last summer there was a tragedy in which three people lost their lives when a mud slide crushed their house.
a couple of weeks ago i was reading in the paper where that property and the ones surrounding it were being sought after by the city. the paper stated that a small apartment building just to the west of where the house had been destroyed had been condemned. this made me sad. that small apartment building was my home for 11 years.
we moved over there after finishing out a contract on our first apartment and a boot from the landlord because we got a puppy. that apartment was quite nice, fairly large, and fairly new. the small apartment we moved into was old, small and not so much nice. i remember sitting in the living room the day we moved in and thinking, this place is kind of a dump…
that place had a wonderful three-tier yard, large dog run at the top; there was a spring running through the yard, a water fall, apple trees, pear trees, an apricot tree and lots of trails to explore on the hill behind, and the canal road to walk the dog. it was in the middle of the city, but you could go into the back yard and just block out everything that was going on… it was private and shady and quiet. it turned out to be a great place to live.
we lived in the basement apartment, we always had good neighbors above us ~ randy and his cat boots, then jean and tammy and their dog dutchess, then mike and mike and their dog munchie, then todd and amanda. their little boy and their white poodle… we lived downstairs ~ charlie and kim and our dog frodo and later my mom’s dog boots, our cats black cat, princess, monkey, barr, shoes, rocky and candy cat, plus a string of cats and kittens that were born and died and came and went over the years… two of them were buried under some trees at the top of the back yard.
we went through three sets of landlords during that time, if you bought that apartment ~ we just sort of came with it…
we had lots of parties when we lived in that apartment ~ friends over all the time… birthdays and holidays and superbowls and weekends. those were the days when the party would shut down at 11:30 for an hour and a half while we all watched saturday night live [when it was still good] and then we would turn the tv off and party some more.
we drank a lot of kegs of micalob dark in the back yard of that apartment. we ate a lot of gia’s godfather sandwiches in the kitchen. there was always something going on. our friend joel would come over most nights to watch tv. we smoked a lot of fish outside, we made apple cider and apple sauce and i canned pears and apricots. i had the most beautiful roses…. we had annual crappy and hushpuppie dinners with fish we caught at willard bay.
i have a zillion memories in that little apartment ~ these are some of the most entertaining ones, in no particular order, because some of my brain cells may have been fried in the 11 years we lived in that apartment…
after my mom died we inherited a small kerosene heater, it was about as big as a 5 gallon bucket and had a real flame with a screen over the front where the flame was. it was nice for keeping the room you were in warm so the furnace didn’t have to run so much… one night we were sitting in the living room ~ we had this dorky cat, she had the i.q. of a soda cracker, but she was sweet… she LOVED the kerosene heater, she would prance back and forth in front it, just basking in the heat…. this particular night she decided to rub up against the thing, which would have been fine, but her tail went into the screen and lit up like a roman candle… the top half of her tail was seriously on fire. i tried not to freak her out, because i didn’t want her to run under the bed or something and set the whole place on fire. i got up and walked over to her and gently pushed her down on the floor and beat the crap out of her tail…. fire out, she never even had a clue.
when frodo was about 10 years old charlie decided he was too old to go duck hunting any more. the last time he had gone hunting we had to carry him outside for almost a week, because he was so stiff and sore he couldn’t walk. so one morning charlie got up, loaded all the duck hunting paraphernalia in the truck and left a very pissed off dog home. this was at around 4:30 am, because he was going to salt creek and that is about a two hour drive from where we lived. i slept in… somewhere around 10:30 charlie came back home and i asked him what he was doing back so early… he said he had hit a goose and two ducks and couldn’t find them so he had come home to get the dog and go back out…. he loaded the dog in the truck and drove all the way back out there, came home later with 2 ducks and a goose. i said [and still do to this day] if i had been frodo, i wouldn’t have gotten in the truck!
one year i decided to have a surprise party for charlie on his birthday… joel had the assignment of keeping him out fishing until 7:00 pm… i invited lots of people, friends, neighbors, sisters, brothers, just about everyone we knew… i had a giant 5 ft godfather sandwich from gia’s, made a cake, 9 or 10 kinds of beer and a giant bottle of wine. i’m not making this up, but every single person i invited called to tell me they were going to be late! every single one… by 6:30 i was home alone with a giant bottle of wine, a giant sandwich and a birthday cake. somehow, everyone got there before charlie did, but i was so nervous that nobody was going to get there i was pretty much tanked by the time charlie got home, but we all had a great time.
on the sunday of superbowl 10 we were getting ready to watch the game when my dad’s 15 year old tv (the only one we had ever had) decided to die. charlie tore it apart got out his soldering iron and tried to fix it ~ somewhere during half time it started working, for about 5 minute and then died again… we did not see any of that game, and superbowl 10 is still the one that they compare all the others to… a couple of years later we had tony and baker over to watch the superbowl and help us finish a keg that we had for a party the night before ~ this is four people finishing about half a keg of beer…. and i’m sure we gave it a hell of a try!
one saturday afternoon in the summer of ’85 or so, i wasn’t home and charlie was up on the canal road walking the dog, the hillside had given way and had filled the canal behind our house blocking the flow and causing the water to run down the hill and into the street below… this caused a flood that went through several houses in the area and missed going down the back stairs of our apartment by about 5 inches. the water and mud literally went around our apartment and out into the street. the water continued to run until the canal was shut off at first dam…. for several days afterward the hillside continued to slough away and at one point the highway above was closed because it was feared the whole hillside would come down and bring the road with it…. water ran through the house just to the east of us for over a week.
last summer those people lost their lives in a mud slide that happened in an area that had a history of instability for over 25 years. that also makes me sad.
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