(The) Journey

Today I had a flashback of myself, at the age of 19.

I credit my move to the Bay Area to a Journey concert. I was at my mama’s for the day, doing laundry and baking cookies and listening to the radio, 1980s radio. The announcer came on and entertained a caller live. The caller had tickets to a Journey concert in San Francisco at Candlestick Park, but they needed a ride. Whoever could provide the ride would get a free ticket. Suffice to say, I turned the oven off, put the cookie dough in the fridge, the laundry was forgotten and I was picking up three strangers on my way to San Francisco. Turns out I went to high school with one of them. Within an hour we were in the car and on the road.

The concert was amazing, Journey with opening band, Glass Tiger. Epic. Imagine that I would meet a guy, Steve, at the concert (DUH!). We danced, sang, swayed, spoon fashion. Exchanged numbers and I headed, with my radio crew back to Chico.

Steve called me the next day. He and his buddy came to Chico the next weekend. We dated for months. I would haul ass to the Bay Area on the weekends and drive back at 6:00 am on Monday mornings to report in for work.

Fast forward 6 months. I was working full-time in Chico, I kept dropping classes at the local junior college and I needed to get out of the small town. I was not being productive.

I planned to move to Walnut Creek — live with the BF. The week after my mother’s birthday, I had my 1977 Chevy Nova loaded with the clothes on my back with whatever else I could fit in. I had no job, but a dream. As I hugged my mama good-bye, sobbing, she handed me $100 in cash. That was all I had to my name.

Mama: You can always come home.

Me: I’m not coming back (to live), but I love you.

I sobbed all the way to Yuba City. I hit Walnut Creek, registered with a Temp Agency and was working the next week — at twice the amount I earned at 2 jobs in Chico.

Fast forward to today. Anders wanted to leave for “real” college two years ago. A comedy of errors delayed his timeline – I (selfishly) believe that God intervened for a multitude of reasons. He has been living at home for two years, bouncing between his dads house and my house. Attending junior college full-time, working his ass off, saving money for a trip to Japan and helping to be a caretaker for his younger brother. His first year was relatively fulfilled (from my viewpoint). He still had several friends and his girlfriend living local. He also was very involved in theater which was a great use of his time and kept him busy. This last year, the discontent grew. I understood it. I’d been there.

So today, with his car loaded full of his personal belongings with big dreams and no job, he left for Santa Cruz. Like me, he has a place to live. As my mama did, I gave him $100 cash in his pocket (with inflation added). I sent with him 8 quart size mason jars of prepared meals with dry goods and a buttload of top ramen (thank you, John). I sobbed like a baby when he left, just like I did went Alex left. Different, but similar. John gave him a full bear hug, Aaron told him he was ugly. Far Far had tears in his eyes. He and his dad and Ken had said their good-byes the night before and I am sure they were equally similar.

My request to my son – this is a feeling of deja vu. You are taking me back almost 30 years now. You are a part of me. Do it better than I did, be smarter than I was, be more successful than I was and know that I will always, ALWAYS love you.

Fly, my baby, fly.

Alex – enjoy your new roommate.

Rebecca – I hope Anders proves to be an entertaining buffer.

To the landlords – THANK YOU.

To 20 somethings in Santa Cruz in that cool condo – Return the mason jars for free refills.

Love, Mama.

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