There is a road next to the fire station that is at the bottom of the hill between Los Gatos and Saratoga, Highway Nine. It becomes a red brick road, bear left at the Montessori school at the Y and look for Wood Acres Road. At almost the end of that road is a house on the left called Imagination Land.

During high school, the sixties, there was a sign for it at the beginning of the road where all the mailboxes are. It was truly weird, and I wrote it all down somewhere but have not been able to find it after all these years. something to the effect of "We are all like travelers on a train in this life, and your companion sitting next to you may be white or black, all colour are beautiful and enjoy the ride." VERY poor translation, but you get the drift? Anyway, we had to go see, and see we did, Pai and I. (see the note at the bottom of the page! Boy, was I off!)

There is a house, almost like a tree house, set quite far back, almost completely hidden by the landscaping, trees, bushes, etc. The last time I went to see it, there is a newer modern home plunked right down in front of it, but the original house was still there. The yard was completely full of little statues, gnomes, fountains with sayings, and a tiny train track going around the entire wooded yard. Fairies, elves, you name it. It was in a sad state of disrepair that last visit, about five years ago, but still visible.

The story is that the man's wife died and he went a bit over the edge, creating Imagination Land and filling his days with adding to it. We, so brave at such a young age, started knocking on other doors across the street. What idiots. This was spooky. At one house, a man literally peeked out of the curtains parted just far enough for one of his eyes to show in the window above the black cat sitting on the sill but never answered the door. We looked at each other, gulped, and moved on to the next house. (Again, please see the note at the bottom of the page)

Three stories, white, really odd house. You had to climb a flight of stairs to reach the front door on the top third story. Some burly biker looking guy answered the door, listened our request, poked his head out the door, looked around, withdrew it and told us this was unsafe right now and we should leave the area. Now. Closed the door. We left. Fast.

After graduation, a girlfriend moved onto that road. I helped her with the first load, and lo and behold, it was the white house!! We were there for about a year, it became the hangout house for all of us still living at home with our parents, and there are many many stories about what happened. One of the roommates moved in before anyone else and would not spend any more nights alone after his first night until all the others moved in. He heard footsteps coming down the stairs and into his room, soft crying and whimpers, later heard by us all. Without anyone making a reference to it, no one ever spent the night alone in the house.

That house had the strongest cold spot I have ever felt in the turn of the stairway that led from the top level to the second floor where his bedroom was. I made one of my infamous spider webs there or the Halloween party we held (who could resist?) and it took me days instead of hours. My dog, Mooshka, would not come down the stairs to keep me company and the cold made my fingers too brittle to move only after a few minutes. A few pictures of the house are included below.

Their roomie, BD, went off to research and found out a young girl had hung herself in his bedroom. Later, we found a silver award cup under the house with her name on it. Touching that cup was my first experience picking up information off an object.

Activity was constant but enjoyable. Many good memories there. One side of the house was solid windows, casement types that swung open. We would sit on benches lining the wall and blow bubbles leaning out the windows waist high, watching the spheres of colour drift down the hill through the trees to the ground three stories below. A joint or two mellowed the mood as we were drifting and dreaming through some of the best years of that era.

Eventually we all moved out, and the house burnt to the ground the night they took out the last load. A cause was never determined. I still have pictures of the house in tact, and one of the black ruin with a three story chimney. I have yet to find that last picture, but will keep trying.

Another house has been built in its place and I can't tell you how sorely tempted I was to knock on that door.


Today, December 31, 2004, over thirty years past our time on Wood Acres Road, I received an email from Claire. Her sister had seen this story and passed it on to her. The man in the brown house with the black cat was her father, and the cat's name was Oobleck.

The poem at the beginning of the road was:

Life is like a journey taken on a train 
With a pair of travelers at each window pane. 
I might sit beside you all the journey through 
Or I might sit elsewhere, never knowing you. 
But if fate should mark me to sit at your side, 
Let's be pleasant travelers -- it's so short a ride!
All can be pleasant travelers if railroad opens in 1980. 
-- Dick Houghton (the lovable eccentric who built Imagination Land) 

Small world. Thank you, Claire!!!!!


Alas, all that is left of Imagination Land, pictures from June 2008

A view of the house from the drive way

The top of the stairs amd the front door.

Robert Zarcone in the cold corner at Halloween.
My spider web can be seen on the left,
supporting the black plastic spider

Another shot of the cold corner

Me and my whippet, Mooshka  
on the stairs leading to the front door 

Robert and his dog, Shadow?  
farther up on the stairs leading to the front door 

One of the windows we sat at  
and blew bubbles down to the ground 

A view of the isolated house from the road  
only seen once you were within the property