People asked if I would be sad to leave the old house since that's where the kids grew up. My honest answer was no, the actual house is just lumber and building materials. All of the memories of those years are stored in my heart and photo albums and leaving the actual house behind will not take them away. Bobby felt the same way; that is until he was painting Sara's old closet and found where she had written her name and glued a collage of pictures on the closet wall....that made him kind of sad. And I can picture the little girl that she was, and imagine her up in that closet being creative, so yeah, that makes me kind of sad too to leave it behind. I thought it would be a good idea to put a few of those Pebble Lane memories on this blog, kind of an electronic scrap book. We moved into the Pebble Lane house in September of 1989 and my first memory of Bernice was seeing her up on her roof putting up Christmas lights along all of the peaks. At that time she was 63! By the time this picture of her house was taken in 2000 she had given up climbing up on the roof but still kept her house decorated brightly for the holidays.
Bernice was the matriarch of the neighborhood. She kept an eye on the comings and goings of the neighborhood from her lawn chair on the driveway. She would always pull out extra lawn chairs for neighbors who stopped by for a visit and when the weather was nice it was common to see neighbors, both adults and kids, gathered in her driveway.
Bernice kept close tabs on all the neighborhood kids and was always interested in their activities. I can't help but think her close attention to them kept the mischief to a minimum since they all knew their parents would be visiting with Bernice in the evening and getting a full report! As the kids all got older and no longer went to daycare, Bernice could always be counted on for a ride to school if you missed the bus!
The neighborhood had a tradition, a 4th of July potluck. It was always a fun evening and Bernice made certain that every neighbor knew of the planned time and location, she would always bring her famous cheesecake. At Christmas time Bernice always made lots of yummy homemade candies that she would share with the neighborhood and not just once either, she would make several batches over the holiday weeks and would drop off a box from each batch. Come to think of it, any time Bernice was baking she would share the bounty! I remember lots of cookie and cake deliveries.
Bernice was the 'go to' neighbor if you needed your plants watered or newspapers and mail picked up while you were on vacation. As a result, she was the recipient of many postcards and souvenir trinkets that neighbors would bring her back from their travels.
Bernice loved the Westminster Dog Show and would always call ahead of time to remind us that it was on television, she would sometimes call during the show too to point out an especially handsome dog. She had three different dogs while we were neighbors and I think they all enjoyed the Dairy Queen treats she would bring home and share with them!
Bernice often told me how much she enjoyed watching Josh & Sara walk to and from the bus stop because, unlike most siblings, they would walk together and talk to each other all the way up the street. That always made my mom heart proud.
Bernice took up a hobby of making stained glass items. And like everything she did, she was a perfectionist and her efforts turned out beautifully. Her windows were filled with sun catchers and she was generous with those too!
Bernice had beautiful flower beds, one summer when digital cameras were the new technology I took pictures of her flowers for her and emailed them to her brother in Las Vegas. Between her well kept flower beds, golf course like lawn, and multitude of Christmas lights Bernice exerted a lot of positive peer pressure on the neighborhood! I know there was a year or two when Bobby may not have felt like dragging out the ladders and lights to decorate the house but he always did it and joked that he had to keep up with Bernice!
In one of those small world coincidences, we discovered early on that I had worked with Bernice's brother Ron at Sante Fe in the early 80's. Whenever Bernice would share news of her brother and his family she would refer to them as the Ron's. Her fond nickname for them always made me smile. The first Christmas after Bernice had passed away Ron's wife Caroll made copies of all of Bernice's candy recipes and mailed them with a nice note to each of the neighbors, I thought that was a very sweet gesture and a tribute to Bernice's relationship with the neighborhood.