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How Dad Influenced the Influencer on this Oregon Coast, and History There We've Seen

Published 06/17/23 at 6:51 a.m.
y Andre' GW Hagestedt

How Dad Influenced the Influencer on this Oregon Coast, and History There We've Seen

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(Oregon Coast) – Every once in awhile, if you're in a creative biz like I am, you find yourself taking stock of where you've been and how it's led to where you are – which for me is a gig where I get paid to go to the beach and write about it. When you combine that little inner reverie with Father's Day, your thoughts inevitably turn to questions like: how did my dad influence me in these directions? (Photo Andre' GW Hagestedt: I remember seeing Seaside the first time with Dad)

The answers surprised me a little.

So, happy Father's Day, Dad – or Mr. Hagestedt, as he's known to the countless students he taught in the Salem area as a band director. This will likely make you chuckle a bit, Dad, as it did me.

He's a big fan of the Oregon coast, too. So it sometimes comes in handy when he's got a son who covers this region in a sizable publication like this. Yet it turns out we've lived a bit of history out there.

When I was two or so, we lived near Bandon for awhile. Dad taught band at a high school on the south Oregon coast, and I've even found his name in a few old article archives of the newspapers back then. That was an extraordinarily cool find. Of course, I don't remember being there. But every once in awhile I have dreams of odd coastal places that I swore I'd never seen, but when I started exploring the south coast for this publication I've come across places that resemble those mystery beaches. They could be very deep memories popping up.

Some of my earliest memories of this coastline are with him, bouncing around Yachats and Wadport. As early as 1970 or even '69, we stayed at what was called the Pat Boone Inn then, with Mom and my little brother Norman (it was later the Bayshore Inn and now the Alsi Resort). There's some true, funky history there. (Waldport's Pat Boone Inn: Oregon Coast Finance Tale That Reached Ocean Shores, Washington )

Just before or just after that, we had some regular stay in Yachats, but I'm guessing we stopped going because Mom was more interested in the sandy beaches, but also she and Dad were pretty jumpy about Norman and I literally bouncing around Yachats. I remember constantly getting shouted at to be careful. Those rocky crevices were pretty unforgiving then as now.

It's interesting to realize I was there before the 804 Trail.

Flood in Bandon in '64 (courtesy Bandon History Musuem). We lived nearby then.

Apparently we were at a very early Cannon Beach Sandcastle Fest: there are some photos I've seen of Dad and I there on that beach, with all those sandcastles nearby. This had to be right around 1970 or earlier. The fest got started in '64. That's truly some Oregon coast history.

Yet I think it's Dad's more artistic sides that I somewhat inherited as well as a kind of appreciation of facts and science that he seemed to have as I was growing up. For a long while, I had aspirations to be a writer, and rather precociously wrote an entire sci-fi novel one summer around 12 years old. He never tried to give me a reality check on that: he fully supported me in this rather wild project for a kid.

He also didn't mind (much) that I tried some massive radio experiment with wiring strung throughout part of the house, as I discovered it made a larger antenna. I did manage to catch radio stations from California a couple of times. That kind of science experiment, however wacky, was something he saw a little value in.

That subtle encouragement for science probably helped me become a science writer, as I am now.

About 13 years old, I suddenly became obsessed with music and started playing classical and jazz flute, which is where having a music educator dad really helped. I excelled at it, and that's definitely much to do with Mr. Hagestedt. That helped further develop my artistic side, which in turn helped me with the writing and photography I now do for a living.

That's the part that rather surprised me in recent days - when I realized it.

Bayshore Inn in 2005: we stayed here a lot in the early '70s

Coming back to the science thing: there was one incident in the late '60s where he helped a light go on in my head, while also bumming me out to no end. We were watching one of the lunar missions getting launched. By this time, at maybe 7 years old or younger, I was already obsessed with Star Trek. It was still on its original run (yeah I'm old enough to remember that). So I was used to a whole gob of people in one, giant ship.

It confused the hell out of me that TV coverage would switch back and forth between the rocket – which was vertical – and all those guys in mission control. Assuming our world was like that of the Enterprise, I asked him why the outside shots were vertical but all those guys inside the ship were on a flat area.

I remember him telling me no, those guys are mission control. There's only those three guys in the module at top. My heart sank. I hated hearing this. I could not believe we as a world were this primitive technologically. I even argued with him a bit.

It's still hilarious, I think, that Star Trek and my dad actually ruined me for real space faring. However, that moment showed me reality and real science were more complex than science fiction.

Oh yeah, and I did finally publish a book – four of them, actually. About, you guessed, the Oregon coast. Thanks Dad.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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