(Based on a True Story) By Sister Geraldine Garbarino
In 1945, my first experience at our vacation home in Tiburon took place. Being young sisters we were driven to Tiburon for a two-week stay. The house was a large wooden white structure with a wide porch surrounded by benches. It had spacious grounds, fruit trees, and a walking trail. Upon our arrival a hostess sister welcomed us. The best part of these vacations was the choices we could make. There were very few rules; we were able to choose our own room and spend the day as we wished.
One duty was to take kitchen chores and with another sister prepare the meal for the day. It always turned out to be a fun day. One of my favorite choices was being able to go swimming in the San Francisco bay as our home was right on the path to the water. Each day the first thing we did was to go and check the tide. Our bathing suits were priceless! They were the style of a blue middy and blouse which were baggy and down to our ankles. It is a wonder we did not drown while wearing them. What was worn did not matter, because our time in the water was refreshing and fun, even though we had to walk through the mud to get to the tide.
On one occasion, Sister De Sales, an elderly Victorian trained sister, asked us to come in and hide under the pier until a boat passed. So, we stood under the pier looking at the crabs until she asked us to move. The boat was miles and miles away; if anyone onboard did see us they would have thought we were some kind of unusual fish. This incident gave us many laughs and we related it to our companions.
In the evenings we would sit on the long benches until 8:30 p.m. and sing songs or relate stories. One plus was the box of chocolates or other candy treats enjoyed during our recreation hour. That’s one activity we did have to attend, but we did not mind.
Another interesting incident was the day that we decided to have a picnic at Strawberry Point about a mile away. One sister said she would barbecue the hamburgers. Being among the youngest, we had to carry the heavy grates, etc. By the time we got to the Point, we were exhausted. Looking back now makes us laugh, but it was an exhausting way to go on a picnic.
Eventually the home was sold, and we went on our separate vacations, but the early days at “Nazareth House” have memories that we often reminisce about.