Well, we had Taylor’s old truck towed to our new home in the country today. That is the last of our stuff. Just cleaning to do and we are out. It is kind of surreal. We haven’t lived here long (almost 3 years), but we have connections to this house that go back many many years.
Taylor lived here when he was 19 or so. It was his first home away from home back then. This house has been the home base for Taylor’s group of friends (and my friends now too, but they were his friends since childhood) for the last 17? or so years. It was in this home that Taylor began so many friendships, learned about himself, and grew into the man he is. Taylor has so many memories in this house of parties, creativity, music, chilling out with friends, conversations, new loves and romances, and pizza guy skits among other things. The pizza guy skits are probably one of my favorite Tioga stories. To pull off a pizza guy skit they would spend a day to dream up and create situations and skits to mess with the pizza guy. For instance, one time they set up a murder crime scene with full on flashing police lights coming from the back of the house, a “dead” body, police investigators, the whole schebang. When the pizza guy showed up the head detective started yelling something to the effect of, “Who ordered a pizza! This is a crime scene, who fucking ordered a pizza?!” Needless to say, it was years before the pizza places in town would deliver to Tioga again. Neil (whose family owns Tioga) and Abe lived here the longest, logging something like 13 years living together before Neil got married (he lived at Tioga with his wife Espi the first year they were married) and Abe moved in with his now wife Genevieve. I love hearing Tioga stories, some I was a part of, some I wasn’t . There is something beautiful about a home that holds so many memories and good times. So much creative energy and young ideals.
I first spent time at the Tioga house when I was 18 or so. My friend Jennifer brought me over to watch Neil’s band Built Like Alaska practice. Back then there were grape vinyards in the front and I was living in San Francisco. Driving back to Jennifer’s house in Merced I remember thinking how country it all was (even though I totally grew up in the country of Merced). Tioga, with the views, just seemed so secluded. Apparently, Taylor lived here at the time, but our paths didn’t cross. This was the first place I ever spent time in Oakdale. In a way, it started my journey to where I am now.
Tioga is also the home where Josephine was born. Right in the back bedroom, in which so many of our friends have lived throughout the years. She took her first breath here, took her first steps, and spoke her first words, all in this beautiful house. This is where we became a family. I feel so grateful to have gotten to bring this child into this world and begin her life in a home so full of love and friendship. I know that her amazing, creative personality is in part shaped by the energy of this house.
Although I am ecstatically happy to own such a beautiful country home, and hopeful and excited for the memories we will create there with our family and friends, leaving Tioga is bittersweet. Although my 10 years of memories pale in comparison to the countless memories Taylor and our friends have here, my connection to and love for this place is strong. I know the next family to live here (another of our friends, along with their beautiful daughter will move in soon) will feel all the love and beauty that this home has to offer. And with that I bid adieu.