Friday, March 7, 2008
I know, I threatened last week to stop doing this, but in the past week, I've begun to see the therapeutic value in looking back and putting it all into perspective. At least, that's my mood today. We'll see what next Friday brings.
Today's theme: home. I didn't have your normal childhood home. I was born in Orange County (which is just wrong, for someone like me), we moved to Bakersfield when I was 4 or 5, then to Cupertino, then to Santa Cruz, and in Santa Cruz County, lived in 3 different homes before we moved to Los Angeles when I was 12.
My parents claim we moved here so that I could go to the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, which was just about to open. I know it's the main reason, but I also think they were ready to come back to Southern California.
I did love Santa Cruz. It was a really great place to grow up, and where I got started doing theatre. However, it was time to move up (well, geographically, down) in the world and try my footing on some larger stages.
I just recently asked my mom how they found the condo that became our L.A. home. It was some type of fluke, of course.
I remember the night we took the drive. The U-Haul, my mother driving one car, the U-Haul towing the other that held our family cat, Sissy, who was in the family before I was! We arrived late at night, my parents tired from the trip. We put some mattresses on the floors of the bedrooms and my dad got a pizza. Even with the exhaustion, there was an excitement in the air about our future.
I bring it up because of what this condo has come to mean to me. It was where I spent junior high, high school, and beyond. Most kids leave home; my parents bought a new house, and I stayed at the condo. I would leave it from time to time and last left it in 1996, when I moved with the man who was to be the father of my children to Denver.
My parents still owned the condo for quite some time, and sold it just a few years ago.
This summer, I began looking for a new place because of KIPP. We were living in the Valley, I work in Burbank, but the school is near downtown L.A. The commute would've been crazy to drop her off before 7:20 and get my youngest daughter to her school in the Valley and get me to Burbank by 8 a.m. The commute would make more sense if we lived closer to KIPP and then I just commuted to work (not long - about 25 minutes or so).
My parents were going to meet me at a house in our old neighborhood to check out for a rental. We decided that on their way there, they would stop back at the old condo complex and see if any units there were up for rent.
The unit that my parents had previously owned was available for rent. On top of that, it was $100 cheaper than what I'd been paying for rent in the Valley. Plus, it has a washer & dryer (our old washer, actually), a dishwasher, and a garage - all amenities we'd previously been living without. Within a couple of days, the deal was done.
The girls and I were moving home. The girls thought it very cool to live where I'd grown up. Since the bedrooms are small, I ended up giving them the master bedroom, and I'm now sleeping in the same room I slept in when I was 12. And 19. And 21.
I get asked sometimes if it's weird living there again. The only thing that's weird is how not weird it is. It's home. I love walking over to the mailboxes again. I love parking in our garage again. I love that sometimes I'll walk down the hallway and have a quick flashback of a previous walk down that hallway when I was 14. Other people may have inhabitated that space over the years that I was gone, but it's still very much my home. And now it's our home.
I think I'll have even more flashbacks as my oldest daughter approaches the ages that I'd been there. I hope that it will remind me of what being 13 feels like, and help me relate to her a little more. And then, later, with Riley.
We may not have the biggest or best home, but it is filled with memories, with us, and I look forward to many more years in this most recent homecoming.
Posted by April at 10:43 AM