This year’s Street of Dreams is in West Linn (again), the city we have called home since 1989. Seems like forever ago. All of our kids have grown up, and still are growing up here.
We have driven by the Street of Dreams several days a week in the past month, and have watched the nine houses that make up the Street of Dreams being built on these beautiful farm-like rolling hills of Rosemont Road the past year.
They are quite a distance from the road, and one day while driving by them, I said to my 10-year-old son, Augustin, “I really want to go to this year’s Street of Dreams. Since it’s in West Linn so close to our house, and we’ve watched the houses go in this past year. And the lots on which the houses are built are an acre, which is nice compared to the usual postage stamp lot for mansions.”
About. Yeah. Right.
Smile. I love my kid.
Mind you. We live in a 2400 square foot house on one-third of an acre. It’s a daylight ranch, remodeled from a split-level house, built in the 70’s.
To put it straightforward: We live on the Street of Reality, not the Street of Dreams.
I borrowed that slogan, the Street of Reality, from a sign that was posted near our road during a Street of Dreams in the late 90’s that was across from Marylhurst University, about three-quarters of a mile away. One sign said, “Street of Dreams” and pointed in the direction of the Marylhurst area Street of Dreams and another sign said, “Street of Reality” and pointed toward our neck of the woods. I have used that slogan, that we live on the street of reality, ever since.
Yes, our house is on the street of reality. We don’t have a home where each bedroom has its own surround-sound, HD-TV, walk- in closets the size of a bedroom and bedrooms the size of living rooms and dining rooms combined. No, we don’t have a quadruple car garage or a guest room the size of a small house or a wine cellar. Nor do we have a water slide or putting greens or a covered outdoor living area complete with flat screen televisions and couches.
But, I am thankful for our street of reality. Sure, I know the difference, and I like to visit the Streets of Dreams every once in a while to see “how some other people live,” as my friend Kristi who came with me to this year’s Street of Dreams said.
I just treasure the words of my grade school age son, who could care less about the street of dreams, and doesn’t know the difference, at least from a distance. He was just not interested in all the glitz.
In the end, it’s about perspective and viewpoint and attitude and giving thanks for what you have because we have so much. Our family friends from Sudan, who lived in a 2-bedroom apartment in North Portland, viewed our daylight ranch as a really large house. The reality for their family of nine was sharing a three-bedroom apartment in an area of Portland where gangs were another everyday reality. So, to them, we lived on a kind of street of dreams.
Yet, our friends from Sudan had family and friends who lived in wore-torn Sudan who would give anything to be in Dreamland America. An apartment for nine, absolutely.
While meandering into each of the nine houses on the Street of Dreams this year, Kristi and I would notice the layout of the houses, the architecture, the woodwork, the sinks, the furniture, the lighting, the backyard entertaining areas, as well as the paint colors and wall hangings. There was so much to absorb.
One house intrigued me because of the decorative wall hangings and another with its motivational sayings painted onto the walls of one of the bathrooms.
“Enjoy the little things in life …for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
And, I loved the hand-painted chalkboard like mural in a bathroom with sayings like, “Travel Often,” and “If you don’t like something, change it,” and “Life is short, live your dream and share,” and “This is your life, do what you love and do it often!” and “Some opportunities only come once, seize them,” and “Life is about the people you meet and the things you create so go out and start creating.”
To get all of that out of the Street of Dreams, who knew.
It boils down to perspective and viewpoint and thankfulness for what you have, as my almost fifth grade son seemed to realize without going to the street of dreams.
And, when it comes to the homes we have been given to live in, it’s about being grateful for what you have and making them — whether it’s a house or apartment or bedroom or other living arrangement, no matter the circumstances — your home. Your very own street of dreams. Where you can live your dream, your adventure — where love is, where family is, where real life happens.
As, one segment of the bathroom mural in one of the Street of Dreams houses said,”Life is about the people you meet…Life is short, live your dream and share.”
That’s what I strive to do. In my house on the street of reality. It’s home.