Friday, May 24, 2013

back in time.

I took the girls last week to roam through the hills and farms just ten miles up the road from us. Acres and acres of apple farms. Most of them open to the public and hosting a variety of events and selling tons of fresh, apple-y, farm products. Amaze.

When trying to decide where to buy a house down in the bustling, busy, popular, extremely populated lower vicinity of this state, we knew that a) affordability was obviously the most influential factor and b) because affordability was the most influential factor we would not be living anywhere particularly close to what one would envision a "Southern California" lifestyle to look like. Which is mainly to say we aren't very close to the ocean. Bummer dude. 

BUT...not really. When we decided to live further east, we also landed ourselves nicely into quieter neighborhoods and less traffic. I've come to realize this also means we've mostly avoided the monstrous task of learning an entirely new language. Because down here, natives speak in Traffic. It's a jumbled jargon of highway and freeway numbers, crossways, toll roads, wait times, car pool lanes and travel hours to avoid at all costs.

In fact, our little suburb is tucked into a beautiful historic canyon where I am greeted every morning to rolling hills and shady oak trees just out my bedroom window. We sleep to the sound of crickets and frogs from the nearby ponds. The train in the bed of the canyon rolls through as well, summoning our attention a few times a day with its clackity steel rhythm and classic horn, warning all of its impending passing.

Our town is currently peppered with red signs shaped like cherries, notifying all of the upcoming local Cherry Festival that will last for three full days over the first weekend in June. U-pick signs abound, tempting us daily to gravitate over to those fresh strawberries and oranges just waiting to be plucked from their birthplace. This, yes thisssss, is what I love about California.

Our town library building was built in 1911 (!). We pulled up last Thursday only to (unfortunately) realize it was closed that day, so we headed into Redlands instead. And geez, if I thought our little library was a charmer, we were blown away in this mission-style masterpiece. circa 1898! Complete with rickety wood floors, the smell of books that have graced the shelves for decades, and framed Norman Rockwell prints in the children's corner. I mean really, PEOPLE, this is FantasayRAE. Indeed.

I think my girls are slightly perplexed over my love for old things and history. It's a passion I'm desperate to foster and implant in their budding minds. I'm always looking for the opportunity to water those tiny seeds of imagination and historic adventure, hoping they'll sprout into full bloom one day as we read through the entire Little House on the Prairie collection. Consequently, when we enter an older building I start shouting and hurrahing like we're in Disneyland. Unless we're in a library, of course. Then it is more like a quiet hissing and whisper-shriek.
Lily raises her signature Lilybrow and puts her hand on her signature popped Lilyhip and says, "Seriously mom. Seriously?"

Whose the parent here anyways?!!

I just need my girls to know how highly I recommend living almost entirely in the imaginary world of the 19th century from ages five through seventeen. I mean, come on....did it. So I should know.

Okay fine, it did present a few problems come high school. Scratch that. I'll settle for  ages five through eleven. Kids these days, growing up so fast.

Together with my sister Sarah and cousins Paige and Meagan, we created quite the imaginary, intricate, spectacular world of "olden days".

For starters, we all regularly went by our middle names. My name was Elizabeth (sigh, so fitting right?). Paige was Marie and Meagan was Rose. The middle name rule applied to all but Sarah. She was dubbed Tooty. Simply because that's the sort of abuse little sisters must suffer in the imaginary world of make-believe dominated by a ruthless dictator who has all the makings of a future control freak (who, me?!).

We mapped out each of our homes: Sarah and I's house was properly labeled South Dakota for all its open terrain. Paige and Meagan's house was North Dakota...well, was near our house and the only other state we knew at the time? And Grandma's house, that fancy house that always smelled of potpourri and had the real old fashioned Singer Sewing machine sitting in the living room:

that was Boston.

Our large family also had a special camping spot where we annually met up for a weekend. It was an old ranch nestled in the back hills of the barren NV landscape. And contrary to what was typically dry and dusty terrain, a lush stream and trees ran through a narrow canyon where we would pitch tents and trailers. Papa Dan would often bring the horses too.

This was a favorite place to meet up and play old'en days. I remember a rainstorm hitting hard one year. We nestled into our tent and watched the storm, mesmerized by the pitter patter of rain falling on our canvas tent. I spent much of the day tucked into my sleeping bag reading The Long Winter. One of the top ten moments of MY LIFE, i tell you. OF. MY. LIFE. I was Laura Ingalls Wilder that day. STRAIGHT UP. METAMORPHOSIS COMPLETE. all of my pioneer fantasies real, tangible.


There is a massive GEEK GENE running through my bloodlines. 

Hopefully Tyler's contributions will diffuse this a bit. The thick strain of geekster coursing fully undiluted through my veins made integration into the middle school scene a bit of a debacle for me, so let's hope with future generations this won't be the case. Soon, I'll be sure to tell lily that if she so chooses to develop an affinity for wearing prairie bonnets around the house, let's go ahead and leave it at home when she's invited to a sleepover party in 7th grade. let's not repeat your mother's mistakes, shall we?

Oh yes, and while I'm handing out advice, now would be a good time to tell your future middle-school self that no other thirteen year-olds read or enjoy The Work and the Glory series. Best to discuss that at a church book club with elderly women. None of your friends will take you up on your invitation to save their babysitting money for a future vacation to tour the Amish Country. Never, ever, mention Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman. And, nobody needs your pumpkin bread recipes either.

However, you will be free to foster whatever bizarre strain of NERD your heart desires within the safe surroundings of our home. I think it is here where you will discover a few other nerd friends just like you. Hopefully your sisters?

And together, I wish your imaginations to be free. Running wild and creating lots and lots of warm memories that will stay with you when you finally step slowly into the real world. It's not nearly as cool, I'm warning you.

Feel free to reserve a small sliver of that remaining imagination for days when reality is so bland and stark and even cruel. Protect your mind. Escape into your books and your interests.

And remember, your imagination doesn't have to look or sound like anyone else's imagination either.

That's what makes it so fun. Mom's dreams and imaginings will not be yours. Your childhood will not just be a remake of my own.

 I know this. I accept this.  I am GRATEFUL for this.

but... you will come tour the Amish country with me one day, yes?

i hope so.:)


Alexis said...

Miss those childhood years with you all at "Big House in the Desert" ... Enjoy these memory making years with your dollies...
I can't wait to visit these farms! Yep you live in a pretty amazing area. Lesson learned? Change can provide untapped resources and experiences while the past gives us our roots and security:)

Joan said...

Sigh. Its my turn to stare enviously at your stylish outfit and flat tummy. Remember when you were pregnant with Emerson and you commented on the post when we were in Solana? :) I was wearing skinny Jeans and boots.
I'm not even big yet but I'm already feeling my sex appeal slipping through the cracks at an exponential rate. Tis the price we pay...and a small price when all things are considered. You understand the feeling though :)
I love that you live in such a magical place filled with history. Makes me think of John Steinbeck novels...almost every one takes place in Salinas CA where he grew up.

Katy Nicole. said...

Okayyyy.. I laughed so hard when you mentioned re-naming Sarah "tooty"! I put my sisters through such similar torment!!! Haha!! I bet y'all look back and have some great laughs. Sisters are the best!!! LOVE the outfit and your sweet girls. xo