Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Little Bit of Oxnard

Other than my dad living in Oxnard, I didn't ever feel like I had a connection to this city as a place. But once Highway 1 ends and the region changes dramatically to agriculture, military bases, and stripmalls, somehow my 30 years of coming here melds together and I realize there's more of a connection to this place than I care to realize.

If today's adventure to the Oxnard's white sand beach doesn't create a sense of place for Misa and John-Pio, I wonder what I need to do differently. Not so, though. They are completely at home in the midst of all this diversity, in the forms of terrain, culture, and where we stay. Yes, it's noticeable - they took note and commented on the population of Latinos and Asians, not to mention a smattering of Chamorros - we ran into several while bowling on the Port Hueneme base.

"Mama I can tell we're someplace else where we can all speak different languages, EVEN Chamorro!"

"A lot of people here are Mexican and from islands - why would you ever want to move from here Mama?"

That one was my favorite. Of course I grew up in San Diego, but started splitting up my time between these two places when my parents separated in 1982.

I am feeling more and more at home here because I just do - it's hard to describe in words, especially when those words are deep feelings of the personal racial and ethnic kind.

Today while at the beach it was noticeable that it was a place for everyone. Yet it struck me how universal people really are. I tried not to let the comment from an elderly couple get to me but as the evening wore on, I was reminded how much place matters, and that wherever you go, people seem to matter to people in all kinds of ways.

"Your kids are beautiful. Their father must be white . . . ". I guess I can only imagine how I or the kids mattered to those two. The world seems so big to make a comment like that, but that's what happened right here in Oxnard.

Anyway, here's what we did today - so
much fun!


  1. wow, what a weird thing to say. I'm sorry that was said. Or that someone would even think along those lines. What's wrong with people

  2. I remember long conversations you and I used to have about a sense of place. I liked this entry. It's complicated, place and identity. Somehow even out of our control. Whether you're drawn to where you grew up or rebel against it, it certainly can shape you. It's always interesting to see places--including "home"-- from your own children's point of view too. And your kids are so perceptive.

  3. I have those emails and a few hand-written letters we wrote about place. I think and feel it a lot, still.