached her age:  independent, self-assured, and fun.  An invitation to dinner at Ginny's was an event to be treasured.

Ginny was an identical twin, born to a prosperous family, one of 'Portland's First Families,' the Zanns.  But when she ran away with an opera singer, her family more or less disowned her.  That is, until she left him after his drunken rage had left her bruised and bloody.  She divorced and never married, but lived most of her life as the mistress of a Portland scion, Harry McCall.  In the 1950s, Harry installed her in this lovely apartment, where she lived until a year or so after his death.  Ginny fell apart after Harry died, lost deeper and deeper into dementia.  Her death preceded my Mom's by 2 years.

After Ginny died, her few remaining possessions were put into storage, hoping one of her cousins would claim them (her sister had preceded her in death, and she had no heirs).  But after a few years in storage, all of Ginny's friends decided that I should inherit her things, since I had the beautiful victorian home next door to where she lived.  So, they moved into my home.  Then, when I sold my home, I lobbied hard with the new owner of the apartments, for Ginny's former home.  I won, and soon installed myself, and Ginny's antiques into their new old home.

The owner allowed me to live there for 2 years, but then decided he wanted to restore the home to a single family residence, and I had to leave.  A very sad time for me, but also a turning point in my life, as I let go of my youthful aspirations and accepted that I had become a 'woman of a certain age,' as Ginny was when I first met her.

After climbing the stairs to the porch, you enter the building through the double doors.  My apartment is the first door on the right.

It opens into my living room, the room with the bay window overlooking the sidewalk.  This photo (left) is taken from the pocket doors that originally separated the parlor (this room) from the family's living room. The entrance to the apartment is just out of the photo, on the left.

The framed pastel painting on the left is of Ginny's mother, a 'Gibson Girl' in the 1890s.

The room on the other side of the pocket doors, now my dining room.  The fireplace is no longer functional (the brick chimney has been removed).

This is my favorite room.  The only windows (out of the photo, on the left) were dark, as they faced the adjacent building only 2 feet away.

The doorway in the back, on the right, is to the kitchen and bath; the other doorway is to the bedroom.

The galley kitchen, my most favorite of all kitchens, so easy to work in, and also the source of many wonderful dinners at Ginny's.

At the end of the kitchen counter is my desk, and then the window looking onto the back porch and yard.

This photo is taken from the bathroom doorway.

Detail of stove area. I made the shelf above the stove, for hanging my pots.

Be;ow is Charlie Cat, snoozing on my bed.  Shhh!  don't wake him.  That's my sewing maching ensconced in a bay window looking out on the back yard.

The acrylic painting above the bed is a nude of Ginny, napping on the beach at Gearhart (all you can see in the photo is the boots on her feet).

The acrylic painting above the bed is a nude of Ginny, napping on the beach at Gearhart (all you can see in the photo is the boots on her feet). Below is a photo of the painting, when it hung in the den of my old Victorian home. Ginny was in her 40s when she posed for this painting.


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