Growing up in St. Helena provided Tim Carl with a unique perspective on the world. In “The Storyteller” he often shares tales of being a kid during the late 1960s and ‘70s, bringing to life a different time and recalling the often-humorous differences between the Napa Valley and the world beyond.

I gripped the broom with two sweaty hands as my grandmother watched me sweep the kitchen floor. We were preparing for holiday guests and had been working all afternoon getting the house ready, hanging garlands and dusting every nook and cranny as my grandfather strung lights outside on the h…

Every year when the grapevines turned from vibrant green to all shades between yellow and red, my friends and I began to withdraw from one another as our minds slowly morphed from our previously collaborative Halloween planning to something more insidious. Gone were the summer days of playin…

Entering junior high school in the mid-1970s was crossing the bridge between generational approaches to education. My last teacher in elementary school, Mr. Gosling, had had a classroom full of straight, neat rows where the smell of fresh pencil shavings was always thick in the air. He had b…

When I noticed her she was hanging in her web just inches from my face. Her quarter-sized body was shiny black, like a newly painted car, and she had a distinct red triangle on her bulbous abdomen about the size of the papery egg sack she guarded. Her tight body and thin stiff legs were pois…

I distinctly remember when President Richard Nixon resigned on Aug. 8, 1974. I was 9 years old, and I was playing over at the house of my friends, Matt and Grant Robbins, whose parents had recently purchased and moved into what is now called St. Clement Vineyards on Highway 29.

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The first movie I remember watching on TV was the 1941 black-and-white horror film “The Wolf Man.” It was the late 1960s, and I was only 4 or 5 years old. We lived in an apartment on Charter Oak in St. Helena. The movie scared me to the point where I could not sleep soundly for years, fearin…

Three red lights in a triangle pattern, appearing to be not much bigger than the stars behind them, streaked across the night sky. When they abruptly stopped and hovered, my friends and I became wary and a bit anxious. We’d recently watched a TV special on a surge in UFO sightings, many of w…

The doctor burst into the St. Helena emergency waiting room, the silver metal of his stethoscope swinging rhythmically from his neck, its stiffness consistent with his expression. In his hand he held sheets of black and gray X-rays.

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“I’m allergic to bees,” my 9-year-old cousin Bruce yelled as we sat in the backseat of my father’s 1967 white Mustang.

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One of the longest-running relationships in my life has been with my TV. Some of my first memories are of watching Saturday morning cartoons. Sitting in my beanbag chair, eating sugar-encrusted cereal, a BPA-plastic infused cup lodged precariously between my knees, I eagerly waited as the TV…

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In 1977 my friends and I stood in amazement gazing up at the marquee over the little movie theater in downtown St. Helena. Above us the sign read “Star Wars,” spelled out in big block letters.

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Above us, in the fading San Francisco evening light, dull neon lights flickered from the storefront signs on Broadway as we shuffled closer to our destination. The grimy sidewalks were covered in beer cans, sandwich wrappers and the detritus from what my mother told me later she had thought …

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Inches away from my face a rattlesnake stared back at me. Its enormous head was unflinching except for a long tongue that stabbed the air. My heart raced and my mind flashed. There was only one way out of this.

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It was 1972. We were 7 years old. My friends and I had spent the morning hunting for treasure at the bottom of a muddy pond. Although all we found was garbage, we had managed to disregard our mothers’ express directions to keep our clothes and bodies clean.

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For us kids each year had a different theme. During the previous summer of 1971, when I was 6 years old, my friends and I had aspired to become pirates after reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” in school. We had created less-than-accurate maps that we used to bury — and then s…

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By the time the 1970s came to a close we had come to expect summer blockbuster movies — “Jaws,” “Star Wars,” “Halloween” — each one more exciting to young impressionable minds than the previous. By 1979 some of the top movies included “10” with Bo Derek, “The Jerk” with Steve Martin and “Ali…

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The first summer blockbuster, “Jaws,” had been released in 1975. My friends and I had seen the movie in the dark, velvety theater in downtown St. Helena. We had exited the movie changed — we had a pathological new fear of water, but we also had a deep desire to spend more time watching excit…

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The year was 1975, and my friends and I had been invited to go waterskiing at Lake Berryessa by my older brother, Scott, and a couple of his friends. A few weeks prior they had taken us to St. Helena’s little movie theater to watch the movie “Jaws.” The movie had been traumatic but exciting.

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The movie “Jaws” was released in 1975 and came to St. Helena’s little theater just before the Fourth of July. I was 10 years old and the entire country eagerly anticipated what was touted as the biggest movie of the year. All we knew was that it was a film about a real shark that ate people,…

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In 1975 Thanksgiving had many of the same ingredients as today — turkey, football, family drama, cranberry sauce — but it all seemed so much bigger. More necessary, somehow.

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I first noticed my future wife when I was in third grade during one of Mr. Cazet’s book readings at St. Helena Elementary School — a snake had escaped its cage and I was just about to make my first impression.

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The famous author Arthur Hailey had immigrated to the Napa Valley in the 1960s. For some time he lived in a large two-story house that he built on Madrone Knoll near Meadowood. From there he wrote many best-sellers. He also built an investment apartment building on Charter Oak in St. Helena …

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Growing up or even spending some time in the Napa Valley, we come away with a greater appreciation for the landscape; a deep reverence for its smells, food and wine; and often a deep desire to learn more about the people and stories of this spectacular area.

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