Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nothing saves your soul......

Quonset huts in front of Laguna Peak, Point Mu...Image via Wikipedia
You might remember, the journey/cruise began yesterday.  On the flight from Seattle to San Diego, I read from Phil Cousineau's "Stoking the Creative Fires: 9 ways to Rekindle Passion and Imagination."  A quote from that book - "nothing saves your soul and connection to your own past more than keeping the flame alive by telling stories about it.  Nothing means until it's told in  a story."

While in San Diego for the day, we were met at our hotel by a cousin and his wife whom I had not seen in nearly 50 years.  (Through a series of synchronistic happenings we reconnected last fall by email and by phone and then yesterday face to face.)  It was a joyous and wonderful reunion with cousin Richard and his wife, Nina.  Born in 1942 and having lived in SD in the early years of WWII, (my parents and family moved from Bethany, OK to SD in 1941) I was eager to revisit the community sites of my youth. Cousin Richard drove us all around San Diego visiting home sites of our youth - my home site of toddler time was still standing, small, modified but with the same corner location and house number of 1203 Diamond Street displayed prominently.  What I had remembered as a wide boulevard was actually just a regular community street with several homes of my youth still standing, as well, almost as they were originally built.  There had been vacant lots next door, across the street and caddy cornered - all empty lots now full of homes.
We visited the site, 1852 Chico, of my grandmother's home - replaced now with a multi-person residence.  Again, I remembered that her home had been on a huge piece of property......a generous lot today but not huge.  I smile at the toddler/young girl memories vs today's reality!

Richard took us to the site that was and is of great interest to my spouse and I; that was the place where he and his mother had lived in navy family housing, i.e., quonset huts.  (My spouse and I had both considered our, unknowingly, having been in close proximity as infants as our dads were both stationed in CA with the navy.) Of course, the quonset sets are long gone but it turns out that the quonset hut where my mother and I lived was not in San Diego at all, but in San Francisco near the submarine base where my father was stationed on the USS Sawfish.  

Richard drove us to a wide, wide, wide expanse of beach and piers where he and I spent many hours playing, floating atop inner tubes, splashing and playing with our parents, uncles, and aunts.  I could smell and feel the echoing sense of being beneath, next to and atop the piers and in that water as the surf surged and regressed, never ceasing, seldom changing while my life has done the same with the exception that my life HAS changed tremendously since my last visit to that sandy shore.

Anyway, the day was replete with memories, corrected and/or revived - long lost memories suddenly jolted into reality - an amazing day of family and remembrance.  I am so grateful to have family and friends, too, who share my story - even if only a small portion of it!
Do you have early childhood memories of sights, smells, and sounds?  Have you shared them with someone you love or someone who might have similar memories - if you haven't I highly recommend it!

"nothing saves your soul and connection to your own past more than keeping the flame alive by telling stories about it.  Nothing means until it's told in  a story."

Photo - Quonset huts, Laguna Point, CA
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  1. My bedroom became part of the parking lot for a burger joint on a busy thoroughfare. I feel cramped when I go back to the place I lived as a child. It is all much smaller than I recalled. There's a chance I might attend a high school reunion next year. It was such a great campus with a view of the Narrows Bridge. That would be a great opportunity to trade stories. You may be giving me the extra push I need, SS.

  2. I have fond memories of 1203 Diamond Street, also. I don't remember that it was ever my home, but that of "Auntie and Uncle Slats." I remember that Richard took me to the beach. One day he even took me to the place where they sorted the eggs that he delivered for one of his jobs when he was a "really big kid."

    Thanks for sharing.