I moved my husband and young son to California in 1969. Moving from the then small town of State College, Pennsylvania to the big cities of California was a huge risk. We drove; really, I drove, the entire way with our son’s tricycle strapped to the back of our used Pontiac LeMans. Everything else we owned was in the car.
On the last full day of driving, as I came over the mountain and saw the lights of Los Angeles spread out as far as the eye could see, I had the frightening thought, “I hope you did the right thing.” The next morning we stepped out of the motel onto grass that didn’t feel familiar at all, bright sunlight, and some strange looking plant that I later learned was a bird of paradise, and nothing was the same.
In those days, moving to California was essentially moving to a foreign country. I knew nothing about the place other than what I had seen in The Graduate movie, but I knew it was where we had to go.
I remember standing in our tiny kitchen in State College, and getting the acceptance letter from Long Beach State as if it was yesterday. I am not sure if I have ever been as excited or scared at the same time as I was at that moment. Although after moving, I was not able to attend, (another story for another time) it did start our entire family down a path I know everyone was eventually glad we took.
You would think, after taking that big risk, getting past the familiar into the unfamiliar would be easy for me, and yet, like everyone else, it’s not.
I have tricks I use.