FC: Portland Roots | Only. Grow. Deeper.
1: This book was made with love by some of your best friends from the Rose City. We are so incredibly proud of everything that you've overcome these past couple years and we all wish you a wonderful birthday. Keep drivin' with the sunroof open.
2: Eric, Congrats on finishing what we all hope to be the final round of chemo!! Just wanted to tell you how impressed we all are of the fight you’ve put up. I can’t begin to imagine what you have gone through this year, but you have shown amazing heart and toughness through it all. You never complained about the situation or asked why it was happening to you. Instead, you confronted it and stayed positive. Enjoy the pictures and the rest of the comments, I hope this book shows you how much we all care. Looking forward to celebrating with you and Diva at the wedding buddy, can’t wait to hit that dance floor See ya soon. Clayton
3: Perko, Hey man, congratulations to you on fighting this thing off again. I'm optimistic and confident that it'll be your last. I admire you for keeping up such an amazing temperament and attitude throughout the last year and a half. My mom has been battling cancer now for almost a year so I've seen first hand the toll that it takes emotionally and physically. For you to have gone through this at such a young age has probably brought you a new perspective on life, again cheers to you my friend. When Reed asked us all to put a few thoughts down on paper, I was thinking about our times together and what stands out the most today. For me, I think its your infectious laugh. It might not have seemed like much, but when Reed and I stopped by your place in April, I had the greatest time just sitting around telling stories and laughing. I think your laughter is another reason why I've enjoyed picking on you over the years (like when I PUNKED your ass! so funny). I've only met your Diva once, but I've learned a tremendous deal about her throughout your battle. You certainly picked a good one, amazingly devoted and full of love. You are a lucky guy (I guess she's kind of lucky too, whatever...sob-sob). Congratulations again on your wedding, may it be a healthy, memorable affair for the both of you. You certainly deserve it. Love you brother. Your friend, Erik
4: Heeeeeeey Eric! It's pretty simple: you are my 5th brother. It feels like yesterday when we would go to my house every day after school and watch the Big Lebowski. I'm pretty sure we used the 'Play x 2' button a thousand times during the "stay out of Malibu, deadbeat!" part. I miss the weekend nights in the red Trooper. Cruisin around, buying beer at Thurman Mart and bumping Tupac and Above the Law more than the any white teens should. You've always been there for me. Through the best and toughest times of my life, I've always known that I can count on you for anything. I've never been more honored than when you asked me to be your best man on that 2am stroll across Pac Heights, beers in hand. You've taught me so much, especially over these past couple years. Your ability to stay grounded and maintain such amazing perspective, even through the hardest situations imaginable, is something I'll always admire. I am so grateful for your friendship and can't wait to celebrate this September with you and Diva. Love ya bro, RAR
5: Hey buddy, When Reed sent the email about putting this book together for you, I started going through all of my pictures from the past ten years or so. There were definitely some gems in there from UCSB and my time in South Africa, but the ones that made me smile most and literally laugh out loud were all of experiences with you: the trips to the east coast, seeing Dave at the Gorge and of course studying abroad. Our time in Italy and traveling in Europe is easily a highlight of my life to date and it wouldn’t have been nearly as special if I hadn’t done it with you. It was great spending time with you in SF last month and the trip was a clear reminder to me why you are a best friend. Over the past few years we hadn’t been as close, but I really value our friendship and hope it returns to the way it was during those glory days. I can’t even begin to imagine or comprehend how difficult the past year and half has been for you, Diva and your family. But I’m so proud of you for the way you’ve endured through this process and your attitude throughout the ordeal. You’re the man Pookie and I respect the shit out of you! Love you brother. Your partner in small arms, Courtney PS: “The crickets and the rust-beetles scuttled among the nettles of the sage thicket. ‘Vámonos, amigos,’ he whispered, and threw the busted leather flintcraw over the loose weave of the saddlecock. And they rode on in the friscalating dusklight.”
