40 years ago I moved with my birth family from frigid Michigan to sunny California. I was 16; Sophomore year was a tough time to move schools.
Landing at West Covina High School (in the San Gabriel Valley) however provided a surprisingly comfortable landing pad.
It was then, and is now, a very pleasant city. The air smelled of star jasmine blossoms as well as front yard orange tree flowers.
In some ways it simply has not changed.
I stopped by to pay my respects to some memories of my adolescence and was surprised by joy to suddenly and awkwardly realize that 40 summers have turned the calendar pages since I crossed the threshold of WCHS.
And I smiled.
And was thankful.
Not just that I had the enjoyment of finishing well my high school years in a very nice nice city but also that the sun-baked DNA of those years remains after four decades. 40 summers of sun have arced the horizon of the San Gabriel Mountains, against which West Covina sprawls. And a little bit of me remains there each summer, even if I tend not to stop by, as I have this morning.
The California Summer Sun brightens all Americans. It's why families vacation, enjoy and historically have moved to the land that smells sweet. My family did, 40 years ago.
I've been an Idahoan for over two decades. I love Idaho. My children grew up there.
But my own childhood ended under the morning sun of a June day when I began planning, moving and transitioning towards adulthood from this area of S. Cal.
How much better my life is now, having begun those "future hopes" so many years ago.
40 summers ago.