Articles about Home/Place


Home/Place with Garrett Brown

Home/Place is a Company Innovation project conceived by Jennifer Lin, designed to create a collaborative dialogue between artists and audience. The project began with an invitation for members of the community to submit images and text in response to three prompts: The home I was born to, The road I traveled, and The home I made. We are sharing these submissions, the foundational components of the project, as Home/Place continues into the next phase of development.

This submission is from Garrett Brown, a member of Third Rail’s 2019-2020 Mentorship Company.


This is me the summer after freshman year of college when I was working in Seaside at a seafood restaurant. The owners hand-made their own mascot outfit (it was pretty bad to wear) and I waited all summer to try it on. It’s a fun photo!

In my high school, Key Club was in charge of planning our winter formal. It was a popular dance, but always got overlooked due to not being Prom or Homecoming. My junior year, Key Club was populated by a group of people (most of whom were queer or would come out later as queer) and had carte blanche when it came to planning the winter formal (usually some benign theme like “A Night in Paris.”) That year was around when Lady Gaga was top of the Zeitgeist, and I advocated for “Monster’s Ball” to be the theme (based on her album and tour). Basically it was our chance to go crazy and make it queer, camp, and pop arty. And for me, who came out as bisexual later in life, I think it was a way for me to safely express being queer (having not really realized it about myself yet).

This is a photo of a stray cat in front of a building at the Parthenon in Greece. I traveled while I was in England for study abroad late 2015. Although it wasn’t always easy, looking back it feels idyllic, almost like a weird time of my life that wasn’t real (before 2016, and onward). I want to return eventually, but I think of the beauty of the place a lot.

This is a chair that I accidentally broke when I was in the hospital in Portland (likely it already had structural damage and I was the final straw but still an apt metaphor for where I was in my life at that point). I had graduated college maybe 4 months before, and I was depressed and having issues adapting to post college life. I was struggling with mental health including self harm, PTSD, and depression. The program was a three week group therapy intensive, where I would spend 8 hours a day with a variety of other patients working to process trauma and pain. The chair happened on day two. For me, it kind of marks a sort of hilarious rock bottom: obviously the chair isn’t a big deal. But in the moment, it was funny, because it seemed that nothing else was going right, AND THEN THIS. Looking back at the photo gives me an amused smile.

Taken a few weeks ago in 2020. I spent my life trying to escape the coast. I love where I grew up, but to me, it feels like failure to return. My greatest fear for a long time post college was that I would “fail” at life, and need to move back in with my parents. My home place is a strange mix because I grew up with the (wrong) notion that money or achievement determined success: many people in my town stayed local for a variety of reasons (money, family, marriage, drugs, whatever) and I think there was always a worry that I would be “trapped.” 

And of course, due to COVID I have moved back in with my parents. It’s a strange feeling. Because I moved back in because I was worried about safety (have a few roommates) but also worried about my mental health. And although I still have worries for the future, I know I won’t be in Astoria (the coast) forever. It may be longer than I want, but I’ll leave. But I’m glad I’ve been here for at least this little bit.

I miss the Third Rail Mentees. I’ve spent the last several years building friend and peer groups in Portland, and I feel like the group of Mentees are inspiring to me. People I want to spend time with, individuals who I want to collaborate with, people I trust and love. It’s a lot not to be around them right now: I miss hugging them, and I miss the kinetic energy of seeing them in person. People live in Zoom now, and I can’t wait to be back in the same space with them.



Home/Place with Ken Boddie

Home/Place is a Company Innovation project conceived by Jennifer Lin, designed to create a collaborative dialogue between artists and audience. The project began with an invitation for members of the community to submit images and text in response to three prompts: The home I was born to, The road I traveled, and The home I made. We are sharing these submissions, the foundational components of the project, as Home/Place continues into the next phase of development.

This submission is from Ken Boddie, co-anchor of “KOIN 6 News This Morning” every weekday. Ken also produces a weekly segment called “Where We Live,” which gives Portland viewers the backstory of local landmarks, events, street names, and historical figures.


THE HOME I WAS BORN TO

Although I was born in Philadelphia, my boyhood home was Rochester, New York. It was a corporate town, with Xerox, Eastman Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, and a couple of General Motors plants, as well as the Eastman School of Music, The Rochester School for the Deaf, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Rochester was a stop on the Underground Railroad, as slaves hid in private homes to escape to the North. Frederick Douglass lived there. So did Susan B. Anthony. I lived in a black and Puerto Rican neighborhood, with Italian, Irish and Polish pretty much rounding out the town’s ethnic mix. It was a great place to grow up, but the winters were too brutal for me. I was determined to get out.

