I wish to thank the couple that have lived in the home in Burbank, CA where I spent my childhood from 1956 to 1966, prior to moving to Marietta, GA. Endi and Dawn were gracious loving hosts for over an hour and I said goodbye to them having added two family members. They will always reside in my heart. Dawn’s parents moved into the house in 1968 and handed the house down to Dawn. Forty eight years have past since my last visit here and I have dreamt about the house and hills, flowers and fruit trees, and the enchantment and magic of childhood for these many years. I was apprehensive about visiting the house and neighborhood; my elementary school and junior high. What ghosts might I find? What memories were myth, fiction, etc. The house was built in the 1930’s during the urban sprawl throughout LA and into the San Fernando Valley, the growth I imagine a result of the Great Depression and the exodus of families devastated by the drought and dust storms in the wheat belts of Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska. All of the folks traveling via Rt. 66 to the promises and agricultural richness of California.
We moved from Arkansas when I was 3 and lived in Tulsa for a year as Dad took a job with Douglas Aircraft in Tulsa and a year later Dad took a job with Lockheed in Burbank, CA. We loaded up the truck and moved to Californy via the same Rt. 66 when I was 4. In 1966, by my best recollection, my Dad came home one night and told me that mom and I were flying out the next day to Marietta, GA where he had been transferred and we would now live. Adventure @2300 mile away! Uh, where and what is Georgia?
The next day I checked out of John Muir Jr. HS, saying so long to my pals with a wink and a hitchhikers thumb swing and that night mom and I landed on the airstrip at Dobbins/Lockheed in Marietta. Just like that…I was gone and my childhood, best pals, beaches deserts mountains church playgrounds sports and sense of place were gone too, forever done and over.
My visit to my childhood home, with Endi, Dawn, and I sharing memories and absorbing the unchanged essence of the house, neighborhood, schools, city, apricot-orange-tangerine-plum-qumquat tree elixir opened the gates and components of my spirit and soul creating an alchemy of ecstasy within me resulting in a climax of CLOSURE. Happiness, joy, fulfillment, gratitude, love and an inner warmth I never knew was missing. I wrote Dianne last night that other than the day we got married and the days Chelsea and Elise were born yesterday was one of my happiest/fullfilling days during the last 48 years. The circle has been completed and unbroken. Thank you God for your mercy and miraculous gifts, thank you for making me whole, and thank you Endi and Dawn for inviting me over for a steak dinner.