25 years ago, in 1987, both Computerguy and I moved to the Inland Empire of Southern California. We wouldn’t meet for another 16 years, but we both arrived the same year.
CG grew up in Bakersfield, the southern edge of the Central Valley, not too far away. After graduating high school, he spent several years at his local community college and working jobs where, at the time, actual computer skills were much more important than education. When it came time to transfer to a four year school, at a time when computer science departments were not universal, he did his homework, and liked the practical–over theoretical–emphasis of the Cal State San Bernardino program. He came to school, had the time of his life living in the dorms (the only child suddenly had a community), got a job right out of college, got a second job he liked better a year or so later, bought a house, and stuck around.
As I have mentioned occasionally in passing on the blog, I grew up all over the place. In 1987, we finally moved to California to be near my mom’s family. My dad got a job and we settled in Riverside, halfway between my grandma on one side and my aunt and her family and one uncle and eventually his family on the other. We stayed. My brother and I went to high school where my dad taught. I went to the local University of California*, and started teaching at the high school where I had graduated and at which my dad still taught. I thought I was heading to the Midwest forever in 2002 when I began my master’s program, but I met CG in 2003 and came home the next year.
We used to talk about moving. When I finished my Ph.D., I was going to find a job, ideally in the Pacific Northwest or the Midwest, and we’d move. Computerguy could always find a job anywhere. He had computer skills. Somehow in the meantime, while I was whiling a way in school and having babies, the economy tanked, our house lost its inflated value, jobs for Ph.D’s hit a new level of scarcity, and jobs for computerguys weren’t a dime a dozen. Suddenly a house with a low mortgage–he bought it 20 years ago–and a steady job with good benefits and retirement that could become tricky the longer we waited were really good things. Now WordGirl is in a school we like and we’re involved in the community through the church, and so, 25 years later, unless something crazy happens, we’re here for the duration, and that’s more than okay. It’s good.
*Sometimes I get the “what-ifs.” I wonder what would have happened if I had not gone to the local university. It’s a good school, and the English department is strong, but it’s not one of the big name UCs. I appreciated this post from Robin about college choice and the stress kids currently go through as they make those decisions. I think it makes a big difference, especially for someone like CG who stays where he went to college, but it’s one choice for four years. There are bigger choices, I think.