THE ROAD I TRAVELED

As an athlete (track and basketball), and a good student at a Catholic high school, I reaped the benefits of the Affirmative Action years of the 1970’s, being recruited to several Ivy League schools. I chose Cornell because it was close to home, and I could get in-state grants to attend. Cornell gave me the confidence to know I could compete in the world. It also got me started in broadcasting, as I dabbled in campus radio (WHCU), and caught the broad- casting bug. I decided to pursue broadcasting after college, rather than going to law school. I think it worked out.

THE HOME I MADE

Portland, Oregon was never on my radar, until my mom, step-dad and sister moved to Gresham in 1975. My mother’s husband was an engineer, and his company brought him to Oregon. I came out in 1982, after a year’s stint in Trinidad (I followed a girl), and started working as a producer at KPTV-12. KOIN came calling 3 years later. Oregon is a beautiful place, but it also has a history of animus toward African-Americans. I’ve had numerous negative encounters over the years, where my race was a factor. However, it has been balanced by the incredible friendships and professional growth I’ve experienced in the Rose City. Portland is and always will be home.



Home/Place with Ronni Lacroute

Home/Place is a Company Innovation project conceived by Jennifer Lin, designed to create a collaborative dialogue between artists and audience. The project began with an invitation for members of the community to submit images and text in response to three prompts: The home I was born to, The road I traveled, and The home I made. We are sharing these submissions, the foundational components of the project, as Home/Place continues into the next phase of development.

This submission is from Ronni Lacroute, a cherished member and supporter of the Portland arts community.


As for these photos, I selected them to show how life can lead you to places you never anticipated. The oldest photo, the B&W image of me as an infant reading a book with my mother, was taken in Port Chester, New York, where I lived with my mother in my grandparents’ house while my father served in the U.S. Army in the latter part of the Second World War. My mother instilled in me such a huge love of stories that I wanted to show the joy I derived from hearing her reading stories to me. Also, living in the suburbs of New York City was hugely important in my early years since my mother and grandmother brought me to the city frequently for theatre and concerts. I am very glad to have lived in New York for almost a decade at the beginning of my life.

The next photo chronologically shows me with my son and daughter hiking in the French Alps to connect them to the French heritage of their father. We never lived in the mountains, but the mountains always felt like a welcoming home and safe escape from the rushed lifestyle of the suburbs where we lived.

The vineyard photo shows me with my first vineyard manager Joel Myers when we first laid out a vineyard on a former horse pasture in Yamhill County back in 1991, which was my first experience with being a farmer, living in truly rural Oregon, and making a home on an enormous acreage. I fell in love with that land, every square inch of it, and came to understand the soil structure, the water table, the native plants that grew there, the wild animals that made their home there. There are some wonderful memories associated with those early days of learning all about that beautiful land. After I found arrowheads and grinding tools in the soil, I also took an interest in the life of the indigenous people who had originally lived on that land, probably people of the Kalapuya Nation.

The last photo shows me and Bernard (my former husband and business partner) hosting a winemaker dinner at our winery, Willakenzie Estate, which we built in 1995 on the same site as the vineyard. The winery became a true home to us since we spent most of our hours working there, welcoming guests, hosting wine tasting events, educational events, dinners, and even a PBS cooking show. We spent more hours there than in our house up the hill from the winery until we eventually sold the business in 2016.



Home/Place with Sue How

Home/Place is a Company Innovation project conceived by Jennifer Lin, designed to create a collaborative dialogue between artists and audience. The project began with an invitation for members of the community to submit images and text in response to three prompts: The home I was born to, The road I traveled, and The home I made. We are sharing these submissions, the foundational components of the project, as Home/Place continues into the next phase of development.

This submission is from Member Sue How.


Made me happy searching. I could send hundreds. 🤗

Came home to this house in Edinburgh when I was born and left to go to college 19 years later.

Christmas Eve 1963. Could hardly sleep in those days we were so excited. 🎄

I grew up in Scotland and spent many summers on the west coast.  Was visiting years later when I came upon this site. It took me back.

Pitlochry is where my mother lives…not this shed though. 😜

Her name was Aiko.  Loved that dog.

