Life In My Hanly Road Home by Sharon
It was my husband’s family’s Oakland roots that brought us to Oakland. Our location on Hanly Road strengthened that family connection. I so love Dimond Park, especially because of the preserved adobe building in the middle of the park where my father-in-law, born in 1910, attended many boy scout meetings. He and his two brothers loved exploring all of Oakland, including Sausal Creek which runs through Dimond Park and continues upstream through the channel straightened with walls and grade control structures by the depression era Works Progress Administration. Most of the WPA concrete has since been removed. I have beengrateful to raise my children in an urban setting right next to natural trails through a creek bed and up under Highway 13 connecting with other trails of Joaquin Miller Park and beyond. My children came to know those trails and to love the outdoors.
I have known Hanly Road itself through my children. The addresses in my mental address book are not numbers – I continue to identify Mary Jane’s house, Bobby’s house, Sheli’s house, Kim’s house, never mind the house numbers and how many times they have changed ownership. It was a neighborhood with many children. There were friendships and there were rivalries. I remember my shock when a group of pre-adolescents from Oakmore came tearing down beside my neighbor’s house on Oakmore and invaded my backyard to throw invective on the Hanly Road close-knit clan of a similar age. Fortunately, the Oakmore clan and the Hanly Road clan were also friendly many times as well as sometimes competitive.
I wish that I had not sent my picture albums off to storage. If I had them with me, I would show pictures of children playing in the backyard, of children on the swing set no longer standing, and of the family reunions we hosted and which overflowed into the backyard. I would especially show the photos taken in the backyard by our accommodating neighbor Wally from Oakmore of our reunion crowd which included my 100-year-old father-in-law and his 99-year-old brother.
We were blessed with good neighbors, including Wally and his wife Gail who have been in their home longer than my 45 years on Hanly Road. Pat and Bill also spent many years as our neighbors and the Engs were there long before us. I remember an incident back a good number of years when a fierce wind blew down the fence between our yard and the yard of very elderly Dr. Baker. Neighbors whose properties were not affected joined with my family to get the fence back up in short order. Dr. Baker was effusive in his thanks. Such is the neighborliness on Hanly Road and Oakmore.
And the shape of our particular block and the properties are unique. The length of bordering properties behind my house afforded roaming space for our cats of several generations and did our cats ever appreciate such surroundings. Our dogs of several generations loved the walking space afforded by the neighborhood and the Sausal Creek and connecting trails. The location has blessed all who dwelt within our property lines and beyond. May another family reap such gifts.
From the kids...
We grew up in a pack of wily kids on Hanly Road, and we had all the best places to explore. After school and weekends we would head up the creek, even finding rogue golf balls from the driving range. We loved the mystery of the tunnels on Sausal Creek, and spent hours exploring under rocks, finding salamanders and even trying to "fish" with our homemade fishing rods, with hairbands as lures. I don't know why we thought that would work. Kid logic.
Sunny days we roller skated and even biked the area so we could draw maps of the streets and how they connected. Rainy days we spent writing "Hanly Road Mysteries", and recording them on cassettes. I remember one summer we spent at the Dimond Park Rec Center, and we choreographed a whole story to the "Queen Shear Heart Attack" album, with some crazy storyline I think only we could understand.
The staff at Dimond Park Rec were sure used to us, their regular rat pack. They had to chase us out of there on more than one occasion! Clarisse, the director, and her daughter Teresa were there and I remember being so amazed when Teresa would get a squirrel to walk all the way up her sleeve to get a peanut! Ken was our counselor for the youth group so we spent hours "team building", and I remember his coaching us to somehow work together to climb a high wall, something we could only accomplish as a group, hoisting and pulling each other up. And we did it!
Summer after summer we swam on the Lion's Swim Team at the pool in Dimond Park. I don't think we knew how lucky we were, amidst the old Oak trees and the redwoods. It is such an amazing neighborhood, great food down the road, nature at your doorstep, Bart a straight shot bus ride away. I guarantee you we had no idea how blessed we were to be there .