A Year Away From Home

In 1973 when I was 16, dad was going to Bremerton Washington but only for a year. The family was to actually ride an aircraft carrier (The Enterprise I believe) up for some reason and then be back the following year. In an interesting turn of events, my Aunt Pinky and Uncle Rod offered to let me stay with them on Benecia Road in Benecia. My aunt and uncle were pretty cool guys and had two daughters; Susan (8 I think) and Chrissy (6 I think). They’d play pinochle with my grandparents. I thought this was the best thing so I of course decided to stay in the area.

They had the greatest Addams family type of house. A big musty basement, two main floors with a main staircase and a back staircase and a small tower in the front of the house with stairs up to it. Coming down the back stairs would put you in the linens and dishes storage area for the main dining room which was through the door. I had the front left room so I could look out onto the street. The walls were all plaster and lathe and they were working on restoring the place. At the back door was a big iron stove. The dining room had regular drywall but it wasn’t painted and the kids had a free hand to be creative by drawing all over the walls. They had a big open garage to the right of the house where Uncle Rod would make truck caps. Also, to the rear and left of the house was a smaller garage with a flight of stairs up to a “mother-in-law” apartment. Uncle Rod’s grandma stayed up there (my great grandmother).

Uncle Rod was pretty cool. He raced Bultaco motorcycles and would take his kids scrambling up the hill that was across the street from the house. He wanted me to ride with him once but I declined, it looked pretty scary. He did “give” me an old bike that he had sitting in his garage. He said it had broken seals and I had absolutely no idea what that meant. But it was cool to sit on it. Uncle Rod also hunted with a bow. And of course they played pinochle so we’d play three handed pinochle fairly often with him and Aunt Pinky (she was an American Indian).

Susan was 8 and had an Indian look; black hair and eyebrows. Chrissy looked more like Uncle Rod with mousy brown hair. Susan wasn’t real outgoing? Friendly? From all this time, I can’t really give a good description of that. Chrissy was a lot more friendly so we’d hang out more often.

Once we organized the basement cleaning it up spic and span. We had a great time cleaning and organizing and when we were done we lay on a raised wooden platform making plans to bring down a TV and generally using it as an inside fort.

For some odd reason I don’t know for sure, I had my bb gun with me and I leaned out of my window and shot the neighbor to the right’s car window. I was looking down pretty steeply so it wasn’t a straight shot but I must have hit it just right because it shattered. Of course Aunt Pinky and Uncle Rod replaced the window and I lost the BB gun. I don’t know what eventually happened to it.

One morning I was awoken by a small sound, like “oh oh” but I couldn’t clearly make it out and just went back to sleep. I found out later than great grandma had fallen down the stairs into the driveway and she was making that sound. Unfortunately she broke her hip. I did say that I’d heard a sound and got a little talking to about not investigating. I felt bad about not checking it out of course.

I’d walk to Hogan High School every day. It wasn’t a long walk, just a few blocks so it wasn’t a problem doing so.

I found two books when I was there. Mary Stewart – The Crystal Cave which I since replaced because I found out it was a series and I picked up the series from the Science Fiction Book Club, and The Edge of The Chair edited by Joan Kahn which, interestingly I still have.

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