Perhaps the Daves were on to something.
“Come out and live with us,” they said. “All you need is six months.”
The Daves were a couple of years ahead of me in high school. They were good athletes and good students. They knew how to have fun, too. We hung out, partied, whatever, with the same group of guys in the summer.
I’ve long since forgotten exactly when we had that conversation, but it must have been 1975 or 1976. Having come from a family of rather modest means, I was going to the two-year University of Wisconsin campus in my hometown of Wausau. A good school, but not exactly exciting.
One evening, probably after summer basketball and almost certainly over a cold beverage of some kind, the Daves made an intriguing suggestion:
“Come out to California and live with us. All you need to do is be there six months, establish residency and then you can pay the resident tuition.”
The Daves — two guys from central Wisconsin — went to San Diego State University. That sounded good to a kid from central Wisconsin. Real good. I could handle the sun. I could handle the beach. I was willing to try handling the legends that are California girls.
I never made it to SDSU, though. I was 18 or 19, and I was too clueless, too naive to figure out how to eke out a living for those first six months needed for resident tuition. All I really knew how to do was go to school.
I got to thinking about San Diego again this week as I repeatedly shoveled more snow onto the three-foot-high piles on either side of the driveway. It’s been a long winter. If these kinds of winters return with any regularity, I’ll entertain the notion of being a snowbird when I retire.
And, of course, the lovely Janet was in San Diego on business for four days.
“I think we have to come here on vacation,” she said when she called each night. “I think you’d really like it.”
That, I figured out a long time ago.
“California,” Charlie, from “Fight Dirty,” 1979.
Charlie is a British rock band that got occasional FM airplay in the late ’70s. You may remember the lovely ladies on their album covers. The music was all right, too, with sharp songwriting, lots of hooks and crisp vocals.
This tune tells of someone who went to California in the ’70s and experienced its dark side, yet is drawn back to its sun and sights.
Would that have been my experience? Or would I, like the Daves, have gone to school at SDSU and eventually wound up back home in Wisconsin?