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[Comments] (8) Yard Memories: Our house on Napa Rd. had a huge yard. It was plenty big enough for my many outdoor adventures.

I remember Leonard teaching me how to ride a bike. We had an old blue dirt bike - that one was the best, until of course I got my ten-speed. We’d ride around the yard, up the hill on one side, down on the other. I fell and scraped my right knee pretty badly going up the hill one time. I had three huge, nasty cuts that hurt when I washed them in the bathtub. But I thought I was pretty cool wearing shorts to school to show my scabs. We’d also ride down the road to the reservoirs. The guys in trucks checking on the fields were all ok with “we live down the road” when they found us wandering around.

Leonard also taught me how to place tennis, over by the palm tree with the owl. I was so proud that I could hit the ball over the pool.

We loved to go around the yard and find treasures – anything little piece of metal. My collecting spot was in the fenced-in pool filter area.

We grew a beautiful garden into what used to be a horse corral. I remember corn, watermelon, and berries. Leonard also grew loofah on the fences. In other areas of the yard, we had orange, lemon and grapefruit trees and later grew peaches, apples and nectarines. In the summer, I would make a bowl of macaroni and cheese with peas and a big glass of milk and eat it on the hammock under the lemon tree.

When we first moved to the house there was an old “shack” in the corner of the corral. It was probably really just a piece of tin with two sticks on one side and the fence on the other. Leonard was the only one big enough to get up there. That was where he stored the treasures he found. I remember being upset when the “shack” fell during a storm, before I was big enough to climb up on it.

One year, Mom built us a beautiful treehouse. It was big enough for slumber parties and had a hole with a rope through it so we could climb down. It also had a little “porch” with a sign that said “Our Precious Kitties.” And the kitties would actually sleep there! Our two Preskool chairs were up there, and a little white shelf to hold our treasures. The trees it was built on grew collections of seeds with red needles sticking out of them. We used to pretend it was pepper. There was also a beam across with rings and a swing. I used to go out and swing on the swing and sing Primary songs to myself. I remember doing that while Rachel was riding her bike by. We also had a tire swing (how cool was that) and a giant wooden spool – I think the spool was inherited with the house in Arvin.

One of my favorite spots was a tree in the northwest corner. I needed our little Playskool chair to climb up to the main branch at first, but from there I could scamper up the branch and lean myself against it while looking out over the fields. I could see cars coming down Rancho road. I could see across the grapevines to the orange groves. I could see the birds flying across the sky. I could see the mountains to the east. I loved to climb up there and rest myself against the branch and just think. I’ll admit there were some initials carved into the branch, where no one but me could find them. But I don’t remember what they are.

Ah the pool. Elizabeth Velez and I had a synchronized swimming routine that we practiced for years. I also loved spinning around with my fingers just grazing the water. Leonard was famous for his backflips, with his long hair trailing out behind. I remember learning how to dive – and trying to teach Rachel. She was too scared to just lean forward. I loved to swim all the way across underwater. I remember filling up the pool every year and having a little party. It seemed magical, for some reason, when it was only half full. I even remember swimming when the pool was nasty and green. We were just jumping in and getting out, jumping in and getting out. We always had pet frogs, which were thrown over the fence without dismay. But I would go around and carefully “save” any ladybugs, ink bugs or caterpillars I could find.

We had two water tanks, one new and one old. I am pretty sure I remember climbing on them, although that can't have been allowed. There was also one of those cement wells. I always wanted to climb up and see inside of it. I think I saw inside of a different one and it was just dirt on the bottom. But so intriguing!

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Posted by Rachel at Thu Oct 13 2005 23:44

Psh. Leonard never taught me anything. And I still can't dive. I think throwing the frogs/toads was akin to de-knombing (argh I can't think of how to spell it) the garden. Mostly they just hoped away. I did climb to the top of the waterheaters, the big one, and slide down like a slide, getting white stuff on my jeans. I don't think I had a place to keep my tresures. I think i adopted the underneath of a tree, but it got torn down. I do remember dragging the radio flyer around the yard and trying to make dished out of mud and pretending I was a pioneer. And riding my bike around the house for hours at a time. I'm a lot out of practive, but I can keep myself entertained for hours, days at a time. Which is probably a result of my childhood. I find it so easy to get lost in my own head; back then I hardly every had anything else to do.

Posted by Kristen at Fri Oct 14 2005 06:45

Cool memories. Thanks for writing them for us to read.

Posted by Susie at Fri Oct 14 2005 07:13

That's true- no TV, no friends. We were always outside running around (or biking around) and having adventures. It's de-gnoming, you were close.

You're welcome! I just didn't want to forget all the fun I had as a kid.

Posted by John at Fri Oct 14 2005 08:41

We have no telly now, but instead of running around I come home at 7 pm to find you asleep. What happened?

Posted by Frances at Fri Oct 14 2005 08:54

Those WERE pepper trees the treehouse was built in.

Posted by Susie at Fri Oct 14 2005 09:21

Oh please. A girl can take a nap once in a while. This coming from the boy who was asleep when I left for work. =P

Posted by John at Fri Oct 14 2005 11:52

In all fairness to me, you work at 7 am in Tustin and I was at work until past 8 pm last night.

Posted by Susie at Fri Oct 14 2005 12:09

Yeah, but you're so cute when you're sleeping! It's not fair!

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