From early 1988 until just a few years ago, I saved every S-R section to which I had contributed. Chronicle sections, too. I wanted a record of my work. Then, sometime in the last few weeks, it came to me. Newsprint makes excellent packing material.
When I started writing The Slice in August of 1992, Spokane had a thinner skin. At least that’s the way it seems. Back then, even the mildest form of subjective truth-telling about the Lilac City’s shortcomings evoked wounded cries of “Spokane bashing.”
Quite a few years ago, I got fed up with the national news media referring to Washington as “Washington state” in contexts where there could be zero chance of confusing it with the District of Columbia.
For Spokane residents, summer vacation trips to visit relatives in distant red states can involve trying to explain the two Washingtons. There is the Washington that people far from here think they know. Then there’s the Washington in which we actually abide.
It’s my belief that at least some of those who offer themselves as experts on our urban core – even if they profess to stay away – don’t admit the real reason they supposedly steer clear of downtown Spokane.
You know how some people hereabouts flee perceived social ills by moving way out to the country? Sure. Well, what if they relocate to the boonies only to discover that some of the exact same characters they are trying to get away from are already out there?
For those who weren’t born here, this time of year is the setting for many stories that begin “The first time I saw Spokane …” That’s because a fair number of people came through town in the course of summer travels long before moving here years later.