This time of year always causes me to feel nostalgia, especially for my childhood in California. I lived in the Bay Area for my early elementary school years, and, to me, it seems like a magical place. I often fantasize about moving back there, but one look at the housing prices dashes any hopes of that!
So, here’s the home I lived in as a child in the early 1980s. The photo is blurry, but you can tell it’s a rambler. It is L-shaped, about 1700 square feet, and surrounded by trees. I spent many hours climbing to the top of the magnolia tree in the backyard and gazing at the traffic on the larger streets beyond our neighborhood. I also climbed the Russian olive tree, on the right, in the front yard.
I decided to Google this home. I wanted to know what it looked like now and to peer into my past. I still remember the address. I won’t reveal that, but it is in San Jose, California.
It’s almost hidden because of the trees and foliage, and it looks like somebody removed the large tree in the middle of the front yard and replaced it with something smaller or less mature. The Russian olive is still there, but there’s now a vine over the garage and it has been repainted. I hardly recognize it. I also don’t recognize the price! It is apparently worth some $700,000 now, although when my mom sold it in the early 1990s, she got between $200,000 and $300,000.
Because the street view of this home allowed me to scroll up and down and around, I did so to peer at the street that I once practiced popping wheelies on and skinned up my feet and knees. The houses were familiar to me. Not all of them were, but some of them I could still imagine the people who lived there. Inge, across the street, was my best friend, and we often pretended that our boyfriends were named Burt and Ernie. A few houses down lived a disrespectful teenager who once babysat my sister and I and ate the food my mother specifically instructed her not to.
That neighborhood also had a pool a few blocks away, one where we took swimming lessons, and when my youngest sister was tiny, she jumped in, fully clothed, to join in on the fun. I looked through the surrounding areas to find my elementary school. It was in a different proximity to my home than I remember, but it was still there. The high school I would have attended was also close by, and it is actually the high school my sister graduated from, as she lived with my dad during her senior year. He did not live in the same home, but he lived in the area.
I loved this home. It holds my earliest memories. In fact, when my husband and I bought our own home, I chose a rambler as a way of trying to recreate those happy memories in San Jose, California.