The Nectar of My Childhood

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As it is Spring Break, and despite the load of midterms I have to grade, I headed home to the desert for a couple of days. This time of year is especially beautiful in the Coachella Valley due to the eighty-degree and lightly breezy weather and the wildflowers (a bounty of yellow this season). Once I arrived, I couldn’t resist making two stops: Hadley’s, the home of the date shake (the nectar of my childhood) and the Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel, an old-timey “resort” featuring eight different mineral pools (another nectar), each a little bit warmer than the last.

Leaving the spa this afternoon, I took the long route home. Mom said she knew I just wanted to see my old elementary school and some of the old resorts along the way. She said she knew if my sister and I had wads of extra cash we’d buy Hacienda Riviera Pools, the one where we spent most of the summers of our childhood. I agreed that I wanted that piece of real estate, every inch of it.

I remember the shady snack bar (even though we usually brought our own ice chest of treats), how the showers always wafted the scents of V05 hot oil treatments, how there was a wall between the kids’ pool and the big pool and how the wall, tiled with blue chunks the size of typewriter keys, was slick and slightly submerged so one could rest with legs dangling over or recline, simultaneously drying and soaking.

Sitting in the super-air-conditioned airport tonight, I know it is good to sample the sweet nectar of my childhood and to soak in the magic waters of it.

A delayed flight, I have extra time to think of the long route home and to wonder if I am leaving it or heading to it.

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