Open Space Background

Fond Memories of My Grandmother and Grandfather
Albert and Sigrid Selling


Marie Dougherty, around 6, with Maggie the cow
and Shell Ridge in the background

In the springtime, hiking the mini alps of Shell Ridge, covered in green with wildflowers hidden among the blades of grass and inspecting lichen on the shell-encrusted limestone boulders strewn across the land, what a wondrous and beautiful time to be alive and alive we were.

In the kitchen, bread was rising in the granite ware pan, to be punched down from time to time and covered again with a dish towel until ready to knead and bake. Peas to shell, green beans to string, almonds to blanch and remove their skins then toast in the oven of little gas and wood stove, and leftover dough to toll into twists adding cinnamon and sugar and baked as well.

We visited the neighbors, the Joaquins, at the ranch at the end of the road, where Donny let me ride their big bay horse, and Joe, Sr. let me ride his paint horse, Chita, the Lopes’, where I loved to eat the ripe loquats from their trees, and Mrs. McConnell across the way, where I was amazed by her stove, a beautiful long-legged cream colored enamel one, standing there in the kitchen where we sat.

There were plums to eat from the trees, walnuts and almonds to harvest, husk, and shell, peaches and apples, as well, plus the grape vine and vegetable garden where carrots pulled from the ground and washed off at the faucet could be eaten at will, and one of my favorites at dinnertime, corn on the cob.

Grandma loved her chickens, Rhode Island Reds and particularly her cute little Bantams, with eggs to gather, some from under the chickens, and Maggie the Jersey cow to mild every night by the light of the old kerosene lantern we carried with us to the barn in the darkening evening

And, later, we enjoyed listening to the Fibber McGee & Molly show on the radio, waiting with anticipation for McGee’s famous closet to inevitably be opened, and with an exclaimed “oh no,” when everything came crashing down in the seeming never-ending cacophony of sound.

The mailbox was at the end of the gravel drive with its flag signal for incoming and outgoing mail, and one time we took the bus to town to the drug store, in the afternoon, and had a soda at the fountain and chose a horse comic book from the rack, and then hiked the five miles back home along Walnut Blvd., trudging up the steeper section past goat hill at the bus run had already ended its day.

Grandpa with the old hand crank tractor disked the acreage around the trees and hand plowed with the horse he borrowed from Joe Joaquin when the tractor wouldn’t start.

And we drove to town in the little coupe to see the next black and white western double feature at the Ramona theater, hoping one would be with the elusive Durango Kid, and during Christmas time my sister and I rode in the back, singing “nu ar det jul igen, It’s Christmas Again”, along with grandma.

I drove up Walnut Boulevard years later, and although the land had been sold and subdivided, I found the old house, with its majestic oak tree and original twisted wire fence encircling the front yard, where grandma grew her prize chrysanthemums, captured there in time, exactly as before, just like in Brigadoon. Yet, it’s all left to memory now according to Zillow, except that it’s still known as Sellings Court.

Marie (Dougherty) Kecskemeti
Rocklin, California
March 15, 2019