America’s Finest City

12 Sep

In the last year I have been to New Mexico, Arizona 2x, Seattle 2x, San Jose 2x, Colorado, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia 2x, Israel, Jordan and now Iowa. And although I love to travel, the more I do I realize how much I adore San Diego, which is where I live. In fact, I’ve grown increasingly sentimental about the place. I don’t know if this is because of my recent travel or age or both but I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever want to move away from here despite feeling like a tumble weed most of my life.

When I was growing up I went through a phase where I was real snobby and thought San Diego was inferior to “cultured” cities. By the time I was in high school I wanted San Diego to be Paris or London or New York and of course it wasn’t. Yet I get a little irritated with folks now when I hear people say that San Diego has “no culture”, “no intellectuals” and “unfriendly people.” Okay. I agree that Southern California lacks some of the solid qualities of other regions. We have people here more into plastic surgery and highlights than the New York Times, nature, faith or philanthropy. We also have a host of economic problems and our public schools and libraries are going to pot. However, I know many people who are cultured, intellectual and kind. They just happen to like warm weather and have moved here.

At the end of the day though I think I’m feeling increasingly attached to San Diego because this is where I grew up and both of my parents are dead. Therefore it is the geography and culture here that ties me to any sense of family the same way Wisconsin will always remind me of my grandparents with whom I spent my summers. I find it astonishing how certain places can connect us to our memories; how simply the smell of Eucalyptus and jasmine can transport me to my childhood home. Below is a picture of my mother and I when my parents lived in a modest little apartment so indicative of those found in Southern California. My dad had just started his law practice and my mom took care of me when not working at San Diego state. I grew up around swimming pools and later we had one. This is why I am now part fish.

San Diego is known as America’s Finest City and both of my parents adored the place. I guess for all my differences between my parents and I (and there were many), I carry their spirits in my love of this town. And when I’m on a plane making its dramatic descent into the San Diego airport where one can literarily reach out and touch the buildings and harbor, I know I’m home. Part of me feels five or six years old again waiting with excitement to see my mom and dad at the gate greeting me (in the days when visitors could be in all parts of the airport). As I gather my lap top bag and purse I remember the days when I traveled with a stuffed animal or doll and when my flight reading was Nancy Drew. I imagine my mom and dad and step-father and Rosy at the gate waiting for me and remember what it was like to be loved as a child.

One Response to “America’s Finest City”

  1. Michael September 12, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    Thank you for sharing your love of this city with us. I love San Diego too, and I thought I was just going to be here for schooling only. Now, I can’t really imagine living anywhere else, and I certainly can’t explain all those people that prefer the OC or LA to our paradise here LOL.

    Great picture – I simply love it. I grew up in one of those kind of apts too… many memories!

    Love you Lise,

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