Monday, November 17, 2008
On This Day in History
Twenty-eight years ago today I left Wisconsin and moved to California. It seems so long ago, yet just like yesterday.
Why did I move? Oh, mostly because of the weather. The winter of 78-79 pretty much sealed the deal in that aspect.
Another impetus was the shaky economy of the Rust Belt at that time. I had a good job and had survived one round of lay-offs, but (as I learned later) would have probably been gone in another 6 months or so. The company eventually folded. My boyfriend at the time had just earned his journeyman card as a machinist and was recruited by Northrop Company in Hawthorne, California.
Reagan had just been elected, the hostages were still in Iran, the Cold War still going strong, and the aerospace companies were in a hiring frenzy. With the promise of a job and moving expenses covered we hit the road to adventure.
Looking back, I shake my head at my optimism. Wow, what a risk. I moved here with $600 in my pocket and my AMC Pacer, which I think I was still making payments on. My parents gave their blessing, but I'm sure they were terrified. I guess I always knew I could come back if things didn't work out. I was a hard worker and had a good head on my shoulders and I just felt I could make a go of it.
Once we arrived, we stayed for a few days with some Milwaukee friends in Manhattan Beach, and eventually got a place in Redondo Beach. In mid-January I started a great job and was making three times what I had been in Milwaukee. Never mind that the rent was twice what it was in Milwaukee. I figured I was still ahead, since I wouldn't be having to pay for heating costs!
On the whole, I think I am happy with my choice. Of course I miss being with my family. Phone calls and letters are nice, but it isn't the same as being there--to celebrate, to cry, to get hugs. But I have had some awesome experiences and opportunities here that I might not have had otherwise. I mean, come on...the Olympic torch passed in front of my house in 1984!
I've already passed the mark of living in California longer than in Wisconsin, but I will always consider that my home.