6025 Gardena Lane - June's and Stan's Home
- Published on Friday, 23 May 2008 20:23
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
(Shades of V. Starrett's "221B - March 1942)
(Photo above is 6025 Gardena Lane - summer)
6025 Gardena Lane - June's and Stan's Home
Here dwelled together June and Stan.
The Year is always 1995!
June's memory and spirit provide a presence that will never die.
How very near June seems, yet so very far.
That age before the world went all awry.
The laughter of the holiday joys can still be heard -
For all whose ears are attuned to catch the distant time.
America is still America with all our fears.
For only those things the heart believes are true.
As the night descends on Gardena Lane -
The setting sun bathes the hillside in a golden glow.
To the nostalgic mind, June's voice, softly -
In awe can still be heard:"Isn't it so beautiful."
A lonely jogger strains against the hill.
Here, though the world explode - these two survive.
The year is always nineteen ninety five.
Stan Berg - July 4th 2006
(Photo above is 6025 Gardena Lane in mid Winter)
On July 4th, 2006 I was sitting alone and thinking of June and what had happened to her and our life together. While Independence Day is normally a happy day for June and I, this day was a very sad one. June in Alzheimer's late stages, had just experienced her third seizure that morning and this event left me feeling emotionally down and depressed. I thought of how the Sherlock Holmes fans constructed an imaginary world where the year was always 1895. It was a refuge to temporarily escape the present day stresses of life. Vincent Starrett put it all in a poem (1942) that inspired me (while I an no poet) to try to write my own using his ideas.
The Hotel Sofitel Connection: At the time I was sad and reminiscing about June in one of our old favorite spots at the Hotel Sofitel. That day it became my refuge. June and I always sat in the rather spacious lobby at a small table with a basket of French bread, a cheese and fruit plate and a glass of our favorite wine, white Zinfandel. "People watching" was also one of our favorite pastimes. In those days the Sofitel had a gifted and friendly piano player who performed in the late afternoon and early evenings. We much enjoyed his rendition of some of our old favorite melodies. The lobby background decor then was of a Parisian street scene. It was great fun. June would always finish the day by stopping in the small French oriented lobby gift shop, where some cards were sure to be purchased. A number of New Year's Eves and New Year's days were spent at the Sofitel. While the Sofitel is not a direct part of the poem, it was the key that started the thought processes that took me into another time.
Why the year 1995 - It was a great year in which the word "Alzheimer's" was never a part of our vocabulary. There was no 9/11 mentality loose in our world. Although we did not go to London that year, we did have a grand travel time in connection with forensic activities.
We spent a February week at Seattle, Washington in connection with the American Academy of Forensic Science. (AAFS) We spent a week in June in San Diego, California with the forensic firearms group. (AFTE) July found us in in Costa Mesa, California for a week with the International Association for Identification. (IAI) That fall in September we had a fun week in Alexandria, Minnesota with the Minnesota State Forensic Group. (Minn Division of IAI)
(Photo on the right is of June and Stan at San Diego, California in June 1995 - AFTE Conference.)
We later hosted the Holidays at 6025 as was our custom for many years. It was a year in which the smile that would light up June's entire face was ever present. The setting is also exactly one hundred years later than (1895) the original "221b"(Baker Street) by Starrett.
I have heard June comment on so many occasions as we sat together in the kitchen in the late afternoon, looking down across the lawn and the hillside -
"Isn't it so beautiful."
Even as she later struggled with Alzheimer's, she appreciated God's beauty when I seemed to be blind or overlooked it.
June always loved our home at 6025 Gardena Lane more than any other home we have ever owned...this was our third house or home that we owned but the first one in which June and I participated to the extent of selecting the lot on a hillside, participating in the design of the semi-split level plans and watched it being built. We both lived in this home for almost 40 years before Alzheimer's took June away. Almost without fail, as June and I would back our car down the sloping driveway and into the street, June would look back at our home and remark:
"We have such a nice Home"
The home was not especially deluxe, but we did have two real brick fireplaces, one on each level and a living room with a series of five tall large windows that overlooked the hillside.
June loved the home...what a sad day when June left our home forever to finish out her remaining days in a nursing home...16 March 2008...her 8th year of Alzheimer's.
Now, whenever I back our car out of the driveway, I again hear her words: "We have such a nice Home!"
Photo Notes: The photo on the right side above is of June sitting in front of one of our fireplaces on the lower level in our family room/office. Photo in December 1994. June is demonstrating her usual million dollar smile. Photo below right is June sleeping by upper level fireplace with family cat "Wumpy" resting on top of her. (Ca. 1970) Photo below center is June and my mother Ellen during Christmas time in 2000.
Initially I bought into the myth that Alzheimer's was basically a memory disease. I understood that with patience, understanding and some adjustments, I would be able to take care of June in our home for her lifetime. It was later that I came to understand the cruel scope of Alzheimer's disease.
