My parents moved our little family of three (Bucksnort came along a little later) to California from Maine when I was an infant. I grew up in San Francisco, just a block from the beach in a little house they sold in 1955 for $11,000; then in Marin County, in one of the suburbs that were springing up in those post-World War II decades, in a house they bought for exactly, I remember, $19,950. In recent years, either house was valued in the six hundred thousands, although prices have fallen a bit lately, even in these expensive areas.
By the time I was 21, I was anxious to leave California, finding fault with the traffic and ever-increasing development. After leaving, I lived in British Columbia, Washington state, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Connecticut, then New Hampshire and New Mexico once again.
I still see those things when I go back to California for a visit--crowded highways and the resulting smog, and endless developments that fill up the farm and ranch land that I remember from my childhood. But I was surprised, on this trip, to find that I was enchanted by the other parts of the landscape--the deserts, the mountains, and most of all, the beautiful rolling foothills, grassy and studded with bay trees and live oaks, still festooned with the mistletoe I remember from my childhood. I had brought along lots of knitting to work on during the many hours of riding in the car, but found that it sat there in my lap while I admired the scenery.
Northern California foothills