Tuesday, January 27

San Ramon

Katie lends me this photograph from 1860 San Ramon which I scan and blog. The picture probably taken by Moe or Grace in 1970 or '71? This is the house I grew up in, at least until age-ten. Todd is to the left then me, Katie, Eric and Stephen and Todd's sister Hillary. Wow. Todd was the fabulous next-door neighbor+four years older so there was considerable hero-worship on my part believe-you-me. He taught me many of the things I today hold dear and pass along to Madeleine and Eitan like: how to make a perfect paper airplane or draw the Starship Enterprise doing battle with the Klingons. Eventually our enthusiasms turned to model rockets and we built hobby kits complete with launch pad and blast off. We made ships from basement wood sailed at nearby Tildon Park and wound slot cars in the downstairs playroom. Without hesitation, though, the most thrilling, most absorbing thing we did was go-carts. Collecting old strollers or steeling trollies from Safeway we got wheels. We found rods for the central axis and old-timber for the frame; strings were used to steer and the ever-present emergency brake to-hand though sneakers worked better. Added touches: saran wrap windows and rubber-band guns. Every kid on the block had one. San Ramon enjoyed two reasonably steep hills sloping towards Stone Face park and El Cerito Canyon; since we were below the busy Arlington Avenue the traffic fairly lite not that we kids gave a hoot about the cars (is it inevitable that we remember childhood freedoms not to be granted our kids?) On one particularly memorable day - I was in the fourth grade at Washington Elementary - it snowed which, I believe, not repeated since. Out early for the day, Todd, Johny, Donovan, Shannon, Eric and I dared each other to pop our carts down the snow-covered streets. Man those were great times without a parent in sight.