Growing Up House

March 5, 2023

This is my house (our house) in Palos Verdes. Seems like my whole lifetime was there, but funny that I only lived in that house — in the same bedroom — from age 3 to 18. Crazy how our childhood years, compressed into such a small space in time, represent everything to us. Just fifteen years! That amount of time goes by in a blink in our later years. Still, it was the family home from 1959 until my mom died in 2017, a respectable 58 years. Let’s just call it 60.

All those numbers and time warps aside…

It was a lovely oasis in the trees, mostly eucalyptus and pepper trees, in later years some coral trees were planted. Lots of bougainvillea.. on the trellis around the house, along the fences. The bouganvillea and the brick added red to an otherwise dark green that defined that neighborhood. The name of the street: Via La Selva, which translates to by way of the jungle. An apt name, indeed.

Family homes have rich family histories, more than a few dramas, decades of memories. No exception here. I’m grateful for the anchor this home provided.. a place where we all grew up, a place we could always go back to, a place my mom remained in until her death. Awkward and sad as it was, I was grateful all four of us were on hand to divide the spoils. It was really something to walk from room to room with my brothers on the day following her memorial service — held in our home — and choose the things that were most meaningful to us. Surprisingly, gratefully un-contentious.

This painting was done by our neighbor and Chris’s neighborhood pal David Charlton. It hung in the family room, right next to the beautiful round table where we ate (played games, etc). I mighta wanted it, but felt like it was more appropriate for Chris to have it (he also claimed that table!). The painting currently hangs in Chris’s kitchen. It’s a wee out of proportion, but I find it totally charming and mostly accurate. I’m glad his rendering exists! Thank you, David.


And now I’ve gone down the rabbit hole!

Went back into the archives to find a picture or two of the front yard as it appears in the painting (I know I have a bunch, but didn’t want to spend the time it would take to put my finger on just the right one, in a collection of 80,000 photos, marginally, at best, organized). Didn’t find that, but found a bunch of photos that show a bit of life around the round table, and otherwise..

This is a corner of the house, appearing as you walk up to the front door. You can see that David’s walk up is longer..

You can quite tell, but this on the front lawn and is a photo of our family of five, mom might have been pregnant with Matt. It’s Chris’s second birthday, obvs, and I’m 5 years old.

As a juxtaposition, this is standing on the same spot as the shot above, the day we moved everything out of the house and we are sad, but trying to make the best of it… Chris is 58 ish and I’m 61.

How about some shots around the family room table? This is two months before mom died. She made dinner, “mom’s chicken.” We all do a version of it, none as good as hers.

The first one is exactly one month before she died. Lots of gin rummy played around that table!

A nice mom pic… in October 2016 (about five months before she died). And I stand corrected! David painting hung in the kitchen next to the stove.. you can see it there over mom’s right shoulder.

Let’s see.. this is the dining room.. and a few different gatherings over the years…

The view of the patio out of the kitchen window..

A nice view of the family room..

Including this one because it speaks to me of comfort and joy. Mostly satiation. The family room couch was easy to sink into, hard to get out of. I wish I could put my hands on one of Jim sleeping on it… it was his favorite place to snooze in that house.

A kitchen shot. I have better that show the kitchen, but I like this. (NTS: What were you thinking with that shirt?! Find a new home for it, stat.)

Here’s one from 2015 when we were heading down to La Jolla for Jim’s dad’s 90th birthday. We stopped into PV to say hello. Jay happened to be in town. Mostly.. a front yard shot.

Here we are on move-out day… Matt had rented a truck to first haul stuff up to Chris’s apartment, then to re-load and haul stuff down to Matt and Michael’s. Jay filled a POD with his items, and Jim, Betsy and I packed everything I was taking into, and on top of, our Honda. Jim got a photo of his rig somewhere along I-5. He drove the car back to Davis; I would fly some days later after closing up the house.

Again.. sad day. But productive, smooth, efficient and memorable.

Will close this look back on the family home with this one… mom and dad sitting on the hearth… a common place for family photos. I really needed to get one of dad in there, blurry as it is. I like to remember them in their chummier, more affectionate times. They did have them…

And that is the end of today’s rabbit hole into the abyss that is my photo library!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: