Although the reason for our visit to the Bay Area was a sad one (Kristin’s memorial was both beautiful and excruciating), it was great to get together with family. All three of my brothers live in the Bay Area, so we had a wonderful chance to get together. In fact, we met in the neighborhood where we grew up -- the Claremont District of Berkeley, dominated by the beautiful Claremont Hotel.
We had breakfast at what is now a fabulous restaurant on Domingo Avenue, called Rick & Ann’s. I remember that space as a drug store (Rexall?) where we’d buy frozen Milky Way bars for a nickel after school.
It’s far too rare that my three brothers and I all get together, but when we do, there’s never a dull moment!
Just so my big brother Michael thinks that I’ll always look up to him…
Two of my brothers, Stephan and Chris, brought their young kids (“the younger grandchilden”), making for a group of sibs and cousins, but with three of my kids missing and two of Michael’s missing (they make up “the older grandchildren”; my parents’ grandchilden span 24 years!), we were still a relatively small group. And actually, since Elisabeth took this picture, she’s “missing” too.
First stop: John Muir School, where my brothers and I attended elementary school. This photo was taken on the “kindergarten porch,” where Miss Saum, who taught at John Muir for something like 45 years (and so taught multiple generations of kids in the same family!), was our teacher.
We had a great time walking around the school reminiscing and telling stories about our childhoods to our own kids!
I could have sworn that I smelled lunch cooking as we approached the “lunch line steps.” The bumps on the railing (to prevent us from having any fun sliding down it, of course) felt completely familiar. Hannah and Olivia wisely ignored the rule.
On the other side of the fence from where my brother’s walking is “the Creek” and the very scary tunnel that I talked about in #5 on the list, here.
To get home from school, we used to go up one path from the back of the school to Domingo Avenue…
…then cross the street, pass the Burger’s house (they were my best friends, a family with eleven kids, EileenMarleenBoobyDianeBitsaJoeyDannyJohnClaireChristoper)…
…and then up another path. We took a group photo at the bottom of the path (our, as we called it, “The Path”):
Then it was up the path (which seemed stepper this time… was it due to my age or my disability?!).
The house that we grew up in is still occupied by the same family that bought it from us in 1969! It looks so different now, though… The back of it, along the path, was pretty much completely obscured by plants.
…so the only decent view is from the corner of Domingo and Tunnel Road:
It was great to have a chance to revisit our childhood neighborhood, as well as to share it with our kids!
Of course I didn’t take any photos at the memorial, but afterwards my aunt served dinner (and oh, what a dinner it was!) to the whole famdamily (as she calls us) at her beautiful house in North Berkeley. I have always loved her house because, among other wonderful and unique “features,” it has a 3-story laundry chute that we played with as kids – tossing everything but ourselves down – and that the grandchildren play with now.
I’d post more photos now, but these dang airplanes don’t have power outlets and I’m just about out of battery. So stand by! If my boss doesn’t find me the second we land and if my job doesn’t gobble me up again within an hour (sigh), I’ll post them as soon as I can plug in again.
You want to know why I love my aunt’s house so much? It’s stuff like this:
But mostly I love the house because it’s filled with love. Love like this, between my favorite aunt (quilter extraordinaire!) and my favorite cousin:
Yes, quilts galore and quilts extraordinaire -- given away to every newly married couple, every new baby, and sometimes for no reason at all!
And because I’m already being pressured to be 150% back at work, I’ll squeeze in a few more photos that confirm for me that, when everything and everyone around me seem to scream, “Microsoft! Money! Madness! Monopoly!” it’s really not all about that that. It’s actually all about this: