YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME AGAIN VI double life series
The mystery person is revealed
My time here, in the familiar town I’ve chosen to call home, once again, is growing to a close. Having spent the month of August preparing this property for the transfer of my furry friends from 2000 miles away, it is now time to pick up where I left off in SE Kansas where so many things are pending. It’s been a back and forth pendulum swing for the last 3 months; running ½ way across this country in a dead heat effort to complete major renovations on the West Coast house and cabin while trying to sell a beautiful Victorian home in America’s Heartland. Whew! Daunting, difficult and a little heart breaking.
But, I must continue this process until all my family is back together in one place; my home in the beautiful and friendly Napa Valley.
The demands of such a monumental undertaking have taken my mind off the strange event which reared it’s questionable head just a few weeks ago.
The “dream” had returned. This time, and not by chance, I imagine the recurring trip down sleepy time memory lane was instigated by an impromptu and involuntary visit to the place in question…the downtown, turn of the century Victorian which used to be my home for 5 ½ years. Unexpectedly, when intending to drive to Old Town, I was physically ‘compelled’ to take a right instead of a left, onto a twisty route which deposited me directly in front of the old house. This peek at my past must have been the reason that, that very night, having drifted into a deep REM sleep; I “returned” to my former second story apartment for a brief instant. In a dream. The dream. This last episode was not as ‘threatening’ or uninviting because, unlike the previous times, I awoke to the present before actually communicating or even seeing the other person whose role seems to have gained significance. Abruptly awake, and less shocked as in former experiences, I soon let the event slip into the recesses of my mind, having little impact on my time here.
Weeks have passed quickly and so many essential and cumbersome chores have been completed. The greatest tree trimmer in the world made fast work of dangerous limbs which hung too close and very heavily over the roof of my home. Friends came over to help clean up the cabin on this property, tearing out the entire contents of the building in preparation for the construction of a new, higher roof and remodeled interior. Lots of hauling away of debris and discarded, unneeded things from my past which, now, only served to collect dust. The purchase of replacement parts for both the main house and the cabin, weeding, more trimming of smaller trees and shrubbery, and the endless trips to the hardware store; are but a few of the necessary achievements to improve and rebuild this home.
As I exposed areas which have been out of sight and out of mind for decades, I ran across an amazing array of artifacts from my distant past…relatively speaking. Old love letters, pictures of forgotten friends and sweet hearts, photographs, notes from visitors who missed me when they stopped by for a cup of coffee or a jaunt to “the City.” Even my old Wedding Album…my goodness! I forgot how truly handsome my ex was. I haven’t seen him in at least 12 years…wonder what he’s up to. I tried to Google him several times to no avail. The marriage ended amicably; we were destined, from the start, to be a short term relationship. He was a little more than several years younger and, as it goes; ours was a union based on hormones and pheromones…and not a whole lot else. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.
I found dozens and dozens of newspaper articles; opinions and commentary from yours truly, arguing this point and that … usually topics having to do with the environment, philosophical discussions, animals, animal welfare, protection, rights …and..animals! Lots of history was uncovered during the last several weeks which took me down the primrose path of bittersweet and ideal youth. Oh..
After a few days of rummaging through recent history, I decided ‘enough of this.’ “If I continue to dwell here in my notorious and nefarious ‘past life,’ I’ll never get anything done.” And, just as I was thinking this reasoned thought…I came upon something completely reminiscent of “The House.” A small bundle of a mismatched collection of odd colored 3x5 pieces of plain notebook paper peaked out from under the piles of newspaper articles. My heart skipped a beat! Is this what I think it is? I can’t believe I still have these! How amazing!
Eagerly, I lifted the faded and yellowed newsprint and reached down to the depths of the cardboard box to gain a better hold of the bundle of papers. As I retrieved it from it’s hiding place of 2 decades, it became clear that there were more small, mismatched and irregular papers, some with lines, some torn from larger sheets, others were bits of paper napkins and selections from unidentifiable sources. I was awestruck. Yes! The pile of aged papers I held were, indeed, what I thought it was. Here, in my hand, was actual evidence, physical proof of a younger life well lived. Practically a hundred individual notes from friends lay in my hands…an historical and chronological log of life at The House….532 Randolph Street, Napa, California.
The apartment of my dreams!
The home of my wildest imagination!
The scene of the crime!
Well, I had no choice, did I? I had to sit down and read each and every one of the notes. Amazing! And, even more astounding….as I read, I remembered detail after detail as if it were only yesterday. Intriguing minutiae; these bits of friendly communication which had been left outside the door of my small apartment. Good friends letting me know they’d stopped by, inviting me out to dance, dinner, San Francisco, bike rides….all the activities I so reveled in during that time of life. Gossip! “newsy news,” invites to bake bread, make pies, and more…“Hey, Kathy, I stopped by, call me.“ “Sweetie, I got the job! Let’s celebrate!” “Dearest one, it’s Lonnie. I’m available tonight, want to go to the city? Remember this date….12/24/2011! Love you, Lonnie.“ Little messages of love and friendship; all left at my door.
Tears welled in my eyes as I recalled the fun and excitement, the pure experiential joy of that time of life.
And, the realization that, yet another reminder of the stage in which my dream sequence occurred was, once again, foisted into my consciousness; and this was not lost to me. No! Not at all. Uncanny, eerie and, perhaps, synchronistic….these nudges and reminders seemed to be perfectly appropriate considering what was to come.
