Tuesday, October 23, 2007

BACK HOME FROM HOMETOWN

Mark and I had a weekend of remembering when we made a whirlwind trip to Santa Cruz for the funeral of a friend’s dad. The Carlson’s lived across the street from my family growing up in Santa Cruz. It was a new subdivision and ours was the first house. Free-standing mailboxes at the curb – no sidewalks. You had to honk to get the neighbors’ dog to move from her napping spot in the middle of the street. The Griffins were the first to have a color TV so we would all go down there to watch the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night. The “field” was at one end of the street where we would fly kites and collect pollywogs and could climb through the culvert to the next neighborhood. We sneaked our first smokes there in our teens. The “orchard” was at the other end where we would build tree forts, pick apples, pears and blackberries, collect walnuts. The “creek” was where we hung a rope swing. We never thought about someone owning those properties. I walked to school and rode the bus with the same kids from kindergarten through 8th grade. Black and white snapshots surface of us all at neighborhood barbecues where the families hauled picnic tables to a central driveway and the kids played in the sprinkler in the street. Needless to say, lots have been subdivided and there are houses filling every possible piece of real estate now.

Bill Carlson passed away a couple of weeks ago and, since I hadn’t seen Linda in more than 30 years, I felt compelled to head down for the memorial. It was more of a wake and we saw SO many faces from the past while we reminisced and laughed at pictures. We’ve all grown so much into different adults than we were kids.

Mark and I decided we needed this weekend to ourselves so spent it just driving around old haunts. Remember when this was built? Or that was an empty lot? We walked a bit on Twin Lakes beach, grabbed pastries at Gayle’s and sat on the cliffs over Capitola enjoying breakfast. The world we grew up in has changed so much yet some of it still feels like home. We cruised Pleasure Point where traffic is now diverted into odd little one-way sections but there are still kids on single-speed bicycles with their boards tucked under one arm on their way to the waves. Shaggy-haired kids riding skateboards with bare feet not chunky shoes. The Boardwalk and the wharf smell the same as they did when we were kids but parking is a bitch and you have to pay for the privilege. . The waves at Steamers are still awesome so locals still stand alongside tourists to watch the surfers…as always.

I often miss Santa Cruz, but realize that the Santa Cruz we visited is no longer the home town I remember. Humboldt is so much like Santa Cruz used to be which is why I’m so comfortable here. We have the ocean here but not the same “beach” mentality of SC. It’s hard to walk or ride your beach-cruiser to the waves. Beach umbrellas and bikinis are seldom seen on our beaches. You’re far more likely to see Frisbees and sweatshirts. But it’s good. I miss Santa Cruz but this is home now.

2 comments:

Monica... Media Professional said...

That's a gorgeous photo, mom. Makes me feel like I'm supposed to be preparing a project for Bob Benson's class. haha.

I'm glad you and dad went on that trip this weekend. I'm glad you get to see Linda (I think it was 20 years though, not 30) and all of the other various classmates.

It sounds like driving around Santa Cruz is a little like driving up 395 past Johnson Lane... "when did they put a stop light in *there*?" OR "Hey, I thought that used to be sagebrush... where did that grass come from?" But then, you have much better memories of Santa Cruz than we tend to have of Nevada. And for good reason.

Welcome home, though. Shane seemed a little relieved that you hadn't gotten your Evidence homework turned in quite as early as normal, last night. :-)

Beachcomber said...

Whoops! You're right. It was just 20 years. Thank you for reminding me that I'm not as old as I was feeling. And that picture? It took 103 photos to get a decent one. Thank goodness for digital!