Looks can deceive us. Have you ever misjudged someone’s age, the weather outside when looking out from a window or in this case, a place? Twenty-eight years ago I told my Engineer boyfriend that I loved him and would follow him anywhere in the world but Texas or Palmdale, CA. I hated everything about Texas at the time. Blame it on the show, “Dallas”! Palmdale, CA is located in the high desert of CA and seemed to have little more than a few Aerospace contractors, a couple of restaurants and too many tumbleweeds. so I definitely couldn’t picture myself there.
Fast forward about 12 years I found myself several years into a marriage with that Engineer and being told to come with him to Ft. Worth, Texas to look at neighborhoods and homes because we were likely to move there for this job. I was horrified! I rented a convertible as the weather was nice enough. I was almost having fun until I got a look at the size of their bugs that were now dangerously close to me on the windshield of that convertible. One full week of tearing up the town, I finally resolved myself to what I thought would be my future fate and picked out a town. Shortly after, the heavens rewarded my flexibility by making the need to move to Texas suddenly vanish as quickly as it appeared.
A couple years passed and the company that my husband worked for began to implement sweeping layoffs and talk of a move resurfaced. We lived in a small but lovely beach community in Los Angeles County and although I secretly had an itching to try living somewhere new, I had reservations about where that “somewhere” might be. Then one fateful day, he came home and raved about a new position he was offered. It didn’t take me but a few minutes to notice he hadn’t said where it was located and my stomach began to get queasy. I just knew it had to be in Palmdale!
He insisted that I keep an open mind and we scheduled a Sunday drive up to this high desert area. We headed up from San Diego where we had been visiting my mother and entered the Antelope Valley (where Palmdale resides) from mountainous Wrightwood, CA. All I saw for miles and miles was brown hillsides, open desert and cactus. It would have made a delightfully funny adventure if it hadn’t represented my future. How could this be, first a close call with Texas, now Palmdale? God clearly had a sense of humor, I mused.
Several months passed and the move was imminent. We sold our beach home so we could begin our new life in what looked like another planet to me. I fashioned the best pair of rose-colored glasses that I could create and jumped in with both feet. We were hysterical to watch at the beginning. I was born and bred on temperate Southern CA weather so in my mind 45 deg F was bone-chilling. Now I had arrived in my new city in late November to be greeted with 18 degree F evenings, I was less than enthusiastic and my rose-colored glasses were quickly becoming transparent ones. My hubby fared better as he is a Pennsylvania native however I froze the first winter!
We quickly learned how to dodge tumbleweeds on the roads, not freak out when neighbors in cars actually waved to us, and most importantly, not decorate beautiful outdoor pine trees with Christmas ornaments. That brings me to the only thing I never really got used to in the desert, the WIND! It blew like I never knew wind could blow. It blew in the winter. It blew in the summer. It blew at night, it blew in the morning. It blew anytime it damn well felt like it and it seemed that that was most of the time. All of our trees had one semi-barren side due to my “friend”, the wind. One quickly figured out that good hair days were a rarity given the wind’s desire to restyle it often and dramatically.
I blinked one day and nine plus years had passed. I not only survived my move to the desert, I had managed to thrive there. I had many friends, lots of clients, tons of funny stories and plenty of memories. Alas, it was time for my departure as all of the lessons there were complete. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Antelope Valley of California. I braved my worst fear of moving there only to find exquisite beauty in the desert sunsets, stunning natural buttes. the cleanest air in Los Angeles County and some of the warmest people I have ever met.