This morning, while indulging in my daily 8 minutes of writing on the Lifecraft journal app, the prompt was about “Drive-bys.” Drive-bys? I thought. What are drive-bys?

The prompt defined them as “places we drive by that evoke powerful memories and emotions.” I suddenly realized that I have lots of drive-bys, as I’m sure we all do. I’d like to share a few of them here.

Many are houses and they are all in Southern California, where I grew up. My mother’s house doesn’t qualify yet because she still lives there, but, until it does qualify, there are several others.

There is, for instance, the house across the street from my mother and slightly to the right. It’s the house I bought in 2005, lived in until 2010, and sold in 2013. I will always love that house.

There is the apartment house, less than a mile away, where I lived from 1996 to 2000. It was where I first tasted true independence but still lived near family. The day I moved in I adopted two sweet kitties, both of whom lived long enough to be a part of my current chapter in the Pacific Northwest.

Not far from there is my grandparents’ house. It isn’t the house where my mother was raised, but it is the only house they lived in during my lifetime. There are hundreds (probably thousands) of memories attached to it. They’ve both been gone for 10 years, but I still slow down when I drive past it. As houses go, it is my most powerful drive-by. The palm trees that line the street make for a glorious silhouette as nighttime approaches.

When my hubby first visited California, he was very taken by the willowy palm trees in the neighborhood. I appreciate them more, having seen them through his eyes.

There are the houses that belonged to elementary school friends. I still smile when I drive by them as fun, silly childhood memories rise to the surface.

There’s the Los Angeles Arboretum, where we often visited as a family. That’s a wonderful drive-by. The peacocks, the gardens, Queen Anne’s Cottage (where exteriors of Fantasy Island were filmed,) the benches where we ate tuna fish or egg salad sandwiches, the fountain we used to cool ourselves on summer days, and so many other little details all weave a warm blanket of nostalgia.

The Los Angeles Arboretum. What child wouldn’t love running around in this setting? We did!

When we visit Utah, my favorite drive-by is BYU campus. 1989 to 1994, when I was a student there, was a time of extreme personal growth, major milestones, and where I met terrific friends I still have today. Other drive-bys are my freshman dorms and the apartment house I lived in for 3 years. Oh, the memories!

A picture I took of BYU campus in 2016. My heart swells with love for this place of academic, personal, and spiritual learning.

And, of course, there’s Temple Square, which I first visited as a teenager. I think it is one of the most marvelous places in the whole world. It’s meaning and history, as well as the faith, patience, sacrifice, and sweat that went into its conception and construction never fail to impress me.

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 9.25.47 AM
I took this photo of the breathtaking Salt Lake Temple in 2013. (An artistic attempt.) The historic, domed Tabernacle is on the left. The Conference Center is on the right.

Locally, I have two drive-bys. One is the Portland Temple, which has come to mean a lot to me since moving here. I think of any temple I’ve visited, the Portland Temple touches my heart the most. I truly think of it as “my temple.”

This is one of a series of photos I took of the Portland Temple in 2012. I love this temple so much.

The other is the beautiful man-made lake in our little town. No matter what the season, the lake twinkles at a certain time of day, usually just before dusk. It was my solace during the first few months here, where I would walk 2-3 times a day to break up the drudgery of unpacking and the challenge of adjusting to being away from my family. (Even a happily married newlywed misses her family!) We’re fortunate to live only a few steps away.

Our neighborhood lake in Spring…
…late Summer/early Autumn…
…and Winter.

When I go into brainstorm mode, these are my drive-bys. All of them evoke powerful memories, just like the definition requires. And all of those memories point north to the person I am today.


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