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Sunday, January 31, 2010
CALPAL OFFICIAL LAUNCH: An Introduction
Welcome to CalPal, a new blog about and for California.
As a young child growing up in Western Pennsylvania, my first introduction to California was through the eyes of my Mother, who arrived in California at the age of 3 weeks, the year 1910. We got our very first television so that my Mother could watch “I Remember Mama,” a show set in San Francisco in the early 1900s that reminded her of her city the way she remembered it from childhood. Although we made a couple of trips to California during my childhood and teen years, I didn’t move here until 1967.
The California that I know is very different from my Mother’s California. For me it is the Watts Riots, the Bobby Kennedy assassination, Charles Manson, anti-war demonstrations, high taxes and fees, a nanny-state mentality, and a constant struggle to pay for the privilege of living here.
In this election year, we will cover much of what is wrong with California, but from time to time, I’ll offer a different view. A view as seen through my Mother’s eyes as she recorded her thoughts and experiences in her journals kept from the time she could write, right up until a year before her death in August of 2004 at the age of 94. To say that my Mother loved California would be an understatement. She drew her strength from this place. From her beloved Yosemite, to the Redwoods, to Big Basin, and, of course, to San Francisco. In that vein, I offer you, in this introductory post, a glimpse of a young woman who has just spent the Fall, Winter, and Spring in the East for the very first time. She recorded her thoughts in the form of a poem and I think it safe to assume she was a bit homesick, despite all the new experiences. A young woman, still single, who never thought her Eastern trip would end up being 30 years, loved her city by the Bay, and she loved this state.
So when we begin to get bogged down in the news or politics, I’ll give you some snippets of a different California, the one that prompted my Mother to write:
San Francisco Blues
by Lucie L’Hommedieu, 1937
There’s a whole new world in the East,
And I’ll never forget in the least
The joy that came with the Spring
Sudden blurring of greens
In a swift change of scenes.
But the year has been long, --
I hum an odd little song
Of cable-cars, Market Street, Twin Peaks Blues.
The first Eastern winter was fun, --
With exciting, new things to be done.
What joy e’er compared
To mine when I dared
The breathtaking thrill
Of skiing down hill?
But my tho’ts stray away
To the fog on the bay,
It’s the Ferryboat, Golden Gate, Waterfront Blues.
Sight-seeing - as good tourists do,
I don’t miss a thing that’s on view:
Famous in story --
Washington, lovely and proud,
New York’s cosmopolitan crowd --
But, what can it be?
Something’s bothering me,
Oh! it’s Chinatown, bridge-building, French Rest’rant Blues.
This blog wants to operate with volunteer news hounds. We can get the major news stories, but we want more. We want the stories that never make it into the big papers or to TV. Community stories, neighborhood stories, stories of real people leading real lives. Of course, we also want to set up a network where we get candidate statements and press releases, and stories of our state government. We are based in the Inland Empire and we need news hounds all over this state. So spread the word that CalPal is the place to be.
Please note some of the resources we’ve already included in the sidebar, such as county by county census data, voting records of our two sitting U.S. Senators, rosters for the California Assembly and for the California Congressional delegation, and an ongoing YouTube library of California Congresscritters. We are big sports fans here, so don’t forget to let us know what your team is doing. For the next couple of weeks we will have stories on California athletes who are participating in the 2010 Winter Olympics, then it will be on to baseball season and NASCAR and the election. We need to take back the state from the tax and spend politicians and put it in the hands of We the People. You’ve heard of an “Army of Davids,” let’s have our own “Army of CalPal-ers.”
By Twitter: twitter.com/CALPALHQ