6: CRAIG! What up muuuaaaaafuuukka. Looks like someone got palanca’d! Who’s the special guy? Oh, you're gonna be so handsome! Who's gonna be the most handsome groom? Who's the prince with the most dashing mustache? Who gives the warmest hug? (Your Highness quotesafter a brief literary review, figured I’d better throw a reference in, as this might seem like some pretttty strange shit if you hadn’t seen the movie. Plus Hazel would be pissed if I omitted it). In all seriousness, I’m sitting here enjoying this rare occasion where I get to kick back and reflect on one of my oldest and best friendships. It conjures up a million and a half memories and even more laughs. But more importantly, it gives me a chance to tell you some important things. It’s not too often we get an opportunity like this, especially as friends living in different parts of the country. I suppose it’s even rarer as friends of the dude variety. Actually taking time out to let each other know how kick ass they are, what they mean to us, what we see they mean to other people. Not just clinking glasses and back slaps. The real deal with words and everything. This might sound like a selfish remark from some kid of asshole, but I’m not talking with my butt these days (HONK!) so I hope you don’t take it that way. It’s more of a glass half full, glad we could have this conversation type of a remark. If there’s one good thing that has come from you getting sick, it is the pause it has given me to reflect on what an amazing guy you are, how much our friendship has meant and continues to mean, and how valuable every second we share with friends and family is. Perhaps this sounds cliché and others have probably made the same observation, but I truly mean it from the bottom of my heart. I’m not just talking about you or me, but everyone in our lives. Because without you getting sick, I bet I wouldn’t have done something very important that now I am very grateful to have donewritten this letter. I know it’s a drop of positive in a big ass HoneyBucket of shit that you’ve been through, but thanks for giving me pause and for giving me this opportunity. You are the man Perko. One of the coolest, nicest, most genuine, hilarious, generous guys I’ve ever met. It is amazing how many peoples’ lives you have touched and influenced. You are also one of the strongest people I know, enduring what you’ve been through.
7: To continue our strong friendship in the face of time spent in different parts of this country only reinforces what I already know: you’re going to be one of my best friends for life. We’ll be sitting on our back porches when we’re 80 years old telling the same awesome stories of coming to age (e.g. pushing my mustang down your street at 2 am to meet up with the hunnies), wedding poker games, Spring Street Lounge, the White Horse Tavern and Nancy Whiskey pub shenanigans, navigating our way through the Chelsea (aka gay) gauntlet, etc., etc., etc. Hopefully on our back porches in Cabo. Either way, you better believe we’ll have cocktails in hand living the good life. Here’s to the many good times we’ve shared and the many memories we have yet to create. By the way, this just in: that Reed is a pretty good guy. This was all his idea and doing, so give him one of those warm hugs the handsome prince with the dashing mustache is so famous for. Miss you, buddy. Look forward to seeing you this summer. ~Lucian
8: Dearest Eric, For some reason, I tear up when I think about eating spinach dip with you at Houston’s. Grabbing last minute drinks on a quick trip to San Francisco somehow ended up meaning the world to me. I hadn’t seen you in a couple of months, and you didn’t have eyebrows, but otherwise nothing was really different than any other time I’ve hung out with you. Which I suppose was why it left such a strong impression on me: your strength was truly awe inspiring. Yep, just beat cancer, no big deal, pass me another chip, this dip is delicious. And then you did it again a year later. You are, obviously, an incredible person. I am honored to be your friend. Your chapel partner, Adam PS – this doesn’t mean I forgive you for breaking the TV in college
9: Pooks, I had such a great time looking through old photos and laughing at all of our antics throughout the years. You have been such a fixture in my life and I’m so grateful to have you as a friend, then and now. You’re one of those people that you can laugh with or cry to, or go to for advice or to tell you like it is, and I’m honored to have you in my life. | I know this has been an incredibly challenging time for you, Diva, your family and all of us who love you so very much. It’s not something you should have had to deal with and I’m so impressed with how you’ve tackled each hurdle along the way. It’s the way you’ve always been with everything and something I’ve always admired. You’re one of my absolute best friends. I look forward to creating memories and celebrating all the great things yet to come in your life, and here is a little look back at the great times we’ve all had so far. You’re the best, pooks, and I love you. | NONWUSCAPADE REUNION! | Nerd alert! | Look at the size of those hands!
10: Eric, Just wanted to say how much you have inspired me and so many others over the past 18 months with your never ending strength and optimism throughout so many rounds of treatments. You are the man and I am so proud of you! Here’s to a speedy recovery, which hopefully is aided by the memories and laughs you receive from what your pals have passed along. Love you, buddy! PS I want to visit. Let me know when you and Diva are up for a Bug invading your space! :) And, finally, one of my favorite pictures of you. Can’t wait for more to come in the future, especially with your wedding on the horizon! | Madrid,Spain – December 2004 Gang’s all here! Eric & Courtney charm the Spanish ladies (Alba, Ana & Elena). How to overcome a slight language barrier? The “guapo Americanos” pull out the guitar...
