Although arriving here at the end of May, it was not until the middle of November before I moved into my very own apartment. Between May and November I stayed with a good friend that had a two bedroom apartment.
So, by Thanksgiving I was in my first California home. My couch had been delivered, my coffee table had been delivered, and my bed had been delivered. All were brand new because I had not brought any furniture with me from the Midwest. The dining set was on back-order. So the only furniture I had were boxes, the couch, the bed, and the coffee table...plus a card table with four chairs that I had borrowed from another friend.
All along the way I had really taken to living in California...particularly loving that I was living in San Francisco. To this day I can remember the excitement of getting off of work on a Friday afternoon/evening and knowing I was meeting friends in the City for dinner and cocktails. Each and every day was a new adventure. Each and every day was a day of discovery. I was not missing any part of the Midwest except for some dear friends and my Mom (and family). However, they were a mere three and one-half hour flight away so I was very comfortable with my new life.
Then came the first weekend in December, 1982. I still had only the furniture mentioned above, most of the boxes were unpacked, yet the new home still did not feel like "home" just yet. I woke around 9am or so to pouring down rain and a cold day that particular Sunday. My routine on weekends, then as now, is to wander sleepily into the living room, turn on the stereo, and then go to the kitchen and make coffee.
At the time there were two classical radio stations in San Francisco. This was in the era before organizations such as Clear Channel began gobbling up radio stations and homogenizing them into boring shit. So we were blessed with two classical stations...one was KDFC...the only one that survived and one other.
Immediately upon turning on the stereo the sounds of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" poured out of the speakers. I turned around to look out the window at pouring rain and the house across the street that had a palm tree in its front yard.
I burst into tears. The view was all wrong! Where was the snow! Where were the pine trees! Where was the sub-zero cold and frosted windows!
Well, after a good strong cup of coffee I showered and shaved that morning and went to a Christmas tree lot on El Camino...and in the rain, while holding an umbrella, and wearing shorts, I bought my first California Christmas tree. Upon getting home it was placed in the tree stand and then decorated with even more Christmas music pouring out of the stereo.
And all was well with my world that funny yet magical December day.
Oh...and the tree? Well, it is in the picture at the beginning of this post!