"Why on earth would you move to Tracy?!"
I can't tell you how often I got this incredulous question as we were closing up the Sebastopol store. As if West Sonoma County had some monopoly on coolness or being "in". It grated on me no end.
I spent my summers in the Central Valley. My dad's family settled in the Visalia/Sanger area, moving from Texas when he was a baby. I know this Valley and the people in it.
I may have grown up in the Suburban East Bay, in the shadow of the snobbish City where people like us were referred to as "bridge and tunnel" people. The chip on my shoulder began to develop at a young age. Probably because of my East Bay heritage.
Growing up in South Hayward, Tortilla Flats to be exact, you learn a thing or two. It's never really been about race. It's about class. Rich and Poor.
And that, friends, is what I'm on about.
Because that is the implication in the tone of that question/statement above. As if somehow being in the Valley is “less than”. Never mind that Tracy has ten times the population of Sebastopol. Forget that we don’t have to compete with two other bookstores and two thrift stores that carry books. It matters not that the median age of Tracy is 33 and Sebastopol is 60. Let’s not even discuss that the median income here in Tracy is equal to Sonoma County.
Because why concern ourselves with the truth. I mean that is the age we live in, right? Fake News. Alternative Facts.
Worse, I’ve heard this same thing from folks right here in Tracy. “Why would you leave Sebastopol?!” It’s as if the good folks of the Valley have bought the same bill of goods the cool kids/hipsters/tech heads of SF and the North Bay have.
Don’t believe the hype.
Every region has its pluses and minuses. Mark’s and my decision to move here is pretty simple. My folks need looking after, there was an opportunity on 10th street for a dream space and we genuinely like it here.
We have all the same amenities as the bay area. There’s a Panera and Chipotle in town for goodness sake. Our gas is cheaper as is our food. Oh, and that food is for the most part, locally sourced just like it is in too-precious-by-half Sonoma County.
There’s great wine just 15 minutes away in Livermore. Culture continues to grow anchored by the Grand Theater and Main Street Music. Someday, we hope to be part of growing culture.
There’s much to admire and love about Tracy. I want all of our friends and fans to get used to a simple idea: Tracy deserves a quality bookstore and we hope to provide it. This is a great place to live.
As we say in my natal city Oaktown, “Haters gonna hate.”
It’s cool. Let ’em hate on us. We got this.