Saturday, November 19, 2011

Home Is Where The Heart Is

I was born and raised in California and lived most of my adult life there. There are very specific things that evoke a yearning to be back there, but Oceanside Harbor is one. Tom kept his sailboat in the marina there and we'd sail out for a couple of hours on a afternoon. Sometimes we'd spend the night on the boat. It was like a mini-vacation. We frequented the restaurants around the harbor and looked forward every fall to Harbor Days, a huge arts and crafts event not rivaled by anything here in Arkansas.

San Diego harbor is another. We'd drive down from Carlsbad for the day, a wander through Seaport Village, take a boat excursion, eat Crab Louie for lunch at Anthony's overlooking San Diego bay.

Of course, the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles is very special to me. I can't count the number of musicals and plays Tom and I enjoyed there, including Phantom of the Opera with none other than the incomparable Michael Crawford. We've seen Phantom a number of times, but every other performance never quite measures up to Mr. Crawford.

This morning I read a new blog post by my friend, Karin, at Altadena Hiker, one of my favorite writers. It made me miss something about California that isn't entertainment or distraction. I miss the diversity.

Photo Source

It's weird living somewhere so one-dimensional. I grew up hearing many accents and languages everywhere around me and even more so as the influx of immigrants grew after I became an adult. It's an odd feeling to hear only a southern accent. It's feels peculiar to look out over a crowd and see almost exclusively light faces. The occasional brown face is a stark contrast and I often wonder how that person feels, or if they even notice.

When I went to work at Philander Smith College, an historically black college, my colleagues thought I was nuts. But, working at PSC was a multi-dimensional sensory experience. I think one of the reasons I felt so comfortable working there surrounded by so many people of color was because, visually, it felt familiar. I felt like I was back in California. It felt like home.


altadenahiker said...

Terri, I grew up at the opposite end of the spectrum, where everyone pretty much looked like me, talked like me. We ate the same kind of food, had similar stories. We were the blue sky kids, the subdivision kids, and followed our dad as he was transferred from state to state. Though the weather changed, oddly the faces didn't, much. I knew there was something else out there. I knew this from books and movies and such. But for a long while, I didn't know it really; I didn't know it personally.

Terri said...

Karin: Thank you for sharing that. I think that's why the arts are so critical for children and adolescents. I was fortunate to encounter diverse cultures in school and in my neighborhood (lower middle working class), and my parents had friends of many different nationalities and cultures, so the get-togethers meant a culturally diverse menu. I loved that growing up.