Mike Hale is hosting this month’s meeting of the Portland Flag Association at 7 p.m., Thursday, November 10, 2011. For details, see the Next Meeting page for details. Bring your remembrances of John Hood. Hope to see you there!
Everyone who drove on S.E. 39th Avenue opposite Laurelhurst Park knew the Flag House. Portlanders enjoyed the changing daily display of three flags—all flown for some special reason—by John Hood. There, with his long-time companion Vivian Jackson, he built a collection of over 600 full-size flags and enthusiastically shared them with passersby based on a database of flag-flying days he’d built over several years.
John, who died at age 77 after a battle with cancer, was a charter member of the Portland Flag Association, a group which had grown out of the organizing committee for the 1994 annual meeting of the North American Vexillological Association. After his friend Harry Oswald moved to Texas, John took over the “central coordinator” role for the PFA, and created and published its occasional newsletter, The Vexilloid Tabloid. In it he chronicled PFA meetings, challenged members with flag quizzes, and documented local and national flag doings. He famously wrote, “If you wish to compliment the editor, contact John Hood. If you wish to complain, call your mother.”
He was the first and most gracious host of the now-bimonthly meetings of the PFA, catered with bountiful sweets baked by Vivian. In his living room in 2002, the group hatched a successful effort to redesign the 1969 flag of the City of Portland. After PFA members arranged political support, testified before city council, and watched the redesign ordinance pass unanimously, Mayor Vera Katz asked them to replace the council chamber’s old flag. John attached the newly-adopted flag to the pole, becoming the first person to raise Portland’s current flag.
John was raised in Idaho, served in the Navy, and had a career with the telephone company in San Francisco. A generous soul, John especially supported up-and-coming vexillologists, recently giving his entire collection of flag periodicals from around the world to young members of the PFA.
His colleagues will miss his jovial spirit, expansive knowledge of flags, and commitment to inclusion and conviviality.
We had another lively discussion, this time in the somewhat hard to find Tupelo Alley “Eco-Lounge”. We had decent attendance, though we particularly missed John Hood, who was unable to attend due to health issues. Here are a few highlights, each with an illustration!
Scott Mainwaring and Ted Kaye gave a brief report on their experiences at the Washington Flag Congress (which was both the 44th annual NAVA meeting and the 24th biennial International Congress of Vexillology convened by FIAV, Fédération Internationale des Associations Vexillologiques in the language of international diplomacy, French, or International Federation of Vexillological Associations, in English). Scott and Ted are shown here holding the flag designed for the congress (now part of the Kaye collection). Scott wondered aloud if our own Portland Flag Association, being in fact a vexillological association, might qualify for membership in FIAV; Ted seems to like that idea. More at the next meeting. Continue reading “Notes on the September 2011 meeting”
Apparently the organizers of the Antelope Valley Fair in the California desert inadvertently chose to festoon their venue with LGBT rainbow flags. A local blog documents the official and community reaction:
There was a ceremony in Salem today to announce a new USPS stamp featuring the Oregon state flag. (Actually, only one side of the state flag — the obverse — leaving what some would argue is the better side hidden.)