1978, September 7: Card from Marcy to G&H

Between the previous letter and this one, we moved to Palo Alto. I’ve now updated the map of places we lived; this is the 13th place I had lived. I was 10 and a half, so we were still averaging a little more than one move a year over the course of my life; but the moves were slowing down—we had been in the Cotati house for just about exactly three years, and we would be in this Palo Alto one for a couple years too. …And all of the places I had lived were inside a roughly hundred-mile-radius circle centered around Napa.

This one was written on a notecard with three photos of flowers on the front.


Here we are, out of breath & taking on more & more, but finally here, among the crickets & the roaches, tree-lined streets, xxx big back yards and PTAs of Surbubia, USA. Started out to call you tonite but it gets so late so fast - here it is:

Address and phone number redacted by Jed.

Peter’s work phone is

Phone number redacted by Jed.

when he’s not off at 2-hour executive lunches at the Velvet Turtle, or 10-day classes in LA (Sept x 12-22) or someplace (Chicago, St Louis, & Washington DC loom on the tentative horizons of IBM-land) (classes)

School starts tomoro. Jed’s teacher looks a trifle dull (not as bad as last year) and Joaquin’s is lovely-a man, for a change, hurray.

Our house-mates are truly lovely, he’s involved in solar energy, she works in a flower nursery, and their little girl is as sweet as can be (she’s 7) and it sure makes it affordable, and fills the spaces. We’d really rattle in this huge house. It’s really dark (redwood ceilings with beams) & linoleum over concrete floors, so we’re hunting rugs & lamps at garage sales.

Soon to be able to repay that $300 from x several years ago.

I may yet get to Japan this year, 1st 2 weeks in October.

Small drawing of a fish.
Small drawing of a fish.

All our love, and blessings upon your fishes. Small drawing of a fish.


It hadn’t occurred to me until I read this line to think of our previous residences as being not suburban. Santa Rosa was fairly rural, but I feel like some of the other places we had lived were pretty suburban. …But maybe Marcy didn’t mean to imply that this was the first time we’d lived in suburbia.
Velvet Turtle
Velvet Turtle was a chain of fine-dining restaurants founded by Wally Botello based in Menlo Park, California, that at its height had 20 locations in California, plus a location in Washington state, and Arizona.”
my teacher
My 4th-grade teacher in Cotati had been Mrs. Logsdon; I don’t remember her as being particularly awful, but I don’t have especially positive memories of her either.
My 5th-grade teacher in Palo Alto was Mrs. Peters, whom I liked, possibly in part because she clearly liked me. I didn’t think of her as dull. Marcy grew to like her more later, too; see next later.
Jay’s teacher
I have no idea why “hurray” for his teacher being a man.
housemates and “huge house”
According to Zillow, that house is now a three-bedroom house. It might have been four bedrooms when we lived there? Or maybe three plus some kind of enclosed space that was used as a room? I vaguely think Peter and Marcy shared a room, Jay and I shared a room, and the family we were subletting to (a bit more about them in the next letter) used the other one to two rooms.
I’m surprised to see Marcy call that house huge. It now has about 3/4 the square footage of my current house (I don’t know if it was larger back then); my current house is definitely big for one person, but I don’t think it would feel huge for a family of four, and definitely wouldn’t feel huge if there were seven people living here.
The house was an Eichler (built in the 1950s), which I vaguely think Peter and Marcy considered to be a positive thing; but ever since college, pretty much every time I’ve heard the word Eichler it’s been in conjunction with the phrase fire trap. Possibly due to the flammable wood paneling on the walls? Anyway, I’ve been told that Eichlers have a reputation for burning to the ground in three minutes.
…One other thing about the house: It was in a neighborhood known as “the circles,” a set of connected (and in some cases concentric) circular streets. I hadn’t seen a map of the streets, so the first time I walked around the block I was very confused.
She did end up going to Japan; a bit more on that in the next letter.
“blessings upon your fishes”
I assume this was just general silliness.

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