My dad came to California in the 1930s and my mom came to California in 1944. I have a long history of living in California, so why would I leave the golden state?
I really liked the culture I grew up in. My neighborhood was made up of lower middle class people that all worked hard every day and mostly did without many of the luxuries that most of us find ordinary. We played in the streets with neighbor kids and although there may have been dangers, it was not the primary concern on everyone’s mind. Old folks would sit on their porches and watch us kids play and often we would listen to them tell stories of war and character. These were good people and they were watching out for us kids growing up.
In school, I learned to operate printing presses and out of school, my shop teacher arranged a decent job for me. We did not worry about who we were going to offend, or wrestle with gender issues or deal with people who did not speak the language. Late in my high school years, they began to bus inner city kids to our school. They came with anger and knives. I managed not to get stuck but they isolated themselves and we avoided their violent behaviors.
When I got to college, (while working full time to pay my own way with the job I got right out of school because of shop class,) the only classes I could get were Pan African Studies, Women’s Literature and did manage to get Economics 101 102 and Business Law. Econ 101 taught me a lot and sparked my interests in marketing and sales. During the next decade or so, the culture did not change too badly. I stayed working, had a family and went to church. The 90’s though started to get different. Many folks started moving in and not learning the language and there were parts of town that you would no longer want to enter. I never understood why someone would want to hurt me just because I have light colored skin. So the city became more and more populated. Traffic got worse and worse over the next two decades.
Finally, I looked around and realized that no one around me spoke English, had a registered car or insurance. That law enforcement would be happy to give me a ticket but would not even pull over an immigrant because they did not want to deport them. Then finally, our town became a “Sanctuary City.” Rather than encourage people to become part of American and seek the American dream for themselves, it became all about waiving a foreign flag and not blending in with the rest of the culture. A felon destroyed two cars of mine in one night but driving a stolen car drunk into my property. The police said I could prevent theft from our front yard by putting up a fence but the city council said I could not put up a fence unless it was five feet inside my yard – unlike the dozens of fences on my block next to the side walk.
It became obvious to me that there were a set of rules for those that work and follow the law and no rules for the lawless. I realized this was not the place where I want to grow old. With rampant fraud at the ballot box and impossible traffic, persistent trash everywhere and extreme rudeness on the road and in stores, ever increasing laws and fees – we had to go.
So why Wyoming. Mostly because it is so not California. I can target shoot out the back door with a gun I bought in the morning. I can buy ammo without registering and there is NO TRASH. People there respect each other and they look out for each other. The laws are strictly enforced and people there learn the language. The Californians that go there are just like us and not like the Californians that invaded and ruined Oregon, Washington and are now invading Idaho. Our town is growing at the rate of 100 people per year and has been growing at that rate for decades. The land is beautiful. They have water. Taxes are low and there are very few stupid fees (like grocery bags.) Is it perfect? no. But the people there are awesome and we could not be happier.
We have made more close friends there this year than in all the years I can remember in California. Close friends have you over for dinner and games, help you when you need help and show you things you need to know. We are plugged into a church that gives us a wonderful family and places to serve and grow. The weather is not California. It gets cold. I think that keeps the population from growing faster and so the cold is what makes my driving enjoyable. We are truly blessed and we feel like we have been planted in a place where we will thrive and begin the new adventure of our lives.