Good Good Good Good Vibrations

March 21, 2015

This day exceeded my expectations about a million-fold. I was looking forward to it, but with a wee bit of trepidation. However, it turned out to be the olympics of reminiscing–great stories and much hilarity.

As I mentioned yesterday, six of us from the way way back sort of spontaneously decided to get together, just for fun, because, why not? It was originally conceived as a gathering of kids who started kindergarten together at Valmonte school. It morphed slightly, as things do, but that was the genesis. The plans were hatched on Facebook and unfolded there over a couple of months. Today was the day.

We got news today and yesterday from two of the six–Wendy C and Sally–that they were unable to come, both for sudden and unexpected health reasons. And that was a huge bummer. Wendy C had been the initiator of the whole idea all those months ago, which was doubly disappointing. We were crushed, but the show must go on.

And it did. We met at about 2:30 at Sarah’s place in the foothills. She greeted us with sangria and an endless mix of rock and roll, mostly from back in the day. We broke out the apps right away (Wendy contributed two fabulous dishes–an almond pate and a curry cream cheese spread) and with that, we were off and running.

The whole day was just ridiculously fun. Our years together had been 1961 to 1974 (1960 if you count nursery school.. a couple went to Miss Pat’s, a couple went to the PV Nursery School Cooperative). What felt remarkable to me was the comfort and ease with which we talked and shared stories and memories. There is a very strong connection to a shared past we all understand and know intimately, even if we didn’t hang out with one another then. Because of that, the day had an unconditionally friendly vibe to it. Conversation felt safe and non-judgmental, there was almost a tenderness between us. We all lived the era and knew fully what it was all about. We knew PV, we knew the schools, the stores, the landmarks, the other kids, their parents, our teachers, the music, the styles, the news and crises of the day. We knew the Southern California scene–LA, Hollywood, aerospace, Mad Men, KHJ, top 40s, civil rights, Sgt. Pepper, RAT Beach… all of it. We knew exactly the experience of the 60s and, in some cases, the fall-out of that. We had similar run ins with our parents. IT. WAS. SO. GRATIFYING to talk about it all.

So much was fascinating… like for instance, we all grew up in relative affluence in a very conservative community (Wendy K’s parents were liberal democrats, unusual in PV), and each of us moved to the opposite side of the political spectrum. Many of our classmates didn’t, however, and not a small percentage drifted even further to the right. But the fact our’s was a gathering of politically like-minded folks made it even more comfortable and relaxed.

Our conversation was rapid-fire and all over the place. Most of it was just laugh out loud funny, or fascinating, as snips of other people’s lives were revealed. Between us, we knew a lot of different people; nobody was in anybody else’s cohort so we had a pretty broad reach, and that was really, really interesting. And of course everyone was living their own life’s miseries and successes. I don’t think we spent nearly as much time on our post-school lives as we did covering the memories from school days.  It was definitely a mix of positive and horrific school experiences.

Probably the most common thing said was, “Wow, I didn’t know that.” I think it’ll take a few more gatherings to catch our collective breath and go deeper, to get to even more meaningful places. One person said it was strangely healing, and I agree.

The conversation was the main attraction for sure, but the setting for the day was also spectacular. Everything was a beautiful feast.. the food, the art, Sarah’s home, its setting in the foothills, the Bear River, the R Street Loft.. all a feast.

Here are some shots:

Nancy, Wendy K and Sarah walking along a trail high above the Bear River:


Nancy, Wendy and Sarah on the rocky banks of the flow-challenged Bear:


Darling ladies, inside and out.

We sat for a long time along the river, talking more and eating the apps I brought. We came back and Sarah laid out this sumptuous dinner spread: grilled artichokes, a beautiful rainbow salad, charred peppers with two salts, spanish tortilla with a rich tomato salsa. Sarah is a gifted chef. Wendy brought a wonderful wine:


This salad reminded me of the asian chopped salad I made a few weeks ago… great presentation. Remember this?


We caravanned down the hill to Sacramento for dessert in Sarah and Gabe’s newly acquired loft in the bohemian R Street area of downtown.

Here we are riding the elevator to the second floor… I photobombed my own picture:


Here’s a shot of the interior of the loft.. note high ceilings, concrete floors, two art tables (making art is a requirement of living there) and stairs leading to bedroom loft, where I’m standing. These lofts just opened a couple of months ago, designed for artists, and works of art are everywhere.


Nancy had made an updated version of the Hostess cupcake, which went well with the chocolate gelato Sarah had picked up. We grabbed both and headed up to the roof…

Here’s a shot of the gardens and a view of downtown Sac:


Sometime around midnight, we figured we’d better wrap up the party… Nancy had a two-hour drive ahead and Wendy had a big day in SF coming up.

Didn’t get any shots of the foothill house nor the “ruins,” an outdoor venue Sarah and Gabe are building on their property to host parties, plays and concerts. (The things you can do with land in the country and able-bodied, creative folks!)

Hoping there will be a next time…

4 Responses to “Good Good Good Good Vibrations”

  1. Soooo soooo cool 🙂

    • Kari Says:

      Michael Ann, I only figured out the next day that you were performing at F&G right down the street from the loft. Wish I’d put all that together and thought to wander down and stick our heads in! Your music would have been a perfect conclusion to the 60s-era day. 🙂

  2. Kari, I have recently reconnected with those girlfriends from kindergarten through high school, and college with a few! I was also struck by how comfortable, and how comforting it is to be with my ‘tribe’. So much in common, and yet the appreciation for differences. The acceptance of each other, exactly as we are, is so affirming. A couple of friends I had kept in touch with throughout the years, but reuniting with people I haven’t seen, was so much fun. I feel blessed to have close friends from each phase of my life with whom I have stayed close, but finding additional friends from my past, especially from my childhood, is especially meaningful. Who else remembers the unique details of one’s own childhood, except those friends? Growing up in the fifties and sixties were such turbulent times, and how we all navigated the dangers, and traumas, and all grew stronger because of it. Shared experiences are tight bonds, indeed!

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