Thursday, October 24, 2013

When I Was A (Much) Younger Man...


Bigger E. was not always thus.

In fact, back in the days of Berkeley she was the tiniest of e's.

And on Saturday mornings we almost always got up early and walked up Hopkins past Monterey Market to the park next to the King School Pool.

It's just a little park, really, with a few swings and a climber, a small field, and a toddler area right next to a huge eucalyptus tree.

Because the lab I worked in back then was up in the hills, the smell of eucalyptus will aways be Berkeley too me.

But for tiny e. eucalyptus trees meant hats.

Because that's what the shells of their fallen seeds look like:

And on those Saturday mornings I would line those little fallen hats up along the edge of the toddler area.

And e. would rush around knocking them down as fast as she could up screaming 'hats!' gleefully as she did so.

Afterwards, sometimes, we would head across the Bay to the Zoo to watch, amongst other things, the giraffes reach up to grab and chew eucalyptus leaves.

Often we would rent a wagon to haul our kid around when she got tired.

But sometimes our kid would help me pull it.


It really does all go by in a flash...


Here's Bigger E. and me, from this just past summer, covering a Danny Michel song....

The last of our tiny tomato haul this year, which is lined-up, hat-like, on our deck railing in the image at the top of the post  somehow got me to thinking of all this....



West End Bob said...

I love the "e" and "E" posts, RossK.

;-) . . . .

RossK said...

Thanks Bob--

Truth be told, sometimes tough for me to keep all the various incarnations (of the letter, not the kids themselves) straight in my own head.


paul said...

I think everybody, when their first kid arrives, should get that tattooed on their arms, or at least write it out and stick it on the fridge or the bathroom mirror.
"It really does all go by in a flash..."

RossK said...



But, at the time, I don't think I would have ever believed it.


Danneau said...

We function on the basis of a necessary myopia.

---Alain de Botton

Especially in our own lives, but then again with those of our children, we often have a multiplicity of concerns that inhibits us from even periodic taking of stock of where we are and keeping some perspective on what is past and what is yet to come. I'm finding that perspective is much more available as a grandparent than it ever was in relation to my younger life and that of my stepson and his progeny. Perhaps it's a simple factor of having more past than future, who knows.

I spent my first twelve years in Tiburon, back in the days when a family could be poor and still live in Marin County. Our little acre below the Tiburon Ridge was ringed with eucalyptus trees, and many was the pitched battle fought with "eukie nuts" among the myriad neighbourhood children. My immediately elder brother, with his scientific bent, once tried to distill some eukie nut whiskey. The venture did not come to fruition due to early parental intervention, a lucky thing for all concerned. I always have that Proustian reaction to a whiff of real eucalyptus, that being immediate mental transportation back to Tiburon in the '50s and early '60s.

Sorry for the blabbing.

Eleanor Gregory said...

I count myself lucky that when my children were just hitting elementary school that a senior lawyer at the firm where I worked advised me to 'enjoy my kids while they were young because they grow up in the blink of an eye'. I appreciated at the time that I was getting good advice and I think I took heed. And I would repeat the advice to myself during my daughter's teens. That said, I am really cherishing my time with my 20-something kids.

RossK said...

Not at all Danneau.

I've already started to wonder about that grandparent perspective thing.

Oh, to have lived in Tiburon back then.

We have great friends, retired with grandchildren, who grew up in the Bay Area (he in San Rafael - I've been oft-regaled by stories similar to yours), raised their kids in the Bay Area, and who not long ago cashed-in and moved to Mendocino county...

It's interesting up there - certainly the price of real-estate right on the coast has sky-rocketed. But on the other side of Highway 1, just up the hills, there are still many working class families, many of them Latino. I bet many of the kids in those families are growing up like you and your brothers did.


RossK said...


Oh, no question about all that enjoyment of the grown and and the growing up fast kid.

It's just so, so different.


Danneau said...

I listened to the Coalmine Summer and really enjoyed it tremendously. How lovely to have the appreciation of family and the appreciation of music blend so smoothly. Now I have to get out and start )re-)writing on my next musical birthday greeting for my one and only E(rica). Thanks for all you do.

RossK said...

You're most welcome Danneau--

But that one really was the work of the former tiny, no really big, E. I was just along for the ride.

(and yes, there is a whole bunch of stuff in the can from that session back in July - more to come).