Editor’s note: With longtime columnist John Brannon semiretiring his weekly “My Turn” column to monthly status, we asked readers to send us “Your Turn” submissions. We were hoping they would continue in the Brannon’s tradition of musing about Cambria — what it is, how it affects us; what we like about it and, for that matter, what could be better.We’re gratified our readers (cum writers) have come through. We’ve received a number of responses that will appear in this space in coming weeks. In no particular order, we’re starting off with a “how we got here” tale by Tobey Crockett:
When my husband Mark and I first arrived in Cambria in June 2002, it was our first wedding anniversary. That was 10 years ago — hard to believe how quickly the time has gone by! We knew that we wanted to leave the hectic pace of Los Angeles once I passed my exams in graduate school and we had been looking up and down the West Coast, searching for the just right fit of beauty, access to culture, proximity to our families and most of all, a hard to pinpoint feeling of being “home.”
We were feeling frustrated by the whole process when we happened to book a cabin in Cambria for a much-needed break at the end of the school year.
“You know,” we said to each other as we tooled down Main Street, pleased as punch with our heavenly olallieberry pies on the back seat, “We’ll just be traveling on some other occasion, not looking for our new spot at all and about 24 hours later, we’ll turn to each other, ‘hey ....’”
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And that’s exactly what happened. We moved to Cambria 11 months later and have really enjoyed being here ever since. Not that it has always been easy for this New Yorker and her San Fernando Valley boy husband to get used to life in the slow lane. There are a lot of differences and adjustments to make. The hardest one for us is probably that shops and services often close at 5 pm, or maybe even earlier if they happen to feel like going fishing or whatever. To borrow from the Hawaiians, are we still on the mainland, bra? Not really! But we’ve managed to learn some new skills, such as how to be more relaxed, to choose our words more gently and to not need to get straight to the point in every conversation. What an improvement!
But my love affair with this area has really deepened during the Cambria Community Services District meetings this past year or so. I have been so amazed to see how the deeply divided sides of various water issues have managed to come to what feels a lot like a positive breakthrough.
Mostly I am just so proud of everyone, of their willingness to do the hard work of compromise, of finding a path to new positions. This is what makes our democracy function! I truly believe that is the very best thing I have seen here in this small town idyll that is Cambria.
Of course, we love the pie, the beauty, the vistas, the fresh produce and all our wonderful new friends — very much — but this sense of patriotic pride that I feel has only come to flower in my heart here, watching my neighbors come to terms with one another, building community in Cambria. We feel very lucky to be a part of this place. Thank you.