Blog: California, Here I Come

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Burt Ross

The other day I was surfing the internet (the closest thing to surfing the waves I ever intend to get) when I heard Al Jolson singing away: “When the wintry winds starts blowing/And the snow is starting in a fall/Then my eyes went westward knowing/That’s the place that I love best of all…/California, here I come/Right back where I started from…”

Al sure knew how to belt out a tune and a catchy one at that. On occasion, a song gets stuck in my cranium, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t dislodge it. And so I can’t stop singing away, “California, here I come/Right back where I started from.”

There is only one problem: I didn’t come from California. I came from New Jersey and only arrived here a little over five years ago, so it makes absolutely no sense for me to sing about coming to California where I started from. 

I began my life in New Jersey and pretty much stayed there for 68 years. To the best of my knowledge, there is no song about returning to New Jersey. Let’s be honest—if you move from New Jersey to most places, you are more than likely not returning there, which is probably why such a song does not exist. 

I don’t begin to understand why this chap in the song left California in the first place. It doesn’t take Einstein to know that in most places the snow is going to fall in the winter. What was he expecting—San Diego weather in Minneapolis? This fellow was probably equally surprised when tornados hit Oklahoma, hurricanes blasted Florida and so on. I wonder how long it took him to figure out what he had left behind. Was it a matter of days, weeks or years before this escapee from California realized he had left paradise?

For me, it’s very simple. When I leave California, it will be in another life. I have done my exploring and Malibu is as good as it gets, so I will just have to retitle the song to “California Here I Stay.”