Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 6: Childhood Memory

My grandparents lived in Concord, California when I was a kid.  Every summer we'd look forward to our annual vacation to their home.  So excited were we that even the 14 hour drive was anxiously anticipated.  All 7 of us barreling down the freeway in our volkswagen vanagon singing Carpenters songs at the top of our lungs, reading Nancy Drew Mysteries out loud, and watching carefully each license plate on cars we'd pass to see how many states we could recognize and add to our list.

But the road trip was only the least of the memory makers.  Despite the fond memories I have of the long drive now, at the time it was something to be endured...as optimistically as possible.  No, the real excitement, the real memories came after we arrived.  Snuggling with Papa in his big recliner while watching TV.  Scooting up to the counter while Grandmom dished out ice cream for dessert.  Riding Grandmom and Papa's old-fashioned bikes down the street and through the neighborhood.  Watching the cows in the field on the other side of the fence.  Playing with the marble track.  Day trips to nearby San Francisco to ride the trolley, look for shells on the beach, drive down Lombard Street and have lunch at Fisherman's Wharf.

But it was Grandmom and Papa's backyard where most of the memories were forged.  An enormous back deck filled with rugs, a porch swing, lawn chairs and tables for eating out.  Papa's extensive garden and shed which were home to snails and snakes as well as vegetables and tools.  A small lawn and flowers beds blooming riotously with colorful flowers, plants and vines.  (Papa was an extremely skilled gardener.)  But the best part to a gaggle of 5 young girls....the pool!  A beautiful pool with a diving board at the deep end and an adjoining jacuzzi.  It was glorious fun and we spent every single day, other than Sunday, splashing to our hearts content.  Papa taught me how to check the chlorine levels, how to scoop out leaves and how to vacuum out dirt.  I was the oldest and so helping take care of the pool was my job, a responsibility I took seriously and enjoyed.  Along the side of the fence next to the pool, and then stretching down to the side of the house were raspberry vines tucked up inside raised beds.  Every day, as I carefully made my way around the pool scooping out leaves or other such pool maintenance, I would frequently reach over for a handful of raspberries.  We didn't have raspberry bushes at home, nor did we buy them very often so picking and eating them right off the vine at Grandmom and Papa's house was a special treat.

To this day, I cannot eat a raspberry without being transported back to my grandparents house in my mind.  Along with that explosion of sweetness in my mouth comes all the memories I've made and stored over countless summer vacations in that single backyard in Concord, California. 

4 comments:

Mary said...

It's funny. I don't even remember that they had raspberry bushes. I do remember the snails and the old wooden porch swing that would splinter your rear end if you weren't careful. Ah, I loved those good old days.

Mary said...

Oh and I remember that you would sleep for about 13 of the 14 hours in the car. It made me so mad because I couldn't sleep in the van. You'd sleep under the seat listening to your music just waking in time to cross over the bay bridge...

Sarah said...

I only slept the whole way the last few years when I was a teenager. So yeah...I have plenty of memories of the games we'd play and the things we'd do to pass the time before I realized that sleeping the whole way worked best. :)

MELISSA said...

yes, sarah would sleep the whole way while we fought and lost dimes for fighting. I didn't remember the raspberries till you mentioned them. You have a good memory!