In reality June's brain was slowly dying and the short term memory (later long term) were only the beginning symptoms of this terrible disease.
As the brain slowly died, it would began to shut down the body functions (walking, talking, eating etc.) with associated personality changes.
Eventually her proper care would be far beyond what I could manage for her alone in our home.
On 16 March 2005, June was placed in the care of an Alzheimer's facility.
On 23 October 2008, June passed away from the complications of this disease.
June was and will always be, the love and light of my life.
“Who Will Watch The Home Place”
Kate Long – Charleston, WV – 1994
(International BMA Song of the Year)
Who will watch the home place Who will tend my hearts dear space
Who will fill my empty place When I am gone from here
Leaves are falling and turning to showers of gold
There's a lovely green nook by a clear-running stream
It was my place when I was quite small
And it's creatures and sounds could soothe my worst pains
But today they don't ease me at all
In my grandfather's shed there are hundreds of tools
I know them by feel and by name
And like parts of my body they've patched this old place
When I move them they won't be the same
Now I wander around touching each blessed thing
The chimney the tables the trees
And my memories swirl 'round me like birds on the wing
When I leave here oh who will I be
Who will watch the home place
Who will tend my hearts dear space
Who will fill my empty place When I am gone from here
Stan’s Notes: This beautiful song “Who Will Watch The Home Place"..."When I am Gone Fom Here” by Kate Long, deeply touches my heart and raises the same question and many similar memories in my mind when I think of June and our home at 6025 Gardena Lane...While this song was written about a different family in a different time, there are enough similarities to create the same questions and the same emotions. While I removed three lines that I felt were not appropriate for our family, the rest of the song is just as Kate Long wrote it in 1994. The song pictures a grandchild living in the grand parent’s “Home Place” with its many memories and who apparently will soon have to leave…...the mention of tools reminds me of my basement shop of many gunsmith and related tools from my forensic ballistics days...I think of our fireplaces that June loved, both upstairs and down. On this particular day as I write this, the leaves are also falling and turning to showers of gold. June and my home goes back 46 years to 1966 when it was first built for us. June hosted the family Thanksgiving and Christmas Day dinners for our children, and grandchildren for some 30 plus years before Alzheimer’s took over! All of our children lived in the home for a portion of their life. Recently one of our granddaughters Emily expressed similar concerns about what would happen to our “Home Place” and its many memories when I am gone gone from here! – Stan Berg - 2 October 2012.
A Suggestion for Readers: For greater detail on June's life with Alzheimer's, please click on the following links:
Ada Padron Criscione - Edgewater, New Jersey ( 5 July 2012) "Stanton you have a gift for sharing a story. So many times I read what you have written and I am totally taken to another place. This morning I was transported to 6025 Gardena Lane. Thank you for sharing"
Christine Walend - Lorain, Ohio - (5 July 2012): "I thank you for sharing this, Stanton. My mom has suffered 2 seizures..one in February, one in April. The first one that she had, they thought it was a possible stroke, posible seizure? She ended up in the hospital for a few days for testing..., since it was her 1st one and she has a pacemaker and existing heart problems? Turns out it was not her heart. Your page is very informative for me, I "thank you" so much for all you have done to help people understand this dreadful disease."
Jan Burns - Great Wyrley, United Kingdom - (9 August 2012): "A very moving poem Stan, your explanation about your experiences and the creation of the poem gives the reader an insight into what life was like for you and June - how lucky you were you to have found each other."
Kathy Guess - Kalamazoo, Michigan- (9 August 2012): "Thank You For Sharing Stanton very interesting about you and you lovely wife June's life and great poem !!"
Sheri DuBro Alpert - Englewood, Ohio - (2 October 2012):"Your posts are always so beautiful and touching. My mom and dad just celebrated their 53rd anniversary last week. It broke my heart thinking of my dads thoughts. A woman he loved his whole life in at the ending stages. We cherish every moment we have with her now and memories from the past. I pray for a cure everyday. For myself, siblings and children. You inspire me daily."
Dianne Cogar - Springfield, Ohio - (4 October 2012): "I love this song though it is so very sad. It makes me stop to think about this myself, "Who Will Watch The Home Place."
Sandra Lynn Valentin-Mitchell - Chicago, Illinois - (7 October 2012): "We often think of all this..., as there really isn't anyone to take care of anything for us! So we just say, "What will be will be". Very sad though, when we look around at everything that is now ours and has personal meaning..."I'm so sorry for your hurt,...June and you were so fortunate to have each other!"
Laura Carter - Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom - (8 October 2012): "My family have been thinking about this with the onset of grandads Alzheimer's. We promised him we would keep him in his home, a place full of memories of nan for him. My mum will stay there when the time comes but I don't know if I could. I like to think that the memories we make are worth so much more than the possessions we have. I hope you are ok. I love reading about your life with June. You were both very lucky to have found your soul mates."
June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website under the "In Memoriam" label - or Click on: