Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

I woke intermittently from midnight till 5am, a dull ache behind my eyes and in my chest.  I would lay there and think, 'this is the last night.  the last night sleeping in this bed, in this house, hearing these sounds'.  Finally at 5:30am I checked to make sure Hazel was asleep and then silently slipped out to the family room to say my goodbyes.

I sat on the green leather couch, memories swirling over and through me: after dinner conversations, family home evenings, "what not to wear" marathons, Christmas mornings, get togethers with friends, perhaps even a first kiss while not watching the Breakfast Club (only one Kate).

Next I sat on the front porch and filled myself up with California air -- breathing in until I thought my lungs would burst.  Hoping not to forget a sound, smell or feeling from this last morning at 325 Marks Road. 

I walked out to the back deck to wish the sun a good morning and bid farewell to the backyard I've played in since I was 4 years old.  Jasmine's familiar scent enveloped me and Mt. Diablo became blurry as the roosters crowing reminded me what I would be missing.  This raw heart pounded with longing and nostalgia, assaulted by memories of mustard flowers transformed into a pool, morphed into a patio and entertaining area not to be rivaled.

The trampoline kindly absorbed my tears as I bounced higher and higher saying goodbye to Mr. Morgan's, Mrs. Stewart's and a view of our neighborhood etched onto my soul.

Snapshots of our last evening at the Coons came unbidden, as did the tears.  The realization that I would never again walk the 100 yards to their door and ask for butter or walk by at 2:00am to find Teresa up late making pie and willing to talk, almost too much to bear.

The memories of this last trip home are accompanied by an ache so deep I can only write about it in an emtpy house where no one might find me weeping over my keyboard.  Ask about my weekend home and you are likely to get a clipped response -- lest I cry while discussing the butternut squash ravioli from Il Fornio or Alamo Hay and Grain, the store from whence a multitude of animals were purchased and smuggled home.  I might also spontaneously start crying while describing Thrifty's chocolate malted crunch ice cream, Bagel Street, the iron horse trail, Coons, the Jacksons, the Gustafsons, Great Donuts, Dominico's, Lords, Oak Hill Park, Katrina Rozelle's, The Tomaci's green eggs, suicide hill or a host of other Alamo related subjects.

Perhaps leaving the garden of Eden was hard.  I think leaving Alamo was harder.


  1. Great, now I'm crying again. It's just too much.

  2. Last June my folks sold our family homestead. It was a peaceful oasis from the world. Jamie proposed to me there among the trees on the 5 acres of paradise. Reading this post captured how I felt. May the many happy memories you have of it be treasured in your heart.

  3. Hugs to you and K-ers. I saw Aunt Pam's pics from their recent gathering at your parent's place and it was sad to notice the empty cupboards they were standing in front of - proof that they were leaving. As excited as I am for their new adventure, I suppose we'll have to find another place for cousin performances of Cinderella, etc...! so glad our last reunion was at your house - gives us all some awesome, recent memories of a wonderful home. ps- in your tour of alamo, please tell me that you guys went to that awesome bakery that sold those scones, too!

  4. Beautiful. My heart aches for you. What a difficult goodbye to such an amazing place.

  5. What a hard goodbye! Your post inspires me to work really hard to provide memories like that for my kiddos. Where are your parents moving?

  6. You and Kate are just breaking my heart! :) Seriously. Love the memory-sharing. I guess you ladies will just have to settle in Alamo in the near future. I mean, sheesh--I want to, too! :)

  7. Oh my. I wasn't ready for that. Too much.

  8. So glad you got to go "home" one last time! How can life be so wonderful and so difficult at the same time?

  9. Mary,

    I've been enjoying your blog lately (ever since our wonderful visit in April), and just had to comment-- Thrifty's double chocolate malted crunch was pure delight to me as a child! There was a Thrifty's half a mile from our house, and Mare and I used to ride there on our bikes and buy cones (so cheap). On my honeymoon in La Jolla, Aaron and I found a Thrifty's, and it was pure joy to taste it again.

    So glad you got to go home again.

    love you,

  10. well I found your blog. very touching reminder of my first love, east bay. Miss it too. The journey is finding the next paradise that makes those same emotions return for the next generation. Wish you well.

  11. Time to blog again. Posterity is counting on you.