A Very Salinas Birthday Party

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

Yesterday was Cousin Liza’s birthday party. Uncle David and Auntie Olga got the tent, bounce house and tables set up at Hartnell Park while Liza and I put her LEGO Rapunzel tower together. She is very good with all the tiny parts!IMG_4914.jpg

The party started at 12, so I had a little bit of time to play in the bounce house before all the kids got there. It is HUGE and strong enough for grown ups to run around and around in circles. Very good exercise. And a nice place to rest, too.IMG_4919.jpg


When the guests started arriving, the Very Salinas part of the birthday became clear. Most of them were children from Liza’s school, but some of the parents were friends of Uncle David from when HE was in school. Rusty Hammersmith, who I knew when he was 8, came with his wife and daughters. Rusty works for a company that fights salt water intrusion. Here in farming centered Salinas, that’s really important. Tony Hartfelt, a good friend from high school and beyond, came with his wife and twin daughters. Tony is a child psychologist and his wife Maryanne is a teacher. We talked about education and parenting…. things we had in common.

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Rusty, David, and Tony

As I was chatting, I saw our old neighbor Leroy walking by so I went to talk to him. He has adopted our old cat Sassy, who didn’t get along with our kitten Mouse. They are all still happy. As we were talking, a group of former students hollered “Hi, Mrs. Drueding!” as they headed to the park.

Then it got even more Salinas-y. Sitting there, surrounded by my son’s childhood friends and their children, my friend Pete Andresen jogged by. His mom, Ruth, is also a friend and tells me all about the history of Salinas. Pete’s coming by made the circle of Salinas feel complete.


When it got to be three o’clock and the party was over, Liza wrapped herself in the Periodic Table of Elements blanket and we headed home while Auntie Olga and Uncle David cleared things up. Naptime!IMG_4997.jpg


Grandma Judy


Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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