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Archive for the ‘memories are made of this’ Category

Today is the first game in the World Series! My daughter and I will be watching from her home. We’ve prepared for the event with Dodger Dogs (very long hot dogs), sodas, pretzels, beer, and It’s It (a delicious ice cream cookie confection). We no longer have our Dodger t-shirts but we’ll be cheering them on anyway!

Before the game starts, I’m explaining the simple workings of the game to Anderson. I found a seven minute video on youtube that does a pretty good job of the basics so he’ll know what is going on!

In any case, I’ll be thinking about the old days in Los Angeles and the life I left behind when I left there in 2004. Memories. Lots of them.

Crossing fingers. Sending my Dodgers good mojo. And if you are a Houston fan, I hope you have a great time watching the game. As long as it’s a good, clean game, it should be fun!

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I mentioned yesterday that my three grown kids were at a wedding for a cousin on their father’s side. The two girls were sharing a hotel room and will be flying home together tonight. I’ll be picking them up (at the crack of midnight) tonight. I may have forgotten to mention that they were in my home town.

While driving around Japan Town in search of nice chop sticks and some rice bowls for the boys, they ended up near the house where I grew up. They texted me to ask which street. Was it 5th Street? I replied with the street address on 7th Street and the cross street. A little bit later, they texted me a picture of the house. It is very well kept and looks amazing. It’s a Victorian with a full basement, two kitchens, two bathrooms (at least when I lived there), a bay window in the living room, and a very large backyard. It has been painted a nice, pale pink. I had never seen it painted anything but white, even in the years after I moved away and went back for drive bys, the last one being about eight years ago.

I looked it up on Zillow and found that it last sold four years ago for almost $500,000 and the estimated sale price for a sale now is $978,000. It has some amazing upgrades. Indeed, much work has been put into it since my parents bought it for $8,000 around 1957. You can read about the main improvement here and here.

It got me to wondering if it was still the same house. The outside certainly is and from the photos on Zillow, the living room is basically the same with the big bay window with mosaic glass at the top. Some of the features that were there when I lived there are still there, or at least recognizable. In fact, the claw foot bathtub is still there. Not sure if it is the one that we used or if it has been replaced but it’s there.

Do the walls still remember the laughter we marked them with or the tears? Do the floors bear the tears from all the falls we took on them? And the basement we built? Is it still dark and does it still remember the spooky stories my big brothers told us all those years ago? The yard. I see in the photos that most of the fruit trees my father planted are gone. The garage is gone. Does the yard remember the laughter of the children who played there? I certainly recognized the front yard; the place where we ran through the sprinklers in the summer time; where we played with hula hoops given to us by our neighbors across the street; the place where our games of hide-and-seek and red light green light, and tag you’re it all began. The sidewalk in front of our house was where we could stand to watch Fourth of July fireworks set off at the Spartan Stadium about five miles away.

Is it the same house? Do our memories haunt it or do its memory haunt us?

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If we were having coffee, we would be indoors. It’s raining here in Seattle. It’s not cold, just wet. You would have to help yourself to a drink before settling in as I have a baby in my arms! I drove up here on Tuesday morning and was handed a baby as soon as I got in the door. The rest of the time has been filled with holding him, feeding him, and lots of burping! Mati is four weeks old. He’s quite alert for four weeks. I think I’m spoiling him. He’s been attached to me almost all day, every day. I got to be his first babysitter, too. His mommy and daddy had tickets to two soccer games this week so they got a couple of nights out and I got this precious little boy to myself.

This past week has been filled with shock and sadness in the world. Being here with this tiny, innocent little boy has helped me both empathize with that grief and sadness and also get through it without totally falling apart.

As Mati sleeps in my arms, I’m reminded of holding his daddy in my arms when he was this age. I’m reminded of how much simpler the world was; how much less hate, fear, and danger we faced. I am also filled with hope and dreams that Mati’s world will be a better place; that he won’t have to know the hate and intolerance; that he will be in less danger when he grows; that he will live in a world that embraces all mankind.

I’ll be driving home to Portland tomorrow. I’m already missing this little one and wondering when I’ll be back to see him. I’m lucky that he’s only a three hour drive away from me. Hopefully that will translate into frequent visits.

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 #WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog linkup hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. Come join us!

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I was lucky. I had more than my share of wonderful teachers. Of all the teachers I had in seven periods times four years plus some changing at the quarter or semester, there was only one I did not get along with. There was some kind of “reverse chemistry” or bad chemistry between us. I think part of it was that everyone always told her that she was a slightly older version of me and they told me that I was a slightly younger version of her. She was a first year teacher and didn’t like being compared to a student. I think that was part of it. But, I had wonderful teachers who actually believed me over her and went to bat for me so when she tried to fail me, she couldn’t.

The school is on the east side of San Jose in California. It’s now a really bad place to live but in those days, the immediate area around the school was not so great with the outer areas being pretty good, if not great. The school had its share of tough kids. No gangs in those days but definitely groups that didn’t get along with each other. It was not an affluent area, for the most part. The teachers at the school could have jobs at other schools, and other districts in the city, some of them much closer to their homes. But the CHOSE to be there, at that school, with those students. They chose to serve that community and try to teach the kids that weren’t the highest academically. There were a few of us that were above average, but very few. I believe that I was in the group of the first ten students to be accepted at a private university and about the first to get a full academic scholarship. The student body wasn’t made up of shining stars. But the teachers chose to be there, often accepting a salary less than what they could get at an adjacent school district. Why? Because they were dedicated teachers. Their hearts were in the right place…with us! I think that’s why they were so inspiring. At least to me, they were the best. They were the epitome of what a teacher should be. I learned more than academics from them. They changed my life and not a day goes by that I don’t think of one or the other of them.

That’s what teachers should be. I’m glad I was privileged to have so many wonderful examples.

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Earlier today, I read a blog which talked about the Eric Burdon and War song, Spill the Wine. I commented that I recalled the song well and that it was a favorite when it came out in the early 70’s.

“I was once out strolling one very hot summer’s day
When I thought I’d lay myself down to rest
In a big field of tall grass
I lay there in the sun and felt it caressing my face”

I remember walking home from high school (we lived within bus riding distance and we rode the bus except when we manufactured reasons to stay after school and miss the bus), my sister and I, listening to music on the radio my sister smuggled into school every day. Every day we would hear Spill the Wine played by the same DJ. It must have been a favorite of his, too. It’s one of those singable, danceable songs and we would do just that…sing along and practically dance home while it played. Once in a while a car would drive by and they would honk and wave at us while we pranced home singing. Unfortunately, one day one of those cars that honked at us was driven by our dad. He had gone to pick our younger sister up at the middle school so he decided to drive by our walking route and give us a ride. He was very angry that we were “parading” down the street like clowns. That put a stop to our walking home for a long time. We would have to ride the bus or call our dad to come get us. No more prancing along to Spill the Wine or any other song.

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