From 1981 to 1984 my father was stationed at Mare Island Naval Shipyard located in the San Francisco Bay area. We stopped by to see how things have fared since we left 30 years ago. In 1996 the base was closed but the shipyard is still working. Essentially anything that had to do with making it a livable base for so many military families was abandoned. We drove through what was known as the back gate. We were greeted, not by guards, but by hollow buildings with all windows broken and graffiti everywhere. “Hey kids! Check out where mom used to live!” What I knew as the Commissary and Exchange – looked like they had been through a war. The government certainly saved money by no longer running the bases that have closed but there has been much lost opportunity in the buildings which were left behind.
Our house still stands. The grounds around it are much different and it is a new color, but it still stands in the same location, and it is occupied. 95% of the family living quarters were leveled but the officers quarters were preserved. St. Peters Chapel, where we worshipped is still standing. However, you have to pay a $4.00 tour fee, evidently the windows were all done by Tiffany studios so it’s a money maker for someone. We walked part of the south end of the island which is now Mare Island Preserve and checked out the historic cemetery. I used to ride my bike there with friends, now it’s a “preserve” with a $5.00 donation suggestion! Historical lesson for the kids – the daughter of Francis Scott Key is buried there.
After the Kipp heritage tour we experienced the congested roads of California. We also learned that California toll system is whacked. Our toll for a bridge was $20. Turns out that when towing you pay by axel – $5.00 each. However, if we turned around, unhitched, and drove through separately – $5.00 a vehicle. So that’s what we did. I know all the people behind us truly appreciated our frugality.
In the afternoon we did a walking tour of Stanford University. We hit all the photo ops and wandered wherever looked interesting. We did kick ourselves for not thinking to take a prospectivie student tour – we do have a high schooler with us.
For dinner we met up with our friend Katy. Katy is a childhood friend of my sister Anne (she is winning the family contest of keeping us off the streets). We saw Katy earlier this year during our family vacation in Maine – she even took the family photo that is used as my Facebook banner. I may have also done Katy’s make-up for her senior prom. Katy recently relocated to the West coast and it provided us another opportunity to see her. We had a perfect Friday night with pizza, buffalo wings, brownies and a movie, Galaxy Quest. Galaxy Quest is a HIGH recommend for all ages.