The Big Factotum took this photo when we went to Segovia on a fall afternoon. We lived in Spain for four years when I was a kid (starting in kindergarten) and my dad was stationed at Torrejon AFB. Our first two years there, we lived off base in a housing area called Royal Oaks, out in the country, 20 miles from Madrid. SH and I went there this fall on our trip.
Royal Oaks is no longer in the country. It is in the suburbs, on the metro line, next to a big office park. Our house, 52D, (our phone number -- hmm, don't remember ours, but my best friend Lisa's number was 452, which I would say to the operator in Spanish -- cuatro cinco dos coming from a kindergartner sounds kinda cute) has been torn down and replaced with an expensive condo, which I could barely see over the fence. The fences were not there when I was a kid. We had big yards with irises in the gardens. Lots of oaks. Lisa and I would sit in the trees and throw acorns at our brothers. They would learn quickly and avoid the trees. We would promise not the throw more acorns. They would believe us -- why? we were LIARS! -- and walk close to the trees and we would -- surprise! -- throw acorns at them. Sorry, Greg and Steve.
The trees (aka the royal oaks) are all gone, except for a few at the entrance, as are the little streets where the peddlers would ride their bikes with the knife-sharpening equipment on the back. The little shop where we would buy chupas (lollipops) for a peseta and the materials to make lanyards is gone, too. The pool is gone. My school is gone. My city is gone.