I discovered California in the summer of 1963. I was a student nurse at Charity Hospital in New Orleans and I made the long drive west in a tiny compact car with two LSU medical students, headed to Santa Monica to extern for three months. I was bound for Monterey, CA to visit Garlon Lim, a friend from my high school days who had had been in the Army judo club with me at Ft. Benning, Georgia. The car wasn't air conditioned and it was a sweltering trip. I thought Texas would never end! We finally stopped, exhausted and hot, at a cheap El Paso motel to get a few hours sleep in air conditioning and to shower.
His family, all Chinese, were wonderful to me, thanking me for my family's hospitality to their son during his service at Ft. Benning. They fed me incredible meals, better than any of the Chinese food I'd eaten with my Asian friends at the Formosa restaurant in my home town ( the only one back then! ). Garlon took me sightseeing in Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel. I marveled at the 17-mile drive along the Pacific coast and was deeply moved at seeing the Mission San Carlos Borromeo which was founded in 1771. He died there in 1784 and is buried under the sanctuary floor.
Monterey Bay by Allie Caulfield
Old Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey, CA
Mission San Carlos Borromeo, Carmel by Richard Masoner
Carmel-By-The-Sea Beach by HBarrison
The Bixby Canyon Bridge by mrkathika
18 miles south of Carmel, this is one of the ten highest single span bridges in the world.
At the end of my visit to Monterey, Garlon gave me the most incredible surprise - a round trip ticket to Honolulu so I could go see some of the other members of our judo club who had been members of the Hawaii National Guard. My flight was to leave from San Francisco and we spent a few hours sightseeing before my departure. That was all it took for me to fall in love with this breathtaking city by the Golden Gate. I knew that, someday, I was going to live here and, thirteen years later, in January of 1976, I moved to the Bay area. It has been my home now for 34 years and, though I have traveled the world over during that time and have seen the most amazing places, I still feel an overwhelming joy when I see the spires of the Golden Gate Bridge or hear Tony Bennett sing "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" or listen to that fabulous Sony Holland's "On a San Francisco High."
Chinatown, San Francisco by doortoriver
San Francisco From the Oakland Bay Bridge by Franco Folini
San Franciso Painted Ladies by Tom Mascardo
Darioush Winery, Napa Valley by jimg944
Napa Valley Vineyards by jimg944
State Capitol, Sacramento, CA by paraflyer
Santa Barbara Mission by Allie Caulfield
Los Angeles by kevitivity
The Beverly Hills Hotel by Alan Light
Disneyland by Denise Cross
The state is in the worst financial mess I can remember. I, myself, only a year ago, lost my nursing position of 21 years with the city and county of San Francisco in massive cuts to the Department of Public Health . I wonder how we will ever recover as the jobless rate increases and San Francisco now has the highest homeless rate in the United States.
California is the most populous state in the U. S. and ranks third in size to Alaska and Texas. It is the most geographically diverse of all the states and boasts the highest point, Mt. Whitney, and the lowest point, Death Valley, in the contiguous United States.
Major booms in Californa growth came from the Gold Rush in the 19th century, making San Francisco a major city. Los Angeles, in the 20th century, became a mecca for entertainment, and the Silicon Valley developed as a leader in information technology.
California has it all - mountains, coastline, big cities, lakes, desert, rural towns. It also has earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, mudslides.
In spite of its current problems, there is no where else I would want to live. Though I was born in Georgia, two of my three sons are San Franciscans and I want to take my last breath here.