It's so hard to even know where to begin! I moved to SLC from Boulder, Colorado just before the start of sixth grade in 1984. It was a tough move and my family went through some hard times after we got here (don't worry, we're all okay now:) But each of the four kids in my family have absolutely the fondest of memories of our childhoods in Boulder. Of course, some of us remember a lot more than others, but even saying the word "Boulder" seems to conjure up images of safety and happiness for each of us.
My Brother Adam and his wife Whitley are now living just outside Boulder in a town called Superior - he's a lawyer in a firm in downtown Boulder. They just had their second baby in February, and were planning on blessing her Sunday, March 25. I really wanted to go meet baby L and visit Boulder for the first time since I was 18, and for the second time ever since I moved away. I didn't think it would be possible - I couldn't imagine my kids managing 8+ hours in the car. But my mom and dad urged me to caravan with them, and we made it. Actually, the drive went great. Thanks to a portable DVD player on loan from a friend and my mom in the car with us, the ride was almost the easiest part. It's exhausting to have little kids in a strange town.
I was delighted to meet L - she is a tiny little thing, and sweet as can be. My first thought was that she looked EXACTLY like Adam, but as the week went by she seemed to grown into her own little face. CTP and his cousin STR got to spend a lot of time together, and let's just say that they were the best of times AND the worst of times. There was a lot of fun play and also a little rivalry there that got quite explosive, but there's no need to go into detail. Believe me.
What a thrill to see so many of my old haunts! When we first got to Boulder, there was little I remembered, because we were driving through a part of town that seemed to have been turned into strip-mall heaven, and I was very disappointed. However, we got around to many places, everywhere from my old neighborhoods to the library, from schools I attended to the grocery store I remember best (King Soopers!) What I was really surprised about was what small little landmarks I unexpectedly remembered and realized had meant a great deal to me. For example, our neighborhood of "Spanish Hills" was a couple of miles outside of town. In between were several fields and farms, and there was one specific field always full of cows that sort of marked the point for me when we were officially in or out of town, depending on which direction we were going. When thinking of Boulder, I hardly ever thought of that field, but once I saw it I felt instantly like a 10 year old again. I loved that field, and looked for it every time we went to or from home.
I also really enjoyed learning the layout of Boulder - I never drove there before, and didn't have a very clear picture of the layout of the city in my head. Suddenly to understand where the library was in relation to the Pearl Street Mall - this great outdoor walking mall where we played our instruments as children on weekend evenings - it was so interesting.
Of course the best part was spending time with family, seeing Adam and Whitley happy and getting settled, enjoying the new baby and S's ferocious energy, eating Whitley's mom's good food...ah yes. I could ramble on forever, but I'll put in some photos instead.
R was delighted with L, which made me happy. Usually she has absolute fits of rage and jealousy if she catches me even so much as looking at another baby.
Our house on Caballo Court, in the neighborhood of Spanish Hills. This is the house we lived in when Peter was born, and the house we all remember best. Just looking at this photo makes me want to tell a hundred stories. In my marriage, Troy has always been able to tell me the stories of his youth as we drive around town, and I've never been able to do that. I don't see those places, and I was so sorry Troy wasn't able to join us on this trip. Another time, I hope.
On our third day in town, I insisted that we go on an official outing someplace. We took S with us to visit the Denver Aquarium, which was fantastic. Here is C looking at the otters. There were amazing shark displays, huge turtles, wonderful fish of all kinds, and even a pair of tigers. The highlight was probably feeding the rays. I've never felt anything like it. You held a little dead fishie in between your knuckles in the water and these rays, two and three feet across, would swim up your hand and suck it out. C was much braver than I was. The other highlight was mom and dad buying these massive suckers for the boys.
After the aquarium, we decided to drive home through Golden, Colorado. Yes, home of Coors Beer. Also the home of a train museum that we visited as kids. It's a big yard just packed full of old trains from all ages that you can climb on and walk through.
This is the downtown library. We loved going to this place. Of course, the inside is quite different - completely remodeled, and nothing about that was familiar. I was so glad that the facade at least was the same. Our favorite part of the library was a giant book they kept on the floor of the children's area. It was made of all sorts of fabric, like a crazy quilt, and had several big padded pages that it took a couple of kids to turn. I think it must have finally become a health hazard and been incinerated or something.
Doulgas Elementary School. It looks absolutely exactly the same as it did when I attended. Certainly a boring picture for you, but it takes my breath away.
The Pearl Street Mall is about three blocks of down town Boulder that has been paved in bricks and is an outdoor shopping mall. There are lots of neat little shops, and you can always find someone playing an instrument with the case open before them, hoping for tips. As kids, we did that a couple of times. We were a hit. I remember some summer evenings with acrobats and jugglers and tightrope walkers and everything. It was pretty quiet on the Sunday afternoon we went there, but there were still the two little play areas for kids I recall with absolute clarity and adoration. One has several boulders just for climbing and scampering on. The other has four animals, two stone and two bronze. They were both crawling with kids and I loved seeing my own children taking part.
So that's probably more information than anyone wanted to know. I'm so glad I got the chance to go. I won't say it was easy - we were all exhausted by the end and my kids took about a week to recover. I was going to go visit Peter next, leaving in just two days, but it was too much - sorry, Peter & Sheri! The kids did so great but really needed activity every moment and it was a lot of work. Worth it, though. I'm so grateful to my parents for towing me along - I certainly didn't make the trip easy for them. It was a great chance though, and I was so glad to see Adam's family. Peter, we'll get there soon!