Well, as I said, this trip is about to come to an end and I must return to Kansas. I thought, “I should take pictures of the house…I don’t know why I haven’t done that. I’ll take my camera next time I’m heading that way, go to downtown and park…snap a few shots and be on my way.”
Several days passed and I reminded myself that I had little time left to go by the Victorian. So, I grabbed my Digital camera, jumped in the car and drove straight there. As I approached, and this time voluntarily; I was taken with the beauty of the wide street embellished with the most magnificant trees. At the northernmost end of the block is a 5 way…that’s right…5 way intersection. Just 4 lots down from the house, five streets meet; challenging drivers to avoid one another. Lovely huge homes adorn each pie shaped parcel which make up the unusual formation. Ornate ironwork fences, delicate bay windows festooned with gingerbread, leaded glass windows, staircases with turned wood railings leading to entry doors decorated with detailed carved, engraved wooded touches; the street exchange is breathtaking. Just a few steps south of this amazing engineering feat stands the home of my dreams.
I snapped a number of shots of the alleyway, back stairway and roof where I used to sit and watch the world go by, front shots from several angles and special attention to Apt. #3..the windowed closet and kitchen windows. Feelings rushed over me as I stood, silently, recalling so many things….the burial spot of Ms. Footer, whose life ended there; Pasha’s final resting place, the side yard where my boyfriend Rick and I planted a garden one year, the stairway where my friend Al took a picture of me holding a bottle of beer…very unusual for me at the time!, the place where I used to lock up my 10 speed bike, and more. I recalled mowing the small lawn in front, trimming the two huge pyracanthas…and the alley where I’d cut through to save time on my way to here and there.
Finished with the camera work, I got back in the BMW and headed over to Old Town, and the sweet little Victorian Al and I restored in 2004.
That done, and another day’s chores and ‘to do’ lists checked off…it’s time to turn in for the night…it’s been a long day and a harrowing, wistful, sweet and bittersweet trip this time…And, now, it’s time to wrap this trip up.
Off to slumber land for a well deserved deep sleep! Run to the back door to see if Binky has come for his nightly treat and overnight visit. Turn off the damned radio.. the Giants lost again! Turn on the outside motion lights and turn off the inside recessed lighting…it’s almost midnight … time to call it a day.
Oh, there's nothing like waking in the middle of the night, half asleep, half awake, existing in that wonder world of the not quite fully conscious.
I hear the beautiful purring of my sweet kitties. Warmth surrounds me and my feline family. Secure in the knowledge that everything is just fine, just as it should be. It must be near the waking am hours because I can barely see the beginning of the earliest morning light; the tiniest hint of daybreak. Ahhhh....stretching to the fullest I can, the movement disturbs Lucky. So, she creeps up to my cheek to begin nudging and purring loudly, indicating it's 'time to rise and shine...I'm famished!'
No...not yet. There is still an hour or so left to laze before the day truly begins.
Drifting back to sleep, I begin to dream fantastic images!
It seems I must have been having a repetitive series of dreams! Now, in deep sleep, again, I am years older and living across town..only a few blocks from my childhood home in the country. I remember when they built the original 13 homes; they were to be a groundbreaking new concept in neighborhood development. Designed by Cliff May, these contemporary houses were fashioned after the very popular Eichler homes in the San Francisco Bay Area and environs south of there. A fearless and gutsy woman, who saw the future of such new and innovative ideas in home ownership, invested heavily in the construction and layout of the first B. Valley residential planned community. And she prospered as the houses were fabulously popular.
Windows adorn almost all walls of the homes, from floor to ceiling. Broad and beautiful views of gardens, with privacy as well as a feeling of being outside while inside. Because of this and the large yards lining a seasonal creek which hosted huge Oak and Bay trees, the houses sold quickly. In my dreams, I had purchased one of these places, years later; and was living happily on the wide avenue like street; 7 homes in from the nearest cross street, on the West side which offered beautiful morning sunrises that graced the interior of the home casting honey colored rays of light on walls, counters and cabinets.
"Wow! This is quite a vivid dream!" I thought...within the dream. "I wonder what my life will be like in 12, 15, 20 years? Will I actually live in the wooded and lovely area just West of here where my little apartment is on Randolph?
The fantasy dream continued. It seems, I've had this dream before....I have a strange sense of familiarity with this 'life' about which I am imagining while asleep. it seems, too, that I, in the future, remember coming back to today; this life. Strange. It's almost as if I've actually lived in the future; it's that real!
I'm a little confused and surprised at how much I seem to recognize! How strongly I experience a feeling of 'having been "here," before.'
A sound from the front door to my little living room/bedroom apartment rouses me awake! The door is opening....shaking off the last vestages of sleep, I lazily watch as the door continues it's wide swing inward.....
Lucky, Pasha, Frank, Ms. Footer and I lay back as the familiar foot steps and keys clanging ease our momentary 'fear' of a possible intruder.....
But, there is no reason to be worried or fearful; it's my dear friend Al, who is the only one I've given an extra set of keys to. He is like family to me. He's just coming in from a night shift at the winery, as he always does, for an early morning cup of hot, strong coffee and conversation.
It seems he's had a strange dream he's anxious to tell me about.........