Oddly enough, we were sitting in an airport in Oklahoma City of all places, when our escape route out of the Bay Area presented itself.
We had flown out to OKC thinking that Shawnee, Oklahoma would be the next place we called home. The job didn’t work out – although Shawnee looked to be a nice town to call home from what I saw of it – and we were waiting for our flight back home when a telephone call changed everything.
We were heading south, not east, to a place I’d always wanted to visit but never thought I’d live in – Thousand Oaks. The Dallas Cowboys used to hold training camp there, and were now in nearby Oxnard. So that was a plus.
The place we found to live was right on the border of Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley, and across the street from the Reagan Library, which I got to visit. Seeing the old Air Force One on display inside a library is something else. Of course, being in Southern California, we enjoyed one day of spring, eight hours of fall and about four hours of winter. The other 364 days was summer, which kind of gets boring if you actually enjoy changing seasons.
I found one place in Thousand Oaks I never expected – a genuine German deli, complete with goods imported from Germany. Run by George and Elizabeth, I suspect I had lunch there at least twice a week. And I blame them for at least 10 pounds of extra weight I’m carrying because of their apple strudel. Hang on a sec, I’m having a moment here. Okay, lets get off the food wagon here.
Professionally for me, Thousand Oaks was a turning point. I was living there when I made my first appearance on The Writer’s Block and drove over to Sherman Oaks to do the show in studio. It was there that I first met Jim Christina, a man I am proud to call friend.
Its also where I made the decision to go Indie publishing, a decision that changed the arc of my writing career in so many ways I can’t begin to list them all and do them justice.
But California as a state, the state I was born in, has become unlivable for someone who prefers to live free, not be nanny-stated to death. So when an opportunity arrived to move out of state, we decided the time had come to bid California farewell as residents.
We’ve gone back twice since 2018 to visit. The last time was this summer for two quick days because my eldest grandson needed some grandpa time. As long as I’m breathing, I’ll do whatever it takes when it comes to my kids and grandkids.
Oddly enough, this last trip out was the first time we didn’t feel even a slight urge to move back there. We’ll visit for a week or so in the summer, for as long as the kids remain there, but my days as a California resident are far behind me.
In the late spring of 2018 we were heading east – bound for Nebraska.