The other weekend when I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in the area where I grew up, we stopped in Salinas on the way home. We were looking for a bead store and one of my favorite craft stores in the Old Town district, but we found the Fox instead. Salinas can be very rough around the edges, and it felt very strange stepping out of the car with my camera and pretending to be a tourist. Even though I spent so many weekends doing errands in Salinas with my mom, this was an area we rarely visited; cafes, the Steinbeck museum and boutiques weren’t exactly my mom’s priority when she had us five kids to keep track of in the supermarket.
But I was pleasantly surprised to see the growth of this Main Street in this town with a not-so-superb reputation. We met a friendly face named Jordan as we were being complete tourists and taking pictures of the Fox. Before we knew it, he was asking if we wanted to see inside (yes, of course) and then he had my camera and was taking pictures of us girls goofing off in an empty theater. He shared the best of the area with us, and sent us to a pretty cool burger joint, where we had dinner and made friends with our waitress, another extremely friendly person. Totally not was we expected.
But, before we headed out, we took a drive (back in time!) to see a couple of the houses my family lived in while I was growing up. We lived all over the place, I think I counted 10 or 11 houses by the time I was 18, and I went to three different high schools.
It was interesting to show a close friend like Maggie some of my roots because I forget how different it was from other people. I’d always told her I spent a lot of my childhood in the country (nearly two hour school bus rides, people), but she really grasped it once we drove to one of our favorite houses — in a national forest. During the summer, people actually camped a few miles from our house. A river flowed in our backyard. And most of the houses in our “neighborhood” were summer houses. We loved that house, and hated others. As a teenager, it was a trade-off. During the summer, I could have fun parties and people could stay for a week just swimming and having barbecues. But during the year, it was a long drive that made me feel separated from my friends.
But here is the view from the drive, starting in town, where people still ride their horses in the streets on Sundays.
A beautiful ride we did every day. Some people thought we were crazy.
Below is a peak at the pool area and back part of our house. That persimmon tree was outside my bedroom window.
Down the road was a convenience store, where the soda cans were expired and the bread tasted like cigarette smoke. I went to school with a lot of kids who lived in this community that is left in shambles. Their parents were really rough, but some of the kids were awesome artists and musicians. Many of the “houses” are burnt up and torn down now. This is a bridge that flooded all the time.
It was a trip, for sure.