santa cruz wharf

27 February 2009

dark driving ~ there

We left southern California in 1995.

Once I decided to leave, it took me a full year to disengage our lives before we could make good our escape.
My job and her schooling. 
Our friends and her family.

I never really liked it in southern California.

In 1976 I really liked Davis and Humbolt.
But I was given three choices. 
Palo Alto and live at home with the folks. 
Lafayette, Indiana and live with my grandparents. 
Los Angeles and live with strangers.

I loved my folks and my grandfolks....
but I was ready for strangers.
I relocated south.

I had wonderful friends and terrific experiences in southern California. Many of the happiest years of my life.
I went to school there.
I got married.
Established my career.
Had my baby.
Grew up.

I just never felt at home in southern California.

I left in 1995 and I have never gone back until this week.

I had a somewhat irrational concept of being taken back against my will...like
Mikhail Baryshnikov in White Nights .  I had been vilified following my defection....and they have never quit their recruitment efforts for my daughter's return.

There have many opportunities to go back. I have always come up with really REALLY good reasons not to go.

This time....I couldn't not go.
For this...I had to go.

It was 17 hours of driving in a 29 hour time frame.
Mostly in the dark.
Nine hours there...eight hours back.
(I made the mistake of getting off the freeway for something yummy and got Lost in Long Beach on the way down...thank God for AAA.)

The six hours between Santa Cruz and Westwood are VERY familiar....I've made that run well over 50 times.

Watsonville, Castroville
Salinas, Soledad
King City, Paso Robles
Atascadero, San Luis Obispo
Pismo, Arroyo, Nipomo
Santa Maria
Gaviota, Goleta
Santa Barbara
and then home.

Former home rather.
Ventura County
San Fernando Valley
The 405 to Westwood.

Every exit evokes emotions.
Memories of people. Of places.
Waves of memories.
celebrations, schools, performances,
friends, colleagues, lovers, adversaries.
Good times and Great times... and the Getty.
I have not thought of these things in YEARS.
Dredged up from deep down.

It is dark and it is late.
I am tired. The coffee has made me wired.
I find that it is better to drive without sobbing.
My mind grasps my heart in a steel grip holding it in check.
I am by myself but I am not alone.

From 2:30 in the morning...until 2:30 in the afternoon.
I was actually back in southern California. 
The OC no less.

6 comments:

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I've had the same reaction to going back to my birthplace. For many of the same reasons.

Have a terrific weekend honey. Biggest hug ever. :)

Desert Songbird said...

I felt some of these same emotions when I returned to FL this past December, my first time back there since 1990.

It was an experience I don't wish to repeat any time very soon.

Mel said...

(((((((((((( katherine ))))))))))))

Makes my heart hurt......




((((((( katherine )))))))))

Cuz....

I, Like The View said...

sobbing

)-:

hugs

big hugs, and lots of them, and those peacefilled thoughts of Mel's which work

X

Travis said...

I lived in SoCal for 8 years. I did feel at home in certain respects. I loved my townhouse and the friends I made.

But I feel more at home here in Washington than I did in SoCal.

Linda said...

I get the distinct feeling that you were not going down there to have a good time as I rather doubt that just the act of driving to SoCal would have you sobbing.

I've lived in both Long Beach and San Bernardino and - to be honest - I was not all that enchanted with Southern California at all. As depressing as that area can be, I much prefer the Central Valley - or better yet the Bay Area.

Of course, when I go to visit Cyndi in Stockton I always feel like a stranger in a strange land even though I lived there for eight years. Going back always feels ... strange.