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HOVERING ON THE DIAPER RASH WATER
3 September 2006
When we were all together last weekend, celebrating the birthday of all the 40 year olds, we were reminiscing about the Leach Ave. house.
We were living in an apartment in Berkeley when Jeri was born. We moved to a rental house when I was pregnant with Ned, and by the time Paul was expected, we were ready to look for a home to buy.
Char and Mike had settled into the Glenview district of Oakland and said that there were lots of homes for sale. I went looking at houses with our friend Pat. I walked into this house on Brighton Avenue, fell in love with it and called Walt immediately. We made an offer on the house and bought it.
We kind of bought it out from under Pat and Rich, who also liked the house, but they bought a house two blocks away. Char and Mike's house was just a few blocks farther away, on Leach Avenue.
While we were all living so close to each other, our kids grew up together (among the 3 families, we had 14 children), we babysat for each other, and the kids all played at each other's houses. The Leach house was probably the biggest of the three.
When the kids were old enough, we enrolled them in Tiny Tots nursery school, where we made friends with Michele and Richard, who had a son named Eric, who integrated seamlessly into our little band of families.
There are so many memories of the Leach house when Char and Mike owned it. I remember the year that Char, Michele and I (and perhaps Pat too) decided to make candles for Christmas. There is probably still wax on the floor in the kitchen.
I think Char is the only person I know who ever raised an avocado seed to a plant large enough to plant in the yard and it grew to a mature tree.
Eventually, Mike took a job in Alaska and they were going to move and had to sell the Leach house. Michele and Richard decided to buy it, so the owners changed, and they remodeled it, but it still remained in the "family."
Life on Leach continued as ever, with the kids getting together to play, adults and kids getting together to party, etc.
We missed the best party at this house, because we had taken our Brasilian student, Eduardo, up to Oregon after the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's. It was Richard's 50th birthday party. You've seen this photo before:
We have often joked about Richard's moustache and how he looks like he's wearing Groucho glasses, so for that party everybody wore a nose and glasses, including his 80+ year old mother and the stripper they hired to entertain. I've always been sorry I missed that party!
When Michele and Richard finally decided to sell the place in 1993, they had a "house cooling party," one last chance to get together. Ned, of course, made a movie, which I found this week. Ned is such a talented videographer that I didn't even have to edit this movie at all.
The movie won't be as funny to most people as it is to us, because it is filled with in-jokes. The clam dip bowl, for example. We always had clam dip at parties and when the kids were little they (especially the boys, 'cause the girls knew better [or so we told them]) would swarm around a bowl as soon as it appeared. We finally made the "no-hover" rule. They could take one chip and dip it, but then had to back off for a little bit to let others get in before they could go back and get another. Naturally, the boys thought we were picking on them.
Then there was the "diaper rash water," which I explained here, when we were getting ready to have our new Pergo floor installed. It was simply a tweedy rug with a yellowish, I suppose urine-colored, background. I don't remember who first decided it was "diaper rash water" but the kids made a game of not walking on it because it they touched it, they would get diaper rash, which was worse than death.
The house was set back from the street with a garage that jutted out to the sidewalk. You could walk on the roof of the garage, but it was always a concern that the kids might fall off the roof. There was a lump of concrete on top of the roof, and so the rule was that the kids couldn't go past "the hump" if they were playing in front and got onto the roof of the garage.
You'll see how that plays out in this movie.
The movie "stars" Paul and Cam. Cam is Char and Mike's youngest child, now happily married. But Cam and Jeri used to be married. Several times, as I recall. The first time we were camping at "Eric's property," some land that Michele and Richard owned near Mendocino. I'm not sure how they decided that they should have a wedding, but it was Cam and Jeri who were going to be married and Char & Mike's son Tim was going to perform the ceremony. It seems that they divorced later and then remarried during another camping trip to Eric's property.
When Cam and his wife Evelyn decided to marry for real, it seems to me that they wrote to Jeri for permission. Ironically, Tim got a justice of the peace for a day and Tim actually did perform the wedding ceremony for Cam...just not with Jeri as the bride. There is reference to the Cam/Jeri relationship in the video as well.
This was such a fun video to find again, after
all these years. And, through the magic of the Internet, now anybody in the group
who never got a copy of the movie originally can see it again.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Jenny and Jeri