I dreamed about our old house again, the home on Lemon Avenue where we lived from January 1959 until May 1978. Or rather, my mother lived there those years. The last ten years of that time I came and went, here and there. My father mostly stayed there except for some time he lived in West Covina when he had gotten a job with the state air testing laboratories. My brother went to live with him for a while there, and attended Mount San Antonio College. But then my father got so sick he had to come back to San Diego, and La Mesa, before he died in July 1977.
Only my mother lived there the longest, until she moved into San Diego to live with her second husband in May 1978. From that date until today she has lived in that man’s house, twenty-nine years as wife and now almost nine years as his widow.
But, as I said, I dreamt last night about our old house on Lemon Avenue. Again.
For many years, even and again, I have so often dreamt of that ranch-style home on the hillside.
The house on Lemon Avenue is rooted very deep in my psyche. It was the very house, the very home, where I grew up from childhood into my first manly years. When we first moved there, I was in the midst of my third grade year at Lemon Avenue elementary school, and only eight years old. As it turned out, when we moved I did not have to change schools. I did not even have to change which school bus I rode every morning and afternoon, although I now got on and off the bus about a mile away, on a different section of the route. For many years I could remember the route, in detail. I saw the second part in the morning, going to school, and the first part in the afternoon, coming home. Now… well, if I put my mind to it, I can still recall some of the streets, and turns, and even a few cases of who got on or off at what stop. Steven Ramsbacker, here. Eric Halgren, there. Cathy Waggoner, on the hill over there.
First I, and Julie Ann Hawks, and Douglas Nelson, and Ronald Duckworth, all got on at the corner of Woodland Drive and Mariposa. No, but then my family moved, and I had to get on and off at Candy Lane and Lemon Avenue. Yes.
Then, after three more years, I went off to Spring Valley junior high school for two years. A different bus route altogether. I had to walk all the way down Lemon Avenue to Alto Drive, and up to the corner of Beaumont Drive. There was, if I remember, a shortcut up Brent Levesque’s driveway. He said his father was a drunk who beat him. I only had half that bad luck, after my grandmother died.
Then came four years of high school, at Grossmont, over the hill behind our house. My dad usually gave me a lift up Lemon and down Fuerte in the early morning, and then, in the afternoon, I walked home, up the twisting residential streets (not on busy Fuerte Drive), then down a path we knew about that led from Edgelake Drive past a few houses, and into the canyon below the Mount Helix reservoir. Where Lemon Avenue runs.
A path we knew about. We. That would be the handful of other kids my age who lived on or around Candy Lane – the nearest cross-street off of Lemon Avenue. We often met up on the way home from Grossmont high. We’d known each other since taking the bus years ago down to Lemon Avenue elementary.
Yes, it was all the same Lemon Avenue, where we lived up in the canyon below the reservoir, and the old elementary school more than a mile away, down in the actual town of La Mesa.
I remember them, too, John Groff, Cathy McMullen, Carl Downs, and a few others. I ran into Cathy a couple years ago on fazebuk. The others I have no idea where they went to. Except for Alan Ames, but he lived quite a ways down the street and did not walk home that way, although he did go on to become one of my best friends ever. Only a couple or three women rank higher than he.
But I digress.
Where was I? Oh yes, dreaming last night – or was it very early this morning – about the old home – except it was the new home, then. My mother still owns it, you know. Gets almost fifteen hundred a month in rent, after expenses and maintenance and upkeep and taxes. Meanwhile I keep on dreaming about it, from time to time. This time it was about how beautiful the yard is. Set on the bottom side of the hill – no view to speak of – except the hill up above covered in much bigger houses. However, in the dream I flew up in the air and could see all around. Oh yes, it was quite spectacular.
At least the reservoir dam did not break and flood us all away.