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A Connecticut Yankee in LA LA Land
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[So I’m a day behind with the prompt, oh well.] Do you still live in the place where you grew up? How far away are you now, and why?

Goddess, gracious, no! I was born in Connecticut and lived my first 16 years on the east coast, mostly in Connecticut, some in North Carolina (family roots go back to Governor Tryon). We moved constantly from place to place; I had attended 21 schools by the time I completed junior high school (aka middle school).

As soon as I was old enough to leave home (you can’t leave the state of Connecticut without parental permission before the age of 16), I pulled up stakes and moved to California to attend Stanford University. I had been offered full scholarships at the sister schools (Wellesley, Vassar, Smith, etc.) and also at Sarah Lawrence College, but I wanted to get as far away from home as I could; I never thought about money--I would work, of course. The Pacific Ocean seemed like a good target, and Stanford had a fine reputation (the ‘Harvard of the West’). I arrived with $200 (for a $3500 tuition fee) and the confidence that comes from being so young.

During the taxi drive from the airport to the campus, I said to the driver, “Look! There’s a palm tree. A palm tree!”

He asked, “Lady, you’ve never seen a palm tree before?” I told him no; I had come from Connecticut. We don’t have palm trees. He turned the meter off and drove me around the perimeter of the university, pointing out the various buildings (and letting me see the palm trees). Then, when we arrived at the main drive again, he turned on the meter and drove me to the dorm. The kindness of strangers….

Since that time I’ve lived in Italy, traveled throughout Europe, been a Peace Corps Volunteer in India, traveled in a few Asian locales, and crossed the United States on vacation more than once. And finding everywhere, it seems, the kindness of strangers…. If it weren’t for my second job nowadays as a caregiver for my handicapped husband, I’d still travel on my days off.

I still live in California (Los Angeles area) and, though in some ways I’ll always be a New England Yankee (independent, strong work ethic, UU principles), I consider myself also a citizen of the world. One world, one people.

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