Saturday, July 31, 2010


I lived with Mike and Char for several months after my roommate graduated and moved back home to plan her wedding. I had run up a big bill at the local photo shop and needed to borrow money from my mother to pay it off. Mike and Char let me live with them while I paid off the loan.

They were renting a house which straddled the Hayward earthquake fault.

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We figured it was the perfect place for a seismologist to live. If an earthquake hit, Mike would be the first person to know it.

The house had a covered porch, which you can see to the right of that single window above the trees there. The porch had a jaunty slant, the result of house settling after earlier earthquakes. Anything round that was set down on the floor rolled to the front of the porch.

I shared a bedroom with their youngest (then only) daughter, Tavie, who was not quite a year old. I went looking for photos to include with this entry, but I guess I was taking slide photos in those days and apparently my photos from time in the house are on slides or movies. But I remember that I never needed an alarm clock because I would wake up when Tavie's blonde head popped up over the top of her crib and she started talking to me. Depending on the hour, I would either play with her or not, but I would get her diaper changed and deliver her to her parents' bed before I went to work.

If Tavie didn't wake me up, the cat, Yom would. "Yom" was short for Yom Kippur, who was the cat they got after Roshi -- Rosh Hashanah [how a Catholic family decided to name their pets after Jewish holy days, I was never quite sure] died. This was an old house and when Yom realized that there was movement in the bedroom, he would stick his paws under the door and reach up as high as he could--I swear the cat thought he could reach up high enough to grab the door knob. At the very least, he scratched furiously trying to get the door to open.

I worked in the Physics Department of the University then, a job that required me to "dress" appropriately. That meant good clothes, nylons and high heels.

After I got dressed in the morning, I would pick Tavie up and head for Mike & Char's bedroom. At some point along the dark hallway the cat lay in wait. He loved to reach out and grab the nylons. I cannot tell you the number of pairs of nylons he ruined and how many screams at the cat woke Mike and Char before Tavie being handed off to them did.

I was living in the house at Christmas time that year and Yom gave me a dozen pair of nylons for a Christmas gift. But he never did stop attacking my legs when I went to work each morning.

I don't remember how long I lived in the house on the earthquake fault, but not as long as six months. I think it was about 3 or 4 months, until I found an apartment in a building just around the corner, and off the fault.

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I lived here for about a year, until Walt and I got married and moved to the other side of town.

But I enjoyed my brief time living with Mike, Char and Tavie...and yeah, even Yom...and was grateful they were there when I needed someplace to go.


jon said...

I enjoyed reading about the olden days. I am looking at the cars and trying to figure out what year and make of the cars.
It looks like the late..late 50's or early 60's.
I am guessing August 1963.(pix..and from what I you have talked about before.

Bev Sykes said...

I think that may be exactly when it was (for the first photo). I'm impressed.