11: Eric, I dont know what you've been going through, I've only guessed. I dont know how you're feeling, I havent been good at communicating with you. I dont know where you are working, proving I havent been a good enough friend. I do know a few things though. I know that you'll pull through this, seeing as how I know you have drive. I know that you're fiance loves you, because she's told me. I know that you're going to love marriage, because we're a lot a like and I do. I know that you're not as scared as some people might think, because I know going through something more than a few times becomes somewhat familiar. I know that you have a long life ahead of you, because heart and love and family and sex and fun and friends will push you to live it. I know that I'll see you in a few months, walking down the longest aisle of your life, and you'll have people all around you that wont let you stop. I know that you're my friend and I'm pulling for you. KNOW THAT. I love you man, Adam Hey Buddy, when Reed let us know he was putting this book together, I definitely wanted to be a part of it. I really want you to understand how much your friendship has meant to me over the years. It's always tough to find good, honest and solid friends at this age and getting to know you, Diva and the rest of your family has truly been a blessing for me, and added so much to my life here in SF. I also wanted to say how proud I am of you for making through this latest ordeal. I think it came as a blow to all of us that you were going to have to go through treatment again, and I can only imagine how much of a letdown it was for you. However, I think you've been a hero through this whole process, keeping positive, staying healthy and having a great attitude. You've truly been an inspiration for me, not only because of your perseverance through this particularly difficult time in your life, but for all the amazing qualities you bring to the table. I think you are one of those people who makes everyone around him a better person, and I truly thank you for helping me. Now, get off your ass and let me know when we can go for a bike ride around GG park! All my best, Zach Patton
12: Ahh shit, you done fucked up now -- You done put Eric Perko and cancer in the same motherfuckin place at the same motherfuckin time. Break out the champagne glasses and the motherfuckin condoms. Eric, Words can’t describe how proud of you I am. You’ve kicked cancer’s ass twice now. Just like the punchline in Margaret Terrall’s black lesbian joke”You da man!” You took the bull by the horns and showed that SOB who’s boss. You are my hero! I found this picture the other day and I thought it was perfect to include. I still remember taking this picture in my basement. You wrote “Friends 4 Ever” at the bottom of the picture when it was done developing. That is the truth. I will always consider you one of my best friends. We’ve been through so much together dating back almost 15 years. You are an amazing person Eric. You really are. Much stronger and braver than I could have ever been. I wish I could have done more for you over the last couple bouts with cancer but I believed in you the entire time. I knew you would pull through victorious. I love you my brother. I’m so happy for you. I can’t wait to marry you off to your beautiful girl so that you can start the next chapter of your remarkable life. Your Friend 4 Ever, John Mather
13: Perko- I can’t wait to celebrate with you guys this September! It’s going to be an absolute blast. It’s been too long since I’ve seen you two. Diva is an awesome girl, you are a lucky man. I know things have been difficult for you and this battle with cancer. I remember when I first heard what was going on; it really upset me to think that one of my friends had to go thru everything that comes with battling cancer. I can’t imagine the thoughts that went thru your mind when you were diagnosed. That being said, I know that you have fought hard and that you are accepting that it happened to you, and have determination to beat it. We were all so excited and proud after your first battle with it. From the sounds of it, you had beaten it relatively quickly. I know it must have been defeating when it came back, but this is the time to be stronger than ever. And I know you are. We’re all behind you, and there’s not a doubt in our minds that you will beat it- this time for good. You have such a strong group of people supporting you. Between your family and all of us friends, we’re thinking about you a lot, and have a lot of faith that you are going to beat this once and for all. You and Diva are going to live a long, happy life together. And I can’t wait to help celebrate with you guys in a couple months. You’re the man Perk! “The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.“ -Greg
14: Eric- Growing up with you has been so much fun. I met you in a very difficult time in my life and you helped me more than i think you know in guiding me through the difficult times. I still remember all the great nights we had when we were younger just walking around through the neighborhoods at night, or the late night fairmont loop runs in your old trooper. knowing you over the years as we have grown wiser and more mature has become even more interesting as our lives move in so many directions. I am so glad you have pulled through this nightmare and I am so grateful everything is ok now. I love and will never forget our past and look forward to our even better future. -Chris
15: Eric, Toughest guy I've ever known. You are strong Eric, but more importantly, you are cool. Like David Carradine on an ice cube cool. There is little more I can describe you by. You are a character among few people who I've ever met that embody such sincerity and endearing qualities like you do, and you are a great person because of them. I am more than fortunate to consider you a friend. I had such a great time with you last time we hung out in North Beach. Catching up was a real treat among crazy locals, and getting high watching the Rolling Stones DVD was great too. I'm glad we were able to get together then, and I really want to make that happen more often. I'm thinking about you Eric. Love, Pete.
