Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Calvin Geer's father's Oregon Fever


Recorded in 1925, this account tells of Calvin Geer's 1847 journey westwards after his father got a 'case of Oregon fever'. In much detail, he explains the journey with an abundance of cliches, travelling with a wagon and oxen, staying in slave camps through Missouri, foraging for food and finding plenty in the rockies and dangerously avoiding illness and river torrents. A short yet concise re-telling of his family's journey culminating in his father getting a teaching job and having a house built as pay for the family to live in after staying in a shack over winter, an ending earning the American Dream seal of approval.

Broken down, the story of Calvin Geer seems so casual yet remarkable in a way. The nonchalance of his account presents the attitude that very much goes in hand with the American dream, an idea of confidence and hope in the face of adversity. Segments about how, even in the winter, they can walk into the woods and just stumble across fresh mushrooms, walnuts, small game aplenty are just ingrained in the image of comfort America exuded, especially the west coast which even Calvin himself does not expand on the exact reasons as to why west is best. From his story, it seems that the beauty, the space and its sheer natural wealth, whether its the precious minerals or abundant resources make the West attractive in the way that Americans always want the best and after a while they see its the west.

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