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.

7 comments:

goldenrail said...

That's a really nice post. You made me feel a little better about moving to Cali next year, and more importantly, about not moving back to Wisconsin. It will always be home.
I wasn't around for the winter of '78-'79, but I've heard plenty of stories about it, snowbanks taller than my Daddy! I always thought that sounded fun. ;)

MaryRuth said...

GR--Are you moving here because of work or because you don't care for WI? If it's just work-related, you might end up living in WI again, you never know.
That winter totally sucked! I lived in an older neighborhood which never got plowed properly...I had to stay with my folks for a week or so until it was passable. In fact someone in my neighborhood got shot in a snow-related argument! I remember having to climb on top of the snow banks to move the snow back, so I could shovel more snow. Not fun.
Even though you will be far from your family, it is lots easier to be connected with the Internet now...I used to have to write letters. My mom kept them all, and I recently went through them...what a blast from the past that was!

goldenrail said...

Mostly, because of work. Certainly not because of the weather. Of all the places I've lived (which is only like 5 or 6), I like the weather in the Yay the least.
I love Wisconsin; it's my favorite place. I really hope I get back there someday. But, you're right about it being easier to stay in touch with the Internet. Goodness, you and I are about 8000 miles apart, and we still get to have these little convos. :)

Miss Healthypants said...

I have to admit, I'm insanely jealous of you right now. It's like 30 degrees outside here. Brrrr!!!!!!

john said...

I too, remember the snow that year. You were up on the snow bank & I would throw it up to you (28 yrs. younger) & you shoveled it back into the yard. The village came thru with removal equip. as they couldn't plow it back further. Then there was the Pacer, wouldn't start. " Dad I know there's gas in the tank", Right! It was only in the teens. I'm so very proud of you going out on your own. I knew you had the "stuff" to make it work. Like we said when you left, The door is always open should you come back. We didn't change the locks !, Love DAD

john said...

I too, remember the snow that year. You were up on the snow bank & I would throw it up to you (28 yrs. younger) & you shoveled it back into the yard. The village came thru with removal equip. as they couldn't plow it back further. Then there was the Pacer, wouldn't start. " Dad I know there's gas in the tank", Right! It was only in the teens. I'm so very proud of you going out on your own. I knew you had the "stuff" to make it work. Like we said when you left, The door is always open should you come back. We didn't change the locks !, Love DAD

MaryRuth said...

GR--the world definitely got a lot smaller since Al Gore invented the Internet. Plus you get to "meet" the nicest people. =)

MHP--It might be cold there, but at least it's not on fire! I'm jealous of you--with the prez-elect living in your town.

Dad--yeah, those were the good old days, eh? I always wanted to ask why you splurged on a snow blower only AFTER I moved out?!? =)