We moved from San Francisco to St. Helena the second year of my son Phy's life, which would have been 1973. Sonoma found a cottage behind a farmhouse and barn, in an old inactive orchard ranch. This was right in the middle of the valley about five miles north of Saint Helena at it's narrowest point, with grape fields to the north and south. Off across a field to the east was a wide swath of trees and dense thicket to the river. On the east side of the river was more thicket to to the road called the Silverado Trail, across which was Glass Mountain, an obsidian quarry for the native Indians of old.
This was in the period when wine was the fad, and everyone had to have a Vin'Yard. They ripped out beautiful woods to put in their one acre grape fields, which they visited once or twice a year, but where at every party doctors and lawyers stood around with wine glasses and bragged about their Vin'Yard in Saint Helena. The place next door to the Northwest was a gravel pit, meaning it was nothing but rocks and some guy paid a fortune for his grape heaven, of which nothing could be grown there because it was a rock quarry.
I had no money and was making ceramic flutes to sell, which Sonoma sold at the Valencourt Fountain in San Francisco, where there was held crafts sales on the weekends. Sonoma liked to go to San Francisco anyway, and sometime I wondered why she had moved out here. I realized at some point that the government had extended the length of time one could collect on the GI Bill.
(1 of 32)