Down Memory Lane

Last week I had occasion to visit the neighborhood where I grew up in Santa Venetia, also derogatorily known as Scabo. I’m not sure what that stands for but since it’s an ugly word, I’m guessing it wasn’t known as the most desirable place to live. But I beg to differ.

Santa Venetia

Kids don’t know they don’t live in a mansion. I certainly didn’t. We had 4 bedrooms that weren’t much bigger than some large walk-in closets and closets not much wider than a refrigerator. Now don’t get me wrong; I didn’t care one bit. I had what I needed and that was enough.

our house

Our little house

To me, our Doughboy Pool was the bomb (better known as groovy back then). Other neighborhood dads helped my dad install it. That’s how it was; neighbors helping neighbors. On summer afternoons, being in that pool or playing ping pong on the patio were my favorite places to be.

me in pool

Even as a teen, still in the pool

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My Memory Chest

I’m someone who has a hard time letting go. So I keep items that have value to nobody but me. These mementos reside in a cedar “memory chest” in my spare room upstairs. When I kick the bucket, one of my executors (Sue, Sharon or Pam) gets the thrill of going through my things and deciding what to toss. I’m betting it’s going to be a busy day for the garbage man.

cedar chest

Now don’t get me wrong; my friends can do whatever they’d like with my possessions. I won’t care if they dump sentimental items I can’t part with yet. After all, I’ll be dead, remember? But just for the fun of it, I’ll probably haunt whomever draws the short straw for that task.

Grandpa had the cedar chest carved in Thailand for Nana around 80 years ago, back when he was an importer/exporter traveling the world. I think of them whenever I open the chest and the essence of cedar escapes, filling the room with memories. That’s why I love the smell of cedar.

Nana & Grandpa

So when rain finally arrived this week, giving me an excuse to stay home, I went through the chest for the first time in years. I could easily spend a day reminiscing in there but I managed to keep it to a couple hours. After all, my to-do list awaits and one can’t dilly dally long or the list invariably grows. Continue reading

Down Memory Lang

Last week I had occasion to visit the neighborhood where I grew up in Santa Venetia, also derogatorily known as Scabo. I’m not sure what that stands for but since it’s an ugly word, I’m guessing it wasn’t known as the most desirable place to live. But I beg to differ.

Santa Venetia

Kids don’t know they don’t live in a mansion. I certainly didn’t. We had 4 bedrooms that weren’t much bigger than some large walk-in closets and closets not much wider than a refrigerator. Now don’t get me wrong; I didn’t care one bit. I had what I needed and that was enough.

our house

Our little house

To me, our Doughboy Pool was the bomb (better known as groovy back then). Other neighborhood dads helped my dad install it. That’s how it was; neighbors helping neighbors. On summer afternoons, being in that pool or playing ping pong on the patio were my favorite places to be.

me in pool

Even as a teen, still in the pool

Continue reading

Say it Isn’t So – A High School Reunion

My 45th high school reunion was this weekend but I didn’t go. Why? Let my 40th reunion tell you…

I went to my 40th high school reunion Friday night. Hard to believe that much time has passed. Even harder to believe I decided to go. You see, it’s a fact I have no memory and haven’t seen most of these folks since I was a pimply-faced 17-year-old. Odds are I wouldn’t recognize a soul.

It might have helped if everyone wore a photo of their senior portrait. Still, for me that wouldn’t have been enough. Their name needed to be included. Those little tricks might have increased my odds to a 10% recognition factor. Continue reading

An Unlikely Friendship

Since I’m still in a vacation coma, having returned early this morning, here’s an encore post from 2013. Seems apropos since it’s about Sharon, whom I just vacationed with. Hope you enjoy it!

 

Our first team, Peter’s Formal Wear

The game of softball will always be special to me because that’s where I first came to know Sharon. Even though we grew up on the same street, it took years for us to connect.

As a tomboy, I lived to play baseball in the streets of our suburban home in Marin County. The boys and I dodged parked cars as we ran for fly balls; the manhole cover in front of the Brodnik’s house was our permanent second base. Continue reading