16: Perkowitz, I'm going to keep it short and sweet, as I know you're being showered with all sorts of love right now. But we've been friends a long time. No, like a really long time. Like, West Sylvan Bus Stop, sneaking out into the creek, Hangin' at Hank Murphy's pool, long time. Our neighborhood memories are ones I'll never be able to forget... it was the exact childhood/teeange-hood that we would all hope for. You're always hilarious, easy to be with, caring, and above all, FUN. Exactly the friend we all love to have, and aspire to be. At Oregon, we only got closer. My smoking buddy, making fun of people buddy, and my easy escape from sorority life. I feel like there must have been a thousand nights at 647 (my house on Hilyard, in case you forgot) that we'd be with a bunch of random peeps, laughing our ASSES OFF, with you making fun of anything in my room you could get your hands on. You learned early on, making fun of Lindsay Kantor is the key to my heart. I think of you when I think of Middle School, High School, but most of all, our glory days in Eugene. That's a pretty rare thing, and I'm so grateful that we've remained friends. When I see you, which isn't nearly often enough, it's like no time has gone by. When I think of everything you've gone through in the past couple years, to say that you're an inspiration would be an understatement. Sometimes I wonder why such bad things happen to such wonderful people. Like, if the Universe has some quota of shitty things that it has to hit, so some unlucky Schmuk has to be the one to carry the load. And then I think about people I love, and shitty cards they've been dealt. And I think maybe the Universe gives the shitty things to the people that can take that shitty thing, kick it's ass, have an amazing attitude, and teach the rest of us a huge lesson along the way. That's the only way I can justify in my head, why a wonderful, healthy young man would have to go through all you've had to. But You did it! You did have an amazing attitude, you did kick it's ass, and you did inspire an entire community of people that love you. And some people that don't even know you. Not many people would do that. You have shown us all to take our health, happiness, and life as a gift and to never take it for granted. At least, that's what you have taught me. I'm sure every person has learned their own little "life lesson from Perkowitz" as we watched you tackle your huge obstacle. Now, onto much happier things! I'm so thrilled for you that you have found someone so kind to share your life with. You and Diva are very clearly meant to have a long joyous life ahead. Joel and I both are thrilled for you and can't wait to celebrate many happy occasions to come! Cheers! (So much for short and sweet...) Love, Kantor Pants
17: Perkalicious! So proud of you! xoxo, Michelle
18: Eric, Hey buddy! I want you to know i have been thinking a lot about you through all of this. I pray for you every night. In fact when ever my little nephew Jaxon comes and stays with me and he says his prayers before bed he says one for you. I said it to him once along time ago and he always remembers! I thought that was always pretty cool. I am so lucky to have met you in the 3rd grade. You where actually the 1st person i met and have so many great childhood memories with you. Sports, girls, getting into trouble, partying you name it. We have had some good times!. I cant explain how special it was to live in Manhattan the same time you did. Some of the coolest nights where hoping on the subway and cruz down to your place in Chealse and smokin a joint on the roof talking bullshit and laughing our ass off. You really made it easy for me there. Always looking out for me. That meant a lot. I also appreciate you talking to me about my drinking. I did some stupid stuff and instead of just writing me off you talked to me about it and i never forget that. As you know i decided to quit drinking (5 months sober last week) and when i was down in Palm Springs i thought a lot about you talking to me that one night and telling me how much i had to offer. You are a true friend Eric and i am very lucky to have you in my life. I have always known that you were a very strong and tough guy and this just proves it. I am so happy that you have such a great girl and family and that you are happy. I cant wait to see ya pal and keep kicking ass!!! David James
19: Eric the cleric, I just recently saw the pictures of you and Diva on your most recent getaway in what looked like Martha's Vineyard (I know it wasn't Martha's Vineyard) and seeing you looking healthy again could not have made me happier and brought tears to my eyes as I was sitting in the middle of a bank. I hope in all my heart that this last go-around was not as difficult for you but I'm sure it was and you probably wouldn't let us know otherwise. Us Portland folk, though thousands* of miles away, thought and talked about you constantly and all found solace in ourselves in telling each other that we knew that you'd be okay. I would like to tell you Eric that nothing was greater than seeing you this last fall for Chris Thomason's wedding. It was so nice to see you back in your fun loving form and i can't wait to do so again. It looks like it will probably be so at your wedding which I can't wait to attend. Your bday is shortly approaching so happy birthday and I cant wait to see you come September 10th. Peace, love, and gosh above Your main man Dan, Love you buddy
