Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
Growing up on Mission Bay in the 50’s was fun for a child my age. There were lots of other kids to play with, and all sorts of things to do. Put a boy on the beach, and he’ll never get bored.
Then we moved around the Old Town area and rented an apartment on Reynard Way. Now at 4 years of age, I had nothing to do and no friends. There was an outdoor rug and carpet washing place next door, but watching the crew work got old fast. It was a good thing I was born a boy or I wouldn’t have had nothing to play with. Then I made an interesting discovery that changed my life forever.
One day I was looking up the cliff behind our building, checking out the property above. There were all sorts of neat little enclosures up there made of lattice work. I remember the jade green colored roofs and the pretty flowers and bushes, their colors brightening up the otherwise dull and brown cliff sides. I always wanted to go up there and play, but the cliffs were too dangerous, and I would have gotten in big trouble for even thinking about attempting an adventure such as that.
Then I saw what looked like a wisp of smoke…. and then I saw them!
He looked like a Garden Gnome, only wearing a green hat instead of a red one. He was about a foot tall, sitting in a tree, smoking a white clay pipe. She was sitting up on the edge of a roof, with long black hair and little horns sticking out of her head. I called her the “Devil Lady” although there was nothing evil or scary about her. She was just a touch shorter then he was, and I could see that they were talking. The other one was some kind of animal with big yellow eyes and a long tail. He was a funny little critter and moved around like a monkey in the jungle, all over everything. They seemed oblivious that I was watching them, and went about their business probably thinking they were being very discreet and clever. I didn’t know that these little people existed outside of story books, but there they were!
I watched them every day. One time I called up to them. They couldn’t hear me I guess, but that was okay, I was making plans to get up that cliff, one way or another no matter what, for an up close and personal visit. It never happened. Shortly afterwards, we moved away. I never saw them again.
A few weeks ago and a half a century later, I went back to look them up. Nothing was up on that cliff except for a few remnants of what once was a beautiful garden with a few outbuildings.
Everyone and everything had moved on, except the magic.