This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Coming home to Phoenix, Arizona


I wasn't born in Phoenix, but it's home to me. I moved there when I was eighteen (to get away from the snow and cold of Minnesota) and lived for a few years in Southern California in my twenties. I don't go back to Minnesota much, but I visit friends in Los Angeles often, at least once a year. And then coming home to Phoenix is one of the most glorious feelings that I have in my life.

Don't get me wrong, California is great. The weather is great, my friends are great. And Minneapolis is beautiful, gorgeous and green (well, in the summer), but Phoenix is home. It's my town.

My timing this year was perfect to get away to Cali. The record heat came on like crazy a couple of weeks ago. I've lived in Phoenix for a long time, but really I don't remember it ever being so hot in June. Believe me, I wanted to get away!

But it didn't take long for me to miss the blue skies. And I was reminded why I left the Los Angeles area. I love LA, but it's crowded, noisy, and expensive. And everywhere you go, there are people ahead of you in line, in restaurants, on the freeway. I always think of the wise quote of Yogi Berra, who once said that "no one wants to go there because it's too crowded". That would apply to Southern California.

Coming home to Phoenix always reminds me why I love it here. It's so wide open, everything is clean and spacious. The entrance ramps on the freeways are bigger, the parking spots are bigger. There's room for landscaping, there's room to make a U-turn. There's room to breathe.

From my window seat yesterday I strained to recognize my Phoenix. Since you're flying in from the west from California, the first thing you see are the patches of irrigated land. Then you see the swirling neighborhoods in the western valley. I saw the 303 as it joined up with the 10. Then as the plane paralleled the 10, I saw the 101 interchange, and the Cardinals Stadium (sorry, I refuse to call it the University of Phoenix Stadium) and I knew that I was home. As you cross over the I-17, you see Greenwood Cemetery, which is at 27th Avenue and Van Buren. Then downtown Phoenix, Piestewa Peak, Camelback Mountain. The mountains are the faces of old friends. If Phoenix is your home, you know what I mean.

I love getting away, and I love coming home to Phoenix.

Image above: Flying home to Phoenix in the 1970s. Before my time, but I'd recognize my town anywhere!


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