My Grandfather took an unusually large amount of slide photos during the year 1959 and perhaps that was due to the fact that he had just started taking slide photos, and he was excited about creating a whole new medium to share. Grandfather was a Landscaper/Nursery Owner and during the winter time he managed properties that needed care while people were away. When the Lake Tahoe area got snow in the winter time, the snow fall would be so heavy and intense that it would break the roofs of the summer homes and cottages, so my Grandfather and some others that worked for him would remove the snow from the roofs and keep an eye out for trespassers as well.
This was also the year that my older brother, Donald, was born. My parents lived down in the northwest part Reno, so when the weather was good, it was possible to visit with family. The roads between Lake Tahoe and Reno were not always that good or pleasant to drive. I recall stories about the Mount Rose highway being this horrible narrow winding road that one feared the chance of meeting an oncoming Semi-truck. As a kid I thought the Mt Rose highway was already pretty scary as I always got car sick if I rode in the back seat in my parent’s old red caddy, and to hear that it was once worse was somewhat unfathomable. Today there are few remnants left of the old part of the road and only old timers recall which parts were part of the original route up the mountain. My Grandparents often opted for the safer route of highway 89 through Truckee, CA down to Interstate 80.
Living up at Lake Tahoe all year around often meant enduring a bit of cabin fever during the winter months. One could actually get snowed in and be in danger of not having enough food to eat, so when the opportunity presented itself, it was wise to get out and go shopping and just go for a drive to see and be someplace else. My grandparents would stop at places like Squaw Valley or meet up with other friends and family that lived within the Sierra Nevada Range area. They would go hiking, camping, or simply just spend the day with friends talking. As I write this, I am realizing that technology has really changed our way of life so tremendously. In 1959 to make a phone call from Homewood, CA to Reno, NV was a long distance call that was expensive, so my family did not get to talk on the phone as often like we can do today. In 1959 there was no Internet, so in order to send a written message, one had to rely on the United States Postal Service, which meant a message would take a week to arrive unlike the instant email or text message. As I recall my parents and my grandparents would take turns making the call so that no one would get stuck with the big long distance phone bill.
Most of Grandma’s family ended up in California since they all came to the US via the Panama Canal to San Francisco, California, so often trips into the farmlands and other regions of California was part of their social life. My Grandpa came through the Ellis Island route in New York so his family was more spread out across the country. But Uncle Detlef Tiedemann, who was actually my Great Uncle, settled in South Dakota for a while until he later moved to California. There are photos of him standing with a lemon tree in his backyard as well as the one of him sitting on the front porch of the house. I look at this picture of him and feel somewhat amazed to think that this was taken 55 years ago. It looks like it could have been taken yesterday. The only clue that this is an older home and is that it has the wood shingle roof that is no longer practical these days. I wonder if this house is still standing. It looks like they took great pride in their home.
So when my Grandparents were not visiting family elsewhere, they enjoyed the Lake Tahoe area. I am sure some of the areas that they took of photos do not look the same anymore. Currently the region along the Sierra Nevada Range is suffering from a series of draughts and this year is threatening to be another bad one. I look at the photos of the plentiful spring runoff and wish for that to be for today as well. We have lost so many trees and plants this winter and past summer, so that when I look at the picture of the snow flower plant, I wonder if there will be any left up in the hills this coming year. Will there be a lovely green spring time up at Lake Tahoe again like the images I see from the past? I guess only time will tell.