(Coming to) California

Forty-eight years ago, my wife and I loaded our suitcases into our boxy-but-comfortable gray Volvo and set out for California. We told our parents we just wanted to try it for a few years and I think we tried believe it ourselves. Even though we’d visited friends there a few years earlier and loved the place. Even though our best friends had moved to San Diego and we’d get to see them again. Truth: we were just kidding ourselves to make the goodbyes easier.

The first clear memory I have of reaching California was driving along the freeway through San Bernadino on a hot, smoggy afternoon. We were passing through a rundown neighborhood and the shabby buildings appeared even uglier through the thick brown smog that hung in the air. I don’t know whether I said it out loud or just thought it: What have we done? Fortunately first impressions were false. We found a nice one bedroom apartment in West Covina and settled into California life.

We discovered that California life meant: endless things to do … restaurants and theaters and concert venues … but traffic that often doubled or tripled the time to get there; a nearly perfect year-round climate marred by days of eye-stinging smog and something called Santa Ana winds; beautiful beaches sometimes so packed with people that you couldn’t find a place to spread a towel; and beautiful, affordable houses packed onto postage stamp lots. For some reason, in spite of our New England roots, we fit right in.

We bought a house in the suburbs of Orange County where we made new friends that we are still close with 50 years later. We became theater and restaurant aficionados. I would job-hop until settling in at Hughes Aircraft Company, which paid for me to get my Masters and Doctorate at USC (Fight On). We would adopt our two children and raise them to adulthood. Thirty years later, I would start my own business and move to our dream house in Anaheim Hills. It was a sometimes bumpy but mostly great run of fifty years.

I bring this up because we are moving to Utah. At the moment we are staying at our daughter’s house in Herriman until our new house is done in three weeks. It has snowed on two out of three days. You probably wonder why we would do that. The short answer is Grandkids. I’ll have more to say about (Leaving) California and (Moving to) Utah in the next few posts.



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