Sometimes I think I missed some huge part of my life. I think I told myself I could come back, that things wouldn’t be different, but then years passed and things changed and I went back to a different experience. I think about when I was a kid, how I dressed, where I went, the music I heard. How things looked to be four feet tall and not updated since the 80’s. I think about Knott’s Berry Farm how it was when I was a kid and I feel like I missed a chance to experience something there. When I go there now, it’s fairly clean and streamlined and the same repackaged thing that so many other theme parks are around the country. When I was a kid…it held so much more experience. It was gritty and old and something that I hadn’t done yet; it was the 1970’s and politically incorrect. I think about the tunnel under Beach Boulevard from the front gate to the parking lot, what (last I saw) was painted over with a wave pattern as a giant ad for Soak City. When I was a kid, it was a dated mural of a western town. It was an icon, and I loved studying it–looking at the farm painting and how the really rather crude buildings looked under the yellow light of sunset, or the harsh yellow bulb and fluorescent lighting as I shivered under someone else’s coat on the way back to the car. The last time I remember seeing it was I don’t remember when. Probably a day camp trip, eating the powdered fruit candy I’d get in the Mexican Village candy store. Listening to the counselors, talking with my friends, and still keeping an eye on the mural in case it went anywhere. I wasn’t looking hard enough, because it did. It’s like the magic that was held in our monthly trips up to Big Bear when I was a kid. That cabin was a vacation, it was my nature sanctuary for a time, my place to play and draw and bundle up at night. My place to be scared, to long to be home and still have more vivid memories of being in the cabin than I do being home. Pancakes every Saturday morning–the smell of Crisco on the hot griddle, the taste of shakeable pancake batter from a jug. Burnt bacon, Hershey’s chocolate milk from a half gallon, white toast and eggs. Donald Duck orange juice, the Stator Bros. location that I still think hasn’t been remodeled since the 1970’s. Being small enough to sit on the lower shelf of the shopping cart. In fact, the last time I was in Big Bear for any serious length of time, I was still small enough to sit there. I had gotten my first pair of heels. I associate my childhood with western light, with looking at the brown hills over Brea from my front window and listening to No Doubt before I knew who they were. Eating at Love’s in Brea almost every Friday, sitting in the back room and watching my mom and uncle eat the Chuck Wagon. Looking at the western art, thinking about the mural at Knott’s, and feeling an odd relation to the 1970’s. Somehow, my childhood always came back to those harvest golds, those rusts and avocados. Western light and the popular interior design colors of a time known for its poor taste. I don’t know why; I don’t know why I remember any of the things I remember. But I do know what I missed, and that was a second glance.

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