Home is where your head is…

Last week, Jennie and I, John, and Cathy went to Trestles Restaurant in Capitola, a small, very chic eatery located near the venerable trestle itself. As we enjoyed our meal, I talked a lot about growing up in Capitola and my family’s history in the village area. During the conversation, I realized, within sight of our table, that I could point out three or four places where I had childhood memories. Upon deeper reflection, I offered, at a future date, to conduct a walking tour of the town where I could identify in detail my many youthful experiences. The thing is, every hundred feet, I could conjure up a memory. And not just a memory of an event, but a memory of what was going through my head at that particular moment in time—my emotions as well as more cogent thoughts. Home is where your head is.

I feel fortunate to have lived in the same area my entire life. My great-grandfather set down roots here around the turn of the last century, building a small cottage a block from Soquel Creek on Blue Gum Avenue. It still stands and remains in the family. The visual cues I encounter throughout the downtown will always bring to mind stories about the episodes of my life, from the early impressions of a toddler to the more sophisticated perspectives of a young adult. A walk through Capitola is a walk through my past and a walk through my forebearers’ past.

And what of the Indigenous people that preceded the Europeans, who came to the mouth of Soquel Creek to build their villages and live their lives?

The Ohlone occupied this area for over 2000 years. The original peoples, possibly the Esselen, were here 8000 years prior. Once established, they seldom roamed into bordering territories except for occasional trade, marriage contracts, and sporadic small wars. There is no doubt that tribal members knew every part of the natural landscape in an intimate manner. And they knew the oral traditions and collective consciousness of certain landmarks, as well as the points of light in the night sky.

Imagine this: touching a colossal redwood tree, knowing that a millennium ago your direct ancestors touched the same tree; or fishing in the same stream that your grandfathers fished; or climbing the same mountain top, the mountain top that your creator climbed, to gaze upon the setting sun.

Humans desire continuity. We want to know who we are, where we came from, why we are here. The permanence of place and time are important aspects of our being, providing a basis from which we can expand our thoughts, pursue our dreams, and seek satisfaction in our lives. To renew oneself by returning to those places where we find our history, sort it out, remedy any suffering, and then continue on a path of right action gives us strength as individuals to make things better.
The Ohlone found those places every day.

We can do the same.

Take a walk through the places in your mind that give you comfort—for me, it’s visiting Capitola, especially the old trestle that spans Soquel Creek.

Five Hundred Moons reflects on the traditions and lifestyle of the Ohlone people. Find out about Buzz Anderson’s historical novel here.

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  1. Frank Hennessey

    Buzz, thanks for the memories when I moved here in 4th grade and we lived in the 5 sisters house (across from the sea wall). You were my first friend and we played catch in front of the houses. You lived at the shoreline. Once again thanks for the memories and to this day we’re still friends.

  2. Dan Barker

    Love this article, that’s why I always go back!❤️

  3. Anne Tomforde

    Great article Buzz! I feel blessed to be a part of your Capitola history…
    like climbing those stairs how many hundreds, no thousands of times for you!!! ????
    What an incredible place to grow up and live!

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