Connecticut and California — What’s Different


My Cousin Michael and I were talking about mountains yesterday. There are mountains just east of here. I keep wanting to say they’re west.

I grew up on the East Coast. Mountains were always west.

“23 Years here and I make the same mistake,” he said.

There are lots of differences between Connecticut and California more significant than the relative position of mountains or whether the Sun rises or sets over the ocean.

We have moved to Irvine. It is a planned city, one of a handful in the US.

In Connecticut things grew organically. Towns today still uses roads established before Declaration of Independence was signed! There are 169 cities and towns, because that’s what worked back in the day.

I have one friend whose family came over on the Mayflower. They’ve been a presence in Milford since there was a Milford–maybe before.

Irvine was incorporated in 1971.

The layout of Irvine was designed by Los Angeles architect William Pereira and Irvine Company employee Raymond Watson, and is nominally divided into townships called villages. The townships are separated by six-lane streets. Each township contains houses of similar design, along with commercial centers, religious institutions and schools. Commercial districts are checker-boarded in a periphery around the central townships. Source: Wikipedia

Our house in Hamden was on a one acre plot. Here in Irvine we’re on a tiny postage stamp of land. That’s part of the plan. Developers have to set aside acreage for parks, shopping and other businesses. You’re never far from anything, but you sacrifice personal space to get that.

Even if you are across town, the six-lane streets (usually straight as an arrow) often have a 60 mph speed limit with computer coordinated traffic lights that adjust to speed the flow! Please think about that next time you attempt to keep to 25 mph through the center of Cheshire.

All buildings have to ‘fit’ architecturally. Though the houses in our development are all different, they’re all very similar in style and color. It’s not right or wrong, just different than what we’re used to back east.

We’ve gone from oil heat, well water and a septic system to gas, city water and sewers. No overhead power lines either.

This is a politically conservative area, ironic because Irvine is a city where the government sticks its nose in so many facets of life! Want to change your house’s paint color or add an addition? Not so fast. Approval is necessary and not always easily obtained. The rules and regulations our home’s developer had to follow are epic.

Because of its good schools, jobs, and housing, the city was chosen in 2008 by as the fourth best place to live in the United States. In 2012, it was ranked in sixth place. In September 2011, Businessweek listed Irvine as the 5th best city in the US. In June 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that Irvine had the lowest violent crime rate among cities in the United States with populations of more than 100,000. – Source: Wikipedia

All these factors help make Irvine a desirable place to live. My significantly smaller house here has a significantly larger price tag than the one it replaces in Hamden!

That’s not to say this place is better. It’s just different… very different.

What Irvine doesn’t have are all the friends and acquaintances we accrued over 28 years in Connecticut. I wish I could have packed them up and brought them with us. Friends are irreplaceable.

You can’t plan friends. They grow organically.

16 thoughts on “Connecticut and California — What’s Different”

  1. You’re lucky Doppler is cooperating. Scot Haney sold his house and moved to a condo – his cat objected so strongly that he had to make a deal with the people who bought the house – the cat is staying with them!

    1. Cats can be funny that way. In the past 5 years I moved 4 times and my cats weren’t necessarily happy about it but we all adjusted. They’re more interested in staying with ME than staying in one place.
      Two of them are on the desk right now…..

  2. Best of luck with your new digs, Geoff! Sounds pretty nice! 😀

    My sister just flew to San Diego three days ago. She’s there with her younger son and significant other. While she’s there for maybe two months now, she has spent quite a bit of time there the last year and change. She also mentioned having to adjust to certain things in a hurry. She loves it there, to say the least, but, like you, misses her friends here in the Nutmeg State.

    Let us know which local news cast you end up watching! Will it be KCBS? KNBC, KTLA? Ha ha! 🙂

  3. Geoff, what a nice sentiment about your friends here in Connecticut. My best friend of 37 years is moving to another state. I am so sad she is leaving. I feel like I am loosing the sister that I never had. You are so right…friends cannot be planned. Friendships grow and are nurtured over time. Missing her already. The best to you and your family. I so enjoy your blogs!

  4. We wish we could have gone with you too. Especially this week…the weather is miserable.
    One of the great things about the internet is that you can move anywhere in the world and still be able to keep in touch with people back home. It isn’t the same as dropping by the house or having them drop by but with webcams etc you CAN have a face to face conversation if you want.

  5. Thanks, Geoff. We miss you, too, as I am sure you realize. I am sure you and Helaine and Doppler will adjust to the totally different surroundings and lifestyle, but I hope you will remember all of us Easterners back here. You will have no choice but to remember us, as we will remind you incessently!!

  6. Wishing you great happiness, good health and fun times in your new home…but I have to say, for my tastes, I would find no upside to the location you describe (except the low crime rate, of course). Born and raised in the rolling hills of rural northwestern Pennsylvania…and 37 years in Connecticut…pesonally, I think I’d go stir crazy in a planned community. But, people are people, and I’m sure you will quickly make friends there to add to the ones you still have ‘back East’. Enjoy the adventure of it all!

  7. Hey Geoff, when you get time check out the crime stats for Santa Ana, which borders you to the west. And Anaheim, while you’re at it. And check out Winvale St (off of Culver, I think…it’ been a while). Those houses were going for 28k back in 1971. How times change.

  8. Geoff, I’m sure you know about now how everyone feels about you too. You are
    more then a friend you are family. So sad to see you leave Ct. I have never actually met you and probably would never have even you didn’t move cross country. But, you came into our home every evening not only forecasting the weather but, you
    also entertained us. You are one genuine person. There’s no one that can replace you. It’s good that you are closer to your daughter now family is so important. All the best to you and your family. You will be missed. Give doppler a few squeezes for me.

  9. Thanks for the info, Geoff. That explains why I couldn’t find it on my 1960 maps, or recall where it was. When we were out there, I had a cousin who lived in Burbank, and who had moved there in the late 1940’s. She had pictures of dirt roads, even Hollywood and Vine was a dirt road. It was hard to believe, but that was only 20 yrs. before I got there. It was also hard to realize that, when visiting Mission churches—that they were still less than 100 yrs old–at the time. Coming from CT where we were celebrating bicentennials–put our school learning into perspective—the history we were learning about the west coast of the USA–was still being made. Now, when I think back, it has been over a half century since I was there!
    I take it, since Irvine is a planned city, that it is not sitting smack dab on a fault, like most of the big cities are.
    Well, have to shut down, we are in the midst of a loud TS! Been waiting all day for its arrival–and now, it is supposed to rain another 3-4 days. I finally potted my Tomatoes (somewhat stringy now) as I couldn’t get to tilling up the garden space with all of the rain. Farmers are having another difficult Spring–can’t get the corn in—but then you know all this–you only left the area 1 week ago!
    Happy moving in and making your new house A HOME!!!

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