Sunday, February 24, 2008

How I Got To Be A Texan

I grew up just north of San Francisco, in the midst of rolling hills, redwood trees, and very little weather.

I live in the Texas Panhandle, in the midst of some of the flattest land you've ever seen, with very few trees (and those we have are stunted), in what is commonly known as Tornado Alley.

Why? you ask.

It is all my mother-in-law's fault. Mind you, my mother-in-law died more than 10 years ago. She and my husband had been estranged longer than that.

My husband went to over 30 schools before he finally quit school in his sophomore year of high school. His dad, a former Navy cook, was a dairy milker. He milked for various dairies in California, mainly in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. He also milked for a time in the Lone Pine/Bishop area.

He would go to work for a dairy. Back in the day, the milkers lived onsite in a provided house. They were paid and also given 1 gallon of milk a day and part of a steer at butchering time.

They would stay wherever until the next dairy farmer offered 1 1/2 gallons of milk a day, or an extra quarter of beef a year or a dime more an hour. The family, by now consisting of Mom, Dad, my husband and his two sisters (another son died in infancy) would move again.

At one point, my father-in-law had a chance to manage some property in Oregon state for a dairy farmer, with an option to buy. It was a great deal. This was on the eastern side of the coastal mountains, in the agricultural area of Oregon. My mother-in-law did not like it. She really did not like it. She made no real attempt to like it.

They moved back to California and back to what was, for them, normal.

And forever after, whenever things got tough, and they did, it was always...

"Gee, if only we could have stayed in Oregon" or "Gee, if Dad had just stuck to his guns in Oregon, it sure would be different" or "We almost had it all, once".

So, when my husband moved us from California to Nevada, I was good. After all, how bad can Tahoe be?

When my husband moved us from Tahoe to New Mexico (and that's a whole 'nother story!), I was good. Mind you, I cried the first two weeks I was there, but I was good.

When my husband moved us from New Mexico (hallelujah!) to Texas, I was good because I would be danged if, anywhere down the road, I was gonna be the subject of one of those, "Gee......" sentences.

So, long story short, I am in Texas because my mother-in-law, probably before I was born, would not move to Oregon.


Kim said...

We are scary! I was born and raised above San Francisco, went to college in Oregon, taught in Tahoe and now live in the San Joaquin Valley.

I went from Tahoe to Brazil. I cried, too! : )

Celeste said...

I have moved quite a bit in my life. It leaves one feeling like there isn't a place to call home except for where you are. If you have family close by, that would be home. Otherwise, "bloom where you are planted."

People I know who live in the PNW don't understand why I live in TX. There are some opportunities in this state that I would not have there.

Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I live in Texas because I've always lived in Texas. As have my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc, etc.

I love Texas.

Of course, I have no real comparison.

laurie said...

that's fascinating. and so interesting, how we learn by example--by bad example.

good story.

lisa marie said...

I've been through there many times when I lived in Missouri and the thing I remember most is the huge field of sunflowers along the highway.

Alison said...

great story Sandy!! what town did you live in Northern California?

Junebug said...

That was an interesting and well-written story. I have always lived in Oklahoma. Several places during my childhood and the final place of my childhood is now my home for the past twenty-two years.

ChrisB said...

I can't imagine moving so far, having lived within a 20 mile radius for most of my life!

nikki said...

I have lived in Michigan all my life, and only in maybe 3 houses. Sometimes I wish I could have moved out of state, even for a little while.

Karmyn R said...

I can't imagine moving around that much - not having roots anywhere. Not moving to Oregon is one of those "dreaming what if" moments!!!

Catwoman said...

I'm sure Oregon is lovely in July when it's 110 degrees here...

Jenni said...

When I was 16, I counted how many places I had lived and came up with 21. It stinks always being the new kid!

The Oregon deal does sound nice. I wonder why your MIL didn't like it? I've heard Oregon is beautiful. Some day I hope to see for myself.

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