Friday, May 27, 2011

60 Day Photo Challenge - Day 5

*Post a picture of your favorite memory*

This was hard.  I have many wonderful memories!  I don't think you would be surprised to learn that meeting my husband and birthing my children are my very BEST memories.  However, to me..."post a picture of your favorite memory" means to pick a favorite memory from my distant past.  Even with that caveat, I still have many memories to choose from, but I think I'll choose this:

Seems like a rickety old house doesn't it?  Well, it isn't!  This is the house that I spent EVERY SUMMER from the time I was born until just after my father died.  My grandmother and grandfather owned this home in the town of Monte Rio, California.  It's better known as the Russian River area. 

Originally this house was at ground level but the Russian River is notorious for flooding.  Soooo, they raised the house.  That first landing is where the front door used to be after that first raising.  Well, apparently that wasn't high enough, sooooo, they raised it yet again!  I think this did the trick as I don't remember the house flooding again after that.

Raising the house created a HUGE basement that my sister and I used to spend hours playing in.  It was cool and dark and relatively clear of "critters".  What you can't see very clearly from this picture (I swiped it from Google Earth) are the many, many redwood trees that surround this area!  I grew up around the redwoods and I truly miss them.  I can still smell the air as we would pile out of the car after the 90 minute drive to our summer house!  Clean air that smelled of freshly cut redwood trees and blackberry bushes.  To this day, whenever I have blackberry jam, I get the vision of this house in my mind.

These were some of the very best years of my life!  The little yellow house to the left of our house was owned by my aunt.  Each summer, the entire family (immediate and extended) would end up at "the river" for the 4th of July celebrations.  This is where we spent the Bicentennial!  Tons of cars, tents, motor homes and all my cousins!  We would pick blackberries until our hands were stained and then my grandmother and aunt would make homemade jam.   Every night after dinner, many of the family would sit around the dining room table and play "21" and drink coffee.  My nanie would let us have a cup of coffee with the grown ups!  We would then go to sleep on freshly laundered sheets that had dried on the clothes line.  As I remember, they were crunchy!  I loved it.  When we would wake up in the morning, it was usually freezing in the house.  Nanie would make us stay in bed until she had lit the fire in the fireplace and the house was warm.

We played outside all day long!  My sister and I used to have contests to see who had the most mosquito bites!  I distinctly remember counting to 23 one time!  This was back in the day (late 60's, early 70's) when no one worried about sunscreen or bug spray.  We took long walks, picked wild flowers, had parades, rode bikes, played war (yes, even us girls used to play that!) and played hide and seek.  Everyone was always happy.

If I had known then, what I know now, I would never have left that house.  After my grandmother died in 1975, it just wasn't the same.  We still went up to "the river" a lot, but my Nanie wasn't there.  Still, we enjoyed our family time.  The summer that Charles and Diana got married....I watched it from the old, broken television (with the tube that had gone out and everyone had pink skin).  The day Elvis died, I was at "the river".

When my dad died in 1982, we didn't go up there anymore.  Finally, my papa decided to sell it.  It was just too much upkeep and he was getting older.  All my cousins were growing up and "the river" didn't have much appeal anymore.

This house is truly my most favorite memory!  Thank you for letting me share it with you!


Sue Elvis said...

Nancy, I loved sharing your story. Thank you! I saw your comments on Susan Barber's blog. Are you face to face friends? God bless!

Nancy said...

Hi Sue,

Yes, Susan and I are face to face friends! I just love her! She's genuine.

I am so intrigued by the whole unschooling idea! Both you and Susan have that in common! I love your blog, by the way!

Thanks for visiting! Come back again soon!!

Holly@A Life-Size Catholic Blog said...

I finally got up the nerve to click that link on your sidebar that says, “Are you a Real Catholic?” Click here (if you dare) and find out. I was wringing my hands as I clicked.

Anne (aussieannie) said...

I LOVED reading your precious memories Nancy, thank you for sharing them!

Sue Elvis said...

Hi Nancy,

I was so thrilled to see you'd visited my blog. Thank you!

I only know Susan through FB and the UC group but I love her too! She 'poked' me so many times I had to visit her wall and find out more about her. We've had some FB conversations and now I feel like a friend! She's so open and warm and loving. One day I'm coming your way to meet you both!