This song says it all…get your tissue box: 7 Years Old
Going to blame total exhaustion for part of it. This past few weeks I’ve been all over the place – Tahoe, Seattle, back to Manhattan Beach, now finally home in Walnut Creek. MB is bittersweet for me, I have some really great childhood memories there and of course some not so great teenage memories. That’s everyone, except maybe my brother who was best looking, homecoming king or whatever else they award you for looking like a Ken doll. Me? I wasn’t even in the game. Somehow I pieced together some friends out of that I’ve been friends with for life who I share some great memories with.
I bring this up because we had gone down to a memorial for a friends mom, running into other friends who have lost their parent(s) too. Yes, it’s that time of life for me, my IL’s are both gone too. The memorial was for a single mom of two boys, who somehow was able to move them from Venice, CA to Manhattan Beach on a teacher salary. Those days are long gone down there. The reason I even bring it up is because it was just a flood of memories of different times of my life. One of them being how sweet she was about my writing, she had read something I wrote years ago and said I needed to be a writer. When we were in Seattle, where our friend lives, he said the same thing. It was so touching for me, coming from writers themselves. Biggest compliment ever! To become anything you really have to know how to toot your own horn, I’ve never been able to do that. I’m good just writing my little blog with just a few readers. Or they could just be being nice? Regardless, I really appreciated it.
The other son still lives in MB where the memorial was held. It was a small group, was honored to be invited to it. Within that group were people I have the greatest memories of, even in HS. These guys saved me, a select crowd who always had my back. I set up D-1 with his wife in our early 20’s, D-2 I’ve known as long as I can remember. When I was 18, D-2 and I had a tanning contest on D-1’s front porch until we finally had to call it because one of us got a job. D-1 lived on the Strand, his parents have both passed away and they’re forced to sell the house because it’s worth so much the siblings can’t buy each other out. That’s the problem with MB now, the gentrification getting rid of us bitter middle class.
I’m kidding, not about the real estate vultures, but it is the end of an era and time to finally admit we’re adults. We stumbled into it without realizing it, until you see each other and really see the passage of time or recall an incident that happened 40 years ago. We thought we were unique, I thought I was a problem teen and now I look back to see that it was really stressful to be a teen with your parents staying together “for the sake of the kids” until they thankfully split up when I was 17.
The now adult boys who lost their mom, C & M, moved to MB later. My first memory of C was at a HS party when I was 15 and he asked me to dance. I’ll never forget his dance move to David Bowie’s “Rebel, Rebel” that night. Years later, when my a-hole of an ex BF booted me from a party where my girlfriends didn’t want to leave, C saw me crying on the sidewalk with no ride home. He came out and sat with me, went to find us a ride home (he lived close to me). His mom let us take her car and gave us money to go to the Kettle, a 24 hour restaurant, then gave me a ride home. A horrible night turned fine, no thanks to my girlfriends.
M was the hot surfer boy who got on the radar because my GF’s were all fighting over him. I always had an ability to be friends with the hot surfer/v-ball guys due to the fact my first thought would be “out of my league.” I never tried to date them, I’ve always thought of myself as one of the guys. There was one night I was driving a bunch of us home in my mom’s VW van, M was the last drop off since he lived closest. He came in for the kiss and I said, “What are you doing? You don’t even like me!” His world at that time was so full of groupies, he probably thought it was just what you did with last girl standing. I kicked him out, I’m sure he doesn’t even remember. Having a single mom made those guys more respectful of a “no” than most of the guys there.
Later D-2 and M had a band, I got them their first paid gig where I met my H. M then moved to Berkeley as a returning student, he was our only attendant at our wedding. He did it all, photographer, best man, maid of honor, gave me away. I couldn’t afford a wedding, saving that expense helped me choose to stay home with Gus when he was born.
Another emotional flood of memories came when we went to check out a house our friends are building in the tree section in MB. I was so freaked out, that’s where I lived when I was really little, from K-5th grade. I ran down that street and fell, still have the scar on my nose. The other side of that hill used to be a dirt road that leveled on one of the street crossings. My babysitter would pick us up from school in her VW Van (we all had them) and at that flat part we’d go flying off of it to the next part of the hill. The park down the street was where I was the queen of the hula-hoop at 5 yrs old. I’d go to the beach after school growing up, then run down the Sand Dune park hill to get home.
Now we’re making adult memories – playing v-ball with our kids, golf, bowling tournaments and sadly memorials. It’s a voyage I haven’t taken with my parents yet, they’re both still alive. My mom and I talked about the house and her future while I was there, I just started crying and saying I could come down whenever or she could come and live with us. I don’t want her to think assisted living is her only option, she insists her surviving friends love it. Been teary eyed ever since, an interesting time of life. I looked into that same bathroom mirror at my mom’s to get ready for all the parties, the tanning contest, the night I met my H. Glad my ride thus far has been with some great people.