To California and Back.

Essay by dshiceCollege, UndergraduateA, March 2007

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Growing up in Oklahoma has always invoked fond memories. When I reminisce about my childhood, I think of my grandparents, fishing trips, neighborly visits, and a multitude of friends. Although raised in Oklahoma, I grew up and became an adult after I moved to California. I settled in Sacramento with my wife, where we raised our children and lived for many years. I enjoyed close friendships, extended family members in the area, and, at times, wonderful neighbors. Although I enjoyed living in California and having friends and relatives convenient, the Sacramento area had declined over the last twenty-nine years. Neighbors were often unfriendly and suspicious, public education had degraded to the point of being useless, except for meeting the most base of educational needs, and neighborhoods had become battlefields, with gang violence and home safety concerns. After almost thirty years of residing in California, I was fed up.

It was time to return home to Oklahoma. My own memories of childhood convinced me that my children and grandchildren deserved the same experience: an opportunity to make lifelong friends, have wholesome memories, and enjoy closeness of family including extended members. My life had changed drastically since I last resided in Oklahoma. The self assured and mature man I have become holds little resemblance to the impressionable and immature young man that left Oklahoma those many years ago. Life had changed me when I moved away from Oklahoma, just as it changed me as I moved away from California. The issues that came as a concern to me now were far removed from the issues that had concerned me as a young man. When I left Oklahoma, only basic living conditions were my concern. There were few, if any, issues of great nature to...