Leaving Santa Cruz

Leaving Santa Cruz

By Janet Payne-Downs

Leaving Santa Cruz Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.com

Janet & Charlie

Last Thursday I went to downtown Santa Cruz to meet a friend for an appointment. As many people do, I plopped myself onto a chair in front of Bookshop Santa Cruz and people-watched until my friend appeared. I often forget how much character Santa Cruz has and how fun it is just hanging out on Pacific Garden Mall.

I love Santa Cruz and have lived in the area since 1981. First in Ben Lomond, where I raised my near-perfect children, and now living in a small studio off of 41st Avenue…. my elderly self and lug of a dog, Charlie.

However, in the next year and a half or so I will be moving to the Houston area where I will be near my son and his family. Let me explain.

Fifteen or so years ago on a gloomy February day with tears flowed down my face, I waved goodbye to my son Michael as he headed for Texas driving a sloppily-packed blue vehicle. At the time he did not have much stability nor did he have any tangible goals, so a high school friend invited Michael to Texas to live with him.

When he left that day, I was always certain he would return. Who can resist this gorgeous area? I never considered for a moment that he might fall in love and marry. He and his wife have three children (my grandchildren!) and recently purchased a house in the sweet community of Friendswood, a city about 20 miles south of Houston. They have two Golden Retrievers, a John Deere lawnmower, a turtle, perhaps a hamster… and have promised they will clean out the sweltering toolshed for me if I need temporary housing.

I usually visit about two times a year and after baby #1 was born, I reluctantly began considering living my life there. Until then I could not fathom living in Houston after having lived here for 35 years and in California all my life. My everything was here: friends, job, beauty, belongings, my soul, and an occasional boyfriend…

Michael and his wife Najla were sincere and even eager at the prospect of me living nearby. When babies two and three arrived, just 17 months apart, I put myself on a list for low income housing there in Texas. That was a huge step. In reality I spent many hours and sleepless nights anguishing about this.

I have not necessarily embraced this by any means. But I’m trying to. There are some major obstacles facing this 71-year-old.

So come along for the ride as I slowly begin this life-changing adventure of leaving Santa Cruz.

8 Responses to "Leaving Santa Cruz"

  1. Karen Jurado  August 18, 2018 at 9:01 am

    So excited to read about your journey!

    Reply
  2. Jean Johnson  August 18, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Nice beginning. Will be interested to read more of the adventure with a little bit of envy. Remember, life is an adventure that you only experience once…go for it !!!

    Reply
  3. Joan  August 18, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    I just did this myself, and it is a difficult transition as there is no place like Santa Cruz! However, having loved ones at the end of the journey (like I did), sure makes it easier. Just make sure you are able to visit a few times a year…you can do this and I wish you all the best!

    Reply
  4. John Purcell  August 18, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Welcome to Texas and best wishes for you as you acclimate. There will be times you’ll wonder if you made the right move, but rest assured, there is plenty of culture and friendliness in this area. Have a safe trip and get ready to have some fun.

    Reply
  5. connie  August 19, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Your blessed with a son, his wife and g’children. So lucky they want you near by watching your grand children grow! Please be positive! It’s family not environment what really counts!

    Reply
  6. Elena Longsworth  August 19, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Love seeing you in print Janet!!!!

    Reply
  7. Kami  August 19, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Janet!!! Yes. Please write! Love to follow your adventure and heart:)

    Reply
  8. Peggy Edwards  August 19, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Janet, if there’s anything certain about life, is that it rarely turns out like we think it will – you’re off on your next adventure. Think of the roses you can grow in Texas, the new bird species you’ll see, in other words, embrace the change. Easier to say than to do, yet everywhere we live although it may take time to make new “human” friends, the natural world offers us so much to see and learn. I wish you well in your new life, your family with thrive with you there.

    Reply

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