Homeward Bound - Page 2

From Eichler to Mackay to six more Eichlers—the house-hopping odyssey of the Walling family
  Homeward Bound
All four sisters in the courtyard of their Mountain View Mackay, which was their home from 1956-'58.

During Beverly's childhood Bettie worked several full-time jobs, despite raising four girls, including at Varian Associates, one of the firms that put 'Silicon' into Silicon Valley.

But the library job? "That's the one she didn't like," Beverly says. So Bettie quit, and decided to quit the Highlands as well.

In 1966, Beverly's folks announced it was time to move again. They had been in the Highlands home a mere year. "That one was like, 'Are you kidding? Again?'" Beverly says.

"It was never a family discussion," she says about the moves. "It was just announced: 'We're moving.'"

The Wallings still owned their Sunnyvale Eichler but couldn't move back because they had leased it to tenants. Instead, just as Beverly was entering her teen years, the family moved into a townhouse at Eichler's Pomeroy West community in Santa Clara, just to the east of Sunnyale.

It was the San Mateo and Santa Clara moves and the next dislocations that proved most vexing to young Beverly. Over the years she and her sisters had learned to be resilient in the face of change, especially by relying on each other.

Homeward Bound
Homeward Bound
An illustration of the Wallings' Mackay model (top), and a recent photo of that home's living room (above).

"We could rely on our little supportive group [of sisters]," she says. "We had adapted. We made ourselves adapt. We'd get friends at the new place because we wanted them. We made friends."

But to go from Eichlers in Sunnyvale to San Mateo to Santa Clara! Then, after only one year in the Santa Clara townhouse, it was back to their Sunnyvale Eichler when the tenant vamoosed.

"We literally moved four times in four years—ninth grade in the Sunnyvale Eichler, tenth grade in San Mateo, 11th grade in the Santa Clara townhouse, 12th grade back to the Sunnyvale Eichler," Beverly says. All told Beverly lived in seven homes while growing up. "I went to three different high schools," she says.

"We dated, we had boyfriends. When we moved from the Santa Clara townhouse back to the Sunnyvale Eichler, I told my dad I had a steady boyfriend from junior year.

"I said I want to stay at Buchser High in Santa Clara even if we move back. Make it so I can stay there. He talked to the school. My senior year he drove me to school, and my boyfriend would drive me back home to Sunnyvale. That was the concession [my father] did do."

It's still not clear to the daughters why their family proved so peripatetic—though they have their guesses and suspect they know the culprit.

  Homeward Bound
Mother Bettie in her family's Mackay living room among her modern furnishings.

"I would say my mother would be the leader of the decision to move," Beverly says. Bettie was artistic, painting as a hobby, setting up a loom in the living room. She and Jim loved mid-century modern style and filled their homes with Scandinavian furnishings.

"My parents loved going to model homes. It was a pastime," Beverly says. "I liked going with them." None of the homes the Wallings bought, however, was newly built.

"She wanted a new atmosphere," Beverly says, suggesting why her mother desired new home after new home. "She loved fixing them up. She loved decorating them."

"My dad was definitely in love with her and would do what she wanted," Beverly says.