The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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This is the story of when my mom first got to California the year she moved out there to go to school while living with her aunt and uncle in Riverside. I’m always amazed when my mom tells me stories about her time in California, and even more amazed that my grandparents let her move out there when she was so young. Her first weekend there she stayed with her boyfriend, my dad. He’s two years older and moved out there after graduation with their friend Bud, who my parents still stay in touch with today!

A long stretch of highway fell perfectly between a magnificent mountain range and the glistening Pacific Ocean. The only trees for miles were palm trees scattering the beach, each stretching toward the sun beginning to set. Sally looked out the window, mesmerized by the tide rising and falling on the sparkling sand. How will I ever get use to this? Sally thought, as she rested her head on her head-rest in Bud’s dark blue 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Sally had just flown across the country from Philadelphia alone, planning to complete her junior year at a school where her uncle taught English. Her boyfriend Paul picked her up from the airport, and after miles and miles, they made their way through the Palm Desert. Paul was driving them back to his and Bud’s house in Palm Springs. They were about 10 minutes out and had plans to go to the Grateful Dead concert at UCLA that night. Sally couldn’t think of a better way to spend her first night.

“What song do you think they’re going to start with tonight?” Sally said, glancing in Paul’s direction. Paul made a focused face, indicating he was really considering the question.

“Fire on the Mountain, for sure.” He said as he turned in her toward her. Sally laughed lightly at his confidence in the answer, considering it was anyone’s guess, as always.

“Not Althea?” Sally said. A popular song from their recent album, Go To Heaven.

“Nope, Fire on the Mountain, I just know it.” Paul said, laughing a little himself.

She looked back out the window. In the corner of her eye she could still see Paul, singing to the radio quietly and slightly off beat. She smiled and chuckled to herself, thinking about all the memories they were going to make before resting her eyes for a moment.  

Sally had dozed off for a couple of minutes and opened her eyes as they pulled in the driveway of a small Cali Shack with red, Spanish style shingles on the roof. She smiled when she saw the house as it was exactly what she imagined. She got out of the car and walked toward the trunk to grab a couple bags. Bud, a good friend of them both, waited at the door. He welcomed her in, waited for her to drop her pounds of luggage, then picked her up and twirled her around.

“Welcome to Cali, man! It is unreal seeing you on the West Coast.” Bud said with a smile stretched across his face. Sally laughed, feeling slightly dizzy. She caught up with him for a moment, then brought her luggage into her room. She looked around, soaking it all in. What a year it was going to be.

The Start of an Adventure

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September, 1983
Palm Springs

This is the story of when my mom first got to California the year she moved out there to go to school while living with her aunt and uncle in Riverside. I’m always amazed when my mom tells me stories about her time in California, and even more amazed that my grandparents let her move out there when she was so young. Her first weekend there she stayed with her boyfriend, my dad. He’s two years older and moved out there after graduation with their friend Bud, who my parents still stay in touch with today!

Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Michelle Hand on April 27, 2018
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