The jets have cooled a bit since I posted eight times in February. So-- to the Journal Jar! Let's get this started.
Where did you live as a child-- town, country, suburb? Describe the landscape of your childhood home.
We lived in a few different places over the course of my childhood. First there was an apartment-- but I have no recollection of it. Then came the family's first home-- on Cherrystone Drive in San Jose. It was a smallish house, but seemed plenty big to me at three years old. I remember on hot summer nights, my parents would place a box fan in the hallway, and I'd go out with my pillow and plop down in front of it. Sometimes, if my dad was snoring loud enough, I would be scared back into the comforts of my room, hot as it was.
One night we came home and my dad noticed that the gate had been left open. He had closed it when we left, so he had us wait in the car and went around to the back to enter that way. He grabbed a knife from the kitchen and walked the entire house, checking for the crooks-- the back door had been forced. Evidently they had been spooked in the middle of their heist attempt-- our television was sitting, unplugged by the front door. They got away with this and that-- they took everything from my piggy bank! But they didn't get as much as they'd hoped to. My dad never felt comfortable in that house.
Next we lived in a bigger house on Blossom Hill Drive. The street is four lanes and has a fair amount of traffic, so as kids my sister and I didn't get to play in the front yard much. But that was okay because we had a good sized back yard, and we made friends with the family living behind us, so we were continually being handed over the fence to each other's place. There were three knot holes in the fence that I could stick my big toe in and lift myself up and over the fence, then use another knothole to climb down. It was like our own ladder access to each other's house. I met Greg, who was my age, when he was peeking through the knothole one day and we started up a conversation. It turned out that he had a sister that was the same age as my sister, and soon we were spending lots of time together. Here we are, hanging out on a pile of bricks by the old barbeque. A classic from the 70's, indeed. It was great when we could all get along, but there were times that we could not. But they were mostly few and far between.
It was at this house that I learned to ride a bike. Where my mom caught a gopher in our back yard and was forced to euthanize it for our safety. It really rattled her for awhile. This was where I fell off of the swingset (I was climbing on it, not swinging) and broke my wrist just before I started kindergarten. And where my dad had a pool table. Still have the pool table balls that were with that table that have been carried around along with a dream for a new pool table at a new location.
Next we moved to Bel Ayre Avenue, which was San Jose at the time. Now it's Santa Clara. But I digress. Bel Ayre had a home alarm system that gave my dad peace of mind at night and when we were away. It also had a HUGE backyard. My grandfather grew some excellent gardens there, including some corn on the cob that was the best-tasting in my memory. There was also an orange tree that produced a bumper crop of the sweetest, juiciest oranges year after year. This is where I seriously began my love affair with gardening, although I had been involved in the gardening back on Blossom Hill... Here I learned to work a shovel, turn the dirt, and mow the lawns.
The tour of childhood homes doesn't end there, though. In 1980 we moved to the Central Valley into a new tract home in Ceres. We were enrolled in a private school for the year that we lived there. Creekside private school no longer exists, was razed several years after we left. We installed a dug-in Doughboy pool that we spent a lot of time in, even though we only lived there one year. I rode my ten-speed all around the neighborhood, scoping out neat cars and trucks and flexing my independence. But we didn't have a garden-- because there was no dirt! The lot was all sand, like the beach, without any shells or driftwood. Was great for the pool installation, not so good for plants. I'm sure there are some things we could have planted (besides the iceplant) but we weren't there long enough to try and figure it out.
Next came our final destination-- Escalon. A very rural community, lots of agriculture, smell of manure in the air all about town. Population was about five-thousand when we moved there. My parents just paid off the loan on the house this year. They've added on-- went up above the garage to add two bedrooms and a bath. It's on a huge lot. And now it's a 5-bedroom, 3-bath home with only my mom and dad living in it. But that may change soon enough... Escalon is still small, but has grown quite a bit. They now have traffic signals. Franchise fast food restaurants. But the main street is suffering, with no anchor business to draw attention. While I was in high school there, it seemed like business was good-- all the mini-marts and restaurants seemed to do well, but I wasn't really paying much attention to that. I was more worried about losing my virginity before I turned forty.
I now live in Santa Clara, in a house that we bought from my parents (yes, they've gotten around alright). But we are open to finding a nice town where we can be a part of the local politics and know all our neighbors and the like. Maybe Escalon? Maybe. But after moving at the end of last year, we swore up and down we'd never move again.
Until the next time.