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Monday, July 29, 2013

California Trip

When our family arrived home from our camping trip, I had two messages on my answering machine. One from my brother and the other from my sister. Both sharing the sad news that my Uncle had passed away suddenly from an accident. It was very hard to hear of this tragic news. My uncle was my godfather growing up and had a special place in my heart so I took the news badly. I wanted to go pay my respects and to see my family during this time. He is my dad's older brother.

My brother was also heading down for the funeral so I drove from MT to WA to meet up with my brother and then he drove us to CA and back to WA and then I drove from there back home. This trip took me 10 solid days. I'm really glad that I was able to be there for my wonderful Aunt and my cousins during this time.

Even though this tragedy is what brought me to my hometown, my brother and I tried to do some positive things while we were there since my last visit to where I grew up was in 2009. Two of my kids came with me because my hubby still had to work and I couldn't leave them home since my DD18 also worked. We got to see where I lived, went to school, hung out, as well as seeing some great junior high/high school friends for dinner the last night in CA.

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Our first day in my hometown of Napa, California was a quick trip to see the Wine Crusher on the hill heading into town. We thought it fitting since we were both Vintage Crushers. The high school we graduated from's mascot was a wine crusher.. I know, weird huh? I got to show my boys my hometown again. They went with me in 2009 but they were much younger so now they get to see it again older. My nephew also came with us so there was the five of us all together.

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An old memory living in town was our trips to Foster's Freeze with our parents. Had to have lunch here and also an ice cream cone to follow tradition...

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Here's the house I grew up in from the age of about 4 until I moved out at 16. My parents lived here until I was 20 and then moved to WA State.. It was yellow for many yrs then my father painted it brown. Now it's blue!

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Thought it fitting to take a picture of where my life changed. This building above used to be Marie Calender's Restaurant where I worked at the age of 15 as their hostess. Here is where I met my daughter's Uncle. He also worked there. As we grew in our friendship I eventually met his brother, whom I married at 18 and moved to NC with. Long story short, divorced three yrs later but have my beautiful DD18 from it.. So can't complain...

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My wonderful Uncle that passed away..

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Some of the things he loved outside of his family..

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During the viewing all of the family was there so we took a group photo. I haven't seen all of these people for many many years and some I've never met.. It was so wonderful to see them all, but truly sad that it was because of their father's, grandfather's and husband's death. Wish it was under happier circumstances.

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The morning of the funeral (and the hottest day wearing black the entire time we were there) we went to another childhood memory place. Buttercream Bakery. The best maple bars ever.. They sell out really fast so they didn't have the exact one we used to get but they did have a similar one and it hit the spot. It was so great showing my kids all the things I did when I was their age!

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We still had a few minutes before the funeral so we walked a few blocks to downtown and looked at the old fountain. This used to flow water when we were younger and people used to come down with their boomboxes and breakdance.. Now that ages me doesn't it.. hee hee!!

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After the funeral we went to my Aunt's house to visit with family. Here she is above. She is such a strong woman. I look up to her and love her dearly!

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Here's my cousin and I. I can't get over how much we look alike. I really take after my dad's side of the family in looks..

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On Sunday, the day before we left back to WA, we decided to drive to Vallejo to see where our dad used to work at Mare Island Shipyard. It's now open to the public to drive on as it's no longer a base. Here above is the old building on the left that my dad used to work at. On the right was the old post office..

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We then drove around Napa and went to where I used to work. My VERY FIRST job at the ripe old age of 14. The building behind my boys and I used to be Bel Aire Bowl where I was a Porter. It's now Pier One Imports.. I wanted my kids to see that I did have a job that young, which is the exact age of my son, on the left above, right now.. WOW!

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We couldn't leave town without going to Kennedy Park to feed the ducks. We used to do that as a family and it held many memories. We did it with just the four of us growing up, as well as with both grandparents at one time or the other.. Now my boys got to do the same thing as I did.. It was nice to share in the memory with them.

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Sunday afternoon, our last day in Napa, we went to see my mom's side of the family. My Uncle, Aunt, and cousin. We spent some time there before heading to say our goodbye's to my Aunt below with my boys and me..

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Finishing up my trip to CA with a dinner with some of my junior high/high school friends. I've known all of these wonderful ladies since 7th grade.. WOW! Had a great time reminiscing and enjoying their company!!

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We left CA Monday morning to find my DS11 sick and throwing up in the truck just 20 minutes after our departure. This put us very far behind in our schedule so we ended up having to sleep in OR for the night. My son was miserable but he overcame the next day so it was some sort of 24 hour bug.

Me on the otherhand had a HUGE allergy attack visiting my hometown. With that I got a HUGE sinus pressure attack and was miserable the rest of the trip back to MT. I stayed a day at my brother's in WA which helped a little but not much and then took the last two days to drive home stopping in ID to visit my great friend and her family. She so graciously let us stay there when we left MT and then again when we were heading back home to MT. I also had dinner with my parents, they live in the same town as my friend and got to spend some time with them which was really nice. The boys really enjoyed seeing their grandparents and sharing their likes with them both.

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It was a long 10 days but I'm so glad I was able to go, see family and friends and to be there for them during this difficult time. I'll always remember the wonderful times I had growing up with my Uncle. He will always be in my thoughts.. Love you Uncle Steve! You are truly missed and loved!!

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