Wednesday, May 4, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Weather

Growing up mainly in sunny California, the weather has not played much of a character in my stories or my life.  The exceptions to this would be the winter it snowed in the San Francisco Bay Area and my time spent living outside of California for that summer when we moved to Minnesota.

I really don’t have memories of the California Snow, but I do have photos.  This was taken at the Mariani Ranch in Portola Valley, California.

As to the stormy summer in Minnesota, I’m still not 100% clear why we moved there.  My dad’s brother, Uncle Ricky, lived there and I am guessing it was time for a change of scenery from our cramped home in Milpitas.  I do know that Mom kept her wits about her and stayed in California working, while we went on our adventure.  If things worked out, she’d come join us.  However, she really knew that come fall, we’d all be home in California.

She helped Dad pack us up in his truck and a U-Haul trailer and kisses us goodbye, as we began our week-long drive to Minnesota.  It was a wonderful adventure that I’ll never forget. 

The first storm I remember that summer began at just about the “Welcome to Nebraska” sign and tapered off at about the “Now Entering Iowa” sign. It rained and thunder-stormed the entire stretch of nothingness.

I remember finding an apartment in Milaca, Minnesota that first week we were there.  I had my own room for the first time ever.  I set it all up like I was a grown up and was very proud.  I remember going grocery shopping with Dad and Todd and getting bean sprouts and loving them.  We started growing our own on the countertop.  I remember swimming lessons and riding our bikes to Dairy Queen on the other side of town.  I remember the matinee movies that my brother and I went to with my birthday money every single week all summer.  I remember reading my Trixie Belden books and my Nancy Drew books non-stop.

I remember so much, yet one thing that stands out more than the others was the sirens.  Being from California, and ranch land at that, we weren’t used to sirens.  I remember being in our Milaca apartment one day and a siren going off for over a half hour.  This was in the days before car alarms, so we really didn’t know what it was.  We looked outside and no ambulances or fire trucks or policemen anywhere to be seen under the cloudy sky.  I remember noticing that despite the thunderclouds in the distance (we learned to recognize them), it was surprisingly calm.  We went about our business, cleaning house, reading, planting bean spouts, etc.

It wasn’t until that evening when we dined with my uncle and his family that we learned that it was a tornado warning and we really should have headed to the basement.  There wasn’t a touch-down that day, but to this day, I look at the sky when I hear a siren.

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