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Sixty Two and Cranking Along

October 19, 2014

After a suitably leisurely morning, we closed up the cabin and headed down the hill to Sally’s parents’ house in Mountain Ranch. We planned to join them for dinner to celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary, stay the night and go our separate ways the next day.

I’m not sure it’s very far to Mountain Ranch from Bear Valley, at least not as the crow flies, but it took a while to get there. We took what seemed like dozens of roads, each of them narrow, windy and scenic. Here, I’m just trying to keep up with Sally:

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Looks like I lost her…

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And here’s an artsy fartsy:

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We got to her parents’ home…

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…found them sitting on their patio in back, reading. Already I’m thinking, man, this is the life. The setting was so lovely and peaceful. Really, really peaceful.

I want to be them when I grow up.

Mr. and Mrs. Alden were regular fixtures in my life from about second grade through high school. They were the Stanford people, the gourmet food and wine people. Mrs. Alden was really nice, Mr. Alden opinionated and a little intimidating. They moved to Mountain Ranch when the last kid graduated from high school.

[Interesting facts: They had four kids, we had four kids. Each Alden kid had a matching Peterson kid in his/her grade. Sally and I were both the oldest, and friends. Matty and Sally’s little brother Holt: same grade and also friends. Jay and Betsey ran in different circles, but Chris and Andrea were both part of a larger surfer clique. Both families had parents who’d gone to Stanford. All of our parents loved their cocktails.]

Mr. Alden is now 90-years-old and still a commanding presence.

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And their home! Books, art, wood, high ceilings, lots of windows looking out on the golden scrubby rounds of California’s foothills… it was just incredibly pleasing. And familiar.

I recognized lots of the art from the home I spent so much time in as a kid. It’s like it was a return to something very comforting, very Aldenesque.  Here are some shots:

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The guest house is a short walk from the main house:

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Here is my room:

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I am certain that my own architectural and decorating tastes were formed in part by time spent in their house growing up. I find the spaces and the overall ambiance extremely appealing.

I took pictures of Mr. Alden’s huge workshop in an adjacent building and found it impressive for so many reasons.. but feel posting those may be intrusive. I considered taking a picture of their master bathroom, too, which also had me shaking my head at the handsome and clever touches.. but that would definitely cross a line. We’ll stick with kitchens, living rooms and guest rooms here.

Sally and I went for a 5-mile walk in the hood while Mrs. Alden got dinner ready… lovely environs:

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Came back and hung out for a while. Here’s a cute shot of Sally showing her mom some pictures:

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Mrs. Alden made the best meat loaf I’ve ever eaten.. from Biba Caggiano’s Northern Italian cookbook..

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… then we celebrated:

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T’was all extremely nice and comfortable.

One Response to “Sixty Two and Cranking Along”


  1. LOVE ! I want to live there too!


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