Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Rockin' and rollin'

Rockin' and rollin'
The author of Mark's Work

Coleus flowers

Coleus flowers
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Heinz tomatoes, used for catsup

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Painted Lady

Fall Jewels

Fall Jewels
Praying mantis, attending services on a zinnia...

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Thursday, February 14, 2013

California


I have been mired in a writing slump for the past several months.  The reason is diabolically simple: I only want to write about Annie.  However, I have made an agreement not to do so, because she is uncomfortable being the subject of my prattling.  Therefore, in an effort to snap out of my [writing] funk, I have decided to adopt the strategy that many bloggers employ during the month of April, and begin an A-Z adventure.  Today’s letter is C,  for California.  What?  It’s not April?  Sue me.

California

I was lucky enough to have been born and raised in in Southern California, and though I have since relocated to the northern part of the state, it doesn’t really matter.  California, for me, is the best place in the country, if not the world, to live.  

No other state that I can imagine, holds the same promise as California.  Though I like to stay on the politically correct side of the street, I will just say that there is no other place which reflects the ideals and principles of life, that I hold most dear, than California.  People of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds reside in California.  My father worked in a steel factory during the formative years of my youth, and he told us stories of the other denizens of his worksite, consisting of mostly Mexican  and black men.  His best friend was a black man named Pete DeCarlo, and I remember visiting Pete and his family as a child.

Papa introduced tortillas and beans into the house in the early sixties, a result of being offered samples of these commodities at work, when he ate lunch with the guys.  This was many years preceding the advent of Taco Bell, or other fast-food Mexican outlets.  It wasn’t until the late sixties that the first of this type of restaurant opened in downtown La Puente, The Green Burrito, which my oldest brother Eric used to frequent.

The uptake of all this interaction with the men of the shop, was that Papa taught us from an early age, that skin color was irrelevant, when it came to deciding the worth of a person.  He had very little good to speak of, when it came to the management at State Steel, represented by, what else?  White men.  So I grew up with a healthy sense of appreciation for people of all diverse backgrounds.

While growing up in the San Gabriel Valley, in the fifties and sixties, we were within a half-hour’s travel time of the San Gabriel Mountains, with plenty of snow in the winter; we were within forty-five minutes travel time to the ocean, for either surfing or bagging rays; and we were within an hour and a half from the high desert, for hiking or just driving through for the views.  California had it all.

When I got to college-age, there was never any doubt that I would attend a school of higher education.  Though Papa was not an educated man, having settled for acquiring a G.E.D. at some point along the way, he was instrumental in instilling in all of us, that higher education was the only way to go, if we wanted to avoid a lifetime of factory work.  Of the nine of us kids, there are two P.H.D’s, at least three M.A’s, and the rest of us have degrees from four-year schools.

I began school at Cal Poly, Pomona, got drafted and spent twenty-one months in the army at the end of the VietNam conflict.  When I got out, I moved up to San Jose, where I then attended San Jose State until I graduated in 1979.  Then I went back in a masters program, for another two years.  So out of twelve years, I attended school for ten of them, all at the most ridiculously inexpensive rate.  It cost $359.00 per semester at San Jose State, not counting books.  The G.I. Bill covered much of it in the seventies, so all was well.

When I relocated up to Mendocino County in May of 1982, I was convinced I had found paradise.  We bought twenty acres of land in 1975, for the paltry sum of four hundred dollars per acre.  Only in California?  I don’t know.  I just know that there can’t be a better place in the Union, with people who are so friendly and accepting.  I have spent time in the Mid-West, and time on the East Coast, but there is nowhere that I have found the people to be so true, as the people of California.

6 comments:

  1. You know, Mark, that I was born and raised in So Cal too. And I loved it!! I thought I would live and die there - - until I moved :) Now I love the Pacific Northwest and you couldn't pay me (well . . . never say never!) to live in California again!

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    1. Yes, Judy, the Pacific Northwest is stunningly beautiful!

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  2. Seriously? $8,000 is what that piece of land cost? Amazing. I had forgotten that part.... it is certainly beautiful up there.
    I agree - CA has a wealth of color and belief systems operating. In my NorCal community there is plenty of acceptance for others no matter what your color, religion, politics , or sexual orientation. I love that!

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  3. I have never been to California, but you make it sound pretty appealing. :)

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    Replies
    1. If you came out, I would extend the red carpet all the way to San Francisco, four hours away!

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