The first house that can remember living in, was six blocks from the city zoo and seven blocks from the ocean, in San Francisco. Almost all the houses in the outer, (nearest the beach), sunset district, were built on sand dunes. Some had their back yards filled with dirt and others didn’t.
The lots were twenty five feet wide and 120 deep. There was a small drive way and some very small patches of lawn, then the house, and about 50 or 60 feet of back yard. It was there, on a cool San Francisco day, that my mother put me in the backyard to “play”.
Since we had dirt, we had a lawn, and a small border of flowers and bushes along the other three sides of the fence. There was space for me to be, but it was boring, with no one to play with or something to do. This led me to thinking about my next door neighbor and friend, Arthur,
Arthur, like me, was the same age, maybe four, at this point. Right by the house and a bit into the yard the fence that divided our properties was six feet, then gradually descended, till it was just a little bit smaller than me, at close to the end of the lawn . Didn’t see any reason why one couldn’t climb over, say hello to Arthur, when started climbing, which seemed like the right thing to do.
It took some doing to get me over the fence, and was totally confident, without a care or concern in the world, that Arthur’s backyard was just like mine. After pulling myself up, and over the fence, held on to the top edge, and let go, expecting a gentle fall to the nearby ground.
Next think, really quick, was falling, then a thud, was on my back, looking up at the sky, unable to breathe. Wasn’t hurt, but couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything, but look at the sky and it’s beautiful blueness. Don’t know how long was like that, but probably not to long.
Once the wind got back into my lungs, got up, turned around, and looked up at a hill of sand, damp where had landed, that was at least three or four or more times my height. It was BIG. Granted four year olds aren’t all that big, but the relationship between my height and the patio, was large. It was just the original sand dune, untouched by time, no path, and mostly up.
The ascent was not straight or continual or fast, sand didn’t hold this foot or that one, my hand didn’t attach as much to this or that bit of it as it would have liked to, there was a fair amount of upward progress and falling back. Finally, after what seemed like a lot of effort, and a really really long time, got to the top. Arthur’s patio was empty.
Went to the back door, and knocked on it, but no body answered. Then in the one good thing, of the entire event, the latch was just at my height. Frustrated, annoyed, and not happy at the turn of the events, pulled the side gate open, when onto my side, it closed behind me, with no joy and a lot of annoyance was back. Have no awareness of anything else that happened afterward, was back home, what was there to remember.