So Long, California—Thanks For The Memories!
Of course, Bob was giving me a hard time. He knew full well that
Pittsburgh temperatures hadn`t been out of the single digits in
But Bob`s e-mail reminded me of another one that I received
while I still lived in
time elapsed on any given day between the moment I left home and
the instant I first set eyes on an illegal alien.
Here was my reply to Nancy:
“Well, it depends what the season is. During the
winter months as long as three minutes may go by. I drive
off, make a few loops out of my neighborhood, and turn into the
Mini-Mart where I`ll see several illegal immigrants filling up.
Although I didn`t quote my answer to
verbatim to Bob, I did remind him that climate is only one
ingredient in the
of life. And I added that as much as I miss
California`s beaches and what they symbolize, during the
seven months that I`ve resided in
handful of individuals who may be living here illegally.
Days—perhaps weeks—pass without sighting a single alien.
The change is
refreshing and energizing.
Several factors prompted my decision to leave
where, as one of only a small handful of native-born residents,
I remember the
Highest among them is that, after more than
years of teaching in the
toward what will soon be a Hispanic majority, I was disgusted
and worn out.
The insistence by school bureaucrats, government hacks and
ethnic identity activists that we all celebrate diversity even
though it had been
our throats mostly through illegal immigration became
Today, I look back at
politics remains beyond comprehension. With the state struggling
$42 billion budget deficit, illegal immigration is still an
all but unmentionable subject.
In my Lodi News-Sentinel .
I wrote about my former Lodi Unified School District teaching
colleagues fired because of the
state`s budget crisis. A friend who teaches physical
education is circulating flyers to raise awareness among parents
that she hopes will save her job. Yet, billions in services for
illegal aliens continue virtually uninterrupted. [Lodi
Unified Will Issue 390 Lay-Off Notices to Teachers, by
February 18, 2009
population has soared to
35 percent according to 2007 census data. Non-Hispanic
whites and African-Americans make up 38 percent of the school
district`s enrollment. As a result,
barely recognize their city.
Compare Los Angeles and Lodi to All-American Pittsburgh where
the concept of California life is beyond comprehension.
When you walk around downtown
Rooney. If you recognize him—and he`s so inconspicuous you
may not—he`ll be happy to talk football with you.
Bowl champion Steelers` coach
Mike Tomlin lives in
or any other
The city`s most popular restaurant is
some in vogue fusion cuisine sashimi joint like
total entrée weighs eight ounces. Primanti`s serves
mile-high meat sandwiches piled with French fries and
coleslaw stacked between the bread.
Pirate entertainment centers on the
Pierogi Race“. (Watch one
The announcers call the competition in
Pittsburghese, an American dialect unique to
for those who don`t know, is ethnic food
style. Take dumplings formed from unleavened dough and stuff
them with cabbage or mashed potatoes. Then boil them and you`ll
have a stick-to-your-ribs treat straight out of
a Polish cookbook. (Aside: pierogis taste better than they
If my affection for
sounds silly, then you haven`t been pounded over the head for
twenty years about the wonderfulness of
diversity and how
nothing without immigration. And you most certainly haven`t
remind yourself repeatedly
as you look
around that you are in fact actually still living in the
The sad truth is that although
many friends and happy reminiscences of my
the state in its current irredeemable state of
would be too heartbreaking.
I still own
home and as absentee landlord I might have to visit. But I
hope I don`t.
in which I lived two decades is a now major sore spot for me. My
solidly middle class neighborhood is
devastated by the
minority mortgage meltdown.
minority, no-money-down, sub-prime owners occupied the house
directly next door. In between owner number one and number two,
the home stood vacant for nearly a year. The second owner, upon
taking possession, never mowed his lawn let alone paint or put
on a new roof. Now, falling apart, it is empty again.
As with other
houses in the neighborhood, values have plunged. Long-time
owners are bewildered about how it all happened—and why it
happened so quickly. If I were still there, I could
explain it to them. But would they understand that
pandering gone wild cost them hundreds of thousands of home
Saying good-bye to California where I was born, spent my youth
and—after leaving and coming back again—thrived during my middle
years is tough. Yet
what choice do I have? The
I loved is
Looking ahead while being thankful for my great
years will serve me better than repeating a litany of things
that might have been.
For now, I`ll content myself with my new life in
immigration-free Western Pennsylvania, counting down the days
until spring and waiting for my California income tax rebate
(reportedly it may be
I.O.U. form) to arrive in my mail box.
him] is a California native
who recently fled the state because of over-immigration,
over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He
has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the
growth rate stable. A
long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the