I remember going into the big city with my parents a few times but mostly Seattle was a mysterious place where the World’s Fair happened in the early 60s. large international exhibition designed to showcase achievements of nations. This was a crazy fair and left parts of its identity for later generations. There’s the Space Needle a giant tower of futuristic proportions. The top of the Space Needle looked like a giant flying saucer. The restaurant located at the top of the Needle revolved and while eating you could see all of Seattle. From Elliot Bay to the west and Lake Union to the north, and then as you revolved to the east the Cascades and then completing the compass to the south Mt. Rainier was pushing up to the sky. All of this was visible, at least on a clear and sunny day.
Which if you know anything about Seattle, you’ll know clear and sunny is quite often actually cloudy and rainy. Yes, the city and state for that matter is well known as the rain capital of the country. This is true but, the rain is more of a mist most times. We do get the torrential downpours, but these are few and far between. When that happens outcome the umbrellas or if you want to get fancy, bumbershoots. Ah, the bumbershoot everyone assumes the term came from those silly English, but the reality is, the term is strictly American. The word bumbershoot started around the late 19th century and is an alteration, or if you prefer the technical term “smooshing”, of umbrella and parachute, “umbr+chute” as a parachute when open looks like an umbrella.
The usage was at its peak in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and you would expect to hear it all the time in Seattle. Because you know it rains constantly in Seattle. Of course, that’s also a cliché as those of us who’ve lived in Seattle for any length of time, forgo the use because really all they do is get wet and then you must find some place to dry them. Besides, as a resident of rainy Washington, quite often the rain here hardly ever lasts long enough to make the operation worth it. I mean here when the weather is not to our liking, we just say wait a minute and it will change. And frankly I just like saying bumbershoot. Try it, bumbershoot. And mostly it’s misty, cloudy days where all you want to do is curl up in front of a fire and read your book. What is evident to anyone who resides here is the cloudiness of the area. It’s something all Seattleites deal with on a regular basis. And with the rain and cloudiness comes another of the idiosyncrasies of the state. Complaining about the weather.
Living in the Pacific Northwest it’s a requirement to complain about the weather. To be fair though mostly in the spring and winter, but the reality is the complaining is year-round. In the Winter everyone complains about the cold and wet of the winter months. Then when Spring rolls around and the rains start the complaining just keeps going. Now you’d think that once spring passes into Summer sun everyone would be happy. Nope now it’s too hot and how everyone can’t wait for Fall. Fall gets a reprieve for about a minute and then leaves start falling and the complaining starts up again. Summer can be beautiful and quite often is, for days at a time. August is warm and sunny so ya summer here is awesome.
Seattle is surrounded by water and mountains. If you stood in the center of the city and then started walking west, after a journey of three or four blocks you’d hit the waterfront. It has an aquarium and today a giant Ferris wheel right on a pier overlooking the water. If you’re looking for fish and chips, there’s also the famous Ivar’s Fish and Chips.
Seattle is a diverse city that supports the University of Washington. The U-District as it’s known by the locals is home to The Ave. An eight-block strip of food joints, comicbook stores, tattoo parlors, and bookstores among other interesting and assorted businesses. Including the Comics Clubhouse.
A short drive to the southeast and you find Lake Washington and just like the state the lake is named for our first president. The sleepy town of Renton where I grew up is just south of Seattle and encompassed the southern edge of the lake. Renton was also the home of one of Boeings jet factories and the roar of the jet testing was a background noise during my childhood.
Directly east on the I-90 freeway across the Lake Washington Floating Bridge, it actually floats on the water not suspended above the water, is Mercer Island. The mostly rich and famous call the Island home. Continuing east a few short minutes I-90 brings you to another suburb of Seattle, Bellevue. Home to Microsoft. And just north of Bellevue in the small suburb of Medina is the home of Bill Gates.
If you’re looking for a fast food burger there’s Dick’s Drive-in an icon establishment since the 1950s. The original location is on NE 45th street that is just across the I-5 corridor from the University of Washington. You can get a burger, fries, and a shake inexpensively that rival any such fare in the US. Looking for a venue to escape the rain/cloudy skies? The Neptune Theatre is an iconic movie theatre in the heart of the U-District. Many a person have seen classic movies there, including The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 1991, the theater set a record by playing The Rocky Horror Picture Show every week for 14 years, longer than any other movie had played in Seattle. By 1993, it was one of four U.S. theaters which had played the show the longest, according to the National Rocky Horror Fan Club in New York, one of several U.S. theaters playing it in a midnight movie format. Between the movie and the audience participation it is something that must be experienced in person.
As you can see Seattle and its NW weather is quite the character. A character that will inhabit the story of Alex, Naomi, Jimmy, and the rest of the gang. The Comics Clubhouse is a fictional comicbook store based on the narrator’s personal experience of life in Seattle and the comic/nerd culture that enlivens it.