I had been to my attorney's office downtown, after leaving work early yesterday. On the way home, I drove back down The Alameda and passed a street where a restaurant coworker had lived, when she and I worked at The Good Earth restaurant, 30 years ago. For sentiment's sake, I took a detour down the street to see if I could remember the house she lived in.
I never did figure out which house had been hers, but I passed this one, pictured. I was taken with it, pulled over, but still thought about driving on. Then I thought, "You will not be coming down this street again anytime in the near future, if at all. Get out and take a picture of that house."
It was a kind of bittersweet detour, being on that street and also being in an office complex on The Alameda beforehand. I had stopped in the office complex to see if I could find the location of another restaurant I had worked in, when I first stopped drinking in 1984. The Pinehurst Inn, that used to be on The Alameda in the office complex near a bank. I drove in, and remembered where I used to park when I worked at the restaurant for a brief time. Yesterday I ended up in the exact same area of the parking lot where I used to park in 1984.
I think I found the upstairs windows of the old restaurant but nothing is there now. The Pinehurst Inn was a second floor restaurant with many windows looking out over the many trees in the office complex. I walked on the ground floor yesterday, looking up at the windows where the restaurant used to be, my being in a bit of a time warp. Nothing is there now. The ground floor entryway that used to lead to the restaurant was locked and I could not get inside the lobby. Nothing is in that space now. Nothing but what there is for me, ghosts that might be lingering in what once was a luxury dining establishment.
I worked for about a month in the Pinehurst Inn when I was newly in recovery, after I quit the other "dinner house" where I bottomed out with my drinking. I took a month off and then went and got the job at the Pinehurst. It was one of these Prime Rib, baked potato, red meat, steak and lobster restaurants. Many of these kinds of restaurants also had a full and separate bar as well. There don't seem to be as many of these kinds of restaurants with the kind of fare on the menu now, in my area. California has gotten ever so healthy over the years since I worked at the Pinehurst and other restaurants of their kind.
When I was a waitress at the Pinehurst, we wait staff used to have to hoist a huge tray of food onto our shoulders to carry the orders out to the tables. I used to worry about it, and actually, I think I only managed to get that huge tray onto my shoulder once or twice. The rest of the time I leaned the trays against my hip or just clumsily carried them in my hands out to the tables.
I remember being so anxious about whether or not I could hoist these huge trays, I would call a waitress friend, Janet, who I had met in AA meetings, in the middle of the night to talk to her about my fear. Fear of trays and everything else that I had at the time.
Janet and I would talk about many other things as well. She was a friend that kept me company in the middle of the night, me with my insomnia and she with her late night owl schedule. She was a fast and close friend in my recovery from very early on.
Janet and I grew apart after a few years. She ended up moving away to Nevada. She passed away from breast cancer there, at the beginning of 2006. She was only 51 when she died.
All of that, a flood of memories so strong you can almost taste the time of the past, can come up from simply driving into an office complex I pass on a semi-regular basis. Driving past it for the last 25 years, maybe unconsciously avoiding any memories. And there are many places in my city that contain memories. Sometimes I feel as if I would like to move away to leave so many of the memories here.
But I stay. Back in 2006 I had thought about taking what I had in my 401K money and buying a condo or small house up in Spokane, Washington. I have tried to think of what it is that makes me pick Spokane of all places. And it doesn't take much figuring out. It is sentiment. My parents met and married there, my oldest brother was born there, and my sister who was born in 1954 and died within a week of her birth, is buried there.
And I don't know a single soul in Spokane. Too, I don't think I can live in snow, not after being in the relative warmth and good climate of the San Francisco Bay Area all of my life.
I had recently watched the video in YouTube, for the song "Galileo" by the Indigo Girls. In that whimsical and creative video, there is a part at the end where they show the words, "I lived an entire life within 20 miles of where I was born." This is true for me as well. Actually, I have lived my whole life so far, within only 5 miles of where I was born.
What I find with the memories of the past, things that can kind of haunt me...within this same city there is still enough room to find places for new memories.
After my little bittersweet time warp yesterday, I am eager to get to places and be with people who make me think of now and not the past.
Sometimes now hurts but I realize that most of the time, the now I am in today, doesn't hurt as much as the now hurt when I was much younger.
Now is the biggest gift.