Feelings; thinking about things
I spent a little over a week recently visiting my "past life," my hometown. I've been away a little over 3 1/2 years now, and make every effort to return 3 or 4 times a year. During these periods, I oversee my properties (there are two, both of which are leased), and allow myself to be tourist in my hometown. There have been so many changes, so much is different; little has remained the same. I must admit, though, that I really like the changes. Little, 'one horse town,' Napa has become something of a mini metropolis, complete with a large selection of diverse restaurants offering tasty cuisine, many shops with items not available in most small town venues, and theatre, live performances and so much more. I am delighted with this as I explore, donning walking shoes for my nightly trek, feeling new and alive among the crowd while emersing myself in the sights, sounds and smells of my transformed home. These evening strolls are always something I look so forward to; being alone and yet, one of many who, no doubt, are feeling the same as I.
For some reason, traveling to my past, always brings up emotions I haven't felt in so long. I guess this is to be expected. Even though it is very different now, there are still vestages of my former life caught just out of sight, an instant of recognition; a familiar sound; sight, stirs long slumbering waves of "...ahhhh, yes!"
I often tell people that I've lived many lifetimes. So varied are my experiences, so different the places I have lived. Mine has been a life of exploration. I've lived in San Francisco, working downtown in the main business district, Kearny St. I spent years in the East Bay Area, living and learning in Berkeley, Ca. I've called Colorado home, Oregon, Washington State and now, Kansas. I spent most of my time in N. California, in the Napa Valley; St. Helena and Napa. I managed a Victorian home in downtown Napa where my small studio apartment was and, at the same time, rented a cabin in the woods above St. Helena, on a section of land, for a decade. I owned a home in Downieville, Ca. for 12 years while also living in my own home in the southern end of the Napa Valley. Most recently, I bought another home in Napa, in the rejuvenated, 'gentrified' section of "Old Town," which my friend and I completely renovated, returning it to it's former turn of the century grandeur. High ceilings, beautiful woodwork, hardwood flooring, Wedgewood stove, huge clawfoot tub and pedestal sink are only part of what makes this home so lovely. The windows, all sash, work easily and the structure is great; all redwood! This is where I stay when in Napa. I languish in the beauty around me, the fantasy of years past, the richness of what it must have been like when this home was new.
And now, SE Kansas where I have a 10 acre animal rescue sanctuary and an in town, beautiful, fabulous 1885 3 story home. With a 'mini' grand staircase, 3 sets of pocket doors, a grand fireplace mantle, immaculate crown moulding and parquet dining room floor, this house is fantastic. As with the Napa home, we returned this one to it's former glory, exposing two of the pocket doors which had been removed by former owners, opened up walls which had been sheet rocked closed and we turned a laundry room (probably once a pantry) into a walk through bar which is an excellent addition as we host many partys for our friends.
My friend, Al, once told me, "Kathy, you mostly live in a mental world you've created, matching your surroundings to that world....I think you are happier there than in the present, such as it is...."
He's right! I do live mostly in my mind; picking and choosing what feels best makes me happy and content. My homes reflect this. And, I've discovered that I am in love with the past; a past I never experienced at least, not that I am aware of. Antique, vintage and 'turn of the century' decor is most attractive to me. The gentile manner in which people related, courtesy and defined roles, in an idealistic fantasy, resonate with me. Almost like a dance in which people knew the steps and follow the pattern; past modes of behavior appeal greatly to me.
This hub is going to go all over the place. So many thoughts come while I write, and I feel the need to write so, please bear with me as I let the thoughts flow. I'll probably have to write several pieces in order to relate all that is rapidly firing in my mind....if for no other reason than to keep readers interested and not thinking; "she's off her rocker!!"
I yearn for a simpler time. Recently, a good friend of around my age sent an email about what it was like when we were kids. (It's coming your way, EMan) This touched me deeply and sent my thoughts soaring. A simple, gentle, innocence which is being lost to younger ones, and is all but forgotten to us as time passes. Probably, I am just caught up in the same process we all go through at this stage in life; wondering, remembering, musing....'what if!' and 'wasn't that great!?' "The road not taken" comes to mind.
But, I wouldn't change a thing. Even the hurtful times. Not even the painful, disappointing moments. As I look back, these effect me no more except that I learned a great deal having gone through sadness, loss and sorrow. Recalling these times, I now understand more clearly and am less subject to the negative feelings. And then there are all the amazing experiences I've had! Riding freight trains with my sweetheart, traveling up and down the west coast w/2 good friends, open to anything which came our way, traveling extensively, daring myself into positions of respect and authority such as being 'executive chef' in one of Napa's early favorite restaurants, excelling in Chinese cuisine with a famous chef, being part of a large international bank's first electronic overseas banking processes, correspondent, activities planner, office manager, editor and photographer for one of the largest Animal Rights Organizations in the world, hospitality and sales manager for one of Napa Valley's most well known and respected wineries...and so much more. I've been a job hopper but only because, once I'd grown used to and felt I had learned all I could, I wanted to try something else; another challenge.
I'm going to publish this now...I'll add more later.