Monday, June 05, 2006

Winning a radio contest: all roads lead to Oregon

As a follow up from my last post, seemed there was some interest in my tidbit about moving to Portland by winning a contest. Here's the story...

I was living in Chico, a year or so after graduating from college . It was a warm weekend day and I was working and playing in my first garden as an adult. The pink stucco California house had been transformed with help from my sister, with a garden full of pink daylilies, impatiens, and the beginning of a wild and raucous trumpet vine. The side window held the air conditioner, wedged up there and hooked up to the garden hose. This old house didn’t have central AC, but the charm made up for coping with 120-degree heat and the unique scent of moist air blowing through the swamp cooler.

I had the radio on, and between songs, a voice came on that I recognized. Stopping my watering, I listened carefully. Who was that? Was it Bret? It was! My friend Bret, also a communications major but specializing in radio, had obviously landed a job beyond the campus radio station and was announcing on commercial radio. He sounded great, and I rushed in to call the station to tell him I was listening.

The line was busy.

I hit redial. Still busy. Redialed and there was a ring. The familiar voice answered but instead of a standard phone greeting, he said “Congratulations! You’re the 12th caller!” I stumbled a bit and said “Bret, it’s me, Lelo!” Turns out I was a qualifier for the big summer give-away prize, meaning my name would be put in a hat along with a kajillion others. Yeah right! Bret and I caught up and chit chatted: good times.**

A few weeks went by when one morning, a friend calls me to tell me they’re saying my name on the radio. Another friend calls, too. You know what’s coming here, right? Ends up I won the big summer giveaway prize: a whitewater rafting trip for 4 to Inn of the Seventh Mountain in beautiful, Bend, Oregon. Bend, Oregon. Hmmm. I was a total paddlehead and loved rafting, and this was the perfect opportunity for a group of us to go together. And I had never rafted that far north. Nor had I been to Oregon.

The trip was fun, and I quickly fell in love with this place, Oregon*. I was at a point in my life where I needed to move on, and I wasn’t sure where I would land. So many friends had gone to the bay area, but I didn’t have that calling. And I didn’t have the gumption to bite the bullet and move to Chicago, despite my mentor suggesting I would thrive there. Too far, too much snow, I love the West Coast. As for Oregon, I figured the main city was somewhere up north from Bend, Portland, right? I picked up a Sunday Oregonian on our way out of town and perused the job listings. Lo and behold, there was a listing for a job very similar to what I was currently doing. It wasn’t that common of a job. What the heck, I thought I should apply…

(To be continued)

*I’m still laughing about Stephen Colbert’s recent quip referring to Oregon as Washington’s Mexico and California’s Canada.
**Of course, Bret is still in radio and a successful San Francisco reporter.

7 comments:

Zoe said...

That is such a cool story. Nothing like a little serendipity.

SoozieQ said...

Ooooh, don't keep us hanging Lelo!!

brett said...

i think i know someone by that name....

but to not confuse the other readers, i am not said bret.

great story. and thanks for coming, we're all better for it.

patti_cake said...

Wow talk about fate ...or I should say destiny. I could use a little shot of destiny right about now :) Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

purpletwinkie said...

That's a great story. I have been to Portland a couple times this year (and will be back in July). I've fallen in love with it. I need to get out of the desert... Maybe I should start listening to the radio.

Maggie said...

That is really neat!
I on the other side of the Columbia River for a while. Love Portland from May to October. Too depressing any other time. LOL

Rozanne said...

Fantastic story! You must have felt like you were being guided by fate--first you hear your friend's voice on the radio. Then you win the big prize. Then you just happen to check the Oregonian and there's the perfect job for you. Clearly, it was meant to be.

It would have been a horrible idea to move to Chicago.