Powered by Blogger.
April 12, 2018

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Hey Yall!  I hope you've been enjoying my spring break posts this week!  I can't believe it has been eights years since I last made the trip back home in Northern California.  And to be honest, I actually had no plans ever to return.  I love my home state, but I didn't leave there on happy terms.


Before I get into my reasoning of why I didn't want to go back, let me chat a bit about the things my family and I did when we first got to San Francisco, and also before we left for home.


We flew into San Francisco Saturday night, the night before Easter.  And I got all the chills stepping foot on San Fran turf, a lot of emotions ran through me.  But during this trip, I was determined to visit my Dad's grave-site before we ended our trip, that would give me a sense of closure that I needed.



San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gates, You'll Let Nobody Wait Outside Your Door!


The first night, we stayed at the Hilton near the airport.  No pics of our room since I was running on empty, going from east coast to west coast time, my body was turned off for the night.  Even though it was 11 pm in California, it was 2 am back in Atlanta.

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

The following morning, on Easter Sunday, we checked out and did some sight-seeing in Mr. M's old neighborhoods.  Mr. M is from San Francisco, me, I'm from across the bay in Oakland.  Mr. M traveled back to San Francisco two years ago for his grandmother's funeral, so he knew how different San Francisco looks now.  But for me, a lot has changed, and not much for the better.

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

As you all know, San Francisco is extremely expensive, old homes going for millions of dollars.  However, are these homes worth the price?  No!  Their old, rundown, streets are filthy, a lot more homelessness than it was when I left.  Now, San Fran has homeless Tent Cities Popping up everywhere, even in Oakland because people can no longer afford the rent there.  Also, homeowners are getting priced out and leaving the state altogether.  Even families who had purchased their home years ago and paid it off, the property taxes each year is high as heck, which makes people have to sell.  Investors are buying up the properties in San Francisco, well, all over the Bay Area, and jacking up the prices.  It's ridiculous!


It's like California is wiping out the middle-class, it's either you're rich or poor, no in-between.


Before we headed down to Carmel for a day in a half, the girls wanted to go to Pier 39.

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Mr. M and I been to Pier 39 several times in our younger years, me for field trips and day trips with family, him, he been there for school trips and just went because it was close to his home.  Also, when we first started dating, Mr. M took me out on a date night there several times.

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay via www.productreviewmom.com

Again, a lot has changed at Pier 39, new development all around.

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

We walked around, people-watched, ate yummy sweets (some desserts Mr. M and I use to eat at Pier 39) and went to see World-Famous California Sea-Lions!

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

For our Easter lunch, we went to the Crab House.  Our crab and shrimps were tasty, however, needed a bit more garlic to make the dish just right.  It's a pricey establishment, but worth it for special occasions.

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

After overeating on seafood, I wanted to do a boat ride to Alcatraz.  Never have I been on that island, and for years I wanted too, but something always had killed my plan.

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Again, my plan came to a halt, Alcatraz tour was sold out for the next three weeks!  Is God trying to tell me something, that I don't need to step foot on that prison island?

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

So, our next best thing was hopping on a 30-minute water taxi tour that takes us near Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and California Sea Lions.  That boat ride was super rocky, rocking from side to side.  Michelle was almost in tears because she was afraid the boat was going to tip over.


After the water taxi tour, Lauren insisted on visiting Japantown, you all know how she loves her anime!

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Neither I nor Mr. M been to the Japan Center, it's like a Japanese mall.  And, we discovered that all the Japanese stuff we buy for Lauren is a lower price in San Fran than it is Georgia, a lot lower.  I feel like Georgia is ripping us off!  But, Japanese products imported to Georgia is a farther distance than California which makes shipping more for Georgia, that could be why the prices are higher.



After stepping foot in the small replica of Japan, we took the 2-hour drive down to Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Check out more about our time there here.

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com


Back Down Memory Lane!  Facing my Past.


Next, following our relaxing getaway in Carmel, it was time to drive down memory lane hitting all of my childhood stomping grounds, Vallejo, Vacaville, Suisun, Fairfield, and Oakland.

