Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pomona, California

If there is one thing you might say about me is I like variety. I like new places and new things. I love new challenges, particularly mental problems that need to be mulled over and worked out to a workable solution. One thing I love is new cities. I love to find the downtown section and slowly travel down the main street of a town and feel its pulse.

Slowly driving or walking downtown streets allows me to hear the past, feel the history, and experience the present life. I love the old buildings and all the historical data I can dig up. Many times Irene and I have driven to a town just to see it and drive up and down the main street. We once drove to Macon, GA (from Jacksonville, NC) simply to see a movie. One time we drove from Jacksonville, NC to Baltimore, MD just to walk the streets of Baltimore like Bobbie Bare's wife did in the song "Streets of Baltimore." If there is a road going somewhere and I have never been on it  I don't know where it leads, at some point I am going to follow it just to see where it goes. Maybe it came from my teen age days of "cruising,"


My second car was a 1962 Cadillac Convertible and I loved to put the top down on a hot August night just as the sun was going down and cruise the main drag of San Jose. I think then I was more looking at the girls on the street than the old buildings but I developed a love affair with the downtown sections of cities.

Pomona was no different. When we got on Highway 101 Southbound we were headed to new territory. I had stayed a couple nights with my aunt and uncle in Anaheim when my family had first moved to California in December of 1966. We stayed there resting from a long gruelling drive across the United States before heading up to our final destination of San Jose. I had never been to Los Angeles or Pomona. Just typing the words Los Angeles sends chills down my back. The hype, the myth, the lure of that great city is with me to this day. I love LA!

It was an uneventful drive down that California freeway. That is if you can call traveling with a three year old and a two year old couped up in a Chevy Vega uneventful. It was 340 miles to our destination and our new life. 340 miles of homesick, fear of the future, and a child-like amazement to play with one's mind. What have we gotten ourselves into?

We pulled into Pomona about late afternoon. We had directions to her Aunt Sara's house. We pulled up in front of her house and was fortunate to find enough space for both the Vega and the UHaul. Irene had a great reunion with her Aunt and Uncle. Eventually a number of relatives made their way over that night and I got to meet a whole bunch of Torres', Hernandez's, and Diaz's I had never met before. Her family was great. Especially since I was only the second "gringo" to join the family up to that time.

I was anxious to see the college and see Pomona. The next day I unhooked the trailer and took off for quite an adventure.

 I checked the college out first. Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College was in San Dimas. It was only 5 miles or so between the two cities, but in LA one doesn't use miles for travel, one uses time. It was about 20 or 30 minutes to traverse that 5 miles or so and then make the drive up to the Campus.

The College was beautiful. I looked the campus over and had to choke back the excitement and impatience I was feeling until the day of enrollment came.

I decided to drive downtown Pomona. Pomona is the fifth largest city in Los Angeles CountyCalifornia (after Los AngelesLong BeachGlendale, and Santa Clarita). Pomona is located in between the Inland Empire and the San Gabriel Valley. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 149,473. In 2005, its population was estimated as 160,815.  

The city is the site of the Fairplex, which hosts the L.A. County Fair and the NHRA Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, (formerly known as Pomona Raceway) Powerade Winternationals Drag Racing competition.

The area was originally occupied by the Tongva or Gabrielino Native Americans. The city is named for Pomona, the ancient Roman goddess of fruit. For Horticulturist, Solomon Gates, "Pomona" was the winning entry in a contest to name the city in 1875, before anyone had ever planted a fruit tree. The city was first settled by Spaniards in the 1830s and the first Anglo-Americans arrived in 1868. By the 1880s, the arrival of railroads and Coachella Valley water had made it the western anchor of the citrus-growing region. Pomona was officially incorporated on January 6, 1888.

Religious institutions are deeply embedded in the history of Pomona. There are now more than 120 churches,representing most religions in today's society. The historical architecture of these churches provide glimpses of the European church design and architecture from other eras.

I loved the city! It was alive, vibrant, and exciting. I loved the Palm Trees that seemed to line almost every street. I loved the Mexican influenced architecture. There were so many cities in LA country cozied up next to each other that you could drive for an hour and be in a dozen cities. It was 1/10 the size of San Jose. Pomona was my kind of town!
I was on top of the world! I had began a new chapter in my life, I was living in and exploring a new city, not to mention the dozens of cities surrounding the college and where we were staying. School was starting in a few days. Life was good!
Little did I know that God had an educational plan for me in addition to the freshman college curriculum. There were some things God needed to to teach me and I had no clue they were coming.

"Pomona, CA is the third installment in the series "The Metcalf's Walk of Faith." Stay tuned for the next installment entitled, "Lessons Not on the Freshman Guide"

Saturday - "Walk of Faith..." Segments of Christian Testimony

Join us as we take a look at back at the spiritual journey and blessings of the Metcalf's Walk of Faith


welcome to my world of poetry said...

I came to California three years ago for 10 days, went to Sna Fransisco, Yosemite, Death Valley, LA, Pasadena and Palm springs and also went to Las Vegas in Nevada, Had a wonderful time lovely people, lovely places.


Seams Inspired said...

You've captured the beauty of this city perfectly. I had the pleasure of seeing it about 20 years ago when I went to visit family in the LA area.

Can't wait to hear about your college years! Thanks for sharing. Happy Saturday! :o)

Arlee Bird said...

Now you're talking about my neck of the woods and telling me things I didn't know. I need to go visit Pomona one day. I've been through it on the freeway and to certain parts briefly, but never really explored it. I'd really like to go to one of the RV shows they have at the fairground one day.

Your love of travel and visiting cities is something you and I share, but I guess you know that. My favorite times were when I was on the road. I had a lot of time to explore other places. I'm a nomad at heart in many ways, but I do love being at home as well.

I really enjoyed this post.

A to Z coming in April!

Tossing It Out


Gregg, you seem to have some fond memories of California...are you sure you don't want to move back? Our high taxes, weird politicians and abundance of lost sinners is probably not much different from Washington :-)

Persis said...

These are great posts, Gregg. Thanks for sharing a little of your history.

IanH said...

Gregg, I share your passion for cars. My first one was a 59 Chev, then an Austin Healy 3000, white with red leather, and then a 69 Jaguar XKE off the showroom floor. After the Jag, cars became just a means to get from point A to B and back, with the exception of my Ford HD 150, which is now my gas guzzling work horse. I am really enjoying your tales.