Friday, April 29, 2011


The last few weeks I've been occupied with a lot of family events.  My brother-in-law went the hospital the weekend before Easter.  He has recovered now, and is on the mend.  Now, my parents are moving out of their house that my dad built.  I lived there from childbirth until I was 20.  In total, my parents lived there for 37 years. 

On Wednesday, I helped them moved some of their items.  Today, my mom is cleaning the house and my husband and dad will be heading over there to pick of the last of the few items.  My parents are exhausted, as you can imagine.  They have been moving nonstop since they got the keys to the new house on Monday afternoon.  I think they can finally see the end of the tunnel.

Tomorrow, April would like to go to the house to see it one last time.  I'm not sure I will go with them.  Not because I think I would be sad.  But, when I was there on Wednesday, I was surprisingly not sad at all.  I realized that, even though I grew up in this house, the memories are still there.  All the "things" that I remember about the house will still be in my mind:  skipping a step to go up the stairs, how the floor sounds when you walk on the tongue and groove floors, and, as my mom reminded me, how soft and warm the tongue and groove floors feel upstairs when the heat rises from the first floor.  I'm still undecided if I need one more day to say "goodbye".

For this entry it will be my written goodbye.  Goodbye house: you have a wonderful spirit and the new owners will love you just as much as our family did from your birth and for 37 more years....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My memories

Yesterday, April and I went to my mom and dad's house for a few hours.  They have packed quite a bit of their things in anticipation for the upcoming move.  I took my camera and took over 100 photos of their house.  Monday, they are signing the papers to close escrow.  So, even though they will be still be waiting to close escrow on the new house and move their things, the house will technically belong to the new owners.  Both the inside and outside of the house has changed quite a bit since my childhood.  However, as I was walking around the yard taking photos, a rush of memories flooded my mind. 

I felt a mix of emotions, but mostly feelings of at peace.  I realized at that moment that, even if they had never sold their house, I could have stood in the exact spots (in these photos) 25 years from now, and still never be able to relive the snapshots in time, of what was my childhood.  Those memories are mine (and most likely very similar for April as well).  So, the photos I now have, will allow me to revisit the memories whenever I feel like it.  Here are a couple of them that I'd  like to share with you, and hopefully give you a glimpse of just a few of the adventures that April and I experienced growing up there.

These are the three trees that my dad built our treehouse in.  You can see the swing in the extreme right of the photo.  You also might barely be able to make out a rope hanging just to the right of the madrone tree in the top right, just to the left of the swing.

When we were about 9 or 10 years old, one day April and I came outside as we always did.  We heard hammering and sawing.  We walked up past the wellhouse, which we just called "the room" and there was my dad.  Boards were piled up next to a group of three trees.  A couple of large beams were already mounted to the trees.  

I vividly remember both of us asking him,"dad, what are you doing?" 

"Building you a treehouse," he replied. 

We both looked at each other and excitedly screamed,"really?! Cool!!" 

The treehouse was triangular with a wood ladder going up the oak tree in the front of the photo.  April and I would spend practically every good weather day at, or in, this treehouse.  We would ride our blue, Huffy, banana seat bikes underneath the treehouse, pretending it was a garage.  It was our "house".  We built mini towns in the red clay soil with our Hot Wheels cars.  Just in front of the treehouse, there was a stack of  leftover cedar shingles from the house that my dad put next to "the room".  April and I would snag a couple of these shingles and then break them to just the right size.  We would use the thick end of the shingle to scrap out roads in the hard, red dirt under the treehouse for our hot wheels.  All day would be spent driving our cars around in the dirt in our miniature cities, making humming engines sounds.  There is no doubt that there are still some of them buried in the leaves behind the treehouse.  We would also push each other in the swing, which was moved there after a my dad cut down a different madrone tree on the property.  In the summer, the leaves of the madrone would fall, and the skin would curl up like shaved chocolate.  Big, long strips of curled madrone "skin" would lay on the ground under the treehouse.  It would crunch loudly under our feet as we twisted the swing or pushed each other as high as we could go.  We would even push each other so high and fast that one of us could run up underneath the other. 

Here's an old photo that April got from my mom of the treehouse:

And, finally, yes, this just looks like a driveway. 

For me, this is the exact spot April and I would stand to play our version of baseball.  Warm summer breezes would be blowing in the oak trees overhead, and robins would be chirping.  First base was just up the driveway on the right, second base was in the middle of the driveway, and third base was somewhere just off the driveway on the left.  Okay, it was a small baseball diamond!  At the time, the area on the right side of the photo was fenced in with fruit trees.  The cedar barked posts eventually rotted, the peach tree got a disease, so now all that remains are irises, an apple tree, a cherry tree, and no fence.  Standing here yesterday, I remember the shoes I wore playing wiffle ball with April.  Blue, flat, Ked-type shoes.  I remember the sound of the ball when I hit it:  a whack of thick plastic and then a mid-pitch whistle as the ball whirled up the driveway for April to chase after.  I would run as far as I could before April got the ball and chased after me.  Then we would switch places and I would pitch, and she would hit.  We usually played this game in the evenings after dinner.  Sometimes, we would play before dinner, and when my mom had dinner ready, she would ring a metal bell which was mounted to the left of the front door next to greenhouse sliding door.  Ding! Ding! Ding! 

"Dinner!" my mom would say. 

In unison, April and I would call back, "Okayyyyy!" 

We'd usually leave the thin yellow bat and white wiffle ball laying on the ground, run down the driveway to eat, do our chores (wash the dishes & take out the compost) and then come back outside to either continue our game, ride our bikes, or play in the treehouse before dusk settled in.

So, standing there at that moment, the warm, colorful, fragrant, vibrant memories of my childhood came rushing back.  These photos were fun for me to take.  They will always provide that mechanism for me to travel back in time to my childhood and relive all of the experiences I had growing up there.

I think I was one of the luckiest kids in the world to grow up there.  I have nothing but fond, wonderful memories of this place. 

It will forever live in my world, and no one else's...well maybe just one other's.  ;)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Baby Mae

This past Saturday, my mom and I hosted my twin sister April's baby shower.  They are having a little girl, due 3 days before my daughter Natalie's birthday.  April and her husband Joel, got lots of wonderful gifts, both purchased and homemade. 

In a little over 8 weeks, we will get to meet this new addition to our extended family.  We are all so very excited!