Cambrian: Slice of Life

A year — already?

Yes, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we moved away from the ocean into the forest. But in other ways, it seems we’ve been here forever.

What do we miss about oceanfront living? Living next-door to pelicans and otters … watching steady rows of waves marching toward shore with “mare’s tails” spraying westward … impromptu visits with our beloved neighbors, some of whom drop in at our new house, bless ’em ... and on those rare 90-degree days, we yearn for the earlier seaside onset of cooling breezes.

Among the things we don’t miss? Constant bashing by surf crashing into the bluff, maintenance hassles from the barrage of salt spray and humidity, subtle changes in attitude and the crowding of ever-bigger houses on lots that often seem too small for them.

Now, when we drive to San Simeon or Morro Bay, we can revel in the sweeping ocean views … similar to what we’d seen every day for decades but, in recent years, didn’t always see any more.

In the meantime, we’ve not only adjusted to our delightful new location, we’ve learned a bit more about interpreting what a teen’s words really mean.

I confess: We’ve spent this year wondering how our family’s youngsters would adjust to the change. After all, we lived on Sherwood Drive for more than 30 years. Two of our kids and all our grandkids grew up there or visited regularly through their entire lives. It was the only place they’d known as “Mom and Dad’s” or “Grandma and Grandpa’s house.”

A year later, everybody seems to love our new home and its meadow-and-forest surroundings. It is home now. But still, every once in a while, I hear a hint of wistful sorrow in their recollections, a little resistance to change and longings for what was.

At least that’s what I read into an essay sent to us recently by Caitlyn, our beloved 14-year-old, high-school-freshman granddaughter.

Caity wrote about her memories of the Marine Terrace house that was “like my ‘sanctuary’ of sorts where I feel that special connection with what defines me and who I am. I love the ocean, and on Sherwood Drive … you could almost hear the sun setting over the oceanic horizon with a hisssssssss.

“The ocean is so close that when I hop out of my dad’s car to go running to the porch, I taste the salt on the air.”

She recalled a variety of aromatic memories there, such as the ocean and “the smell of a wonderful feast in the oven and on the stove,” site-specific scents that she said comforted her “like a toddlers ‘blankie.’

“When we go down to the ocean to explore, I feel like a ‘tide-pool-ologist,’ exploring the tide pools with wonder as I find a few crabs, sea anemones, starfish, octopuses and many more interesting creatures. We also dive into the pools to retrieve the abalone shell sitting at the bottom, glistening in the afternoon sun. “On our way back, we walk with no shoes, and we feel the pebbly sand beneath our freezing feet." Later, “when we fall asleep, we get into our sleeping bags on the couch … and we listen to my grandmother’s angelic voice read to us an older book, published way-back-when, and falling asleep to the mystic wonderland of our imagination.”

I was so afraid that Caity’s lovely essay meant she still mourned for the old house.

Later, she said that certainly wasn’t the case. Silly grandma.

“That’s just the memories that I have of the place” on Sherwood Drive, she said, and she’d written about them ... because she had handy pictures of that house to turn in with her nostalgic essay.

“I love the new place as well!” she said. “I love the smell of eucalyptus and the pine and the outdoorsy smell. I love the li’l ‘apartment’ and the house and all that ROOM outside! Those are my new memories.”

So now’s the time to relax, grandma, and make more new memories here on Top of the World as we share recollections of times past, and of time passing by much too quickly.

A year already. And she’s 14. Mercy.

Kathe Tanner writes for The Cambrian. Caitlyn Tanner writes for her grandmother, among others. E-mail Kathe Tanner at ktanner@thetribunenews.com. Read more “Slices” at thecambrian.com.

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