One day in early January we ventured out on a 10K walk from East Sacramento to Elmhurst. Elmhurst is a beautiful, historic residential neighborhood established in 1908. It is known for its large elm, ash, and oak trees. One of the historic landmarks we would see on this walk was the Julia Morgan House. The Julia Morgan House has always been one of my favorites. As a grad student in Public History, I studied historical homes, their architecture, and the history of who built these homes and who lived there. Many years ago, I attended several events at the Julia Morgan House. When I was a child, my grandfather lived just blocks away from it so we’d always walk past it. Designed in 1918, the Julia Morgan House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Visiting this landmark while on our walk was sure to be the highlight of my day.
As we powered along on our six mile walk it seemed like it would be forever before we arrived at the Julia Morgan House. I had the camera ready for when we got there! Finally I see it – “there it is,” I said to my friend in excitement. I ran up to the front porch of this beautiful white/grey mansion as I hurriedly told my friend to take a picture of me. “Take lots of pictures!” As I sat down on the porch to have my picture taken, I noticed there was a garden hose sprawled across the porch so I rolled it up. Then I noticed a lone tennis shoe laying there. I thought to myself, “They sure aren’t doing a very good job with upkeep around this beautiful home!” Finally we did our mini-photoshoot. I was delighted we arrived – took our pictures – and now, we were ready to carry on with the remainder of our walk.
As we continued down the block, only about two mansions down, my friend and I were both struck by this beautiful yellow house we came upon. We both stared at it in awe and almost simultaneously said “THIS is the Julia Morgan House!”
We both laughed hard at our shenanigans at the previous house which we had mistaken to be the Julia Morgan House! I proceeded once again to run up to the front porch and there in all its glory was a sign saying this was indeed the Julia Morgan House! To this day we continue to chuckle over this. I am just grateful that I didn’t get hauled away by the cops at the other house as I took multiple pictures right next to a large alarm system sign in their front yard.
In such a short period of time I have had so many enjoyable experiences by simply walking. Walking is therapeutic, it’s exercise, and it’s a means to go sightseeing. It makes you happy and gives you energy. It can be meaningful and it can be a lot of fun. Walking can be educational and can give you a chance to really learn about the community you live in.
Five months later as I sit here and write this, I am just starting to “get back out there” again. Our plan of doing at least one hike a month didn’t go beyond January. Apparently there were other plans for my life as medical problems began to take over me. But I’m finally starting to feel better and I find myself eager to start hiking once more – if only for a simple nature walk. Remember I was the one who thought walking would be boring and not helpful – just a waste of time. But I learned differently. After having my simple day-to-day activities taken away from me for a brief period of time because I couldn’t manage the physical pain I was dealing with – I learned to appreciate how healthy I felt when I was walking daily. When I was challenging myself for lengthier and faster walks, I felt strong. When I went on hikes and thought I might get lost, I felt brave. When I walked down memory lane, I felt thankful. When I walked the simplest of walks with my friend and our dogs around my neighborhood, I felt alive. I have learned that walking can be so very powerful.
Sonya Lovine is a Sponsored Research Officer at California State University, Sacramento. She has worked at Sac State for over 25 years. Sonya received her master’s degree in Public History and bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Sacramento State. She will begin work on her second master’s degree in Information Science in the fall of 2015. Sonya is an active volunteer with the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park and enjoys spending time with her Boston Terrier and going for long bike rides along the American River Parkway.