The Voice of Panorama

Each quarter, all of us here at Panorama get to delight in the talented works of select resident writers. A publication, appropriately named “The Voice of Panorama”, is produced, edited, and distributed by residents. The Winter 2013 issue was released today, featuring an artistically illustrated cover, designed and created by a resident who is well known for her work in the art of zentangle.  Beyond the cover lies a collection of original pieces of varying styles, each written by a Panorama resident, along with a handful of new resident introductions.

One valuable purpose served by “The Voice” is to introduce residents who are new to our community. Newcomers are interviewed by their fellow residents who then produce a short introduction and condensed biography that focuses on their history, some of their hobbies, and what brought them to Panorama. This is one way we get to know the new faces and welcome them to our Panorama family.

The remainder of “The Voice” is filled with stories and poetry that make you laugh, warm your heart, and reflect on artfully interpreted perspectives. Here are two personal stories as featured in the current issue, with the exception of the writers’ last names.



An advertisement for Yamato Transport and Allied Van Lines emphasizes care in packing. Their symbol is a mother cat carrying a kitten in her mouth, implying the gentleness with which the company will move your goods.

Which company was involved in our move from Tokyo, Japan to Portland, Oregon, has long evaporated from my memory. My story might be a move for which they can claim credit.

Twenty two years had elapsed, from the day we first set foot in Japan to the time we had to leave. We arrived with a minimum of goods, but by the time we left, we had a household of things to take back.

On the day of the move the packers needed instruction now and then as to what was staying and what was going. We had several Japanese dolls, clad in beautiful kimono, in glass cases, about which we were concerned. These were treasured gifts accumulated during our life in Japan. We watched as they carefully and gently wrapped the dolls, returned them to their glass cases, and then saw to it that the glass cases were placed in protective containers.

There were Japanese scrolls, four-panel folding silk screens with artwork, and a whole variety of memorabilia. All were packed with care. We had no idea what we were going to do with many of the things we were taking, but memories were attached! We could not leave them behind.

By the end of the day, the moving van was filled . Their next step was to transfer our goods to a shipping container and put it on a ship bound for the States. Shipping was to take about a month.

We finished cleaning out our apartment, packed our bags and went to a hotel in Tokyo. On departure day we took a taxi to Haneda International Airport in Tokyo for our flight to the United States, with a stop-over in Hawaii. I remember how heart-warming it was as I went through customs and immigration, to have my passport stamped and hear the officer say, “Welcome back to the U.S.A.”

We landed in P0rtland, and after a couple of days found a suitable apartment. We notified the local receiving company of our address. In about a week, we got a phone call telling us when our goods would be delivered.

It was a bit like Christmas! We wondered about the Japanese dolls. They all made it without breakage! Box after box demonstrated the skill with which the items had been packed.

Of course there were those boxes of memorabilia for which we had no room in our small rental apartment. So we didn’t unpack them. In fact, some didn’t get opened for another 23 years! When we moved to Panorama, we finally unpacked them- and gave them away!

But back to unpacking. We came across a box that had no label as to its contents. It was well wrapped. There was no sound of anything broken inside. It was a mystery.

We opened the box, unwrapped the contents to find our kitchen garbage can – filled with garbage! How considerate! They had moved us back: lock, stock and garbage!





Years ago a travel agent found the perfect cruise for Bob and me: a 14-day positioning cruise from the Caribbean to Portugal. All ocean. No ports.

When the ship finally docked in Lisbon, we went directly to the airport for our return flight, floundering amidst Portuguese signs and directions. Eventually we did spot the TWA desk (which gives you an idea how many years ago this was), and we strode to the First Class check-in. This luxurious flight (I told you it was a long time ago) was my inaugural First Class trip. As we waited behind another customer, a smiling TWA lady asked if we would answer a few questions. “Of course,” I told her.

“How long have you been in Portugal?”

“Hmmm. Nearly two hours.”

“You don’t want to see Portugal?”

“We were in Lisbon a few years ago.”

Silence.   “We’ve been at sea for two weeks.”

Silence.   “And we have no more vacation.”

“Do you have a camera?”

“No.”   Silence.

“Do you speak Portuguese?”

“I’m an American. I barely speak English.”   Silence.

“Why are you so … ”

As she searched for the correct English word, she motioned toward her face.

“Pretty? Young?”   She meant tanned.

“Well, we just finished a two-week cruise.”

Silence.    “And we’re from California.”

Silence.     “It’s always sunny there.”

“But you are not wearing American shoes.”

Finally! Something we can talk about. I was preparing to tell her how I had found these terrific Italian loafers on sale, no less, at Nordstrom’s, when she made it apparent that Americans wear sports shoes. Like Nikes.  The questions kept coming, and so did my wrong answers.

“If you were on a cruise, do you know any of these people here at the airport?”

Apparently everyone at the TWA terminal had been watching our inquisition unfold, or perhaps they were just keeping an eye on the pool of perspiration that was forming on the floor under me. I turned toward the Tourist Class passenger check-in, and I spotted Fred. We had just eaten breakfast with him, but as I waved, he turned his back to me. I started to point out a few other familiar faces, and almost in unison, they looked away. Talk about rats abandoning a sinking ship.

Our interrogator turned away and handed our tickets and passports to the ticket agent. When the ticket agent completed our check-in, I reached for the passports and tickets, but she handed them to a uniformed gentleman who was carrying a walkie-talkie, and she said, “Would you please follow my colleague.” The colleague motioned for us to follow him onto an enormous escalator. Now I’m really worried because we’re obviously going to be questioned by the next level of security. I knew this wasn’t exactly a scene out of Midnight Express. We hadn’t done anything wrong, and we weren’t even in Turkey. But we had come and gone through Portugal in two hours, we were too tanned, we wore European shoes, and no cruise ship passenger knew us.

After a lot of writing on-his pad of paper and speaking into his walkie-talkie, the colleague turned to us and said, “What would you like to drink after the champagne?” My first thought was, “this is going to be one civilized interrogation!” But my lack of worldliness had come shining through because the man was only taking us to the First Class Lounge so we could comfortably await our flight.

So if you’re ever in Portugal, heed this advice: dress like an American, bring a camera, stay out of the sun, and fly Coach.


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