Moving to Ohio
I retired from public service in Sonoma County, California in 2003. I’d had it with the nuttiness of Northern California in general, and it was pricey for a retired honest cop. Plus, I’d been divorced a couple of times and lived in a two bedroom condo on the edge of gang-land. Gunshots every night and helicopters overhead. A real dandy place, and not what the Chamber of Commerce lets you in on in the Wine Country.
So I sold out and moved to Bakersfield, California, where house prices and politics were more to my liking. I bought a small house in a trim neighborhood. I have two daughters and, at that time, one was an adult and the other was finishing up high school in Sonoma County. When she graduated from High School, she moved in with me in Bakersfield.
Not long after that, I met the current Mrs. Young, and we subsequently married. Mrs. Young had three offspring of her own, a girl and two boys. All grown. When we met, I’d been single for 15 years or so, and she’d been a widow for 12. But it was kismet. Just the right woman at just the right time.
When it was just me, the little house in the trim neighborhood in Bakersfield was fine, but when the small house also included the newly minted Mrs. Young and her lifetime of accumulated detritus, and my youngest daughter, it was far too small. There was also the prospect that our children would have children, and we wanted to be able to have a family get-together once in a while. So we looked around the Bakersfield area (the most reasonably priced place in California) for a large, old brick house that would suit our needs. Found one, too. $890,000.00. Took my breath away.
We started looking around on the Internet, and found that most of the rest of America was much more reasonably priced—At about the same time, the kids started scattering far and wide, and we took that as a sign. Mrs. Young and I were born and raised in California, you see, and both felt cheated out of a real “American” childhood. Raking leaves in the fall, snow in the winter—All the iconic American activities reported regularly in the Weekly Reader and Boy’s Life when we were kids.
We found our place in Youngstown, Ohio—the Rust Belt. A city that had peaked in the 1970’s. Our house cost less than one eighth the price we would have paid in California. We like it here, and have made the house our home. People here ask why we would have moved from California. They’re really puzzled. I usually joke that we moved here for the beautiful weather. The truth is that California has beautiful beaches and mountains and a retired public servant can’t afford to live in those places.
Now, when anyone asks me why we moved from beautiful California to, of all places, Youngstown, Ohio, I simply say that we did it on purpose.