Friday, April 11, 2014

Back From the Bay Area

Getting adjusted to Oakmont again after three days in the Bay Area to attend a watercolor workshop with my wonderful old gang. It was such fun, and hostess Jan Matsuoka spoiled me.Yesterday the landscape contractors finished my yard remodel, to my delight. In another month it should be full of color. To celebrate I bought a new flag with colors more matching the new landscape. Below you see my neighbors Gail and Jim helping me hang it.

 Now if I can just convince the neighborhood jackrabbit to
 chomp about elsewhere.

In Oakland I was distressed to learn of all the muggings, especially in neighborhoods undergoing gentrification. Though I love the safety of Oakmont, part of my heart will always be gazing over those hills at San Francisco Bay. I drove past Cathy Lane four times but deliberately did not meander down the private driveway. After over fifty years I feel like I own almost every curve on Skyline Blvd. I wonder if I'll ever feel more than a casual stranger up here. I mostly know my way around now, but ofter feel like an interloper.

One of the things I did for the second time today was to go to harmonica class, here on the grounds. Though not an aspiring musician, I thought it would improve my weakened lungs. The teacher, Jack, is very inspiring, even though we
are not much beyond Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Now one has to appreciate that for over fifty years that I lived with
Lee I never picked up even one of her many harmonicas.
How could I? She was a harmonica player extrordinaire.
It seems the third grade teacher at Cornell Elementary in
Albany where she went to school taught all her students to play the harmonica, at the expense of never learning the multiplication tables or cursive writing. When I met Lee she was 31 and carrying flashcards of the sevens and eights in the dash compartment of her 56 red Ford. She would practice at stop lights. She never did learn cursive writing. This seemed to be true of all her classmates as well. But wow, were they ever hits at parties. I often asked myself, "Which is really more important in life?"

I'm practicing on her Marine Band mouthpiece, which must be over 70 years old. My ultimate goal is Freight Train and then maybe someday Danny Boy.

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Harmonica!! I have one too--purchased on a whim for long drives between Oregon and Washington.
Is Lee's Albany the same one in Oregon where I take the 6:13 am train to Seattle every other Friday to see my husband? That's departure time--I once had to chase it to Salem and catch it from there.