It’s hard to believe we are in our second week of the big move to LA. There is so much to love about the area in which we now reside; the weather, the laid back attitude, being only 15 minutes from Malibu to name just a few. That said, I’ll admit that it has been a very difficult adjustment for me personally. My wife and kids seem to be doing great but I am more than just a tad homesick. Of course I am missing my family and friends but I’m also missing my local newspaper (for which I used to write), the Dojo where I trained (www.thedojostamford.com), and Mario’s Pizza on High Ridge Road (seriously, they don’t know how to make pizza out here).
I know it will all pass but it is still hard. I am fortunate, though, that two people have taken the time to reach out and give me a bit of a pep talk. They don’t know each other but they do share a love of Bruce Springsteen so I guess that makes them brothers in some Thunder Roadian way.
Dan Carlon is the youngest of my cousins on my father’s side of the family. After college, Cousin Danny moved to the LA area and spent a long time living in Hermosa Beach and surrounding areas. Incidentally, a generation before, my Uncle George Carlon, Dan’s Father, moved to LA from New Rochelle and lived with Charles Bronson at a YMCA before Mr “Deathwish” became famous. Anyway, Dan was living out there when he married the lovely Nancy (Young Nance as he would say) and their beautiful wedding was held at the elegant Lowes Santa Monica Hotel. I want to say we were 50% into the reception when a request was made to the DJ (who was none other than John Davidson’s son) to play Rosalita by Bruce. Then tragedy struck like an open D chord – he didn’t have it. The DJ’s father would later say, “That’s incredible!” Anyway, a bunch of groomsmen went out to purchase it and the reception went on as planned and we all jumped a little higher.
Since Danny heard about our move, he has been sending me notes telling me how much we are going to love the area and admitting that he is more than just a tad jealous. Today he checked in to see how everything was going and I admitted that I am a bit homesick. His words of encouragement are as follows, “I understand, I am sure it will take a bit getting used to, but you will my friend. I am sure in Jan./Feb. you guys will be so happy to be avoiding the winter. After living in Southern California for 11 years and we have been back east since 2000, but I still feel I have not adjusted to the brutal winters. The climate in Ca. just makes life just so much more enjoyable I feel.” Right on cousin Danny – I’ll be sure to check in with you in January and give you the update.
David Shanker and I worked together at OTX Research. He moved his young family from Chicago out to the Beverly Hills area to take the Chief Operating Officer job at OTX. Our story is somewhat similar; I was approached with this opportunity back in January while I was on business in LA and my wife was stuck at home after two snowstorms cancelled school for the week. When I got home my wife said, “You can’t leave me for a week in the winter anymore.” At that point I asked her how she would feel about living in southern California, not realizing she would ever consider it. As such I was not prepared when she replied, “I can’t take the [expletive] cold anymore. I’m open to it.”
David had a similar story. He approached his wife Mary about the prospect of moving to So Cal and her reply was, “You mean no more Chicago winters, I’m in!” David and his family have since moved back east where they are extremely happy but he came into LA this week on business, reached out to me, and we set up a coffee in Marina Del Ray (I know, it sounds so horrible). He shared his stories about adjusting to life on the west coast, the challenges he and the family faced, and how they made the best of living out here with vacations up and down the west coast, family hot tub nights on Fridays, and maintaining their east coast roots with summers back on LBI. Like cousin Danny, David is a big Bruce fan, although I am not sure if Rosalita was requested at his wedding.
So in honor of Dan and David, tonight I’ve been playing The Boss while cooking and dining outdoors and while doing the dishes from our family dinner. The nice thing about starting new as a family is that I do feel we are all becoming even closer as we walk down this new road together. Just about every meal we have had in the past 10 days has been as a family and we are all very open about how we are feeling.
So now darkness has descended on the edge of Agoura Hills and this kid, who is missing his hometown, is going to do a little dancing in the dark knowing fully that his glory days are in the windshield and not in the rear-view mirror.