NPR logo Sharon Rosen Leib's California Dream

What's Your CA Dream?

Sharon Rosen Leib's California Dream

Over the last several weeks, we've asked Day to Day listeners to share their vision of the California Dream. Fame, health, satisfaction, blue sky or innovation—what defines your California Dream? Is the economy forcing that dream to change?

We'll be sharing your responses both on-air and here on Daydreaming. In this installment, Sharon Rosen Leib dreams of a California where hot pink cactus flowers bloom on Joshua Tree's harsh desert floor, where the morning mist in Ojai carries the sweet scent of orange blossoms, and where the whisper of a San Francisco Indian summer wind warms the skin.

Sharon Rosen Leib

When L.A. freeway traffic sucks me in like quicksand, I free my thoughts—letting them wander to the other California. The California of waking dreams where hot pink cactus flowers bloom on Joshua Tree's harsh desert floor, where the morning mist in Ojai carries the sweet scent of orange blossoms, and where the whisper of a San Francisco Indian summer wind warms the skin.

In this California I've experienced heaven on earth. I've seen the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains reflected in the deep midnight blue of Lake Tahoe. I've sat naked in a natural hot spring perched over Big Sur's jagged coastal bluffs. I've jogged the narrow strip of Pacific Ocean sand bordering my hometown in quiet solitude. This is the stuff of which California dreams are made.

As California's population continues to rise and the traffic thickens around me I wonder whether my children will experience the same transcendent California bliss that I have. Sometimes I feel like locking the door to my native state and throwing away the key. But how could I deny any one the chance to experience these waking dreams—the heaven on earth that my beloved California offers to those who seek it? Deep in my soul, I know that the dream belongs to all those who seek it.

But California dreaming isn't for the fainthearted, the close-minded or the tight-fisted. Those who come here seeking the dream must keep their hearts, minds and wallets wide open to keep the dream alive. Like all dreams worth having California's comes with a price.

Sharon was kind enough to share some pictures of some her relatives living their own California dreams, this in Hollywood at the turn of the last century.

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This first one is of my great-grandparents Sol & Marian Wurtzel circa 1912.

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This next one is a group shot of Lew Seiler, Sol Wurtzel, William Fox, and two men on right I can't identify. They're all on the Fox Studios Lot in Hollywood @ Sunset & Western Aves. circa 1918.

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And this last one is my great-grandfather Sol (on left) with early cowboy star Tom Mix (white hat) on Fox lot circa 1920.

Thanks, Sharon!

If you'd like to share your California Dream, use the contact page provided here.

Comments

 

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nice post Sharon....re-lives some of the reasons for which lot of us end up here in this Golden State.

Sent by sajed | 6:24 PM | 6-26-2008

Just realized that I never explained history of above photos. William Fox (the founder of Fox Studios) sent my great-grandfather Sol Wurtzel (who'd never been west of New York) to run his newly acquired Hollywood studio in 1917. Sol stayed at Fox for over 30 years through its merger with 20th Century. He produced over 700 films spanning the silent to sound era including Tom Mix, Theda Bara, Shirley Temple, the "Charlie Chan" and "Mr. Moto" series. The whole Wurtzel family followed Sol west to California paradise. The California Sol found in 1917 has changed almost beyond recognition. Too bad our elected officials in Sacramento can't run California the way Sol ran Fox Studio - on a sound, efficient budget. Where or where has our enlightened, visionary leadership gone?

Sent by Sharon Rosen Leib | 9:20 PM | 7-15-2008

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