1985 revisited, again


For the first time, it had dawned upon me that we might actually have to live in Los Angeles. When we packed our bags and took a few simple things to spend the month of April here in California, it never even occurred to me that our lives could be shuffled out here in a much more permanent way. Now that I’m actually faced with the proposition, I suddenly miss the little farm in Columbia County with the longing of a hundred distant suns. When our manager talked about writing pilots until Halloween, all I could think about was my pumpkin patch.

Obviously it would be the thrill of a lifetime to actually get a job writing for television, the sort of rat-a-tat-tat all-consuming team collaboration that I’ve been missing since my days at the DTH. It would also be an amazing testament to Tessa, who managed to miss all American television from 1977-83 (just think about that) and can still deliver dialogue with the effortlessness of the natives.

But I’m reminded of the day I came home from a winter school trip in 12th grade, to find that my mother had left town and taken my brother and sister with her. I had no idea she was even looking for another job, I had no idea I’d suddenly be alone in my room, and I felt an abandonment as pure as a puppy.

In her defense, she was offered an incredible job writing, editing and recording every song you ever sang in grades K through 9 (and certainly didn’t need my permission) but that sense of “the rug being pulled out” is very palpable, and I’m feeling a bit of it now.

Is it possible to pull the rug out from under yourself? And are there usually nice hardwood floors hiding underneath?

0 thoughts on “1985 revisited, again

  1. Rhonda

    I spent the summer of my 19th year in Irvine, CA. I thought it was “fabulous”. Nice neighborhoods, beautiful homes… oranges dangling from the trees out back. While I spent the summer working I did not spend the summer paying the bills. My friends dad gave us a free ride to work & play for four months and then it was back to Oregon. Five years later after meeting and marrying Mark, his job took us to Contra Costa County just outside of S.F. We spent two years working 9 to 5 and playing tourist on the weekends. The whole time paying the bills thinking, we don’t want to buy a home here! It takes much to live well in California and when you factor in the thought of children it takes more. When we had the chance to transfer to Michigan we jumped. We missed the seasons and the sense of community while living California. Of coarse i now bitch that spring (March/April) is flurries, rain & mud. Meanwhile, California once again seems like paradise with sunny skies,sandy beaches & beautiful people. I consider home many places, but after two years in living in CA it’s still just a great place to vacation. For you and Tessa it may become just another place you call home. It’s not “are there usually nice hardwod floors hiding underneath”, it’s do you peel off the carpet & spend the time and effort refinishing and polishing up the hardwood. One can do that anywhere really and it seems Tessa and your careers may flourish in CA for the time being.

  2. Sean

    If you go, I’ll be the last one here. And if I’m the last one here, you know that won’t last. Since about ’92, we’ve managed to all move to be close to each other.
    Jordana’s sister got accepted to grad school in the valley, and Michelle’s in Napa. I wouldn’t move unless I got an invitation, but if you’re invited, you ought to think about it. We’re California blood, our whole family, no matter how many relatives came from Tennessee or Wales. Dad’s Compton and Mom’s South Central, and we’re valley boys.
    But it breaks my heart to think about…

  3. Mom

    You are entering the world I have inhabited even before that day I “left town” in Virginia, and found a job in New Jersey (which led to subsequent lives in L.A., New York, North Carolina, Northerm California, and back to NY, with frequent periods spent in Utah). It is the world of the divided souls, who find themselves without a “home town,” without roots, without a sense of place. You found a sense of place at the farm (pumpkins and all), just as I found a sort of bizarre SOP in that midtown Manhattan apartment, and just as I had found myself earlier, in love with London and wanting to stay forever.
    Now I find that I have stayed about a month too long in Northern California, and after years of bi-coastal bouncing and considering my sojourn here temporary, this feels comfortable. I am again a homeless person, not knowing where to light… longing for the energy and insanity of New York when I’m here in NoCal, and longing for the sun, green, and ease of California when I’m on the other coast. There’s no cure for this loss of roots. And it is part of my legacy to you.
    We keep inventing “home” but jobs and circumstance yank people around, and when, like us, you have lived in all the above (wildly different) locales… well, all I can say is… walk carefully on the rugs, and, I guess. don’t fall too much in love with where you are. At some point, you might have to roll up the rug and move it somewhere else.

  4. jon

    Lengthy, but perhaps relevant, direct quote from Will Blythe’s Sports Illustrated opus on why Dook is evil:
    “There are two kinds of Americans, it seems to me… Those for whom the word *home* summons up an actual place that is wood-smoke fragrant with memory and desire, a place that one has no choice but to proudly claim, even if it’s a falling-down dogtrot shack, the place to which the compass always points, the place one visions in nightly dreams, the place to which one aims always to return, no matter how far off course the ship might drift.
    “And then there are those citizens for whom home is a more provisional notion — the house or apartment in which one sleeps at night, as if American life were an exhausting tour of duty, and home, no matter how splendid, equaled a mere rest stop on the Interstate of Personal Advancement. I am biased against this kind of nomadism, no matter how well-upholstered the vehicles. The loss of adhesion to a particular place seems ruinous, and those without the first kind of home wander through our nation like the flesh-eaters from Night of the Living Dead. Spiritually, they are akin to oil wildcatters and clear-cutters, never mind their pro forma eco-sympathies.
    “A great many of these flesh-eaters pass through the pseudo-Gothic arches of Duke University, *pass through* being the relevant phrase. Duke is the university as launchpad, propelling its mostly out-of-state students into a stratosphere of success. While hardly opposed to individual achievement, North Carolina, by contrast, is the university as old home place, equally devoted to the values of community and local service…”
    Jon talking now: In spite of many uncertainties, my life has become infinitely more fulfilling and less Tums-swallowing once I figured out where *home* is, warts and all. For me, now, nothing else is more important.
    And then the bizarre-o hypocritical part: As God as is my witness, while I was typing this just now, I paused to the answer the phone. On the other end was a potential business associate who asked, among other things, “Would you ever consider a move to Tulsa?” to which I said without hestitating, “Well, I wouldn’t rule it out.” Is it possible that as long as you know *where* home is, it’s okay if you’re not actually living there?

  5. Tessa

    I am not leaving New York. You scared all of our friends. We might be out here for some part of every year and that might be nice but that’s it. I love LA and I would really love a job in LA but I live in New York. It’s the only place that has ever felt like home in a pure and primal way and, given my paripatetic childhood, I truly can’t imagine trading that feeling for anything.

  6. michelle

    I’m reminded of the Vonnegut line, “Live in New York City once, but leave before you get hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before you get soft.”
    I have exactly no idea where home is right now, as I love people desperately both in the big house next door and 3000 miles away. I’ve called everything home, from the houses in London and Iowa to the hotel room I stayed in last weekend. I will someday go back to New York, and my life does feel awfully soft out here, but it is a healing, beautiful, lush softness, and it’s one I’m going to explore for as long as it seems right.


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