long ago

My cousin LeeAnn’s mother was my maternal grandmother’s sister. I therefore saw her and her sister Mary at family events with some regularity. LeeAnn is a lot of years older than me. In advance of my birthday she posted on my Facebook wall an anecdote about me that took place when I was very young, which I will refrain from reproducing here in order to save myself considerable embarrassment.

She did however mention the old Methodist church in my hometown of Hemet. It was on Florida Avenue, the main street, at Buena Vista Street. She wrote, “It was just a short walk down the street [from my grandparent’s house] to the church and it seemed so big to me. Do you remember it as being so big?”

In fact, I do.

I was comfortable in the preschool classroom in the basement of the church. I’m told I was singing “see you later alligator” when we were supposed to be singing “Jesus loves me.” But the sanctuary was big and massive and scary and intimidating.

We moved to Barstow in 1960. The church property was sold to Hemet Federal Savings and Loan, and by the time we returned in 1963 the building was gone, replaced by a big, shiny, new S&L building with a large time and temperature display. It is now an office building for the City of Hemet.

We came back from Barstow to a new Methodist church complex at Mayberry and Buena Vista, where the church remains today.

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