The Golden Age of Florence

That would be Florence Avenue in Oakland.
We moved to the house on the hill with the big backyard on Halloween weekend in 1980, just a few weeks before my first son was born.
Those were the days of miracle and wonder…and Jazzercize… and Sesame Street.

Dancin’ and BBQ’n in the street

 Even at the time, we knew we were living in the golden age: kids our kids’ ages up and down the block, great neighbors, lots of parties–including several block parties in the street–afternoon Boggle games, Christmas Eve Tom ‘n Jerry’s-and-Scrabble with friends, evenings in the hot tub across the street, knitting lessons, barbecues–all the things that enrich the experience of being a young family. We welcomed a number of new babies, celebrated birthdays, and rescued each other from everyday calamities, like accidentally burning dinner to a crisp (me), getting locked out of the house (me), and leaving the car’s headlights on all day (me again!). The kids and dads went trick-or- treating together on Halloween, the moms took the kids to the park or the zoo…good times!

 I took a cake decorating class and learned how to do some fancy stuff. We had a lot of cakes.

Two candles on the drum cake
And it’s fancy on the inside!
Five candles on the pink cake

 I was a stay-at-home mom for five years.
 It was fun, most of the time. There were days when I would meet my husband as he walked up the hill and let him know that I would be next door, having a glass of wine and playing Boggle for, oh, a couple of hours.

And then there were the times I’d go to a party, meet someone new, and brace myself for the “what do you do?” question. The minute I said that I chased two kids around all day, my conversation partner’s eyes would glaze over.They would look somewhere just past my shoulder, planning an escape route. So, just to keep the conversation going, I’d  start telling them about who had been on Sesame Street that day — no, really, it was so cool–and then my husband would appear next to me, take me by the elbow and lead me away.

So I decided to apply to grad school. Because why not get up at the crack of dawn and get two kids dressed and ready to go, drop them at day care, and get to a 9:00 class? And thus begins the age of Supermom.

Superboy, Strawberry Shortcake, and Supermama

To be continued.

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