Monday, March 01, 2010

A Sort of Anniversary ... It Was 30 Years Ago Today.

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The morning of March 1, 1980, having spent the night in Bakersfield, we arose, had waffles for breakfast, tucked our three cats into the cab of the rented truck filled with all our stuff and headed north on Interstate 5. It was pretty late in the day when we hit Livermore, but we decided to push on.

And thus on the evening of March 1, 1980, we arrived in the Bay Area. We thought it would be temporary, two or three years at the most. I had gotten a job at the San Francisco Chronicle, and that (I thought) would give me the out-of-town glitter that would get me a job at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution somewhere down the line. E. was pretty sure in a year or two she would pass her architect's licensing exams, which would sent her up for a return to Atlanta, where I had been Executive Editor of Atlanta Magazine and E. had just got her degree from Georgia Tech.

Why I was looking for work rather than staying put is a long colorful story that over the years has come to bore even me. Let me just say that my only hope of staying at Atlanta Magazine was a willingness to stab my boss Larry Woods in the back -- to replace him; to become bitch of the bosses. And, having declined that, I knew I was doomed (for bosses love their bitches) and I threw a wide loose net, trying newspapers all over the country (and Time-Life Books, and various government agencies).

A job offer in San Francisco! Wondrous strange and a way station, a footnote, a byway, nothing serious and no commitment, the vocational equivalent of a one night stand -- just the kind of long bomb (a football term, only indirectly militant) that would give me the sheen you got from abandoning the South and then coming back.

Let me divest myself of that participle. It shaded into "going back." And so we never did. And now, somewhat weak, palsied and beaten down, I work on at the university simply so that we can stay right where we are, rather than cashing in our home equity and buying a mountain in western Virginia, from whence I came originally.

Ah. We went on an adventure, and it turned into a life. Ah old California friend who back in the day used to give me merry hell when I refused to call myself a Californian. Now he don't give a damn -- what you learn late is that you shed friends (or they shed you) as a snake season by season.

But I guess I am a Californian, if I am anything.

(To celebrate we went to the Chez Panisse Cafe. Not bad.)

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