I have often written in praise of the “Hebrew School Carpool.” Around here we call it the Kapolei Carpool and it has become an established method of transportation for the small group of West Oahu Jewish families who are driving the 21 miles back and forth, some times several times a week, to Temple Emanu-El in Honolulu for our kids to attend the Jewish School of Studies.
On Sunday mornings it’s pretty easy. We zip in and out of Honolulu in less than 30 minutes, with little interference. Traveling west on H-1 into Town on a weekday afternoon poses a challenge. Traffic congestion is random and can start as early as 3:00 pm. Often the pace makes a slow crawl until well after 6:00 pm.
But that’s not what this blog post is about. It has to do with the carpool, but in a much different way.
While forming the Kapolei Carpool was generally effortless, it took me much longer to find a carpool with neighborhood families whose children go to the same secular school that mine attend. I’ve been looking for a kindred group of drivers since my Teenager was in second grade and was not successful until recently.
Several of Middle Schooler’s classmates live nearby and together we have established a nice carpool system.
We’ve told her to be at the ready to jump in the designated driver’s car as soon as it pulls up to the house. I don’t like to wait for other kids when I drive, so I don’t want other parents to wait for mine.
I told her about my Hebrew School days carpooling with the Rosmans, Shermans and Oxmans. My parents made us go outside to wait for them. We would sit on the red brick wall that divided our yard from that of our neighbors, the Armstrongs.
That’s what this blog post is about, the red brick wall in the front yard of the house where I lived for the first 18 years of my life at 5081 Somerset Street in Buena Park, California.
One of the main attractions of our trip to Buena Park was a visit to that house.
We entered the neighborhood from Beach Boulevard and turned right on Los Coyotes Drive. It was called Bellehurst when we were kids, but now the entrance simply boasts the way to Los Coyotes Country Club.
Turning right on Country Club Drive, we wound our way to Somerset Street. We pointed out the few houses whose former occupants we remember. We got to the Morish’s house, 5 doors from ours and entered “The Zone”: the Morish’s, The Jensen’s, The Sheatz’s, please remind me if you remember the name of this family, the Armstrong’s and ours.
And there we were, facing the home of our childhood and the wonderful memories it holds. The front yard was the gathering place for croquet games, hide ‘n seek marathons and relay races of any kind.
The red brick wall was not only a bus stop for the local carpool. It was home base for kickball games and the launching point for piggy back rides and the wooden stilts that a family friend made for us.
We hesitated about parking in front of the house to get a good look. It felt kind of stalkerish. But I insisted. Why hide?
They have added plants in front of the wall where we used to play so we had to take pictures sitting on the wall from the Armstrong’s side.
By the time I was taking pictures of the tree, a lady came out the front door to ask us what we were doing! We explained who we are and she was very nice. She told us that mail addressed to the Gershun family was delivered to them a few times. We talked about the yard, the area and the schools. And then we were on our way.
I visited the area in 2009 and took photos of the house and wall. It has changed, even since then.
On that trip I reconnected with childhood friends.
On this trip I reconnected with my sister, our childhood and myself. Each stop on our itinerary prompted us to relate personal perspectives of experiences we shared, rejuvenating the wonderful memories of growing up in our childhood home at 5081 Somerset and the surrounding Bellehurst neighborhood.