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Sugar Magnolia Tree “California home grown. Bare feet and tie dye. The fibers of light that connect us. Take a journey thru time with me. ”


There are some things we never get back and that’s why we have memories and photographs. When I look at my fathers and families photos of my childhood, feelings of warmth swim around me. The smell of the Northern California air thru the changing seasons, our many outdoor adventures and my parents unconditional love for my sister and I. I am thankful everyday for the life they gave us and the appreciation of nature they instilled in us. We all have a story and I am happy to share some of mine with you.

My dad started shooting film in the 60s and his ability to capture a feeling is amazing! My parents met in Southern California in 1977, my dad was a surfing buddy of my moms brother. They fell fast in love, my dad asked my mom to marry him after just a month. She said no, she wanted him to wait a year and see if he felt the same, he did. They were married in Southern California in 1979. Soon after they relocated in Lake Tahoe Ca. They wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and go to a place that was slow and easy. My sister and I were born in Lake Tahoe area, she in 1981 and I in 1985. I was born in our small aframe house that slightly resembled a gingerbread house. I was delivered by a midwife, with a good portion of my family (you’ll see in the photos) there.




I spent majority of my time playing outside. Hiding in the pines and the manzanita. I can easily remember the smell of the sticky sap on my fingers. Life was slow and sweet just like my parents intended. My parents were not your typical parents, for many reasons. We were an unconventional American family. It was ok to be naked and natural remedies were used for many ailments in our home, they were and are very liberal. They taught us nature is the way and family and happiness is what matters most, materialism was never part of my reality growing up. We lived in small houses and drove old cars. In the middle of the winter it wasn’t and isn’t abnormal to see a clothing line full of tie dye drying on a sunny day with snow all around. They loved to have fun with us and joke. They told us the story of the mushroom man, he was a younger hippie gent who would wonder about the golf course we lived on ‘collecting’ mushrooms. I would hide in a cluster of trees at the edge of the yard and watch him, one day I didn’t see him anymore. I ask my mother and she said ‘he must of ate a bad mushroom’. I didn’t get the ‘tale of the mushroom man’ until I was much older and to this day it’s still very amusing. We weren’t always the perfect family. I was a wild and crazy teenager who ran my parents thru the hoops. I did some mushroom hunting myself wink wink. We grew older and both I and my sister relocated to the Santa Cruz area. She is now raising two free spirited and bright children of her own. My parents are still married and in love living in the Lake Tahoe area. I miss them all the time but we see them often and their warmth is always with me. I often think back on my childhood in Lake Tahoe and I am filled with this joyful but almost sad feeling in the middle of my chest. It’s hard knowing I will never get those times and those years back of being a child. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the life they gave us and the conscious, free thinkers they encouraged us to be.

We now have the amazing ability to be able to share our current lives with people thru photographs and what I am hoping to accomplish with sugar magnolia tree is to encourage people to remember and share their pasts. After all it’s where we come from that makes us who we are and I feel that often as time goes by we forget where we came from and forget the ties to our family. We loose people threw out our lives but sharing keeps them alive, in a way. Sugar Magnolia tree is about celebrating family and remembering



More of the family and their photos from this time period found Here.

1 Response

  • Lovely Julia. Your words and stories are touching. Thank you for sharing this time capsule of your loving family and beautiful upbringing.


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