I visited with my mother last year when she came out to visit for her 90th birthday. Every rose in the garden was perfect. I have never seen it like that before or since (and I was just there. 🌹🌹)



Home/Place with Mary Anne Cassin

Home/Place is a Company Innovation project conceived by Jennifer Lin, designed to create a collaborative dialogue between artists and audience. The project began with an invitation for members of the community to submit images and text in response to three prompts: The home I was born to, The road I traveled, and The home I made. We are sharing these submissions, the foundational components of the project, as Home/Place continues into the next phase of development.

This submission is from Mary Anne Cassin, Core Member and Secretary of Third Rail’s Board.


Having participated in many Third Rail experiences over the years, including live theatre, salons, readings, fundraisers, talk-backs, etc. I knew that there was an incredible assortment of interesting, intelligent people also participating. Our conversations and interactions have tended to be very short and largely about the theatre experience. This opportunity seemed like a wonderful one to share more of who I am and find out more about who is also supporting this theatre group.

Only the first image is there to represent the home I was born to. The photo is taken far from that place (a working class Italian immigrant neighborhood in Chicago), but it includes my three loud, fun and loving brothers and our extended family at this point in our lives. It’s quite a clan!

The road I travelled is represented by the image of Pioneer Courthouse Square, the city of Portland that I adopted in 1978 when I first moved here fresh from college. I had the great honor of being on the design team for the square – it was an international competition and at the time I worked for a small landscape architecture firm based in Old Town. If you have the time to spare, you can find one of the original bricks with my name on it. Working on public places like this one lead me to my eventual career where I spent many decades working for Portland Parks as well as Metro Parks. It was a challenging and fulfilling career, but I sure am glad to be retired now!

The second image for the road I travelled includes the photo of me and our son, who is a newly graduated  search-and-rescue helicopter pilot based in San Francisco for the Coast Guard. Seeing him grow up and how his career is evolving is more than enough excitement; and I work very hard to not think too deeply about what’s involved in his rescue efforts.

The final three images are of the house and garden that have been a labor of love for my husband and I over the last 30 years. Ken was a professional gardener for many years of his career so between the two of us we are happy indeed puttering in the garden these days. It has been such a healing place when we’ve needed it as well as the scene of many fun cocktail parties, and we feel very fortunate in these crazy days to have something so relaxing and peaceful readily available to us.

How very difficult it was to narrow it down to six images! My goodness, at this point in my life I have six decades of places, people and experiences. Yet it was (as usual) a good exercise to sort through to see where the most important influences have been.



Introducing Home/Place

Over the years we have explored small Irish towns, families, artists, lovers, friends, plays within plays, musicals, graphic novels, love, death, memory and revolution. You have taken these journeys with us. Sometimes we have spoken to each other about what we saw, or felt, or thought. But most of the time we have not. We have merely walked the same path for an hour or two and gone our separate ways. 

And then, suddenly we cannot meet. 

And in the space apart, what is most striking is how much you can share with someone, and still not know them. How many questions will never be answered, because there was never the time or opportunity to ask. How many wonderful and moving stories you might be sharing a space with at any given moment. And how those stories, woven together, can create and build a community. Over the years, by some magic we cannot name, we have come to feel a connection to you. Without realizing it, we have come to look for you, and to feel a spark of delight when we find you there. This is the place we call home.

This project is a celebration, or perhaps a critique, or perhaps both, of the place we are in and the places we call home. It is an attempt to see what is created, what stories are told, and what conversations begin by sharing pieces of our own lives through means that do not depend upon a shared language. We do not yet know the end result, but to take this journey together, to get the chance to know each other just a little bit better, feels precious and valuable.

-Jennifer Lin, Company Member and creator of Home/Place


Home/Place is Third Rail’s third Company Innovation project, an annual production slot that allows Company Members to explore theatre that approaches structure, story, design, and point of view in new and surprising ways. Previous Company Innovation projects were Isaac Lamb’s pared-down, all female, six person concert staging of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man (2018) and Jennifer Lin’s immersive, multimedia adaptation of the graphic novel by Paul Hornschemeier, Mother, Come Home (2019).

The first step of the Home/Place process is to solicit images from our audience and community, following three prompts:

  • The home I was born to
  • The road I traveled
  • The home I made

Jennifer Lin has put together a graphic representation of some of the submissions received so far, starting to explore how Home/Place can use visual storytelling to highlight the layers, connections, and pathways of our collective memories.

Stay tuned for the next steps in this fascinating, timely project. We hope you will join us to see where it leads.