What Californians in the Golden State are thankful for

I hitchhiked back to Madison, closed our apartment, bought an old car, loaded all our worldly goods into a U-Haul trailer, and when I got back to Oakland and the new apartment, we both started looking for jobs. California does that to people. We raised a family, retired and traveled the world for 15 months without returning home. But nothing satisfies more than my connection to the place we call California.” — Richard Bunce, Berkeley

“Here in South Lake Tahoe, I go outside or anywhere in town and it’s a breather of beauty. There’s always a chill in the air, a boon for this postmenopausal woman. I can drive to the Bay Area for a wonderful change of scenery, even if all the other Californians go to Tahoe for the same reason.” — Merlyn Oliver, South Lake Tahoe

“In September 1982, we walked into Ocean Park in Santa Monica with two backpacks, $2,000 and youthful optimism. Since then, we’ve walked the Pacific Rim, rode our bikes, swam in, worked nearby, and loafed around the Pacific Rim. Californians are diverse, inclusive, open to ideas, and enamored with the natural beauty of their mountains, deserts, and of course, the Pacific Ocean. We’ve only been on this earth a little while, and the warmth of California, along with its beautiful weather, has nourished our spirits for these four decades. Eureka! We struck gold and made it our home.” — Susan O’Brien, Santa Monica

“My family has lived in California for over 170 years, and every time I leave California I miss it so much I can’t even hear ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’ without feeling longing to go home pack . I love it all – flying in the beautiful cool fog of San Francisco, smelling the dry oak and dust tinged air of the Sacramento Valley, seeing the jacaranda and bougainvillea blooms in Southern California, watching the ocean the Sonoma tumbles onto the beach shore, meandering through the Santa Ynez Valley, skiing in Tahoe and seeing the lake from the top of a ridge, and so on and so forth. It can be annoying and contradictory and disappointing, but it’s always beautiful and interesting and welcoming, and it’s always a home.” — Michelle Oroschakoff, Rancho Santa Fe

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