. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Going Back Home Again

Last weekend I flew back to my old hometown area of Sacramento, California to attend my Roseville High School class of 1985 reunion (25 years). I went from 7,500 feet to 50 feet above sea level! Flying into Sacramento International Airport was a breeze, thankfully, and I had no trouble getting my rental car and heading out onto the interstate toward Roseville. I took the back way since I wanted to stop by my old neighborhood where I grew up.

Along Hwy 99 north there were houses where rice paddies used to be and I was surprised at the growth. I drove through the little town of Elverta which hasn't changed a lot. Elverta was named for a woman, Elverta Dike, whose husband donated property to the church. My old neighborhood was on the outskirts of Elverta and actually had a stop light now! The old neighborhood looked very much the same, only not as run down as I remember it being when I lived there. I was amazed to see my old house completely renovated and added onto. It stood out among the other homes, not fitting in any longer. I did notice the mulberry tree that I used to climb was still in the side yard and a pine tree rose behind the back of the house that I remember my dad planting. I did not see evidence of "Willie" the weeping willow tree in the back yard any longer. It was my all-time favorite climbing tree.

As I made my way to Roseville where I was staying (and the town that I was bussed to for high school) I couldn't believe the new subdivisions and shopping centers. So much had changed and there was so much traffic that was overwhelming. Where alfalfa or hay fields were are now all covered in suburbia. Roseville is a town that was settled by old miners from the Gold Rush back in the 1850s. It became a railroad town on the outskirts of Sacramento. Now it couldn't be considered "ouskirts" anymore since all of the individual towns merged together into one metropolis in the Sacramento Valley.

Before going to the high school for a tour and a football game, I went to In N Out Burger to eat dinner. There are no In N Outs here in New Mexico (yet) and I had to make a stop for a cheeseburger, fries, and vanilla shake.

About 10 alumni went on the school tour and we were surprised at so many changes. New and converted buildings took the place of the soccer field, auto shop, art department, and administration buildings. I was glad to see the amphitheater was still there, a place where my friends and I always had lunch and spent each day people watching, talking, and sometimes crying as teenagers are prone to do. It was so fun to talk with other alumni and to share our stories and pictures with each other as we watched the football game (and yes, Roseville won, beating the crosstown rivals Woodcreek Oaks).

On Saturday I was able to visit with a dear friend of mine that I've known since I was 11 years old. The two of us raised hell growing up and have remained close all these years. She took me to a delicious restaurant in Granite Bay for lunch.

Saturday night was the Big Event, dinner and dancing at Aura Lounge in downtown Sacramento. The filet mignon was extraordinary! About 40 of us met for dinner and it was so wonderful to get reacquainted with so many of my classmates and friends. Some classmates I got to "meet" for the first time, not having talked to them while in high school at all. Some people I didn't remember at all and some people didn't remember me. But we all enjoyed talking and then dancing the night away upstairs on the dance floor. I think an additional 10-15 people came just for the dancing. We closed the club and a bunch of us went a couple of blocks down to Ink, a restaurant where we had munchies and said our goodbyes. I returned back to the hotel at 5 am and slept 'til noon.

On Sunday I drove to Davis with an old friend from the neighborhood I grew up in. I lived in Davis for about 7 years (leaving in 1997) and wanted to visit the area again. I took a picture of the duplex we lived in and the first house where my oldest son lived. We drove around the UC Davis campus where I graduated back in 1992. Again, there were so many new buildings that the school had a completely new feel to it. Davis has also grown larger with new subdivisions and shopping centers. The only thing still separating the town from Sacramento is the Yolo Causeway, that is an elevated bypass above the flood zone along the Sacramento River. Anyway, we ate lunch at Woodstock's Pizza, which was still very good after 13 years. We had pepperoni, sausage, and black olives on whole wheat crust.

Sunday evening was spent visiting more and packing up for my return trip home. I got to the Sacramento airport with no trouble and even had time to spare before my flight to explore the shops and to eat a Cinnabon. I remember when the airport was Sacramento Metropolitan Airport and didn't have shops and a food court! Flying out of Sacramento toward Albuquerque felt bittersweet...leaving an area where I grew up and people I love, but returning back home to beautiful northern New Mexico and my family. The fall colors are spectacular here right now (Santa Fe below).

One thing I'm glad of being back in New Mexico is that there are a lot less people here and traffic isn't so extreme. It might be another 5 years before I get to go back to Roseville again, but I took away some wonderful memories of this visit.