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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Through The Eyes of A Child - Napa, CA - Part 2

As a child, I could not wait to get to the playground.  That should surprise no one.  While there was that pretty great playground down the street from my great grandparents house on Willow Avenue (at Evans and Plaza Avenue), the playground that I always desired to visit was at Fuller Park.  My aunt and uncle lived right across the street on Oak Street for a number of years.  The crooked (kruk-kid) metal slide at Fuller Park was my absolute favorite park slide.  It does go down in my own personal history as such.

Where else might you find me as a child in Napa, California?  Well, we spent a whole lot of time at 2131 Spencer Street.  My sister and I loved to blow bubbles and play with squirt guns in the front and backyard of my Grandparents' house.  We'd also help a little in the vegetable garden.  My Grandpa had a huge vegetable garden.  That was his pride and joy.  He grew tomatoes, string beans, squash, and more.  We did get to help pick the veggies as kids and sample them as we went. 

From a young age I can also remember having a "Big Wheel" at my grandparents house.  I'd get to ride out on the sidewalk and, with supervision, go around the block.  I remember some of the old houses looking so spooky.  My grandparents own house was from the 1940s but right next to them were much older homes.  Some of them had overgrown trees and shrubs.  Let's just say you could use your imagination and dream up a haunt or two.  When I drive through that neighborhood now, some of the old homes still strike me that way.

Christmastime was always spent in Napa.  Christmas Eve was my Mom's Christmas.  It was the tradition of she and her parents for more years than I can count.  From the time that I was a child until around 1999, Christmas Eve was spent on Spencer Street in Napa.  I hold so many wonderful memories of each and every year.  The entire day was pretty much dedicated to visiting my family in Napa.  We'd also go to my great grandparents house (Borchers) on Willow Avenue.  Christmas Day was no exception either.  My aunt hosted Christmas Day at her home in Napa for more years than I can count.  I think that the last year she hosted was in 2004.  Times do change as do traditions but memories are so dear.

I can definitely remember downtown Napa circa 1970s.  Mervyn's department store was a favorite place to visit.  It was really the only place to go shopping for kids clothes at the time.  Mervyn's is no longer in existence.  In many respects, downtown Napa still looks the same depending on what street you drive down.  For the most part, it still resembles the past.

My final memory to share is about the Napa County Courthouse.  I'm talking about the old historic courthouse building on Brown Street between 2nd and 3rd.  I don't actually remember being inside the building.  On occasion, we'd meet my Grandpa on the front steps to say "hi".  I think that was probably one of his favorite places to greet people who came to visit him for personal business.  I remember him giving my sister and I silver dollars on those steps.  He was the Treasurer of Napa County for about 20 years until he retired in 1979/80.  I will need to write about him soon.

I have more memories of Napa as a teenager and a young adult but these are my memories of Napa through my eyes as a child.

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