Never give up

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Opinion section
Valley News - Opinion

I can remember living in the great white north where there was snow, ice, sleet and hail all at the same time. Cold doesn’t describe the temperature. It was so damp and somewhere below freezing, the cold would go right through you.

Even as a child I knew I didn’t want to live there for the rest of my life, so I started thinking about where I would escape to, even at 8 years old. I had dreams of living in London with the Queen; however, the weather would have probably been the same as where I was.

The years went by and I found myself in high school, dreading each day, waiting so long for the bus. I would finally just start walking through parks, down city streets and finally on sidewalks and crossing the train tracks to my final destination.

A couple of my teachers were fantastic. They seemed to be untouched by weather, undisturbed by the whole high school environment, who was who and what was what.

Ms. Berger and Mrs. Wasserman were my favorite teachers, and I will always remember how encouraging they were with me, every day they would have a smile and a kind word to say to me. Funny how I thought I was the only one in the buzzing hallways when I would see them walking in my direction. My eyes zoomed in, and it was always a treat to say hello to each of them. How many times did Mrs. Wasserman stop and ask how I was doing? And she always inspired me and supported and approved whatever good I was doing. She taught me more in our short hallway chats than can be replaced with years of jibber jabber.

Well, the, “Beach Boys” were going strong at that time, and one of my favorite songs was, “California Girls.” The lyrics started out like this, “Well, East coast girls are hip; I really dig those styles they wear.”

Now given that I am an East coast girl, I felt OK with the idea that East coast girls were “hip.” Beach Boys continue, singing about things they like about girls located in the South, Midwest, North and a few lines later, they go crazy about the West Coast girls and weather.

In the next lines, the Beach Boys go on and on about the California girls. “I wish they all could be California girls. The West Coast has the sunshine, and the girls all get so tanned.”

After dissecting this song around 200 times, I was pretty convinced that California was the place for me.

Now I had a goal, and I was never going to give it up. How could I change my location by 3,000 miles? Well, my goal became clearer while I was doing my cold, wet and slushy walk to school one winter day. I had hit the crosswalk button to cross the street, and I recognized a school buddy, Ross. I remember that I’d heard that he had been to California. He was coming from the opposite side of the street. As we headed toward each other, I asked him if I could talk with him for a couple of minutes, and he said, “Sure.”

Out of respect in the city, it was customary to go to the other persons’ corner when you asked them for a favor. While I was there, a couple of cars drove by us and covered us with the wettest, slushiest and messiest watery snow combination I had ever experienced. I was wiping dirty wet snow from my face, and my coat was indescribable.

Finally I graduated from high school. It took me about a year to pull my thoughts together. I left the East Coast in a conversion van and away I went. I put any fears and all the unknowns aside, and I lived each day with courage and was compelled to be successful.

So, here I am in California in one of the most beautiful states in the country. I am so lucky to have great friends and family, a comfortable home, delicious food and an engaging sunrise and sunset every day. Yes, there have been bumps in the road. There have been ups and downs.

Is COVID-19 anything I would have ever thought the world would experience? Never did it even cross my mind. Not only did the health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic shock everyone, the economic shock is impacting everyone as well.

We must stay strong and healthy during these tough times. Call a friend for support; make sure your family is OK. Stay cool on these hot summer and fall days. Offer assistance to others who might be in need. Have the courage to help others get past these tough situations. Make a difference in someone else’s life, and I am pretty sure that it will also make a difference in your life.

Most of all, follow your dreams and never give up.