The Good Old Creek

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I grew up in Tehachapi. Pronounced “tuh hatch a pee.” Anyways, my backyard was the coolest ever. We didn’t have a traditional lawn, or pool, instead, we had “The Creek.”

The Creek was really just a small ravine that went through a bunch of the properties in our area. The actual “flowing” of the creek bed was highly infrequent, but we still called it the creek.

You could get down to the creek several ways:

First, you could take the traditional route that Dad leveled out in hopes that the younger kids would safely make it down.

The second route was the one I always took–running down a short, but incredibly steep hill and subsequently slamming into the chain link fence. Barefoot.

The third option was the sly entrance my brothers had crafted on the far side of the creek. Theirs involved slithering, crawling, and jumping.

They dominated the right side, which was full of pine trees and large oaks. My side was wide open with a huge old Oak looking down on what was the pride and joy of my youth: my fort. My fort had giant rocks that lent themselves perfectly for seating, a kitchen sink, a fireplace, and most importantly, cover from the boys. Who needs a pink playhouse when you have rocks? We could always sneak into the rocks if my brothers were to attack. I loved my fort. My friends loved my fort. And I assume that my younger sister and brothers liked it because when Nate and Joe (my two big brothers) grew out of their fort, the little kids decided to take up residence in my territory. Ha! I knew I had an eye for location.

Besides maybe the kitchen, that Creek holds more childhood memories than any other location. Here in no particular order are some of my favorite memories:

Having wars with my brothers.
Playing Indians. Skip the cowboys.
Playing show business (not the dirty kind) like Show Boat, State Fair, Cover Girl, Singing in the Rain kind of show business.
Having snowball fights.
Riding motorcycles down the creek…sometimes falling off.
Making a Dolly Parton Snow Woman —remember that, Amber? And then destroying her breasts with the motorcycle. Remember that, Joe?
Playing Sardines at night.
Finding my Barbies tied to the chain link fence with arrows through their skulls…on the boys side of the creek.
Sliding down the slick leaves in a leftover summer kiddie pool. So. Much. Fun.

Having dirty feet, tired legs, torn clothes, splinters, bruises, smudged faces and constant constant CONSTANT adventure.

Childhood was amazing in the Creek. It was definitely my Neverland (in a NON Michel Jackson creepy way)–this genius of an imagination that you now enjoy is the love child of that Creek….and good parenting and education and boredom and….ok, the point I would like to stick to is how special that Creek is to me today, and to all of my siblings as well. I could find my way around there blindfolded. As long as the new owners haven’t had the audacity to landscape it!

11 thoughts on “The Good Old Creek

  1. more than rubies

    Poor Dolly. Such a traumatic breast reduction story…I have so many great memories from Shady Lane! Falling of the motorcycle when Joe popped a wheelie to show off, screaming at the boys when we caught them “spying” on us during one of many slumber parties, watching the original “Stepford Wives” with your family and your mom and dad freaking out cause they forgot the ending, barricading ourselves in your room the night before Mariah’s bday party. My last Shady Ln memory is us writing our names on the underside of one of your closet shelves in permanent marker. Do you think our mark is still there?

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  2. hilljean

    Aww hi Kate! Yes, the tunnels hold stories in and of themselves. Such great memories all around. I’m so glad you got to be a part of it too ????

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  3. hilljean

    And don’t forget the tunnels under the street where all the creepy crawlies were. I loved hanging out at your house and I love your blog now.

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  4. vinobaby

    Sounds like an amazing place to have as a child. I wish my son had someplace like that to run wild and free now. I’m still trying to imagine a Dolly Parton snowman–er, snowwoman being run over with a motorcycle. Wild and wonderful.

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  5. CandaceHayes

    This is Joe… I too share the memories. I had some of my first kills in that creek, which should be pronounced “Crik” just for more fun. Hill, you do a wonderful job of taking us all back. You forgot the south entrance though, and the two pipelines that went under the street, probably 25 feet or so, which were always packed with spiders-and we didn’t care. Remember Dad built that dam under there and then all those scary guys in orange jumpsuits came and tore it down one day? Lots of fun stuff to remember, me and Nate made our first tealeaf cigarettes down there, what real man has never done that?

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  6. kirstykaree

    Or….. How about all the times you told me that acorns tasted like peanuts!!???

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  7. Margo

    Love those memories… and Amber – I’d forgotten the Stepford Wives movie catastrophe! I am so glad we had “the creek”! My sanity as a mom of 6 probably hinged alot on that creek – as I tried to shoo kids outside as much as possible!
    I also love learning about memories I knew nothing about (ie. Dolly Parton:)

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  8. Cheryl

    What fabulous memories and an amazing childhood. It sounds like a LOT of fun. I might be jealous. And sad my kids are growing up in a totally cookie cutter housing tract!

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  9. lindsayfield

    That sounds like a fantastic place to grow up big and strong (and tough!)

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  10. Galit Breen

    I adore that your memory centers around nature and play and togetherness. I hope my children’s is the same.

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