California Born and Oranges Bred

[Editorial Note: Blogging is a textual medium and you cannot easily read facial expression, vocal tone or body language and that can mean a lot of fun and frolicking intent can be lost. We want to make it clear how much we love all California people — especially those who move to that great state — and we mostly like those who were born into her soil and not transplanted. With that disclaimer out of the way, let the flaying begin!]

California born folks have to put up with a lot of kidding from the rest of the world that may try to label their “California style” of living flakey or “not there” as Gertrude Stein wrote in 1937 when she visited her hometown of Oakland and wrote in Everybody’s Autobiography:

What was the use of my having come from Oakland it was not natural to have come from there yes write about it if I like or anything if I like but not there, there is no there there.

Is there a there there in California now?

I have been exposed to lots of native Californians and nearly every one of them loves to talk about California at every opportunity and at every inopportune time! They talk about the water and the weather and the orange groves of their childhood that are no longer there and they rightfully brag about their home state’s daring educational initiatives.

When the “California Style” of teaching reaches the East Coat and Midwestern classroom, however, madness ensues! I was stuck in one graduate course taught by a self-identifying native Californian and we spent 57 minutes of the first class deciding who would bring what to eat on which days. It was complete insanity!

Continue reading → California Born and Oranges Bred

The Stranger

by Janet Hanna

As you stepped from the train,
your dress billowed out
in the underdraft
Your arms were bare
and white
against the dark
background of the coach

Continue reading → The Stranger