EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN Kate’s Journal


Episode 35 Fremont, CA 1974

entrance Welcome to our house!

We had no great welcoming home party when we returned, and probably some people were unaware we had ever left. In the five years we lived in the Northwest, we forged a well worn path to family and friends between Kirkland and Fremont, so that technically we almost lived in both places.

What we needed to find first was someplace to put our stuff, which having lost Mrs. Peel, Tuffy and Rudy,now included Liza, a large German Shepherd Dog. I had thought perhaps to buy someplace where we could live and have a shop. I could work while customers dropped in and shopped. We would also have homemade soup and breads and maybe a cricket or two!

This did not work out so we bought with the idea of staying a couple of years while we looked for the ideal spot. Those couple of years have now stretched to forty-two!

Family Room Family Room

The DIY strain was strong in us after our building projects in Kirkland, so we built this very large room in which the grandchildren and I roller skated until we laid the tile.

Teaching at the City and shortly thereafter at the new College which had been built while we were gone, plus watching grandchildren were pleasant occupations while exposing two active boys to camping and fishing.

I began feeling tired. It was a tiredness which seeped into my bones, and which no amount of sleeping could alleviate. Finally seeing the doctor I learned that I had lupus and Sjogrens’s. Going to the library on the way home from the doctor and reading up on both diseases was not encouraging. There was no cure and I began feeling sorry for myself. I told my sister-in-law my tale of woe, and her suggestion was perhaps we ought to hold Christmas early. That snapped me out of it and I settled into a more pragmatic attitude. This was 40 years ago and against all odds I’m still here.

The only reason I am sharing this with you is to show you that you gain another perspective. As Gilda Radner of NSL famously said, “There’s always something.” As things turned out, this diagnosis was the first of many, and you begin to realize that everyone has something. You just keep going forward and hope you don’t trip.

Luckily, while teaching students marketing techniques, I formed relationships with several galleries to handle my artwork. We had always loved Carmel, and I found a delightful gallery which handled my work for years. It gave us a purpose to visit this lovely town often. The small folly in our garden, with its whimsical paintings and built by our late brother-in-law, is my small Carmel.

MouseMaus Haus

The City owned Olive Hyde building where I taught for so many years had become a fine small art gallery, and it was thrilling to bring in so many talented artists from all over California.

You never know what the world has in store for you.

living roomLiving Room

SKINNY DIPPING IN THE HIGH SIERRAS


The first ever backpacking trip for the seven year old grandson took months of planning. It’s like waiting for Christmas—it takes more than twelve months to get there, and childhood excitement grows until it explodes. The fear factor sets in as departure time gets closer. As they watch the backpacking gear stack up in readiness, they begin to doubt their readiness for this great adventure. Their nine year old brother had made his mark in the wilderness two years before and offered great encouragement as the time approached.
Seven seems to be an appropriate age to expose a rambunctious boy to the wilderness, and the Forest Service insists upon that age before they give a permit. The have enough discipline to listen to wise old grandmothers, and enough fear of the unknown to look before they leap. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

We were hiking at 10,000 feet in the Sierras where the sun never gets around to melting the snow pack even by August. It’s pretty cold at night, and a cozy sleeping bag sometimes isn’t as cozy as you might like. The chipmunks are very busy night and day getting ready for a really cold winter, so the nighttime traffic over sleeping bodies, including exposed faces, is a real “treat”.
Mealtime is always a contest to see if you will get breakfast or they will.

It was an eventful beginning. After a short walk from the trailhead, we took a boat to the actual trail. My husband and I had hiked often in this area, and felt it was a safe enough beginning introduction to the pleasure of the outdoors. We each took a boy, and I was in charge of the smaller one when we took off. We immediately ran into a lot of snow, and I had to be the one to “take a short cut” and get two of us lost!

Mountain trails lose their familiarity when covered with snow no matter how often you take them. This should be printed in very large red letters on all maps, and pasted across all foreheads before embarking.

We remained lost all day while a formerly smug granny consoled a frightened 7 year old boy. But all was well when Dr. Advice showed up and offered a ton of unwelcome and humiliating advice, and we settled down for the first night in the wilds of California.

We had hit a great time to have it all to ourselves, as we encountered very few hikers, and the more elevation we gained there were no others. When we got to the top of the mountain, the sign identified our location as “Dick’s Peak, 9,700 feet”. There are lots of small beautiful and icy cold lakes scattered throughout the Sierras, seducing sweaty hikers to cool off in their pristine depths.
“But I didn’t bring my swimming suit”! both boys cried after I sensibly suggested a swim. “Who cares”, responded Dr. Advice, divesting himself of his clothing. “There is absolutely no one here to see you”, I told them, after they fiollowed suit.
So now they are captured forever in paint, contemplating the beauties of the wilderness, sans clothing.


Both boys are now grown with families of their own. Both are still interested in the outdoors, and the younger one is a wildlife biologist.