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

Remember I told you I didn't want to go back home to Northern California?  I have been holding on to a pang of guilt that has been eating me up inside for years.


My father (step-father), I felt like I left him in California to die.  Before I left California to provide a better life for Lauren, I didn't know my dad was sick.  I don't think he even knew.  But he was sad that his only granddaughter (Lauren at the time) was taken away.  He came to Georgia to visit us, sent care packages, and also when Michelle was born, we all went back to California to visit him, and that was the start of his sickness with kidney disease.  My Dad was telling me he was making plans to move to Atlanta too so that he could be near us.


Well, that didn't happen, he shortly passed away.  When he died, I felt not only did he pass away from kidney disease but a broken heart as well.  His dying wish was to have my family, my mom and brothers get back together again.  My dad was a family man and hated that our family was feuding with each other.


I tried to make amends with my mom and brothers, but my mom turned her back on me and made my brothers dislike me as well.  I won't go in too deep about all that has happened but know that without my mom in my life, I wouldn't be where I'm at today.  She held me down, made me feel worthless, never proud of me.  My dad, a man that stepped in to take another man's place who wasn't doing his fatherly duties, loved me unconditionally, saw me as his own, most prominent supporter, never turned his back on me even when my parents divorced.  He was there for me until his last days.


But that thought of the "what if" I never left California would he still be alive today?  Would my presence and his granddaughters have made him fight harder to combat his disease?  This thought runs through my mind regularly.


When I visited his grave-site while I was in Vallejo, I thought I would burst out into tears uncontrollably, but a sense of comforter went through me.  Was it my dad's spirit telling me that everything will be okay?  Was he trying to show me he is no longer suffering, and I need to move on?  It's like a weight was lifted off of me.


I placed a bouquet of flowers on his grave-site headstone, pulled several roses from the bouquet to put on other family members tombstones too.


I felt free!


But I was upset to see that no one from my immediate family has put flowers on my dad's gravesites, not even his sons, my brothers. And how do I know?  Well, on his headstone there is an opening for flowers, and that opening was never opened until I got there.  My dad passed eight years ago!


We finished off the trip driving all around the East Bay, also showing Lauren the hospital she was born at in Vallejo, and our last home in Vacaville before we moved to Atlanta, Georgia.  Michelle was feeling left out since she was born in Georgia; she felt like the trip was about the three of us, not her.


But, Michelle was happy when we visited my brother on my biological father's side and Grandfather in Oakland.  My grandfather gave me some wise advice, stop holding grudges, and move on.  I was sharing with him the pain I had about my mother and other family members because he wanted to know if I went to my mom's house to see her, but I explain we're still not talking.


Also, I found out that my mom is about too or already have remarried.  Is it wrong that I started thinking evil thoughts, "I hope she gives that new man hell like she did my father?" 😡


Let me stop!


Our visit with my family was short, and back to San Francisco near the airport to stay in yet another hotel, this time in the Embassy Suites.  This hotel was going through a major renovation, so no pics of it.

Back Down Memory Lane: Revisiting My Stomping Grounds in the East Bay  via  www.productreviewmom.com

This trip showed me that I made the right decision to leave.  It no longer feels like home, people I've grown up with is gone.  There is nothing for me to return to, honestly.  People of color you don't see much around anymore, and if you do see some, a lot of them are the ones living in Tent Cities, and on drugs.  It makes me want to cry.  We're getting wiped out of California; I hate to see what another eight years will look like for us.


Thank you ya'll for following along my spring break!


Want to Earn Extra Money Each Month?

Get paid to become a product tester.
Complete fun surveys for cash. Get paid for the stuff you do every day.

2 comments

  1. Oh Louida, I bet it was bittersweet going back home. Your story sound s a lot like mine. Black folks are being driven out of our neighborhood too. I'm glad your girls got to at least see your old stomping grounds.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing memory lane with us... your memory lane brings me back to my memory lane too in the early 90's when I lived in Cali! Your pictures was bringing back so many memories!

    ReplyDelete