By July Silk
Palisades News Columnist
Iwas clearing some clutter out of my house the other day, attempting Feng Shui upgrades, when I came across photos I’d taken of the house before my move in. The year was 1996, eighteen years ago. I suddenly realized: this is the longest I’ve lived in the same house. I had outpaced even my long-time childhood home, where my mother still lives.
I found this house on Hartzell on a hot September day. I remember that I had a hard time really getting a look at the whole place because my three-year-old daughter was simply mesmerized by the under-the-sea mural in the front bedroom and would not be moved. In the end, I think I bought it for the mural. That and its proximity to town.
The first year we lived here, I loved that when Alice and I were sitting out on the front lawn, or rolling down the slope of the grass, we could hear the Pali Elementary School kids on their playground. It gave me the feeling of closeness, knowing that soon we’d be walking to that very same school. I loved that we could walk into town to have dinner at Terri’s (now Mayberry). It was as if “Mom” made dinner. My second daughter was born in this house. (Well, not exactly in it; I’m not that much of an earth mother.) It’s the only house she’s ever lived in. She and her sister both sold snow cones on the nearby corner.
We were the very picture of lyrics in a Crosby Stills and Nash song: “Our house, was a very, very, very fine house, with two cats in the yard . . .” In fact, oddly enough, our cats seemed to attract the attention of the neighborhood dogs, and I met many a life-long friend that way. Porch steps will yield to socializing, and I loved it. Still do. I’ve always kept a chair, a hammock or a swing on the front lawn so that I can be well ensconced in the habit of smiling at people as they walk by.
One of my chicks left my Palisades nest a few years ago. She went up to college in the Pacific Northwest and returns for holidays and summer vacations, and the next one is getting up on the starting blocks, ready to dive into her own college exploration pool. When that happens, I’ll be out on the front lawn, sitting on my swing, Pali News in one hand, a glass of pinot grigio in the other, watching the neighbors go by, listening to the familiar sound of kids shouting and laughing on the playground until the bell rings and they shuffle back to class.
For another eighteen years, I hope.
(Judy Silk, a freelance writer, has had 18 essays published by The Huffington Post.)