After my father stopped living with Mom and me, he spent his nights in his woodshop, in the lemon packing house that my grandfather Charles owned. The remains of the citrus groves still grew all around us in Claremont, and an old guy sold wooden crates of local lemons off the loading dock of the packing house: the sole survivor. When I visited my dad's shop there, I was afraid to go to the bathroom, because it was all the way on the other side of the packing house, and the big, scarred wood floor seemed huge, while the hollow building seemed to whisper to me as I crossed it. The packing house sat on the old Santa Fe line, and freight trains would rumble past at random intervals during the day and night. Eucalyptus trees marched straight down the railroad right-of-way, and stony, stubbly fields and a few scattered industrial buildings stretched on either side of them. One night, somebody wandered in from the tracks and, while my dad slept nearby, robbed his jeans.
You can view some pictures of fieldstone structures just down Base Line from my old house. Seven blocks to paradise.