Saturday, December 31, 2011

Counting Down

You may have read this before if you are a long-time follower of Housecat Confidential. Hope you enjoy it.

It may seem an odd stretch for a woman, who’s never played golf, to write a story about her memories of growing up across the street from a golf course, but I do have some fond memories of the place just the same. I grew up in a house in Studio City CA, across the street from the neighborhood golf course which made my house the easiest one in the neighborhood to find. My directions, to everyone who came to my house, went something like this:

“I live two blocks down from Ventura, on Whitsett, on the corner of – never mind, do you know where the golf course is? Okay, I live kitty-corner from the club house.”

At which point they would ask what kitty-corner meant, and I would say it means diagonally across (why I didn’t just say “diagonally across” to begin with is a mystery to me even now) and then they knew right where to find me.

My next memory revolves around a high school crush. I was outside watering the plants in my front yard one afternoon when I noticed my crush across the street puttering around (puttering around… that’s a golf term right?) on the putting green. As it turned out he was on the golf team (I know - I was just as shocked, who knew there were high school golf teams?) and they practiced right across the street. The next day in school I gathered my courage and spoke to him.

“Hi, I saw you playing over at the putting green yesterday. I live kitty-corner from the golf course.”

“Oh yeah? The golf team practices over there - what’s Caddy Corner?”

“It's Kitty-corner, it means diagonally across - We have a golf team?” (Strike one for me)

“Yes we do! It must be nice to live right across the street, do you play?”

“Um, er, ah… No, I’ve never been over there actually.” (Strike two)

“You live caddy corner and never walked across the street to play?”

“No, and it’s KITTY-Corner.” (Strike three and the budding romance was over)

I did finally make it over there, to the putting green at least, and it’s my favorite memory. It was the year I turned eighteen, and the night before my birthday I threw a big party at my house. My house felt overheated and too loud for me (even then I was a Granny), so just before midnight I snuck outside to catch a breath of cold air. Midnight is special in this story because my party was held on December 31st.

In all the homes around me I could hear people celebrating and getting ready to usher in my birthday, and sure, the New Year too. Outside it was completely still and I felt like I was alone in the world. A full moon lit up the street with an ethereal glow, and although it was cold, it felt completely invigorating after the heat of the party. In that moment it felt like the world was holding its breath, waiting with me for the next chapter to begin.

I was surprised to see that there wasn’t a single car in sight as I walked to the edge of the street in front of my house. I walked into the middle of the street, and I stood there for a few moments, drinking in the moment that I knew wouldn't last. I could hear the ever-building excitement in the homes all around me.

I looked over at the golf course and I decided I’d waited long enough to visit. I crossed the street diagonally and I hopped over the short fence. I took off my party shoes and I felt the manicured grass under my feet. I never knew grass could feel like that, like velvet but cool and damp. I ran into the center of the green, and I danced, knowing that no one was watching me. I could hear the New Year rapidly approaching as the party-goers counted down the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. I knew that they would all begin to spill out into the world in a moment, unable to keep the quiet any longer, and they did.

My friends came outside and followed me across the street to dance on the grass too. I shared my first kiss as an adult on that grass, but I remember most those last moments when I left my childhood behind and embraced my future - dancing on the grass when I felt like the world was all mine, that everything was before me and nothing was beyond my reach.

Happy New Year - Hope you find a nice patch of grass, and I think it's time to find my own again too.


  1. What a wonderful story. It gave me goosebumps! Now I have always said "catty - corner" so I looked it up and it turns out catty-corner is a variant of kitty-corner. So today I learned something new!

    Simba's Mom

  2. Such a lovely post, Meg. I remember that youthful feeling, that all was before you and that you could "reach the stars" if only you tried.

    Experience and age can teach us differently, but dancing on the grass in bare feet still is a joy.

    Happy new year to you all. I hope 2012 brings more laughter and joy than tears and sorrow. :-)

  3. What beautiful memories Meg!

    Happy new year

  4. What lovely memories! For someone who dances on a golf course at night in bare feet you are not so much a granny, then lol

    Happy Birthday, Happy New Year and Happy blogging x

  5. Those are great memories. I have never heard of kitty corner but my gran used to describe things that were diagonal as being cat wise. I had forgotten all about that until I read your post. Happy New Year and birthday to you and Fin.

  6. I love this. People who say 'caddy' corner have always bugged me. Hope your bday was grand!!!
    xo Debbie