Re: Saying Good-bye to Family Home

03/26/18 - posted by Paul Judge

I still dream about the house in San Francisco that I grew up in. I have episodes where I’m back in that house, moving through its rooms, playing again in the backyard or the garage or out front with my pals on the block. In those dreams my childhood house still hosts dinners where my elders now long dead reappear and I experience their warmth and laughter that touched me as a kid. I’m grateful for those dreams. If offered the chance to walk through that house again today, I’d hesitate to do so. I like too much how I recall it from my memory and dreams.

Currently I’m amidst sorting, packing, and disposing or storing the life possessions of an older sister who we recently moved to an assisted care setting. I’m coming across plenty of family heirlooms and collectables that were familiar household objects in the home we grew up. I’m also infilling the narrative of a sibling, half a generation older, who lived an adventurous life and had fulfilling careers.

In 1975 a couple of years after dad retired from the waterfront our parents sold the family house in the Outer Richmond and left the fog for the warmth of Santa Rosa. Well into our own lives each of us five kids were focused on shaping and living our lives. We’d dispersed to San Mateo, Marin and Sonoma Counties. Even so the pangs of severance from neighborhood connections and rootedness being third generation San Franciscans had impact. It seemed okay for us kids to flesh out our lives in familiar nearby places but why did mom and dad have to abandon the home we’d grown up in? Well that selfish impulse was disposed of by the glee I saw in our parents benefiting from their new life. They quickly made strong connections in their neighborhood where the next-door neighbor actually was the son of a classmate of dad’s from Sacred Heart. They found other native San Franciscans who’d relocated to the ‘burbs lending credence at the time that the City expanded its influence by populating communities in the greater Bay Area.

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