As much as I loved my elementary school and as much as I loved the friends and the home I’d grown up with, when sixth grade rolled around I was ready to move on.
In 1986, my family found a house in Pleasanton, California, just 45 minutes from San Jose, where I had spent the previous 8 years. I only remember excitement regarding my move to Pleasanton. I’m sure there was some fear and a good deal of sadness about leaving my friends behind. But any anxieties I might have had about moving were over-shadowed by the thrill of moving on, moving up, and starting over.
I have good memories of my house in San Jose; don’t get me wrong. But isn’t it funny that all these years later, the memories of my house that stand out most to me are the less-than-positive ones?
- I remember when I accidentally shut the heavy garage door on my brother. I also remember looking for the bat in the garage every time I passed under the storage area.
- I remember being nervous to go to the bathroom in the downstairs bathroom because there was a door to the backyard right next to the toilet. Many a nightmare had it’s origin in that bathroom.
- I remember that the woven grass wallpaper (grasscloth?) was fascinating, if rather uncomfortable and itchy. And ugly. Pincher bugs loved to hide in the grass. I spent hours staring at it and picking loose pieces of grass off the wall. I’ve never seen anything quite like that wallpaper in all my years since.
- I was terrified that the Hells Angels were going to drive into my court at night and climb up the low roof into my 2nd story front bedroom. We lived right next to a very busy highway, with a railroad track on the other side, so there were many vehicle noises at all hours of the night.
- I can point to the exact spot on the front lawn where I slipped while trying to kick a soccer ball….and ended up with a cracked tail bone. Ouch!
- I can still picture the men from the power company fixing the breaker in our back yard. We had many power outages and many worker crews in our back yard.
- I remember right where my bus stop was, but if I tried to find my elementary school now, I would get hopelessly lost. I’m sure it wasn’t that far away, but it felt like it was in another city.
- I remember the quilts that were on the twin beds that my sister and I had in the room we shared. And I remember getting bunk beds and loving my top bunk.
But the thrill of bunk beds was nothing compared to the news that in my new house, I would get my own room (a huge deal for the oldest of five children).
Following are some photos from my 6th grade year, 6th grade graduation, and my first year of Girl’s Camp at the fabulous Camp Ritchie.
What do you recall about the house that you grew up in?
I’m recording my youth, one year per week. Come back next week to find out what life was like in 7th grade (age 12).
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