At Jack the kitty’s house, the sun goes down nearly directly above the point at which I-80 moves towards my home state of California, landing itself near Truckee, in the high mountains, before beginning descent into foothills and finally, the Central Valley. If we jetted south before entering CA, we could wind ourselves into Lake Tahoe’s “Crystal Bay”, the northern part of the lake on the Nevada side where you could hop into a gas station for a fill up and leave with both a gambling problem and a drinking problem.

On October 1, 1989, I turned 21 and my mom, took me, some family friends, and my boyfriend at the time, Steve, to Cal Neva Lodge on Stateline Rd in Crystal Bay to celebrate. In retrospect that night should have been weird–my mom had separated from my dad (was already dating someone new); loyalty was demanded; my 13 yo sister had been traumatized, ran off to dads and totally cut all ties with mom—but it was one of the most fun nights I’ve ever had. Maybe it was because mom was so happy–she was free of a what must have been a truly weird marriage for her, she loved to gamble, and Cal Neva Lodge itself had been owned by Frank Sinatra, who my mom revered for his similarity to her dad/my grandpa, Deck Hogin–but I drank, and laughed, and we went across the street to eat at a place Charlie Chaplin either owned or ate at (can’t remember but someone made a big deal about it), and it didn’t hurt that I was in love. Of course, 16 days later, on October 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake would hit, and so many things that hadn’t yet already been lost would then come to an end.

Cal Neva Lodge recently went bankrupt but was purchased by a billionaire who I’m hoping won’t ruin it, for I’ve mentioned to Julia (DD1) that when she turns 21, I’d like to have the same kind of party for her. We’ll drive into this sunset and arrive at Stateline, in the middle of the night, cold maybe, and walk in to the lodge through history, making new memories from the warm ones of my past.


[Edit, 8/26/2019:  Julia turned 21 5/17/19, and we didn’t end up at Cal Neva, opting instead for Vegas which ended up being pretty perfect.  I don’t think I can express how entertaining it was to see hammered over-21’s at The Flamingo Go-Pool taking their extended foreplay all the damned way within full sight of all of us gawkers who couldn’t believe what we were seeing–and a lifeguard who worked very VERY hard not to see it–because as luck would have it, my oldest daughter–born 7 weeks prematurely, like she new this shit would come to pass–entered the world on the same day as the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas hosts every single year.  Which has made this memory lane down towards Cal Neva seems like an adorable bottoms-up to quaintness in comparison and evolutionarily-speaking, is a ramp up for me.  Because I’m not the type of person to clutch pearls–since one persons “debauchery” is another’s elevation into the freedom needed to experience the bliss of nirvana–and my life has instilled the knowing that I don’t need to strong arm my experience to fit the mold of the past; for I AM the mold of that past, and carried with me in Vegas–with Julia, Livy, Ellen and Colton–all that has gone before and all that it made me love and appreciate].

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