We never forget our first . . .
bike or bad bike wreck,
pocket knife or gun,
nice piece of jewelry or losing it,
favorite restaurant you and your friends hung out at,
crush or being dumped,
kiss or kissing the wrong person,
first car, speeding ticket or crash,
drink or getting drunk,
adult friend or their passing,
first non-trivial job and paycheck,
time we felt like a real adult or the first time we missed our past youth.
Mine were. . .
. . . a cobbled together 3-speed my dad assembled from spare parts, and being knocked senseless early one evening by powering into a darkened curb and face planting into the sidewalk just 30 feet from the Petaluma D Street bridge (where we lived to be present at for its raising). Until my father (who was riding right behind me) picked me up and explained what happened, I had no idea why I suddenly felt so close to being dead.
. . . my beloved 3-blade folding Buck pocket knife from Bob’s Sporting Goods on Western Ave, downtown Petaluma around 1963 and a much used 16 gauge shotgun from my grandfather in 1967, I had to replace the knife years later after losing the original, but I still have the shotgun.
. . . a black obsidian ring my mother gave me and I lost into Bodega Bay while working on my grandfather’s fishing boat,
. . . King’s Cafe in downtown Petaluma, at the corner of Kentucky and Washington where my junior high school girl friend and I shared thousands of giant, fresh strawberry milkshakes any chance we got.
. . . about that crush and that kiss, both those ladies are still out there somewhere (I hope) so will remained unnamed until I get permission to name them. I never knew the owner of that wrong kiss and am still trying to forget it – brrr.
. . . my 1957 Chevy Biscayne, that I was ticketed for speeding late one night on Petaluma Blvd and later used this car to t-bone a small pickup in Navato. I won the encounter, but got ticketed for it too.
My dad finally yielded one day to my constant pleas to taste his Wild Turkey, and the result was not a pretty sight then later, in my San Jose apartment, experimenting with vodka when no one was around proved to be the only wisdom in this act as no one wants an audience while barfing up everything eaten in the past several hours. Ugh! Time to go back to simple fresh strawberry milkshakes.
. . . Bob McKinnon was my childhood neighbor across the street, and worked for the Petaluma Coop Creamery. He loved all us kids and lived like he was my second father. He cared about anything that bothered me and had a talent for helping me see truth. His passing in 2007 was an earth-shaking loss.
My first, non-trivial job was with Petaluma based, Ross-Holm Company at Howard Street, just NW of Western. They manufactured automated dairy equipment in the 1960s. I was their milk pump repair guy and loved, LOVED that job and the people I worked with. I was so proud walking into Petaluma Redwood Credit Union at Liberty and Washington Street, to deposit that first huge check and watching the banker lady as she handwrote and date stamped it into my account book. I then used some of that money to open my first checking account. Full adulthood was not in hand, but I could see it within reach that day.
To this day, I can’t drive past the old Stornetta dairy site in Sonoma, which burned in the 2017 county-wide fire storm, without recalling the work I did at their dairy. I was offered, and sadly had to decline the dream prom date while working there. You can read that story here.
I knew I was a real adult with the chance to prove I was up to the task, when I started my first professional career as an electronics engineer in San Jose and missed my childhood the very next April when I had to fill out and file my own taxes for the first time without mom’s help.
Are you willing to share yours?