There is hardly anything that prods the memory more than selling a home that you have lived in for more than 30 years.
The images of all the yesterdays flip through as if they were on a reel, click-clicking on an old projector:
Those unforgettable hours and days of shared joys and the moments of sadness; those memories of grandchildren playing imaginary games or hide-and-seek or just reading a book aloud together; and later our older granddaughter and pals making the kitchen and family room their after-school retreat.
Those wonderful gatherings with family and friends and the sounds of laughter and the swapping of stories; the familiarity of every inch and niche of the house, every creak in the night as the floors aged; the Delta breeze cooling the backyard on schedule, the hummingbirds flapping their wings at sonic speed as they sip their special water.
Those structural additions finally completed five years later than planned, neighborhood potlucks in the park across the street and the placing of luminaries around it on Christmas Eve, the glow of hundreds of candles offering silent hope. Celebrations of dozens of birthdays and holidays and the enticing smell of gumbo and jambalaya on the stove and flourless chocolate cake or Creole bread pudding in the oven.
So many memories.
It doesn’t seem possible that more than three decades have passed since that April 1, 1984, arrival in Sacramento.
So much has changed.
The Kings were coming to town, thanks to Gregg Luckenbill. How could I ever forget being challenged by Luckenbill to join him on the metal walkways in the highest rafters of the second Natomas arena before the construction was complete? He bounced around like a kid on a trampoline. I was more cautious than a crossing guard and dared not look down.
The wonderful array of restaurants we now enjoy was nonexistent; midtown wasn’t filled with multistory apartments and condos and young people and beer bikes and traffic filling the streets at night. R Street was simply a corridor across town. The suburban cities were beginning to blossom. The UC Davis Medical Center was on the cusp of becoming a true jewel. The Hyatt and the Sheraton and other hotels had not been built.
Republic FC was just a dream for soccer lovers, as were the River Cats and Raley Field for baseball enthusiasts, but the State Fair and the summer heat were constant companions. There weren’t as many shopping centers or movie theaters, and Old Sacramento was old. Willie Brown was the speaker and Gov. George Deukmejian was living in an apartment at 5th and N. And who would imagine Jerry Brown would eventually be governor for another two terms? Or ever envision a downtown arena?
Sacramento was, as it is now, a terrific place to live, an area with enormous promise, albeit with problems to solve. The growth had already started, and it would continue. Yes, there have been potholes along with the progress and there will be more of both, but you rarely hear people saying now as they so often did in the past, “Let’s go to the City,” meaning San Francisco. Let’s agree, this is the City.
So much has changed. And so much is yet to be.
But first there will be a new house to make into a new home, because a house is just a structure. Only when you add family and friends and love does it become a home, a sanctuary to be shared and to be valued.
Only then is the mosaic completed, and new memories can be added to the old to be cherished forever.
Gregory Favre is the former executive editor of The Sacramento Bee and retired vice president of news for the McClatchy Co. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org