Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An Unexpected Gift

Leaving Silver Strand beach a couple weeks ago, I told Daniel that we were going to drive by the "old beach house" that I grew up in every summer from 1972-1980. My parents, aunt and uncle owned this triplex on Cahuenga Drive, blocks from the beach. Nothing fancy then, and quite dumpy now, I was surprised to see it was "For Rent." I pulled in the driveway. 
"C'mon, let's check if any of the units are open."
Our apartment was top left
 Daniel hesitated, but there was this magnetic pull of my heartstrings walking up the old stairs. This place was the home base for water balloon fights, long beach days, boat trips to the Channel Islands, bike riding, dancing, fishing, summer birthdays, candy runs, grunion hunting, boogie boarding, Fourth of July parties, sandcastles, and sunburns. It defined the summer months of my childhood from the time I was 2-10. 
 Daniel said "This is crazy, Mom what are you doing?"
I kept going up the stairs. Hopeful.
Definitely upgraded
Lo and Behold!
 My family's old apartment door was wide open! There was a young couple just moving in. I explained my history and asked if we could nose around and explore the old place. They were very gracious and let us peak in. 
  Cutie-Pie's 2nd  Mickey Mouse themed birthday; 1976.
That's Overboard in the background. 
This place was upgraded since the 70's; gold shag carpet replaced with laminate floors, the wood paneling painted over white and the groovy  bar stools were long gone, along with the nautical themed decor. But over all, it was how I remembered. Except the yellow-metal-spiral staircase my dad built that connected the upstairs to the garage was no longer there. I'm sure that construction project was not "up to code." 
We visited the bedroom that my hamster died in and many an Easter baskets were dropped off. This same bedroom I shared with Miss Piggy was the room my dad stacked our bunk beds three high. Every kids dream come true - a triple-decker bunk bed!
We loved to play games ... still do!
The bathroom where my mom shared "the menstruation talk" with me hadn't changed. Other than the classic black-and-white "Old Time" wallpaper --like Farrells, that my parents hung, was replaced with white paint. 
A girl never forgets where she was given "the talk."
 An embarrassing moment I will never forget it. No matter how hard I try :)
It was  a special visit... more like an unexpected gift.
I left feeling "amped"  and couldn't wait to share this present with my family -- who like me, treasure this apartment that housed some of the best summers ever. 

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