In the Fall of 1966

Artist: E. Loren Soderberg

In the fall of 1966, Faye started the 6th grade at San Domenico’s Lower School. She smiled each time she pedaled her shiny new gold Schwinn Stingray bicycle past the haunted Hotaling stairs on her way to class each morning. Faye knew all the secret places and trails that existed on campus and spent many afternoons exploring and climbing to the top of the rolling hills. Lying on her back and disappearing in the tall sweet golden grass fueled Faye’s vivid imagination. Her weightless thoughts floated up to hitch a ride on one cloud and then another as they changed shape and moved across the sapphire blue sky to Scotland, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Australia and beyond; taking her to visit her sister, Blythe, and all the places she dreamed of seeing someday.

By 1960, the stately eucalyptus trees, planted in the 1800s by Peter Austin, had grown into huge towering pillars. This pungent green canopy lined both sides of Sleepy Hollow’s two lane road as far as the eye could see. Austin’s landscape design had been successful. The impressive trees created an impression of motoring down the most spectacular of driveways. Extending almost three miles back into the valley, this avenue ended at the entrance to San Domenico School. Charming side streets meandered off Butterfield Road, both left and right, up into the hillsides with street names that were pure delight to anyone who knew about Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle.

There was nothing else in the world like experiencing the spooky festive night of fun-loving spirits on All Hallow’s Eve in Sleepy Hollow. Every year, Faye and her friends looked for the headless horseman to come galloping down Butterfield Road with his cape flying. The thought of it gave her delightful shivers.

Faye knew Michael had to have knocked on her front door to say, “Trick or Treat.” How many times did I look into his eyes as a child, never realizing my future was standing right before me. All these years later, Michael still teased her, “Want some candy, little girl? Tricks and Treats! ”

From Faye’s earliest memories, the entrance to Sleepy Hollow was designated by rather simple, rough-hewn, ranch-style wooden gates that had been constructed on each side of Butterfield Road. On the left gate, a large sign announced, ‘Sleepy Hollow.’ These mysterious words separated the development from the rest of San Anselmo. Every time she passed by, she would glance over to the inviting red house tucked back among the lush green trees. Jon Carroll and his brothers lived in that house. He was in her class every year until the sixth grade and she liked him very much. He was kind to her and a rebel. Faye envied his freedom, toughness and independence.

When Faye’s parents first drove through the rustic gates into Sleepy Hollow in 1961, they were mesmerized by the behemoth lots. Some of the ‘estates’ approached three acres in size. The impressive trees, the charm, the beautiful homes were captivating. Buying the sprawling and romantic ranch-style home on Butterfield Road was almost a miracle for the young couple.

At twenty-nine and twenty-six, Stewart and Jan Monroe couldn’t afford the original asking price. But Faye’s father, a handsome, brilliant and bold entrepreneur, looked the elderly Italian owner in the eye and explained that this was the house of their dreams, the home where they wanted to raise their children. All they could afford was substantially under the asking price. The owner, a wonderfully kind and gentle man, decided to give the handsome young couple one of the greatest gifts of their lives. He agreed to the price they could pay.

Faye lived on Butterfield Road until she left for University in 1973. Her parents, her sister Blythe, and brother Quigs lived there another four years before choosing to trade-in what had become a cosmopolitan and sophisticated lifestyle for a beautiful log home built on a secluded lake hidden in the majestic mountains of western Montana. Seeley Lake High School’s basketball coach believed his prayers had been answered when Quigs walked onto the court as a six foot, five inch junior.

In 1963, Michael’s parents fell under the same spell of Sleepy Hollow. Barry and Edith were thirty and twenty-nine, respectively, when they bought a lot and began building their large new custom home on the corner across from Faye’s parents’ house. Edith was pregnant for the seventh time, and they had quite literally outgrown their existing home. The five bedrooms planned for Sleepy Hollow Drive would be a dream come true for the young and prolific couple.

Their kids, all six of them, were a humming hive of seemingly inexhaustible activity. The boisterous sound of children’s happy voices, laughter, splashing in a pool, doors slamming, and basketballs hitting a backboard filled the quiet neighborhood air. The new family across the street made a huge impression on Faye. She wondered if any of the children were twins. She had seen a TV movie about two boys who were identical twins. They looked exactly alike. So much so, even family members couldn’t tell them apart. One of the boys had a good heart. The other boy was evil. He lied. He stole things. He set his brother up to take the blame for things he did. In the end, the evil brother destroyed the good brother. The story had upset Faye so much she had a hard time going to sleep that night.

When Faye explained to her mother how much the movie had upset her, Jan Monroe became exasperated, “They shouldn’t be showing stories like that on TV! Kids are watching, for heaven-sake! These silly dark movies are just made-up. They don’t happen in real life. Don’t take it seriously. Next time, change the channel. Or better yet, turn it off! Go outside and breathe-in some fresh air. That blasted box is dangerous. I’m beginning to think, you shouldn’t watch it at all!”

Faye wasn’t convinced. The story seemed so real. She decided to talk with Blythe, her best friend and sister, about it. Every Sunday, Faye was allowed ten minutes on the phone-call to Italy. She had learned to be prepared for these calls. Sharing her week, full of details, was a challenge. Faye didn’t want to forget to update Blythe about the new family across the street. She knew Blythe would tell her to walk over and introduce herself. Faye knew she wouldn’t do it. It wasn’t about courage. She was just comfortable and happy being alone.

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