—From EF—

The tax forms went to the post office yesterday and today I can breathe better. My life has not been beset by allergies, but they’re beginning to introduce themselves, most notably with a little tingle in the nose when I wake. I can deal with it. I revel in the shameless intoxicating seduction of all the flowering entities in Sebastopol. And when it comes time for jasmine, I remember Dogpatch.

7310 Bodega Avenue, our first home in Sebastopol, was a tiny cottage back from the street, behind the much statelier 7308, and hidden by a massive eight-foot hedge of jasmine. It was the only thing I’d been able to find that would rent month-to-month, but the fact that it was borderline shabby and the whole thing sat at a slant didn’t matter. We got used to hiking uphill to the bathroom and learned not to put vitamin pills on the kitchen table—they’d roll off. We nicknamed it Dogpatch, for reasons lost in the mist of time. After all, it’s about to be 25 years since we arrived there.

It was a shoebox heaven, just a block and a half from Main Street. The library was almost next door. There was a little theatre at Bodega and Main, with a great cafe next door. I could walk our bulk-mail flyers to the post office in ten minutes, and ten minutes in a different direction got me to the supermarket. But the blue-ribbon Best Thing was that it was in Sebastopol, and it was dressed in jasmine.

Luckily, we could park our massive Dodge van off-street, right by our rickety front steps, and more than once we used the van for a guest bedroom. In June of 1999 our full-time job of house-hunting began. It didn’t go well, but after four months of becoming more and more dejected, the heavens opened and revealed the perfect house. Negotiations were tricky and took more than a month, but we signed (and signed, and signed) in November, paid most of the money we had, and waited until February for the seller to find a place of her own and move out. Then, farewell, Dogpatch. You were a friendly little haven, and best of all, you had jasmine.


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