Several years ago for Christmas, my grandma purchased a brick at the Astoria Column with my name on it. She grew up in Astoria and was excited to give me a piece of her hometown. I’m sad that I let so many years pass before going to find my brick – as my sweet grandma passed away last February and I would have loved to have been able to tell her that I saw her thoughtful gift. So, when we made plans several weeks ago to spend our Valentine’s Day weekend in the Astoria area, I knew this was finally my chance to find my brick!

Saturday morning greeted us with sunny, but cold weather, and we knew that this day was perfect for our trip. After a quick breakfast, we set toward our destination. By the time we arrived at the Astoria Column, the sun had hidden behind some clouds, but it was still clear and lovely out.

My boyfriend and I decided to split the sections of bricks in half and began our search. I was thrilled to find that not only had my grandma purchased a brick for me, she had also purchased one for herself!  Seeing her name, along with the year she graduated from Astoria High School (1942!) put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

After posing with her brick, we still had more searching to do. We looked, and we looked, and we looked. I couldn’t find my brick anywhere! I suggested we ask for help in the Gift Shop, where an employee was able to look up my name and print me a detailed map with the location of my brick.

And, we found it…in the section I was in charge of searching. But, still, I was thrilled to find the wonderful gift my grandmother gave me so many years ago.  We weren’t able to climb the column on this visit, as it was closed for repairs, but I plan to visit my brick often and will surely climb the 164 steps soon!

about author Rhiannon West Chamberlain

Rhiannon is a native Oregonian who grew up exploring the nooks and crannies of the Oregon Coast and daydreaming in Powell’s City of Books. She now lives in NE Portland with her husband and her new baby boy and looks forward to teaching him to love Oregon as much as she does. Rhiannon attended both the University of Oregon and Portland State University, where she studied Journalism and Mass Media. She claims to ‘bleed green’ and happily cheers for both the Ducks and the Vikings every chance she gets. In her free time, Rhiannon enjoys sipping Oregon Pinot, finding new restaurants, bargain hunting and trying new recipes – sometimes successfully. She has a child-like enthusiasm for trying new things and rediscovering old ones – such as skee-ball, mini golf, and big slides.

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