Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ride Down Memory Lane

We visited our son Steve who lives in Piedmont, California, last Saturday. Steve’s lucky to live in a great area boasting dozens of wonderful little restaurants. It’s really hard to visit him without trying out yet another good eatery. That afternoon it was crepes, and they were delicious! Bob and Steve had chicken crepes, while I couldn’t resist one with strawberries, bananas and chocolate sauce. Out of this world!

After lunch, the three of us drove through the area where Bob grew up. It was like taking a walk down memory lane. Remarkably, my dear husband – who has trouble remembering our anniversary every July – could name just about every one of his then-neighbors along the entire block.

“This is the house we lived in when I was seven,” he proudly announces, gazing wistfully at a tiny, light grey stucco house with a handkerchief-sized front lawn and a driveway consisting of two narrow strips of worn concrete surrounded by gravel.

“It’s pretty small,” our son Steve comments, obviously unimpressed.

“It didn’t seem small then,” Bob counters, studying the house more closely. “I think it’s shrunk since we lived here.”

From there we drive a few blocks to a nearby grammar school that has definitely seen better days.

“I thought you said you walked a couple of miles to school every day,” says Steve skeptically.

“I did,” Bob replies. “They must have added a more direct route to the school since my time.”

“Uh, huh,” Steve grunts, rolling his eyes at me.

Next, we pass a liquor store that used to be an ice cream parlor, and next to it a kids’ arcade that had previously been the neighborhood movie theater.

“Now why did they go and change those?” Bob asks, staring morosely at yet another fading memory of his childhood. “Every Saturday we’d all meet to go to the matinee, then hit the ice cream parlor on our way home. The movie cost us a dime, and you could get a great hot fudge sundae for a quarter.”

“And for an extra nickel I’ll bet you could get tyrannosaurus rex to walk you home,” Steve says, stifling a chuckle.

“Hmph!” Bob grunts. “Laugh if you want, but the kids of today have no idea what they’re missing.”

About now, Steve realizes that this ride down memory lane has not lived up to his dad’s expectation. Our good-natured son looks guilty, then brightens as we pass a new Cold Stone Creamery that used to be a mom and pop grocery store.

“Hey, Dad,” he says, pointing at the creamery. “Stop here and I’ll treat you to a hot fudge sundae. For an extra quarter, I’ll bet they’ll throw a cherry on the top.”

“Look at it this way, Bob,” I say quietly as we follow our son inside. “Some day when Steve has kids, he’ll drive by this place and describe all the ice cream he used to be able to get for $5. Time for new memories, sweetheart. Time for new memories.”


Blogger said...

Great post Shirley - I had to laugh because everytime our family drives by the road I grew up on, they say "And that's where I use to be able to skateboard right down the street."

I guess I told them my stories once too many times! LOL.

Hey, just wanted to let you know MURDER ON NOB HILL is the Book of the Day! Thanks so much for putting a copy of it up for grabs for our readers!

Have a great day,

April 14, 2008 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Dina said...

Just wanted to say Hi and that I found you on AuthorIsland!

April 16, 2008 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Virginia said...

Aloha from Author Island.

We all enjoy those trips down memory lane. I still visit my old home place. I love to go there.

April 16, 2008 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

(Aloha from Authorisland!)
Nice memories- but funny how they are so different when we go back. My husband and I took our teenage son and daughter to Philadelphia since we both grew up near there. The Academy of Natural Sciences just wasn't as good as I remembered as a kid and YIKES the parking fee was $25.00! (That was back in the late 90s!)
Your mysteries sound like FUN reads- I'll be looking for them!

April 21, 2008 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Vita said...

Speaking of Memory Lane, in Ashland, when Dad was courting Mom, he took her to 10 cent movies and for 5 cent ice cream, followed by a walk in Lithia Park.

Thanks for the great stories.

May 2, 2008 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Vita said...

This is just like the stories my Dad told me, with the movies and ice cream and a stroll through Lithia Park.

May 30, 2008 at 8:14 AM  

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