Yes, I share that with Leon Russell. My husband and I have lived in LA, San Diego, Utah high desert, Lexington KY, Richmond VA, now the White Mountains of N.H.
My favorite place is and always has been San Diego. It's where I finished college, lived in my twenties after a divorce and moved back again in my late thirties with a husband and two toddlers. It is the most perfect place I've ever lived. Why? The weather is gorgeous, mean annual temps hover at 68 degrees. It's dry, it's beachy, it's home.
I was always grateful to be there. Every day was a gift. I would awaken, more often than not, to a sunshiny, temperate day of blue skies, soft ocean breezes and unlimited outdoor recreational opportunities. I learned to play racquetball and tennis and badminton. I body surfed. I rode bikes, swam, soaked up the sun. I played softball. It was almost effortless. Being young can be effortless. As I've aged, I realize how important that warm, temperate weather is.
What sticks with me? The friends I made and still retain; some date back to college. Most, however, were during my first "corporate" job in advertising. It was a fertile time for twenty-somethings, working in the same fun-filled atmosphere of a cutting edge marketing department where we were encouraged to think outside the box and to always have a great time. We traveled together in a pack, all of us unmarried, in our prime (so we thought) and not too serious. Weekly movie excursions to large theaters with large screens allowed us to analyze and argue each and every frame. Concerts, another go-to as most of us could get tickets for free from the local radio and tv stations with whom we advertised. We spent big bucks. It was an unspoken quid pro quo. So were Padres baseball, Charger football, San Diego State football, all three played in the accomodating centrally located Jack Murphy Stadium. The Volvo Tennis Tour played in Balboa Park for years; the Virginia Slims played La Costa. Outdoor concerts with fabulous entertainers on Shelter Island or at the Marina made summer evenings fly. Happy hours on the beach in iconic restaurants where we'd stop after work and relax, watch the sun settle over the ocean, and embrace what the weekend might offer.
San Diego was once a sleepy town comprised of fabulous beaches, the world class San Diego Zoo, in the world class Balboa Park, iconic restaurants, outstanding Mexican food at every price point, beautifully preserved architecture from the turn of the century (a rarity in SoCal), an excellent Amtrak system, an excellent freeway system and an easy-going attitude. People were friendly and unpretentious (unlike LA). I've been gone 15 years and no longer know if this holds true. Once San Diego developed thriving biotech and internet-related industries, LA folk started moving south, developers began paving paradise and we left.. That said, it held true for the 25 years between college and raising my sons when I moved in and out of there three times.
I haven't been home in 5 years. Physical liabilities, timing, other have prevented my taking that once a year trip. I am homesick, no doubt about it. This is going to be the year I go home, see my friends, walk on my favorite beaches, eat real Mexican food, soak in the sun and the salt air. My heart won't let me stay away any longer.
This is in response to a writing prompt on "imaginary garden with real toads"