Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Fountain of Youth is in Modesto, California

I explored memory lane today. Drove myself through the streets of the town where I learned to drive over 40 years ago. My only passengers were memories of my life. Much has changed since I was born and raised in Modesto, a dusty agricultural town in California’s big valley.

The fields and orchards are disappearing and the land sprouts fast food franchises and big box stores that can be found in any town.  Still roadside stands sell fresh produce, cows graze in pastures, and tractors delay traffic all reminding me that I am a small town girl.

Despite the economy, a few businesses from my youth continue to provide products and services to the community. Their marquees are signposts leading to the fountain of youth, my youth. The familiar name of a business or a street transports me to days when my hair was still black and my knees did not ache.

This weekend, my Dad’s family is gathering for a reunion. Multiple generations aged from a year to over seventy will eat, drink, and swap stories. Some will bring laughs and others tears and all are precious.

Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health
I like where I live now, but every time I travel Dallas, McHenry, J Street and others with their names tattooed on my heart, I feel young again.


  1. You captured Modesto so well, Teri. As much as it's grown, it still has a small town appeal. Cherish every moment, and may you return with new memories tattooed on your heart.


    1. Robyn,
      Despite the fact, I usually get lost at least once when I drive the "new" streets of Modesto, it is still my "old" hometown. Thanks for taking time to read and comment.

  2. I used to visit my cousins in Modesto during the 70's. We rode our bikes through the frames of half-built houses under construction, jumping from ramps of sheet-rock and two-by fours.
    I still have scars from some of the rougher landings.
    My Grammy Ruth lived there as well. She'd always have fresh baked cookies with M&M's in them.
    It's a unique town, and transports me to my youth as well.
    I'm also reminded of "American Graffiti," being filmed there.
    During long summer nights, I find myself waiting until sunrise for an ethereal blond in a '56 Thunderbird to mysteriously re-appear...

    Marvelous writing Teri, keep up the great work!

    1. American Graffiti was mostly filmed in Petaluma, but as I sat in a Modesto theater, back in 1973, I swore I recognized places from my hometown. After the film came out, there was a blond who drove a white t-bird around Modesto. Wonder if she realized it was not the correct year?

      Thanks for commenting

  3. "Street names tattooed on my heart". Love it and I feel the same about my home town. Haven't been back in some time and I would probably weep if I went back there any time soon.

    1. Terr,

      Good to hear from you. Thanks, Teri