20: Perko, I wanted to just write you a quick note and let you know that you are cared and loved for by a lot of people. Everyone in this picture (along with many others) have being praying and thinking about you but have never doubted for one second that you wouldn’t come out of this a stronger person. Your drive, courage, and attitude is something that is admirable and I am grateful to be able to call you a friend. I am proud to know you and have always respected you. I hope this book shows to you the love and support you have always had and will continue to have in all aspects of your life. Sincerely, Charlie Floberg
21: Perkwags, Friend of mine, can you believe it's been thirteen years since we met in the halls of JHS? You have been a confidant, counselor and loyal friend to me always. I am continually amazed by your courage and ability to use humor in the face of pain. You are an inspiration. Thanks for always making me laugh, and for keeping my music taste up to date. I can say with confidence I am a cooler frog because I'm friends with you. Looking forward to new adventures with you, and your rock steady Diva. Seattle to San Francisco, Portland to Panama. I know you know! Love you, Eric. Caitwags Perks! You did it!!! The journey you have been through over the last two years is a challenge I never wished for you to endure. But I learned something new about my old friend I never knew before, you are the eternal optimist. You have always been a happy guy but in the face of such intense adversity I was so taken back by how positive you always were. You gave me perspective and inspiration through one of the biggest challenges of your life, something I never expected! Our friendship has spanned so many stages of our life. Enzbo, arbo, football games, prom, highshool heatrbreak, my 85 boyfriends, Taylors debauchery, Autzen stadium deabuchery, victories and losses, and now marriage! When people ask me about my wedding day and what some of my favorite parts were I always think of our conversation. Of course I wanted you there in person that day, but it was so special to talk to one of my best guy friends as I watched my best girlfriends get ready for the big day. I remember you sent an email to Kiernan and I after charity ball to see if I had met Peter and she emailed back I was getting ready for my first date with him. It was fitting that I shared that special conversation with you on the day I married him. I am so thankful for you and our friendship. Every time we talk it is as if no time has gone by. I look forward to the next stages of our lives and celebrating all of it with you. Love, Madditude xox
22: Pooks! There are not enough words for how badass I think you are! In the urban dictionary its states “He radiates confidence in everything he does. He's slow to anger but brutally efficient when fighting back.” that line really sums it up for me. “Brutally efficient when fighting back” You have fought, and fought, and really taken this thing down and I can’t tell you how often I think....man he is so badass! I look back a long time and have some really good memories (and pictures to show for it! but I added only the best oldie and I mean oldie) I can’t wait to see you soon and share those memories over a good beer. You are one badass guy Perk! We love you so much! Courtney
23: Mr. Perko, Opening up like the olden days. Only this time we are not in the front yard of a party. Our conversation will not include cigarettes, Blue Boar Ale and the thumping treble of a speaker hitting its maximum potential and our friends inside partying away. The conversations with you were deep. Our words of wisdom were bold and unhinged, driven by our dreams and the fire of something beyond the now. I still think of those nights and experiences laughing with all of our friends. We enjoyed ourselves together and everyone enjoyed each other. We are both engaged now and it is going to be great to someday be getting phone calls from the police about our kids holding bonfires with a cash of stolen beer or breaking a window at a friends house or taking the car for a joy ride. It’s gonna be great. Just the kind of fun everyone needs. I hope my kids have friends like the ones I grew up with. People like you. There may be times with loss of connection by distance, but the friendship never fades. I can recall everything from Vista Soccer League, hanging out at the beach, pop warner football and some of the best years and times of my life with you. You stand out to people. Your laughter is inviting to a crowd, and so is your manor. Mountain is an awesome fucking band and I think you turned me on to them. Great music appreciation, check. You are an incredible person and getting together with you is always an event. The stories that come to mind may not be choice for this letter but perfect for the times when we are all together in each others company. Hard to put in other words, but, some of the best times of my life. It was really hard to see one of the best people in the world get hit with such an undeserved diagnosis. Having gone through chemo once is enough and shocking, but twice just shows how strong you are. If I could fist fight that god damn thing I would for anyone. It scares me to think of ever having any one of our friends facing cancer, but you did and I can’t tell you how much I love you for staying strong. You have probably thought deeper than most do and I bet you have some more wisdom to bestow upon me. I can’t wait to see you again to discuss. You are an incredible friend. Love, Sam Houser