Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Migrating South

I left the message for my California chum. She was maid of honor at my last wedding, my second broken marriage. I missed her return call and laughed out loud at her message: “Well, you coulda knocked me over with a gin bottle! I never in my wildest dreams thought you’d move to California! I think it’s a fabulous idea.”

Like a bird who forgot to migrate south, I get restless each winter, flapping my mental wings at our foggy, soggy, dark and clammy Willamette Valley.

To be clear, I’m a California transplant. I was raised in Southern California. Whittier, to be exact. It’s a college town with older homes and lots of trees. In certain sections, the sprawl of “The City” – cue the music from Dragnet – can be ignored. I came to Eugene via the University of Oregon in 1961 and am still here.

But my sister, brother-in-law, their two daughters and their families live in the L.A. area. They are my closest blood relatives. I visit at least once each year. Getting from Eugene to Los Angeles by any mode of transportation is not simple. There are no direct flights from Eugene. The Amtrak takes at least 26 hours and has been anywhere from 2 to 12 hours late. Driving can be hazardous in winter and takes more than one day no matter what time of year.

And, yikes! My next birthday will mark the beginning of my eighth decade. How can that be? I’m healthy and active, yet everything takes me longer, requires more effort. My last drive from here to my sister’s in October wore me out.

So, I’ve begun my research. My plan is to stay somewhat north of L.A. and near the coast but not on it.

Last Sunday, I put a sign in the window of my manufactured home. I’ve gotten one call from an interested neighbor. Who knows? I may be outta here sooner than I think!

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